Chinese Attitudes Toward Nature, Time, Good and Evil

Topics: Virtue, Good and evil, Confucius Pages: 5 (1614 words) Published: April 27, 2011
Chinese Attitudes toward Nature, Time, Good and Evil

As for the attitude of Chinese people toward nature, it is undisputed that it is marked by a strong feeling of harmony, for example, oneness of nature and man.

According to Dong Zhongshu, who was the most important philosopher of the Western Han, Heaven had its will and purpose. It was Heaven that made the sun, the moon, and the stars move, the four seasons change, and all animals and plants grow and die. Heaven was kindhearted, so it made things produce one another; Heaven was also severe, so it made things overcome one another. Moreover, Heaven created a ruler to rule over the people. This meant that Heaven wanted the people to be ruled. When a ruler did something wrong, Heaven would be angry and would give the ruler warnings by causing strange natural phenomena to happen, such as eclipses, earthquakes, floods and droughts.

This theory——the interaction between Heaven and man——had a clear purpose. On the one hand, it was intended to show that the ruler’s position and power were given to him by Heaven, and should not be questioned; on the other hand, the ruler should be virtuous and benevolent, and govern well, so as not to incur Heaven’s anger. Dong had a well-known saying: “The Way is great because it originates in Heaven. Heaven does not change; nor does the Way. ”

I would like to explain the idea clearly by an example. That is Feng Shui. Feng Shui (also known as "geomancy") is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to use the laws of both Heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography) to help one improve life by receiving positive qi. Maybe many people think it is superstition, but I consider it can reflect the pursuit of harmonious life of Chinese people. There are four purposes in Feng Shui, seeking the harmony of human body; the harmony between people and people; the harmony between people and society; the harmony between people and nature. Let me give a small example about placing a bed. The bed shall be slightly higher than the knee and not near the door. And it shall face to the south and back to the north in order to adjust duxhlt, the aorta and large veins direction of the blood circulatory system, so that people can fall a sleep easily, and have a high quality sleep. The bed can’t facet the west, because the rotation of the earth is from east to west, making the blood rush toward the head, and people can’t sleep soundly. Beam presses which mean air conditioners hang above the pillow, or the lights suspend above the bed, bring about oppression, and cause adverse effect of body and mind. Mirrors can’t face the bed, if not people may be startled easily in midnight, and can’t be peace. It really can express the attitude toward nature, uniting of heaven and humanity.

As for the attitude of Chinese people toward time, three features will be mentioned about. The first is round- type time outlook. In the oriental world, farming is the major way of carrying out material and exchanging goods dominates all the economic life of the whole society.This pastoral civilization treats human and the nature as interrelated and interacted,the world as an integer organically linked. So in oriental society the round-type time outlook is that nature and human is integrate. This kind of time outlook holds the view that time is like a circle and all the things in the world return to its origina1 state after a cycle of time, for example, the alternation of day and night, the come and go of the four seasons,the turning of the twelve months, the increase of the age and the growing of plants. This kind of time view makes the Orientals handle the time at their disposal and do things at ease. For instance, when a teacher has not finished an important point in his class,he can prolong his class. At the Chinese wedding feast, few people will come at the time which is written on the invitation card. Moreover, Chinese use time very casually and intangibly. Chinese prefer to...
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