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易学中的科学观与宗教观——成中英
作者:  来源:  访问次数:3352  更新时间:2013-8-9

 

Chung-ying Cheng, PhD

 Professor of Philosophy

University of Hawaii at Manoa

 
易学中的科学观与宗教观
“Science and Religion in the Yijing"
 
美国 夏威夷大学 哲学资深教授 成中英博士
 
 
中文摘要
 
 
易学是重视科学的,并能促进科学的进步与发展,分析相对论与量子论的提出与应用,无不与易学有关。但对人类精神发展有关的宗教,易学提出了什么样的看法与理论呢?全球化过程中,有关西方各文明之间的宗教信仰冲突,以及有关中西文明之间的宗教信仰的冲突,似乎难以避免, 易学将何以看待与对应,又将如何解说与消解冲突呢?更进一步要探求的是: 易学将如何创造人类社会和谐,促进人类生活福祉,增进人类生命价值呢? 在对易学的深度的理解中,我们必须肯定及认识易学的现代性、世界性以及对世界和平发展的道德责任!
 
 
Full Text
 
Harmony and Conflict between Science and Religion
            In the modern West, there has been conflict and struggle between science and religion since the time of Enlightenment. This conflict and struggle has not ceased {wc} in terms of a belief in God and a belief in no god but in a material world of laws of physics and chemistry. In more concrete terms, this conflict is best evidenced in the debate between the Creation Theory of Humankind and the Evolution Theory of Humankind and their consequent moral and political implications. In a remote but relevant context, the dispute and debate between the pro-abortion argument for choice and anti-abortion argument for life also has this conflict as a background. One can predict that future issues regarding the development of and the application of biomedical knowledge and technology on matters of human birth, human organ growing and transplantation, and death will all, in one way or another, involve such a conflict. This says something about the nature of science and the nature of religion, and it also says something about the nature of persons who confront these two worlds and play an essential and crucial part in either creating such a conflict for resolution or in reformulating the two worlds before the rise of a conflict. {unclear}
            Many people come to believe in science and what science tells them and on these grounds disbelieve in God. This implies that to believe in science and scientific knowledge is to reject any belief incompatible with science. Belief in a traditional personal God is such a belief. The reason why belief in such a God is conceived as incompatible with science is that a theistic explanation of the origin of the world and development of the world may appear to be unsatisfactory in comparison with a non-theistic explanation rendered by science. Besides, what has been attributed to God in traditional religion, via its religious texts or legends, has been proved by science to be improbable or unlikely. Thus, these beliefs about what constitutes God lose relevance and credibility in light of scientific knowledge. It is interesting to see that science has played the role of enlightening matters, whereas religion has tended to generate mythical legends and keep things in the dark so that one has to believe them only on the ground of faith. Faith in a transcendent God or redeemer is motivated by our deep need or feeling for transcendence or salvation, and in this sense faith is independent of knowledge rather than preceding or being dependent on knowledge of science. As Kierkegaard showed, one can have faith in a transcendent God despite aesthetic and moral judgments. One may say the same thing about scientific judgment. But whether we have feeling for such a need and whether our need motivates establishing such a transcending belief is another question.
            One thing seems obvious, knowledge, whether through philosophy or science, does not need to be a handmaid to faith or religion in the sense of presupposing a moral and transcendent belief, as suggested by Thomas Aquinas. Instead, as we shall see, religious faith and scientific knowledge are actually two handmaids serving the two types of vital needs of the human person in a holistic unity: a unity in which the human person has the obligation to reconcile his conflict if any and to bring about harmonization of the two for the development of humanity. In this understanding, {wc} we may even understand how a soteriological need requires the mysticism of constructing a scientifically unacceptable legend. The state of mind in the faithful naturally leads to such a belief in mythical constructions. One sees this in the Passion Play even in modern times in the West, not to mention the medieval past. In fact, for those who have transcendent faith and believe in religion, God and God’s legends are symbols serving the vital, and perhaps necessary, interest and purpose of a person and thus have a radically different meaning than scientific knowledge.
            In this sense, no matter how much scientific knowledge about the world via science we come to possess, we cannot substitute science for religion, for we need religion for a purpose, a purpose that is as genuine as the purpose of developing and believing in the scientific method and scientific knowledge. The key issue is the person: A person needs both science and religion and has to keep the two from conflicting. This means that a person has to have a correct understanding of science and a correct understanding of religion, and has to constantly see them as equally meaningful and yet non-contradictory. One can further maintain them in a creative tension, yet one should not let oneself be consumed and crushed in their possible conflict. Furthermore, an individual must not take the side of one {wc – one is a pronoun for person above} against the other simply because he or she has mixed and confused the two categories of activities and purposes. This is a challenge for the modern person. This challenge becomes more severe as the modern person enters a post-modern age, in which relativity of knowledge requires relativity of faith, and relativity of faith requires relativity of knowledge. Yet, the two must harmonize in an open totality of a network of multilevel or multilateral beliefs rooted either in science or in religion.
            In other words, the two relativities must form a whole in which each is well-placed and well-directed. For this, we need a system, a theory, or a philosophy that would protect and sort out our individual attitudes and beliefs from both sides. We should develop ourselves into being capable of interrelating both on an equitable basis. At the same time, however, we must be capable of providing a meaningful ground for such interrelation. This ground should also allow free adjustment, mutual interaction, creative transformation, and meaningful growth of such beliefs over time without losing their subsisting identity. Of course, we also should provide a criterion to clarify their individual identities and justify their participant co-existence and interrelation so that they can be said to serve equally vital interests and purposes of humanity. At the same time, a person also should provide a way of eliminating overstepping of one over the other, even though it would allow mutual overlapping support of each other. In short, we need the following conditions for a philosophy or a theory to maintain an equitable relation between religion and science and work out their differentiated integration and dynamical equilibrium:
                    1.  Equity of need and purpose
                    2.  Recognition of common source and ground
                    3.  Criterion of elimination of overstepping
                    4.  Criterion of overlapping support
                    5.  Experience and vision of harmony and equilibrium
                    6.     Open interaction and future development
                    7.  Dynamism to advance human life
                    8.  Capability to generate correct judgments of morality
            Now, it is at this point that we may bring in the philosophy of the Yijing, presented in the Yizhuan, as a system that satisfies these requirements for the dynamic co-existence and integration of science and religion. We also shall see how science and religion receive a more revealing identity in this integration. For our argument, we wish to first identify what could be science and religion in the Yijing and see how science and religion are correlated and integrated in a philosophy of a dynamic cosmic reality-process titled “onto-cosmology.”[1]

