Chuang-tze:A Positive Psychologist in Ancient China


  • Ren Jun
  • Liu Yingli
  • Ma Tianyu


The positive psychological movement has played a more and more important role in the stage of psychology. Positive psychology emphasizes subject well-being and has three pillars: positive emotion, positive traits, and positive institutions. Chuang-tze was a notable thinker in the history of ancient China. His life career and his world outlook provide an important cue to the understanding of positive psychology. The unexhausted life force and lofty state of spirit in his thought strongly influence and attract people of later generation. Moreover, his brilliant exposition about value and value judgment is the vital source for us to excavate his theory of value. By means of his understanding of “Tao”, Chuang-tze put his concept into the field of value, in this way form his theory of value with the characteristic of relativism. Chuang-tze’s profound philosophy can be summarized in four phrases: “Tao as the source of the world”, “uniformity of things”, “non-action in face of nature” and “absolute freedom”. The ideal personality advocated by Chuang-tze is that of a “real man” ——the surpassing integrity of pure temperament and elevated spiritual delight untouched by the outside distractions ——which is far beyond the usual concept of life and death of this world. What is more, Chuang-tze referred some traits of real man and also talked about some ways toward real man which is the same as that of current positive psychology. Therefore, Chuang-tze can be regarded as the earliest positive psychologist in ancient China.