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当代社会需要老子的智慧—关于如何与自然和谐相处Our Modern World Needs Laozi´s Wisdom of the Knowledge How to Live in Harmony with Nature on Earth


来源:道教之音     作者:Marina Carnogurska     时间:2015-01-15 16:25:41      繁體中文版     手机访问道教之音

ABSTRACT: Modern consumerist civilization, which has entirely ceased (since the launching an industrial revolution in the 18th century) to respect the environment on Earth and still recklessly plunders Nature, looking on its environment  only as a source of energy and raw materials for production of  industrial goods, has the last chance to avert the all-out environmental disaster. The best way how to learn to do it, is to absorb into its worldview also the Taoist wisdom from Laozi´s philosophy about a harmonious co-existence of Humankind with Heaven and Earth. If all countries of the World begin seriously to accept an imperative of living in harmony with Nature, we will be able to minimalize and, maybe, to change all those bad prognoses. In contrast to the Western belief that the World was created by God and that it is carefully governed by Him, the founder of Taoist philosophy, Old Master, understood already 2,600 years ago that all in the Earth is an organically vivid part of an endless universe of Heavens, which isn´t managed by Anybody, and thanks to its inner yin-yang dialectic energy (德Te, 氣qi) is forever endlessly transformed in the Way Dao into creating as well as extincting cycles of transformations. So also the man and the whole Humankind (as an integrated inner part and the offspring of the Being on Earth) is forced to act in the best co-operation with the patterns and laws of Dao on Earth (thus to rescue our quality of life) and not to ignore it). The best way how to do it, is to learn the wisdom of Dao, the truth of what has been nowadays confirmed also by natural science. Therefore, Europe and the West would not acquire from China only its material inventions such as porcelain, silk or gunpowder, but much more now it will help all of us if we got rid of our false belief that the world will be rescued by God and we all need to begin rationally to understand an advantage of Taoist worldview and accept its wisdom in our everyday life´s practice.

The background of life was defined by Old Master as “it’s like a blower, empty, and therefore non-resisting in any friction, full of movement and therefore sending from itself more and more (forth and energy). Any words are dispensable! (For us) nothing like to cling to the Middle! 天地之間其猶橐籥乎﹖虛而不屈, 動而愈出.多言數窮,不如守中“[ Laozi, Daodejing, its 5th Chapter] This is really a very important truth about life on Earth and for us, Humans, would be the most reasonable to remember and not forget it! If we yearn to avoid the disaster of extinction of our life on Earth, it is useful for us really practically to learn how to cling to the Middle in every particular situation of our life between heavens and Earth!

Our modern world does not like to believe in this Truth of acting in the yin-yang dialectic life reality in clinging to the middle and thus people do not act in harmony with the natural environment that is surrounding us. One likes to consider it only as a source of living requirements or a store of materials which we need for the production of things for our every-day consumption. Our modern world utilizes all of it, unanswerable, for a comfortable life, without respecting the laws of Heavens.

A Universe of Heavens 天 (as Laozi defined it), is an endlessly immanent One which is a vivid organism of forms and beings, everlastingly creating and changing itself by its Way Dao 道 of its substance Energy De 德 , which is eternal and everlasting in its yin-yangly antithetic movement! Thanks to it everything in this One is infinitely running in a synergistic unity of all its yin-yangly metaphysical as well as physical forms, time-space energy 氣 and mass of all cosmic raw materials, spiritual souls as well as material things and all of it is a synergic changing in new-and-new cycles of a mutual co-existence of being. In the text of Huang-Lao (discovered in 1973 in one tomb near the village Mawangduei) it is described like this:

当代社会需要老子的智慧—关于如何与自然和谐相处

Laozi described it metaphysically in his lecture, recorded by his disciple Wenzi, as early as at the beginning of the 5th century BC, as:

当代社会需要老子的智慧—关于如何与自然和谐相处

Though these words, at a first glance, raise the Way Dao of Energy (De) as something existing before the being of the universe, and so as a transcendence able to act as a supernatural Subject, in this as well as in other Taoist texts of many further Chinese philosophers we learn that the Way Dao of its universal Energy (De) is not any transcendent entity which would exist before an immanent and everlasting One being and is not forced to act arbitrarily in contradiction with the organic laws of being. In accordance with the same laws of being, also every man is forced to act and live similarly, representing the same laws of reality of the vivid organism of this world (and thus without any his subjective and selfishly unprincipled and careless wantonness). Laozi in the above lecture, recorded by his disciple Wenzi, says about the vivid substance of reality of the world also these words:

当代社会需要老子的智慧—关于如何与自然和谐相处

 

So the being of ten thousands things is still in a creative process of yin-yangly dialectical transformations in the world, created from the emptiness of being - non-being substantial energy (De, Qi), thanks to a ubiquitous wisdom of information encoded in its basic nature, penetrating the whole immanency of the Universe. The same reality exists also here on Earth. In its vivid oneness, there is the making of tangible and intangible, metaphysical and physical entities of the spiritual as well as the material forms and patterns during the onset, duration, and at last termination of changes of our particular earthly space-time (according to the classical Chinese terms called “Tianxia 天下“). In our World it ought to be embodied by Heavens + Earth + Mankind’s perfect cooperation of all processes and changes “between Heaven and Earth”. However, it is a dynamic being, which is like to be a slave of itself, and therefore nothing can be done out of accordance with its Way Dao in it, and thus outside of its inner laws in any subjective or selfish decisions. No “First Move-maker” or Judeo-Christian God-Yahweh (or Islamic Allah) exists who would be able to act in the reality of the Universe and its dynamically-dialectical process of the Way Dao miraculously or by His arbitrarily subjective decision.

So what is, from this classical Chinese philosophy and its Taoist worldview, implied for ethical pattern and moral behavior of a perfect human being? Above all an axiom that a real Man (Sheng ren 圣人), as he was defined by Laozi and ancient Chinese philosophy, needs to act in harmonious cooperation with Heaven and Earth (as an indeed correct representative of Humankind in this yin-yangly collaborating reality of changes). Therefore, from this ancient Chinese wisdom emerged a basic ethical imperative that is inevitable for the fearless existence of people on Earth, expressed already in the 5th century BC. Also by Laozi´s first enthusiastic listener and colleague Confucius in this ethical predication: “What I don´t want the others to do to me, I don´t do to others!”, this has ensured the best cooperation and collaboration of all individuals in the overall social organism of the World. To do only that what is in the common agreement of all, one can manage by his internal and in every human nature embedded moral principles, salient from an essence of the life Energy (De德).

All these ethical principles in accordance with Taoist and well as Confucian ethical philosophy are:

(1) a virtue of filial and fraternal duty (孝xiao);

(2) the rules and rites of mutual human respect (礼li);

(3) a principle of humanity and of the perfect interpersonal interactions (仁 ren);

(4) a principle of acting within the limits of rightness and correctness (义 yi);

(5) a principle of human loyalty and trustworthiness (信 xin, 忠 jungle).

Basic seeds of these ethical principles are in every man´s heart from his/her birth, but in his/her whole social coexistence with people he/she must learn to improve these principles thanks to developing his/her wisdom (知 zhi) as well as his/her sense for harmonious interpersonal coordination (和 he) of his/her personal activity with the laws of Heavens and Earth. In every decision everybody needs to rely on knowledge learned through paternal and societal upbringing, reached in family and school as well as in Taoist and Confucian communities.  Everyman in the world has his/her crucial function in the vivid organism of life and no one can allow himself to replace his particular function in the common life of the world into a selfish or for life dangerous practice. Well, if you stop to fulfill your objective function in the life reality of the World as it ought to be fulfilled properly, the overall dynamics of the life´s processes are able to eliminate you from your good fate and inevitably implement another person, who will be placed into this concreate feature of life reality. Therefore one is forced to be still properly functional in the ongoing processes of life and never to stop in it.

In comparison with this Chinese, especially Taoist cue for human life, growing from a worldview of an active duty of the Man to be a perfect vivid reincarnation of the best universal Energy (De) in every concrete his-or-her act of human Dao, the Western belief that everything in our space-time was created by God and that He decides about everything, is absolutely wrong! (In accordance with this monotheistic Weltanschauung people believe that they all live immutably on Earth, and only thanks to God´s decisions.) Also in the Western philosophy, since the Parmenides-Plato-Aristotelian times a “metaphysical reality” was displaced and repositioned into the realms of a “transcendental Idea” or a “First Mover” existing before the real Universe and therefore also Being was stopped in its real natural circulation of yin-yangly synergic movement and defined only as an object of the  transcendental Subject (God). The space-time being was de facto separated in Western science and philosophy from metaphysical reality which entered into the border of something unknown and impossible to research.

