All in all, the purpose of study is application. Being too casual and carefree, one will be lost for words.
Great democracy and freedom is but emancipation of mind – let one think himself.
I. The Great Balance Theory – Philosophy in the Eyes of Common People
Philosophy in the past was mostly doctrines of sages, great men, experts or scholars. More than 2,000 years has passed, and shouldn't we hear what common people, the master of the world, think and talk about. This is to “let one think himself,” a demonstration of the new civilization in the 21st century, and the respect for human rights – more specifically, the right to think. It is also the basic requirement of great democracy, great freedom and great harmony – a new starting point of human civilization.
Past philosophies mostly explained the world. However, the crux is to coordinate the world and guarantee subsistence. Without subsistence, there would be no basis for any and all issues.
For subsistence, man has summarized many tangible and intangible things in the hardships over thousands of years – culture. Philosophy is located at the center of culture. As the diagram shows, culture is the summary of human subsistence, and philosophy is at its core, as philosophy originates in livelihood.
But what is philosophy? Common people think that philosophy is “opinion.”
“Opinion” is the fundamental criterion for and the order of priority on how to behave and how to do things. According to The Great Learning [one of the Four Confucian Classics – tr.], the fundamental and the incidental, the end and the beginning, and the early and the late, are all fundamental opinions on nature, society, man and man himself as man “seeks subsistence.” Western philosophies are Western opinions, while Eastern philosophies are Eastern opinions. Philosophy of each school is the opinion of each school.
In the final analysis, philosophy is “human studies,” studies of wisdom (methods compatible with the times) for human subsistence. However, “human studies” are no more than “man thinks about matter and reason,” and are man’s opinions on the world. As it is after all not a matter of one giving opinions about himself, therefore, it is difficult for him to be sure of, difficult to comprehend thoroughly the "human studies". Besides, even if “one thinks about himself,” one may not express it accurately and thoroughly. And thus, whether the world is truly like what people “think of” should be tested constantly in practice.
The Great Balance Theory is the philosophy in the eyes of common people, which targets at the internal balance of nature, society, man and man himself, mutual balance between them and the balance of the whole. It tries to “clarify the criterion, locate the position, sort out the relationship, and guarantee subsistence.” Subsistence is the purpose while others are methods.
The Great Balance Theory, based on classical Chinese philosophies, guided by dialectics of nature and supported by the achievements in natural sciences, puts emphasis on solving realistic problems, to attain the ultimate goal of man’s health, happiness, equality and freedom. From numerous “balanced and unbalanced” phenomena existing in nature, society, people’s daily life, work and study, it tries to:
Disclose the law that things develop towards balance; explore methods for internal balance of things; enhance people’s capability to know nature and coordinate with it, so as to make a further progress in human civilization.
The fundamental problem of the Great Balance Theory is: Whether there is the absolute in the world? Answers to it can be classified into progressive and conservative ones. “Poverty gives rise to a desire for change” while wealth makes one pursue stability. The goal of common people is to change their destiny.
II. Background to the birth of the Great Balance Theory
1. Times call for balance. In the present world, the old balance has been broken, while the new one is brewing. However, too rapid development of science and technology, excessive expansion of material desires, environmental degradation and gradual degeneration of humanities have a great impact on society, family, individual, even the world, and nature, resulting in aggravated contradictions between man and nature, person and person, and man and himself. Unbalanced ecosystem, unbalanced world, ruthless competition, fragile emotional attachment among family members, and drifting honesty make people impetuous, unable to sleep and eat peacefully, speak and do things insincerely, and they do not know what to do. Such conditions greatly influence people’s ordinary life, work and study, and human subsistence seems unsustainable; and hence comes the demand for a theory for coordination, enlightenment, readjustment and communication.
Over the past 100 years, man witnessed the progress in science and technology and thriving material life, but at the same time experienced ecological degradation and sufferings brought by prosperity. On March 30, 2005 the United Nations issued the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report in eight cities around the world, underscoring that: Humankind has brought tremendous damage to its living environment… At present, more than 800 species have died out, and over 11,000 are on the verge of extinction; 40 percent of the world population is short of water; every year 3,000,000 people die of diseases caused by air pollution…
As recorded in UN documents in 2002: In the past 10 years, man has lost 94 million-ha forests, and it is estimated that 14.6 million-ha forests will disappear from the earth each year. Due to man’s random felling of trees, nearly one quarter of world land has been turned to desert, and 1.1 billion people in over 100 countries have been faced with the menace of desertification.