Logic of Divination and Yijing without Divination

            In the given texts of the Yijing, we see both symbolic forms of gua and divinatory judgments for each gua and each line of the gua. These judgments are generated as a result of hermeneutical interpretation on the occasion of divination. They meet the purpose and need of the person requesting divination. But, these divinatory judgments are possible not just because there is an actual occasion for divination but because the gua form a system representing reality in which they possess a position in the system that represents a present moment, a current situation, or an ongoing process of reality. Here we come to know what is otherwise suggested in the gua structure, and here we come to make a decision of meaning on what we desire to seek in life in light of what we know. In other words, on the divinatory occasion we are confronted with two sides of reality: the objective side as revealed by a gua and a subjective side as understood in need of judgment of value as well as judgment of guidance for action. It is clear that the objective side is tied up with the world as represented by the gua symbols, whereas the subjective side is tied up with what we really need to do or what we wish to do. On the one side, there is the outer world and this is what we can know by reading the naturalistic symbolism of the gua and the system which organizes these gua. On the other side, there is the inner world and this we can come to know by reflecting our needs and values.
            The system of gua developed, first, as a representation of the ordered but fluid or changing nature of reality. Hence, on the level of eight gua there is a naturalistic meaning and reference attached or embodied in the symbols. But we must come to know our own selves in terms of our needs, our anxieties, our values and our ideals. This side may reflect our own limitation and finitude, and, for this reason, may actually reveal what we would come to see: the infinite and the transcendent or the ultimate. We may see this infinite and ultimate as our ultimate concern that deserves our profound reflection, just as we also could see that the objective world can be as infinite in time and space enticing {wc/unc} our infinite exploration. In this sense, the inner world and the outer world could have the same source and origin.
            Now, we may explore a little more the logic of divinatory practice. A genuine believer in divination would consult divination with the Yijing because he or she believes that the gua as produced in a certain procedure (such as the coin method or the milfoil stalks method) will reveal reality as relevant for the purpose or issue the believer has in mind. The person also has to believe that a certain power would effect this presentation in the gua. In fact, the person has to believe that the hidden situation will be revealed in the gua, and that the diviner who does the divination will be able to read the gua correctly, so that he would know what is involved in the situation. Then, on the basis of this knowledge, he would be able to judge what is the right thing to do. This judgment is a practical one because one would know what one really wants and desires and his action will be determined by what he knows in a situation as relevant for the situation.
            There are three major critical questions to ask at this juncture:  first, whether there is any objective basis for the possibility of revelation of objective circumstances in the gua; second, whether we have a reasonable way to read the message from the gua; finally, how does one come to justify one’s desires and wishes? A fourth and related question is if one fails in one’s judgments and wishes, does one still have a ground for believing in what one desires and wishes, and also for determining what action one needs to take.
            For the first question, we can see that the Yijing provides a holistic and holographic system of understanding the universe. The Yijing incorporates sixty-four hexagrams that can be read in light of the arrangement of the eight trigrams. For the trigram, we have to appeal to combinations of single lines of yin and yang. A situation emerges from a congregation of many factors, which in a sense reflects the whole universe insofar as any trigram or even any hexagram can be derived from any other. This may not be directly seen as holographic, but it can be indirectly shown to be holographic for the reason indicated above. We have to recognize that more often than not, the information required is much more than the gua can manifestly provide. Hence, we may even have a reason to claim that the gua information given in a divination may be so opaque that it would be next to impossible to interpret it. Now this leads to the second question: Do we have a means by which we may read any given gua in divination? The answer is that there is no mechanical or scientific formula for such reading, because a human situation is complex, and the gua also is opaque. If there is any reasonable explanation of any approximate reading, it is because the diviner possesses many relevant clues and has a perceptive mind and clear eyes that are able to gather relevant information for the problem-solving and questioning in the divination. The ultimate method one can point to is the comprehensive observation (guan) by which one comes to form the open dynamic system of symbolic reality in the eight trigrams and sixty-four hexagrams. This comprehensive method is so open, information-accumulative, and reflectively creative that it may lead to common sense, reflective equilibrium, and methods of science itself.[2]
            The use of comprehensive observation (guan) can be so powerful that one could actually give up any traditional method of divination and rely on it to understand and know or hypothesize about a given situation. As a matter of fact, this is precisely how the practice of divination has lost its appeal, for human knowledge has increased and the method of science has developed. By the time of sixth-century BCE, Confucius ceased to divine for guidance because he came to understand how a person motivates himself and how a person should motivate himself; also, he came to understand what a good life a human person could have. He even came to develop a philosophy of good government and stipulate how an ideal ruler should behave. As he has described his life, he was dedicated to learning (xue) at fifteen and came to know the mandate of heaven (tianming) at the age of fifty. Prior to fifty, he had achieved an understanding of humanity, which is free from doubt. In other words, he has come to see certain basic principles of human life and came to understand how a human person should comport himself. He had formed a philosophy of the dao (the way) and de (virtues), which gave him guidance in his own life and with which he came to enlighten others, including his disciples and persons he came to contact.