In the present time, there are also in the Western world still greater ambitions of our modern science (especially in physics and astrophysics) to go with their searching still deeper and deeper into the basic substance of being, but their agnostic positivism makes it impossible for them to understand the real metaphysical character of the background of being. In accordance with Taoist philosophy an inevitable part of fluent yin-yangly transformations of being in the united and endless Universe is a One, in which also that intangible reality cannot be ignored by scientists. Modern physicists in their scientific experiments have already exceeded the limits of matter and anti-matter, and thus also empirical boundaries of space-time parameters of being, though they stubbornly continue believing that it is all still within the boundaries of physics. E.g. in current quantum physics´ and astrophysics´ experiments many of these scientists research such a “vacuum energy” that has no material parameters and can be really called a “bozon” , as in its substantial purity is really beyond naysay “space-time material” matters! Thus it belongs already into the realm of metaphysics, as a pure Energy (De) with its yin-yang tensions of dialectic synergy of its endless process (Dao) of being, as is for example photon or so-called Dark Energy.

One of the best examples of the wrong approach of modern physicists to this dynamic and non-material metaphysical substance of being was confirmed recently in Switzerland by Professor Karel Šafařik, the technological leader of the CERN´s experiment ALICE, simulating “a Little Bang”. In his interview The Higgs Boson Isn´t Any Divine Particle he clearly demonstrates that though he is a supremely capable physicist, who is able to initiate in the CERN laboratories “a collision of heavy ions of the lead (Plumbum), in which its vacuum is heated to a temperature of a million of millions degrees of Kelvin”, unfortunately, he is not any good philosopher who should have an ability of the right ontological reflection of these already highly metaphysical findings. When he is using in his defining of the “void” of vacuum the term “substance”, he has ignored in it its primary meaning of a fundamental “energy-essence of being” (what is not from the ontological point of view any material “mass”). For that reason he degraded this really metaphysical substance of the Universe, unfortunately, into a material mass! The “bozon´s” substance (in Chinese Taoist interpretation the Energy De 德 (or qi氣) of the yin-yangly dynamical process (Dao 道) cannot be considered to be a “mass”! Such a metaphysically dilettantish conviction of the Western physicists “that a vacuum is not materially empty” is from the point of its metaphysical reality absolutely wrong. So logically, if it is concluded by Westerners that it is a “mass”, all the dynamic particles containing in the vacuum, even though they are from the point of mass an absolute zero, they are still understood to be “a material substance”. So even at this CERN experiment modern physicists admitted that “the elementary particle that is in the collision of heavy ions of the lead only for a minimal breakage of time revealed or expressed as a measurable thing (or in the great speed of vacuum energy only for a split second in the conditions of the high temperature it measurable “materializes”), the Higgs boson still is for them something what is “a material substance”! Therefore, in accordance with their agnostic- materialist understanding of this already really metaphysical substance of being, all these experiments are by them understood still within the bounds of a materialistic “mass”. By such a misconceived interpretation of the “substance” of an endlessly eternal Universe of being, there is also “the gluon field” (in which 90% of pure energy is hidden) for them only a material matter. Although all modern physicists in their experiments of this kind of reality penetrate already beyond the realm of physics into the metaphysical being, they have not any philosophical ability to understand these processes really metaphysically. In the case of Professor Šafařík, on the one hand it is very nice that he acknowledges the existence of being before the “Big Bang”, (thus before an emergence of the space-time´s reality of our Cosmos), but on the other hand, thanks to his wrong understanding of the term “substance” for him (as well as for many other modern physicists) even the “Dark Energy” is only the largest piece of a material matter in the Universe. It´s a pity, but every truly critically thinking philosopher ought to be by such wrong metaphysical interpretation of metaphysical substance of the Universe simply shocked!

