Man’s standard behaviour, in Taoism, should be as

Man’s standard behaviour, in Taoism, should be as spontaneous, harmonious and detached as the mountains and rivers. In other words, if a person abides by the Tao, has everyday Iife will be natural and resemble the characteristics of nature itself, in the book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Taoism as Zhuangzi puts it:         

To the man who does not reside in himself, the identity of all forms becomes clear. He passes about like water, shows a reflection as though he were a mirror, and answers as though he were an echo. He is so light as to seem to vanish altogether. He is placid and clear as a calm lake. His interactions with others are utterly harmonious, regardless of whether he gains or loses something. He does not bustle forward in front of people, but rather follows them p. 138.             

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The Taoist notion of judging man’s standard action by natural law controls the same notion as Lawrence deep correspondence between natural man and the instinctive universe. Lawrence looks at man’s true self in plants, flowers and beasts, in mountains and rivers After his visit to the Etruscan Tombs, he wrote in the essay Etruscan places: All things corresponded in the ancient universe, and man’s bosom mirrored itself in the heart of the sky, or vice versa. P. 152-3.   

 In other words, the sky and the myriad thing about the universe mirror man and correspond to man’s understanding of himself. Martin Heidegger in his book The Thing  expressed the same mirror concept: The appropriating mirror – play of the simple fourfold of earth and sky, gods and mortals, we scream the world p. 131. Land and Sky, God and Man, each mirror in its own way the presence of the others. This  reciprocal picture of cosmic standard is depicted by Laozi:

Man models himself on earth, The earth models itself on heaven, Heaven models itself on the Tao, And the Tao on naturalness Ziran. p. 48.                                    


The natural motions of both the sky and the earth are the examples of constancy, which will forever serve as a constant model for human beings. In his book In Mornings in Maexico and Etruscan places, we have a Lawrence’s interpretation of mirror – identity:… if you live by the cosmos, you look into the cosmos for your clue… All it depends on the amount of true, sincere, religious concentration you can fetch to bear on your target. Lawrence clarifies: lot is the same with the study of stars, or the sky of stars, any object will bring the consciousness into a nation of pure attention in a time of perplexity will also feed back an answer to the perplexing. For Lawrence, he always finds clues in flowers and plants, in birds and animals, in the landscapes of his hometown, and registers the truth in his imaginative art. Nature’s beauty and harshness, its indifferent and disturbing effects echo the tales of human play P.152-3.

In his Australian novel Kangaroo, Lawrence writes of the influence of the ocean, and the moral standard it brings home the bacon. When Somers with his wife walked along the littoral zone, taking in the blue sky mirror, purple and the white clouds mirror warm on the wet grit, he senses that the simplicity of the sea has taken back his inward peace and a quiet stillness in his psyche. At the same time, Lawrence realizes it is absurd that he should desire to learn shooting with a rifle and a six-shooter. The peaceful and indifferent sea gives Lawrence certain enlightenment on the unconscious faith of his own inward soul:

Some men must live by this unremitting inwardness, no matter what the rest of the world does. They must not let the rush of the world’s ‘outwardness’ sweep them away: or if they are swept away, they must struggle back…. Back again like a creature in the sea. The seat of his own inward soul, his own unconscious faith, over which his will had no exercise pp. 172-3.                           


Myriad things of the universe serve as models for Lawrence to visualize human life and social problems. Here is Ursula’s vision of the hopeful future manifested by the non-censorious in The Rainbow:

And the rainbow stood on the earth. She knows that the sordid people who crept hard-scaled and separate on the face of the world’s corruption were living still, that the rainbow was arched in their blood and would quiver to life in their spirit, that they would cast off their horny covering of disintegration, that new, clean, naked bodies would issue to a new germination, to a new growth, rising of the light and the wind and the clean rain of heaven. She saw in the rainbow the earth’s new architecture, the old, brittle corruption of houses and factories swept away, the would build up in a living fabric of truth, fitting to the over-arching heaven P. 458-9.


David Cavitch points out that Ursula’s vision of the rainbow indicates the correlation between the natural setting and individual subjectivity, which is the dominant and thematic metaphor of the fiction p. 55. But as the natural scene corresponds to the individual subjectivity, human psychic events mirror themselves in the wild, indifferent, non-cancerous nature. Lawrence In his short novel St. Mawr, Lou’s mother Mrs. Witt has a tall red-brick Georgian house looking straight on to the churchyard, and the dark, looming, big church. She gets great joy in seeing the funeral ceremonies in the churchyard under her window, longing for her own morbid way of dying. The gloomy graveyard in turn exposes the peculiar, decadent nature of Mrs. Witt p. 50. In his analyses of the vague metaphors of vegetative growth of the three Brangwen generations in The Rainbow, David Cavitch in his book D.H.Lawrence and the New World concludes: The landscape glows or fades throughout the novel as the major characters gain or love a capacity for symbolic vision that links up to their objective conditions to their purely psychological realities P. 54-5. 