            Once he {wc – who is “he”} knows the tianming, he is able to see how human society and human history function and knows the limitations of personal efforts and life circumstances. But this is not to say that he is consigned to fate. On the contrary, it means that he knows his limits and yet has the freedom to do his best. It is in our action and trying that we come to know our limits. Once we have failed because of our limitations, we should continue to exercise our freedom to explore and to learn so that we may carry out our task to a larger success and leave our experiences as lessons to our posterity.
            By seventy, Confucius says that he can do whatever he wishes to do without transgressing the right. This suggests that before one is able to do so, one may feel constraint of anxiety and worrying about failure or finitude of life in doing the right. At seventy, Confucius came to a stage where he ceased to have such anxiety and, in this sense, he transcended his psychological self in his achievement of a purely moral and spiritual self-understanding and self-identity, which in a sense is the fulfillment of himself as a human person.
            Through all these stages, from forty on, there is neither desire nor any reason for Confucius to consult divination as traditionally conceived. Yet, he loves the Yijing after fifty, and he believes that he can free himself from mistakes from learning the Yijing. What is it that enables him to free himself from mistakes in the Yijing? To answer, I believe that there are several things that impress Confucius. The Yijing provides an open universe that is progressing or moving along principles of creative ordering and creative harmonization. It shows how things can grow and yet may return to their root after exhaustion and thus no extremes can last. It also shows how harmony may result from complementation of opposites and how things evolve creatively from one stage to another. There is no end to a process of creative change, and, similarly, a human must follow the example of heaven and earth in making a creative use of this life for fulfillment of his virtues and moral potentialities. It is with this vision and understanding of the Yi {different from Yijing?} texts that Confucius and his disciples come to write the Yi Commentaries. In the light of this understanding, we see why Confucius studies the Yi without, however, practicing divination. One might even suggest that it is by engaging in a profound understanding of the Yi that Confucius saw the practice of divination as gratuitous and superfluous, even though one can learn from the judgments of divination in the text as historical records rich with moral wisdom.
            Apart from our own understanding of the world by experience and observation and our ability to learn from life, history, and society, there is another consideration that would affect our rational suspicion regarding the efficaciousness of the divination:  namely, how could a gua come to embody the situation we are inquiring into rather than other possible situations? Recall that we could grant that a gua is theoretically capable of microscopically reflecting a macroscopic situation and hence is a holographic part of the whole. The question at hand is how we reach this particular gua that would embody the information of this macroscopic situation? What power or what mechanism could lead to this desirable result? Is it because the diviner’s or the inquisitor’s intention makes a difference? Or, does his participation in the divinatory process makes an effective difference? Or, is there a power that we may invoke and rely on to make this connection? In the ancient practice, it is obvious that it is by appeal to the shengming (divinity in general), or some deity that we trust, that results in the specific revelatory difference we want. Later, it might be believed that it is because we are sincerely hoping or wishing that we be enlightened by divination that the result of the divination will be a reliable one. This is the theory that “sincerity entails effectiveness” (cheng ze ling). This theory still requires the mediation of shengming or a specific deity to make it credible, because, unless proven otherwise, our own desire and will could not cause the change of things simply by our acts of desiring and acts of will.
            We come to the third question on how we keep our moral faith even though we fail in our efforts to achieve our goals. We know that we could fail because things in the world are not necessarily organized in the way we wish them to be. But this does not affect our wishing or hoping or believing, in general, because we know that we can desire and will righteous and just actions, and we are intelligent and rational beings that can see and realize what values are and what constitutes a righteous action. It is with this understanding that Confucius is able to pursue the ideal of the sagely and moral development of a person, a society, and a government. He had faith in the ideal of this sort and knew that there is an objectivity of this ideal truth, which he calls the dao. This dao became his religion, because it became the ultimate value of his life. He also believed in the tianming and even ming (destiny) in the sense of the finitude of the human self, and all these constitute his religion. With this sense of religion, he pursued his learning and made his best efforts to fulfill the dao. Here we see that there is neither contradiction nor conflict between what he believes in values and what he does in his learning. Not only is there is no contradiction and conflict, there is even mutual enhancement, support, and complement between the two. Because of his learning, he comes to know the mandate of heaven and finitude of life.  Because of his faith in tianming, he comes to pursue more learning. His life becomes a central unity and a dynamic center for the meeting of these two activities and two processes of life.