Thanks to this CERN´s ALPHA experiment, however, it had been confirmed that also in our reality really exists at the same time not only a matter with its “antimatter”, but also something, substantively much more pure than space-time´s antimatter, presumably the absolutely intangible particles (?) of a pure energy, that one what yet after the “Big Bang” did not cease to be an absolute nihil, and thus from the material point of view have the real zero of mass. This nothingness is still immanently present in our space-time without there being a “transcendental being”, e. g. God. Even these latest modern discoveries of natural science confirmed that the so-called “Higgs boson” is (according to the standard model of particles) a particle without any opposite, but with really zero charge (what is actually regarded to be from the point of matter the “emptiness”!). If it is in its forever dynamic spin “0”, so it is a scalar boson, i.e. essentially in terms of the tangible parameters even “emptier” and more “immaterial” energy of being than was previously known as “photon”. This already clean energy is being totally invisible and as it was confirmed by experiments at CERN, it can be observed only under the certain highly special conditions of space-time, which is achieved for example at a high speed collision of the lead ions, when it “twinkles” in the most minimal fraction of time into an observable ‘particle’.
All this is documenting also the fact that “mass” is only a relatively lasting form of the substantial Energy (De) of an eternal and endless universe of being, and each of its materials as well as the physical (or organic and inorganic) forms arise from the fundamental Energy (De) which is (according to the classical Taoist view) always and everywhere present in the being of Heavens and Earth. According to Its anonymous wisdom (expressed in terms of modern quantum theory: “because of the presence in it of an absolute amount of information”) also in the space-time of our cosmos all is forever “creating, existing and becoming extinct”, without a transcendent Anybody who would care about it and was able subjectively to manage it. 

Such the deepest metaphysical substrate of the Universe was, thanks the philosophical work of Master Laozi already at the turn of the 6th and 5th centuries BC described as follows:

当代社会需要老子的智慧—关于如何与自然和谐相处

It is surprising, but probably it is not any incidental thing, that also modern world astrophysics and cosmology, based on the real space researching technologies, point recently to similar knowledge! According to their discoveries: “Dark energy is a hypothetical form of energy that pervades all of space and leads to acceleration of its expansion … In the standard cosmological models the dark energy corresponds currently to 73% of the universe … nature of the dark energy is the subject of conjecture. We know that is very homogeneous … [ P.J. E. Peebles and Bharat Ratra (2003): „The cosmological constant and dark energy“ Reviews of Modern Physics 75, 559-606 and  Seven-Year Wilson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WQMAP) Observations: Sky Map, Systematic Errors, and Basic Results“ (PDF), nasa.gov.

  How this confirms what was clear to Laozi already 2,500 years ago (without any aid of telescopes or so extremely expensive experiments as is that one in CERN), is confirmed to be really true about natural being surrounding us.

Conclusion: If the universe of being is going on thanks to its own energy, and that energy (De) is a medium of all universal wisdom, which is the only one organizer of all its immanent activity, we cannot live here as the favorite children of a Protector (God) who can do what they like. In this dialectically dynamic and endlessly cyclic circulation of being which include a perfect wisdom in itself, we are really extremely forced to live in harmony with this yin-yangly changeable environment.  It is such dialectical changeable not only in its material mass but also in its spiritual and social reality and no transcendent Protector can help us or rescue us from a disaster, if we will not take care to keep ourselves in harmony with the surrounding reality of life. Mainly the Western civilization (not only Christian, but also Jewish and Islamic civilization), the worldview of whom grew from a nomadic predilection in making wars of conquests, needs to change its traditional habits and begin to learn how to live in the world in harmony with all surrounding nations. Its war industry is still more and more voracious and insatiable to reinitiate[ The latest highly tragic example of it is their secret conspiracy with the shooting down the

Malaysian civil airplane with about 300 people on board, in the air space of Ukraine to provoke a war conflict with Russia. ] still more cruel wars which would bring a victory for nobody.

Our living space on Earth is like a living body and we are inside it as cells in the human body. To let human body be healthy, all cells in it must perfectly fulfill their individual functions and co-operate together. Thus everyone in the world also is forced to perform his/her life´s tasks in harmony and co-ordination with all surrounding him/her environments. We are the people whose living function is to represent all together Humankind of our Earth, and so to be a compact vivid organism of people on Earth. Laozi in the 12th chapter of Dao De Jing said:

当代社会需要老子的智慧—关于如何与自然和谐相处

And this one ought to be only a productive cooperation of all people in the World as well as their countries as in a common organism in which all is in perfect harmony. 

当代社会需要老子的智慧—关于如何与自然和谐相处

(Marina Carnogurska (Maria Ferancova) PhD.Slovak Academy of Science, Institute of Oriental Studies,Slovak Republic, E. U.)

本文为作者在第三届国际道教论坛上的论文

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