The ethics of the Confucianism seeks a rational spirit (in community and society) inherited from the Chinese forefathers while the Taoists seek individual cultivations in morality. This manifests the complementarity and dichotomy of the two, and that is the "counteraction" or "Doctrine of the Mean" of the Chinese classical aesthetics. The "counteraction" principle indicates the "same yet different" aesthetics. The "same" refers to the Chinese cultural values — community and society, while it demonstrates in the Western aesthetics — "binary opposition" which concerns self and community. The pursuit of the Individualism exemplifies in Rousseau's "Human beings are born with freedom, but live in chains," in which he believes personal rights and freedom should be preserved in communities. How to be "the self" in a community? How to accomplish "the self" in a country? This is the "moral freedom," the emphasis of individual will is a significant origin of the Western political thoughts.
In Ang Lee's films, he attempts to balance the crisis of such binary opposition. In "Crouching Tigers Hidden Dragon" Jiao Long endeavors to find the supposed freedom and struggles in the interwoven relationships between self and others. Wandering between freedom and ethics, her death is another form of returning, a sublimation. This sublimation is also demonstrated in Lee's manipulation of the restrain of the carnal desire between Li Mu-bai and Yu Shu-lien, a lust refrained in the spiritual world, that is, a choice not willingly made.