Outer world and Inner world as Two Dimensions of Yijing Onto-Cosmology

            To learn and to observe is what science urges us to do. In the modern age, science has become a methodology of theory formation and theory confirmation, which embodies inductive, deductive, and abductive reasoning. But the spirit of science is no more than seeking understanding of the outer world by way of outward thinking and comprehensive observation. When we combine observation with inward reflection toward the outer world in the interests of finding causes, laws, and establishing effective means of prediction and control, we come to the modern sciences of physics and biology. We even come to develop a high technology of transforming and harnessing energies from nature in convenient ways relative to human needs. On the other hand, to persist in desiring and willing in our pursuit of common good and ultimate values of our own, based on faith in ourselves or in some understanding of reality, we come to have religion. In modern days with the freedom (right) of religion, we come to have different ways of articulating our beliefs that has to do with our efforts and desires toward our values. In this regard, we have our modern religions. Religion becomes a way of living a spiritual life with values and faith. But this modern view of religion is different from traditional, institutionally organized religion in that we need not retain the same form of articulation and the same content of dogma in profession of a religion that the tradition has required. What is required is faith in values and in our efforts to act on values. It does not require imposition or positing of a supernatural God or a God in the other world, even though there is no preempting exclusion of such imposition and positing within an individual human person. Even though we may make such imposition and positing, it does not have to conflict or supersede knowledge and science but it rather behooves us to seek reconciliation or accommodation with science and knowledge. Furthermore, this super power need not be understood in one way as absolute transcendence or as a personalized entity. In this modern context, the traditional meaning of “God” has either become more broadened or more narrowed, just as the traditional notion of science and knowledge has shifted its meaning in this modern context of learning and observation. In essence, religion as a way of living in values and with ultimate commitment to values does not change.

