- Nov 2019
Early China’s cosmology (her theory of the universe as an orderedwhole) shows striking points of difference with Western thought. Forexample, the early Chinese had no creation myth and no creator-lawgiver out of this world, no first cause, not even a Big Bang. As JosephNeedham says, they assumed “a philosophy of organism, an orderedharmony of wills without an ordainer.” This view contrasts with the in-veterate tendency elsewhere in the world to assume a supernatural deity.Westerners looking at China have continually imposed their own pre-conceptions on the Chinese scene, not least because the Chinese, thoughthey generally regarded Heaven as the supreme cosmic power, saw it asimmanent in nature, not as transcendent. Without wading further intothis deep water, let us note simply that Han thought as recorded in classi-cal writings built upon the concept of mankind as part of nature andupon the special relationship between the ruler and his ancestors, con-cepts that were already important in Shang thought over a millenniumearlier.
Fascinating. Such a profound difference in thinking (and the Chinese is much more accurate in base intuiton, i think).
Western thought got trapped in causation, in division, the law of the excluded middle, in agency.
That quote: "a philosophy of organism, an ordered harmony of wills without an ordainer."
No wonder Buddhism found such fertile soil in China.