Cavitch remarks, the characters’ perceptions create the symbols, and the reader witnesses what they experience in their heightened emotional states. In this instance, the landscape of the physical world would serve as schemata indicating psychic events. Ibid, p. 55. There are many symbols in The Trespasser, The sun, the moon and the sea all indicate the characters psychic events. Lawrence in his novel The White Peacock,  Annable hates woman and sees the white peacock dirtying the graveyard store as a Screeching devil and the very soul of a lady p. 175. Mountains in Lawrence’s three Mexican tales (St. Mawr, and the two novelettes, The Woman Who Rode Away and The Princes) serve as constant references to the characteristic human world. Lawrence has found in them clues of both male potency, illustrated by the mountain landscape such as in St. Mawr, and barren sexuality for its unconscious wildness, such as in The Woman Who Rode Away. Prior to these three mountain tales, the snow mountain image in Women in Love symbolizes both a Burren sexuality and death and demolition.

Lawrence considers the original human nature of the primitive, uninhabited landscapes, and from the landscapes he refines his vision of the innate, spontaneous part of humanity. In his second novel The Trespasser, here are many descriptive passages of the Isle of Wight. The white, sunny and salty landscape does not just provide a romantic background for Siegmand’s and Helena’s love affairs, the uninhibited landscape represents their original spontaneous nature, and in a way conditions and flavours their whole relationship Graham Hough: p.34.From the close association between man’s life and the universe comes Taoist view that the very struggle between man and man, or man and woman is not just personal, and the struggle for man’s growing and achieving things is not solely his own business, they are actually a manifestation of the cosmic struggle- the struggle between creation and destruction, life and death, love and hate. Man’s healthy desires, to Lawrence could find fulfilment only in his primal spontaneous relationship with the whole universe.

In malice of the concept that nature always takes a symbolic meaning for sensitive men to comprehend themselves, nature is on the whole indifferent to the little morality play of human organisms. The human universe is full of struggles and tragedies, but there is no mourning in nature. Spirit moves on, nothing in nature will express any sympathy or excitement for human stories. Chaman Nahal in her D. H. Lawrence: An East View points out that the cosmos have been as vibrant as ever, thronging not merely with life… But with life which is bliss in itself p. 64. The bliss is in spirit itself; it has zero to do with human standards of happiness. Whatever lives in reality, and exists in delight, in malice of human knowledge of success or failure, birth or destruction. Considering this point of view, The White Peacock is again a serious object lesson. Annable asserts his manhood, scorns idealism and society, and is shot down. George fails to maintain himself, and passes into a sodden wreck. Cyril has none to assert, and ends as ineffectual as he started. Emily remains elusive and Lettie unsatisfied. Graham Hough: p. 31. Though none of the cases appear to be living a successful life and no one achieves fulfilment, the overall impression the book leaves behind are one of tenderness, freshness and new growth Ibid., P. 31. The reason for this seeming contradiction is that, as Graham Hough pointed out, Lawrence’s interest in writing this novel is not in the human and social destiny of his characters. Instead, as Lawrence puts it, somehow that which is physical–nonhuman in humanity, is more interesting to me than the old fashioned human element p. 197.

Hough holds that the core of this novel is displaced, then that.

The circumference of the book includes not only the characters and their personal fates, but the whole life of nature which surrounds and flows through them. The characters are only forms into which this universal mana transitorily flows, and it is mana that is Lawrence’s real subject p.31-2.


Thus, in spite of the failures of the characters in The White Peacock, we can still feel the vibrant natural beauty and recognize the man of the life-flow behind the human play. The omnipresent natural vitality in The White Peacock as in many of his early poems, in Hough’s view, is habitual and pervasive, virtually independent of particular occasions Ibid. Pp.193-4. Here is a much quoted passage about Annable the gamekeeper’s funeral day:

It was a magnificent morning in early spring when I watched among the trees to see the procession come down the hillside. The upper air was woven with the music of the larks, and my whole world thrilled with the conception of summer. The young pale windflowers had risen by the wood-gate, and under the hazels, when perchance the hot sun pushed his way, new little suns, dawned, and blazed with real light. There was a certain thrill and quickening everywhere… Birds called and flashed on every hand: they made off exultant with streaming strands of grass, or wisps of fleece, plunging into the dark spaces of the wood, and out again into the blue Lawrence: p. 182.


The evocation of Annabel’s funeral day serves as a complementary vision of Darwinian views of nature and the good life of nature existence. Annable was killed and was to be entombed. This is life, this is existential reality. There is no mention of a conventional sadness of the man’s dying. The spirit force is still hanging with its particular delicate vitality in the air, Hough comments:

Coming on the heels of the gamekeeper’s horrible death, it suggests that the life of a man is in itself a small thing: it is only an expression of a force that is everywhere, quick, tender and strong. Human life is only significant so far as it perceives and participates in this, and it is more complex only because it has so many opportunities of turning away from and denying the authentic life that is everywhere p. 32.


Hough in this passage has grasped Lawrence’s points that human life is humble yet significant within an overall universal mana Ibid., P. 32.

George runs out because he is working away from… the authentic life. Had he held out a spontaneous spirit, being brave enough to pursue his own impetus or desire and ignoring his conscious will, he would have had a happy lifetime. His position is purely