            It is with this understanding of science and religion that we come to the polaristic unity of science and religion in the Yijing. We have seen how Confucius provided a good example of achieving unity and integration of science and religion in this sense. Now, we can explore the Yijing model of polaristic harmonization of science and religion in terms of the onto-cosmology of the yi (creative formation and transformation of all things) {unc} in which the unity of source and origin of all differences of things is introduced as the foundation of differences of all things and thus of science and religion.
            In the Yizhuan, this same source and origin of all differences is identified as the ultimate limit or ultimate ground, called the taiji. This ultimate ground gives rise to a polarity of forces, which further leads to a process of development. This process of development, which covers all things and returns all to the ground of things, is in this sense called the dao.
            It may be suggested that for the outer world we do our observations so that we form a comprehensive understanding of all things in an open system of symbols that would not only be capable of symbolizing all things, but also be able to do so in a dynamic-processual manner. This understanding would, further, be capable of presenting an ongoing networking of things in which interrelation and interaction among things also are presented and represented. As this symbolism is simply composed of dynamic symbols, symbolizing moving and resting, brightening and darkening, firming and softening, the symbols in the system are not just abstract icons, but images that present configurations of reality in a vividly direct way; moreover, they are further capable of representing other things or specific things. They are what Peirce would call direct symbols or “indexic iconic symbols” (IIS), “symbolic indexic icons” (SII) or “symbolic iconic indexes” (SII). How are these systems of IIS or SII possible? The explanation is simply that they are derived from a comprehensive observation of things over a long-range period of time so that we see that things or classes of things fall into order to form natural phenomena based on a system of direct symbols with meanings directly derived from our outer observations.[3] Thus we have the system of eight trigrams. But when we come to interpret those trigramatic symbols based on the yin-yang direct symbols, we may see them stand for our feelings, our values and our ideals. Thus, we come to have them interpreted as standing for desirable and undesirable circumstances, which reflect our values and feelings. That they can be so interpreted and that such an interpretation is desirable is because we genuinely feel and experience hopes and disappointment, joy and sorrow, gratification and frustration. It is our general life experience and experience of this present situation under our observation of a given situation that give rise to the possibility of interpretation. This means we have to recognize the inner world of our mind that both opens to the outer world and projects into the outer world its symbolic meanings. This also means we have to recognize that we have the ability and the need to interpret outer world from an inner world point of view. Both the outer world and the inner world have respective autonomy so that we can see that we can look outward to the world, on the one hand, and look inward to the mind on the other.
            Not only can we discover our needs and feelings, just as we can discover the world outside ourselves, but also we can discover that our needs and feelings can be the basis for evaluating the outward observations for our actions, just as we can discover that the outward observations can be the basis for our evaluations of goals of life. This is how the life values of good fortune (ji) and misfortune (xiong) are generated. But what are good fortune and misfortune? What contributes to life survival, prosperity, development, preservation, and attainment of life-goals are good fortune, whereas those events or situations which counteract these positive values and even induce the negative of the positive are misfortunes. Again, to assess good fortune and misfortune requires understanding the whole context of the specific events or situation and the general needs of life. It is not just to be determined by observing visible outcomes in the short run of events or at the present moment. What is good fortune has to be seen in terms of needs of the person and the goals of life of the person apart from the general good of life. Hence it requires the measure of the feelings of the person engaged in the situation. It is only the person who looks inward, and who has memory and feelings toward the future, who can tell how much he has suffered or how much he has gained. He may not have the full understanding of a situation because he may not see all sides of the situation and does not have experience or insight into the developing forces at work. He may also lack the intelligence or ability to interpret and explain the meaning of the situation because a situation is an indeterminate process involving the open system of interrelated factors of the world to which one may have limited knowledge and understanding. To explain is to bring to light some existing hidden relationships of things and to interpret is to disclose the hidden possibilities or dimensions of reality that bear on the individual person. Both could serve the purpose of enlightening facts of the world, the intentions and motives of oneself and others, thus, shaping an understanding of a person and directing the person toward a proper course of action. It is in this sense we can speak of regret (hui) and small loss (lin).
            From a survey of the all the texts of judgments, we see the following order of valuations of gains and losses:  Ji (good fortune) àli (profit) àwujiu (no error)àbuli (no profit)àhui (regret) àlin (small loss) àli (danger) àxiong (misfortune).  We would not be able to understand this series of valuations and its ordering if we could not look inside and look outside at the same time and judge the situation from an interactive and totalistic point of view.
            Furthermore, if we compare the above series with the arranging of the eight trigrams according to the xiantian (before-heaven) order or according to the houtian (after-heaven) order, we shall immediately see that the ordering of the xiantian guas and the ordering of the houtian guas are, respectively, a matter of rational thinking and a matter of empirical observations in terms of images or forms presenting and representing the natural phenomena of the world:
                    Xiantian Ordering: qianàduiàliàjenàsunàkanàgenàkun
                    Houtian Ordering:  genàjenàsunàliàkunàduiàqianàkan
We can see that the series of valuations has to do with the inward looking reality of the human, whereas the series of images, whether xiantian or houtian, are to do with the outward looking reality of the human. It is the human who has produced these two series of understanding. This, no doubt, conforms to a deep understanding of the ontological-cosmological reality as developed in the Xici.
            Before we move on to this onto-cosmology, we may also see that for the Yijing there are four great values, which are also powers of reality. They are great values from the inward point of view and are powers from the outward point of view. They are yuan (origination), heng (prosperity), li (benefit), and chen (perseverance).[4] They represent where the objective world and the subjective reality become one. It is the merging of the deep need of person and of the deep understanding of the reality meeting at an ultimate originating point of reality, which is creativity itself.
            In this sense, we see the emerging of the concept of taiji as both a world-generating and a value-generating concept. It is in the notion of taiji that religion and science meet together. But whether they can be coordinated in this notion of taiji again depends on our deep observation and deep reflection and their interaction.
