Worlding Oneness: Daoism, Heidegger, and Possibilities for Treating the Human



Contributed date

July 30, 2018 - 6:39pm

Critical Commentary



This essay argues for the “reworlding” of Daoist “oneness” by making it visible, thinkable, and doable as an immanent analytic. With a focus on dynamic articulations of oneness, especially how the idea “heaven and human are one” animates and is animated by the translocal reinventions of traditional Chinese medicine, this essay explores possibilities for thinking, doing, and being human that unsettle various strategies of bifurcation both constitutive and symptomatic of modernist humanism. The exploration unfolds through, first, an examination of the historical and conceptual congruence between Martin Heidegger's and Daoist thinkings. In doing so, it dislodges Daoism from its usual place as an object of inquiry in Western humanistic and scientific studies, and repositions oneness as a mode of cultural analysis that moves from particular to particular in constantly and necessarily refigured ways and forms. Second, in recounting the reinvention of Chinese medicine for living in perfect harmony with disharmonious urban worlds, this essay traces how oneness is actualized as a multiplicitous and generative analytic through entanglements with modernity, science, and biomedicine—all the while traversing the order of theory and experience, thinking and being, the enduring and the effervescent. Rather than gesturing toward conceptual totality, structural unity, or analytical transcendence, we might rehabilitate and reanimate through oneness an undivided analytical and ontological approach to the human and the world: one that is both committed to immanence and contingency, and inclusive of disjunction and ambiguity. In worlding oneness, there is a possibility for us to think and live with rather than within the legacy of European humanistic tradition.



Zhan, Mei. 2012. “Worlding Oneness: Daoism, Heidegger, and possibilities for treating the Human.” Social Text 29:4 (109):107-28, special issue on China and the Human.



Group Audience

Cite as

Mei Zhan, "Worlding Oneness: Daoism, Heidegger, and Possibilities for Treating the Human", contributed by Maggie Woodruff, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 30 July 2018, accessed 22 July 2024.