            Now, we also can see how this dynamic creative system of oneness toward plurality and plurality toward unity is formed on an onto-cosmological basis. This mutual interaction and mutual influence, and consequent mutual limitation and mutual enhancement, are rooted in our understanding and experience of the human as a unity.
            As we see the need for unity and the possibility of creative interaction between two types of worlds in the unity, we may see that this is a model for understanding onto-cosmology in the Yijing, which we may call “the taiji model of yin-yang polarity in a process of creative emergence, differentiation and unification of individual things.” This model has the following properties:
            1.  Reality, as experienced in change of things, has an everlasting source, which not only provides a unity from which things arise, but also provides a sustaining power of maintenance and support. It further provides creativity for novelty and transformation. But how is it that this single source has to proceed and function on the basis of both alternative and simultaneous polaristic norms called yin and yang? Yin and yang are based on our outer experience and inner experience of the dark and bright, the motion and rest, and the soft and firm. It is based on the dynamic interaction between these two norms that difference and multiplicity arise and at the same time become interrelated in a framework of unity. To say that they are two norms is to say that they provide two ways of understanding and two ideal values, which we may be conscious of and conscientious about in using them as regulative principles. Thus it is said, “The Yi has the taiji, which consequently gives rise to two norms. The two norms give rise to four images. Four images give rise to eight forms (gua). This is a realization and manifestation of the principle of “shengsheng buxi zhi wei yi” (change as ceaseless creativity)[5]
            2.  The two norms are the yin force and yang force. To call yin and yang force is to indicate that they are two ways of realizing the actuality and materiality of things. Perhaps a better word is qi (vital force or vital energy) as understood in the broadest way. Qi is something embodying activity or potentiality. It is both formal and substantial as it is source and medium of motion, rest, structure, and process at the same time. Besides, it is formless toward formed, invisible toward visible, void toward being, indeterminate toward determinate, one toward many. It is also the reverse of these movements. In this understanding, we have the taiji as the central source of qi–processes, and the two norms are two processes which take place at the same time: interacting and complementing each other to produce the life-productivity (or creativity) of the taiji or the dao, which stands for the process and totalistic nature of the qi-reality. Thus we have the statement:  “One yin and one yang is called the dao.”[6]  This alternation of yin and yang forms a process of life production in which the natural extinction of things also forms a part. Apart from the alternation of yin and yang, it also must be pointed out that there is the simultaneous coordination of the qian and kun: qian is the principle of creativity of yang, and kun is the principle of creativity of yin. They act and function in the coordination of the yin and yang forces to form the spatial structure of the world just as alternation of the yin and yang form the temporal process of the world.
            3.  Qian, as the creativity of yang, is firm, strong, visible, and active, whereas kun, as the creativity of yin, is soft, weak, invisible, and inactive. Qian forms the basis for masculinity whereas kun forms the base for femininity. But this is not to say that in concrete matters there is no yin in the masculinity or no yang in the femininity. This point is very important as we could see concrete matters and ideas or processes as a composition of yin and yang, or even as feminine and masculine, or qian and kun. It is said: “The qian controls the great beginning and kun creates concrete things; qian controls by being easy and kun can make things by being simple.”[7] It is postulated in the Xici that in the easiness of qian and in the simplicity of kun all the principles of things in the world obtain and all things become positioned. Hence, the human becomes centrally positioned also with the two principles of easiness of observation and inspection and simplicity of values and beliefs.
            4.  Since the world as a structure-process of qi is based on the dialectical and creative development of the principles of yin-yang and qian-kun, all opposite differences could be regarded as resulting from this development and have the potential to fulfill a relationship of harmonization. Hence, the emergence of the human can be regarded as a result of such development. The two dimensions of knowledge and values, outside and inside, can be regarded also as a further extension of this differentiation between yin and yang, qian and kun. They would have the same internal relationship of opposition and complementation as centered in the heart-mind of the person. But what would be Yang or Qian of reality? As a principle of creativity and as a process of creative development, it has no substance (yi wuti), whereas as a principle of co-creativity and a process of critical reflection and formation of values, it has no location (sheng wufang).
World Knowledge and Value Belief in Unity of Human Mind
            As we come to the human level, we see how our minds work in relation to world- knowledge and value belief. In this sense, our minds form a unitary fountainhead for our world-knowledge and value belief and hence function as the taiji does for the polaristic ends of world-knowledge and value belief. By metaphysical reflection and analogical thinking, there is no reason not to think of mind as an analogue to the onto-cosmological taiji. Besides, in reflective experience of mind by way of inner contemplation and observation starting with Mencius, there is a long tradition of regarding mind or heart-mind (xin) as a potential-virtual universe or cosmos that contains all things; in particular, mind is regarded as the source-ground of knowledge of the world and beliefs in moral values. In this connection, it is clear that the Yijing onto-cosmology of taiji/yin-yang/qian-kun/sheng-sheng/yi-sheng functions not only as a realistic presentation of how ultimate reality functions, but also as a methodology capable of shaping our understanding of our minds. In the Neo-Confucianism of the Song-Ming period, one can easily see how mind or nature is conceived as taiji to provide dynamism and unity to the activities of cognition and feeling, reason, and desire. In doing so, the divergent activities of mind and nature must have a basic unity and also must have potentiality to achieve a dynamic harmonization and creative equilibrium that would lead to new understanding of the world, deeper experience of value, and an ever-refreshing insight into the nature of reality itself as an inexhaustible source-ground of both. In this sense, the onto-cosmology of taiji assumes a significance even greater than our observational understanding of reality and our reflective understanding of mind and nature: it becomes a base for understanding and transforming the descriptive into the regulative, the theoretical into the practical, and the onto-cosmological into the axiological for the person. It further becomes a base for understanding and interpreting any given experience of reality and, in this sense, becomes a hermeneutical principle.[8]
            We may now ask the question: How do we regard our knowledge of the world and our belief in value in light of the yin-yang and qian-kun polarity? We may answer as follows:  Our knowledge of the world illuminates our understanding of the world. In this sense, it is on the bright side, like light, in contrast to the principles (li) of things that are often hidden from our sight. Thus, Zhu Xi suggests that li as devoid of qi constitutes an empty world of pure still potential forms. But knowledge always involves activity of mind and qi and thus can neither be empty nor still. Not only is knowledge, by way of perception, active and illuminative, but also knowledge gained by modern science becomes even more active and pointedly illuminating because of the application of methods of scientific inquiry. As a matter of fact, modern science is a sharp and strong tool for growing and harvesting knowledge in terms of a well-defined program and a pre-conceived target. Besides, there also is the strong will to power and exploitation behind the drive for scientific knowledge since the very beginning of development of science. This also explains why technology is always a fruitful product of science and why modern science requires technology for its development. In all these respects, science must represent the yang-qian aspect of the mind. As such, it may have a tendency to dominate and to dogmatize. It may even pose a scientific danger to life and the world, e.g., we must recognize the problem of ecological pollution as a consequence of science and technology. Now, we also are confronted with ecological imbalance and collapse in our larger environment under which all life species, including the human life, are threatened by extinction. Hence, it is necessary that we take the other polarity, which we title belief in value or religion, seriously and understand its function so that we may protect it.
            Our belief in value is in general hidden from others and even from ourselves, because we may not know its true nature. Here Mencius’s insight is especially precious: in the immediacy of an urgent occasion of life we may come to see and realize our nature of care, shame, need for wisdom, need for power of creativity, and participation in terms of sentiments and reflective perceptions. But if we do not capture our values at those moments, we may lose them and live our life in our insensitivities and our bad faith. Our belief in value also is a nourishing ground for truth and construction because it gives us sustaining and building energy to preserve and persevere. The general goal for our belief in value is stability and equilibrium on the basis of which we can transform the creative momentum of the yang and qian into enduring strength and virtue. In this regard our belief in value remains still but retains a deep power of balance and comprehension. It is further flexible insofar as it can adapt to all particular situations; as a belief in value, it applies itself to things and situations to generate value and transform knowledge into value. For all these reasons we must regard our belief in value as yin and kun oriented or as a matter of yin and kun function. Even though most of the time the yin and kun remain still and submissive, to yang and qian in order to achieve a formation of world, it remains so also for the purpose of balance and equilibrium. It is not a sign of the lack of power. In fact, it is the form of power of stillness and submissiveness that co-exist with the yang and qian that we may call the co-creativity of sustaining and balancing. Besides, there are times when the yang and qian become too dominating and too excessive. When this occurs, the equal co-creative power of yin and kun exercises itself to restore and achieve a new status of balance and equilibrium. This is what is described as “the dragon fights in the field and the blood becomes profoundly yellow” in the upper six line of the kun hexagram.
            Our analysis and description of the nature of knowledge of the world and belief in value make it possible to see them as two sides of the unity of mind of the human. Therefore, it shows how we may achieve a unity and harmony between science and religion if we may come to understand science as our knowledge of the world and understand religion as our belief in value. The philosophy of the Yijing, in terms of its onto-cosmology of taiji and yin-yang, provides a realistic method and theory for uniting science and religion and also for illuminating their inherent natures and the internal relationships between the two. We may indeed quote the Duanzhuan of Qian and Duanzhuan of Kun as illustrations of the respective functions of qian and kun. {uncl purpose}
            In light of this analytical model of the Yijing onto-cosmology, we can see how we may speak of knowledge of the world and belief in value in the classical Yi tradition. First, for knowledge of the world, we see the system of eight trigrams and the system of sixty-four hexagrams as paradigmatic examples of knowledge of the world. Whether based on Luoshu and Hetu, the gua system of images is a result of comprehensive observation of heaven and earth and things and processes therein. This we may call yi-science (yi kexue). Whether yi-science could merge with modern science is another question for the difference between the two is that the yi-science is seen as internally related to something we may call yi-religion, whereas science, in general, is not seen as so related to religion in the conventional sense.
            The so-called yi-religion has to do with belief in the value of the human. It is assumed that a person who comes to know heaven and earth and fulfill his nature is as creative as heaven and earth and, thus, he can open a world of culture and civilization based on a moral vision of common good and comprehensive harmony. Hence, the accomplished creative person (called shengren or xianren ) is able to compose language of truth based on his observation of natural things (xiang) and understand the fortune and misfortune of human actions against the background of his understanding of reality. His belief in value is based on deep and comprehensive observations on the basis of which he comes to understand the reasons for dark and bright. On the basis of contemplating the end and beginning of life, he comes to understand the truth of life and death. On the basis of observing fine energies configuring into things and flowing energies creating changes, he comes to know circumstances of spiritual influence. Furthermore, the sage also comes to understand the dao so that he can apply the dao to assist the people. He is even able to enjoy heaven and know destiny. Because of all this he is without worry and settles himself on his land to devote himself to cultivation of benevolence and love.[9]
            That a person can achieve this understanding of his life and put benevolence into wide practice is evidence of his achieving a fundamental faith in the value of life that enables him to cultivate himself into a culture-hero and a benefactor of humankind: one who enhances and cherishes the civilization of humanity and society. It is in this that the sage has attained the power of creativity like that of heaven and earth. With this power of creativity and virtue of comprehensive love, the sage becomes a great person, who is able to “unite his virtue with that of heaven and earth, to unite his brightness with that of sun and moon, to unite his orderliness with that of four seasons, and to unite his fortune and misfortune with ghosts and spirits”[10] The sage’s faith is such that he believes in the goodness of both cosmic and human creativity and the unity of the two. Furthermore, he recognizes the taiji or heaven (tian) as the source of such goodness. There is no doubt that this belief in value is not a transcendent one but one which is rooted in the nature of things and the nature of man. This belief in the value of nature will correlate with our knowledge of things and will promote knowledge and understanding of the world for the good of human life. Knowledge and understanding of the world would, in turn, never subject humanity to a reduced state or a state of being dominated. This is how the belief in value in the Yi philosophy is called Yi-religion. The internal unity and external enhancement between the Yi-science and Yi-religion provide a model for re-thinking and re-organizing issues of conflict between science and religion in today’s world.
 
 
 


 

Endnotes



[1].  We may elaborate more on how science and religion are related. The interesting fact is that, if we interpret science as believing in an independent material world as the object of scientific investigation, and if we interpret religion as a belief in a personal God existing in this world or existing apart from and transcending this world, these two kinds of belief need not be logically incompatible. They become conflicting if what we understand about science will never lead us to discover God, nor lend any support for the belief in God, or what we believe about religion requires us to reject science and scientific knowledge. On the other hand, it is perfectly possible that what we know about religion belongs to a different category of concern and understanding which by definition and conception goes beyond the scope of scientific discovery. God is not scientifically discovered or logically proved even if God is in this world but exists in manner which would not make it an object or thing like any other object and thing in the world. This is because either there is a material world with a God capable of being scientifically discovered like a thing—and therefore loses the status of being a god—or this world is essentially without a god, and there is no question of scientific discovery. Or there is a God transcending the material world, which exists but which cannot be scientifically discovered. Science as a procedure of discovery of knowledge certainly has not discovered God as traditionally defined or as conceived in a traditional systematic theology. Science as a procedure and method preempts the possibility of such discovery. One may even suggest that it is in the recognition of its boundaries and limits that God can be understood and intuited. This means that God cannot be an object or a thing; he must be something which is not a thing.  This of course does not mean that God must be a person, nor does it mean that God must be outside this world we come to know via science. For God could be a fluid totality of things, a power of inter-linking, a power of creativity in the depth of all things, and a process of creativity, innovation and regeneration. In this sense, God could be experienced and understood even though we could take God as an object in a material world as suggested by our scientific procedure of inquiry. This is also to say that belief in God need not be beyond being inter-subjectively shared and experienced.
                But we must grant that traditionally there is no such a procedure to verify or share God and this is because not only the very notion of God is so thick and opaque, which by its nature defies public and open verification, but also that God by definition cannot be defined by a procedure, as no procedure is proved to be able to yield everything we want from God. In this sense we have no way to generate a discovery of God by scientific methodology. If however we come to say that what we have discovered, say things regarding DNA or things regarding Quarks, are God, we have to ask ourselves what we do have in mind about the meaning of God: We could mean only three things:  (1) DNA and Quarks are evidence of presence of God; (2) DNA and Quarks could be given the meaning of God; (3) DNA and Quarks are God or parts of God.
                 But in the first proposal there are no adequate arguments for saying DNA and Quarks are evidence of the presence of God. This argument amounts to Argument from Design. But such an argument as criticized by David Hume can only lead to the conclusion that God is an Architect, but not necessarily a perfect architect because there are problems of the design. In the second proposal we could interpret God as a system of self-evolving intelligence and self-organizing force, and there then exists no reason why God must be personal as having a will, purpose, or life of his own. In the third case we could speak of God as simply things or any new phenomena as discovered by science, then God simply becomes a term for integrating all concepts of things to which we could not attribute any other properties apart from what science has given to it. Of course we could have a response from a Chan or Zen master by regarding all things as sacred or divine in which we experience awe and deference. But then God would be simply a term designating how we should regard and hold things in awe whether big or small, whether new or old. The divine only reflects our innermost feelings of awe, appreciation, deference and yielding ourselves. In this sense perhaps science and scientific discoveries are a matter of self-discovery of the human self as well as a process of self-emptying to a point that no more can be said and nothing can be claimed or argued about. Not only science, as a procedure of discovery, would lead to God as an objective entity, to justify our belief in God in a scientific way is also subject to the same routine or procedure of repeating ourselves or to a self-discovery of limitation or self-dissolution of accepting what is as what is.
                 The above serves to delineate how science as a procedure of discovery is object-oriented, and how science as a procedure of justification is method-oriented and cannot dissolve its conflict and struggle with God as an object or as something beyond reason. In this conception of science versus religion, religion as belief in God is a belief in super-science with super-science like science being object-oriented and method-oriented. On the other hand, we do not need to consider God or religion of God as object-oriented and procedure-oriented, nor do we need even consider science or super-science as object-oriented and procedure-oriented. When we speak of science without a fixed object and without fixed procedure, we are not to give up the demand for rational coherence, and we are not giving up the demand for empirical justification and verification. We should have a scientific theory that leaves open the nature of the object in deference to future experience, and we leave open the meaning of the scientific proposition in regard or in reference to a holistic system of understanding as demanded by the human person. Similarly we need not identify God as something given without possibility of change and transformation, nor must we specify God in ways that are conventionally determined by the past. We could leave both the concepts “world” and “god” open, which need not to be reduced to each other but which are considered as both needed by our human being as a unified or whole existence. In this sense we may come to see and develop a unity and harmony between science and religion.
[2].  We have to see how W.V. Quine has come to argue for the rise of science from stimulus and observation in his latest work From Stimulus to Science, Harvard University Press, 1998.
[3].  This is what Xici has called “fangyi leiju, wuyi qunfeng,” (Xici Shang 1).
[4].  All the eight trigrams have naturalistic meanings incorporated in their presentations as symbolic, indexic, iconic signs. Hence qian gua presents and represents power of creativity, firmness and motion and brightness, whereas kun gua presents and represents power of receptivity, softness, stillness and darkness. Similarly, li gua presents and represents brightness outside and darkness inside, whereas kan gua presents and represents softness outside and strength inside; sun gua presents and represents strong motion over soft land whereas jen gua presents and represents strong motion underneath and stillness on the surface; and finally ken gua presents and represents strength over still earth whereas dui gua presents and represents softness over solid and powerful ground.
[5].  Ibid. Xici Shang 5 {fix cite}
[6]Xici Shang 5.
[7].    Xici Shang 1.
[8].  One might suggest that the hermeneutics of understanding reality and mind is rooted in our observation and reflection of reality at large and our own minds.
[9].  See Xici Shang 4.
[10]Wenyan of Qian. {need citation}
 
 
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