As estimated by the World Health Organization, environmental degradation has increased the incidence of preventable diseases around the world by 25 percent. In the past 10 years, natural disasters occurred frequently, causing a loss of US$608 billion, equal to the aggregate loss in the previous 40 years. Along with high-speed development are such disturbing phenomena as environmental pollution, soil erosion, Elnino, ozone hole, increasing sea level and global warming, which have accompanied human beings through the 20th century, and now into the 21st century as thorny problems for the new century.
2. Cultural classics embody balance. For example, “When the time comes, evil is rewarded with evil, and good with good.” “Everything embodies Yin-Yang structure in nature.” “The Dao of Heaven reduces whatever is excessive, and supplements whatever is insufficient.” The reaction between Yin and Yang is called Dao. According to Buddhism, whoever does good deeds will eventually attain consummation and become a Buddha; while whoever does evil will fall to the hell… Jesus Christ says, do not be afraid of poverty and thirst; and do not be afraid of abuses and slanders by bad people… as you will be rewarded richly in the Heaven. Mohammed, founder of Islam, once said, “Whoever makes mistakes during his lifetime will be punished after death; whoever is clean this life will be tranquil in the next life.” All these, though of different schools of theories, have the same substance – the doctrine of balance that cause and effect are pertinent. The “harmony” and “balance of Yin and Yang” in The Book of Changes, the “Dao” by Lao Zi, the doctrine of the “mean” of Confucius, the “doctrine of the golden mean” by Aristotle, the “conditioned reflex” by Ivan Pavlov, the Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis, and “Absolute Idea” by George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and the “cross-over point” by Karl Marx, are all different expressions of “balance.”
3. Natural sciences support balance. The “self-tendency” concept of systematology, the “self-purification function” of ecology, the “self-organization” concept in the “Dissipative Structure” by Ilya Prigogine and that of the human body, the Regional Concept of fuzzy mathematics, and the disorderly-orderly model of synergetics, all provide strong support for the Great Balance Theory in the idea of “self-balance tendency.” And the law of conservation of energy, metabolism, photoelectric transformation, electromagnetic transformation, photosynthesis, general and specific theories of relativity, monomolecular, monatomic theory, life science, cell theory, gene theory, anthropic principle, uncertainty principle, and the theory of “cosmic explosion” are all concrete evidences of natural sciences for the Great Balance Theory.
Actually, each subject is a specific professional balance theory.
The Great Balance philosophy thus came into being as demanded by the times. We just recommend it as a new brand in the “supermarket of philosophies,” but will not force it on people. We hope it will make people relax, happy and comfortable.
III. Philosophy is like a pair of “glasses.” With different glasses, just as from different perspectives, people have different opinions. Opinions determine the way of doing things. The “ideology” people talk about is opinions about the world by various political sects and interest groups. Due to different perspective and interests, and the limit of the times, their opinions are more or less biased.
History has proven that Marxism is a great theory. It has brought vitality for ancient Chinese civilization and new thinking synchronizing with the world for the Chinese people, and hence the New China was founded, and then come the reform, prosperity and stability of China today. Furthermore, Marxism has a great influence on the international community. But, however great a theory is, it cannot embody all, and Marxism is not without flaws as limited by the times. This is a normal phenomenon and also out of a scientific attitude. As long as we hold the basic idea and purpose of Marxism to “serve the people,” and put it into practice as much as possible, with Marxists taking the initiative, it is true adherence to Marxism. As for specific methods such as “inheritance and innovation, dependence on science and technology, of great momentum, and criticism on social evils” of Karl Marx, we should: make specific analysis for concrete problems, keep abreast with the times, and act as the occasion demands; and should not use a single solution for all problems without considering the circumstances, or “defend” it too much since going beyond is as wrong as falling short. More noticeably, adherence to Marxism and absorbing cream of other civilizations supplement each other, rather than conflict with each other. All opinions, theories, doctrines and views of groups, schools of theories and political parties, which have been influential and played a role in history, have their unique advantages, and together they make the common wealth for human subsistence.
By now, philosophy has summarized by and large three modes of subsistence in general:
Pragmatism: It puts purpose at the first place, then method. (To seek subsistence by instinct.)
Doctrine of Applicability: It emphasizes both purpose and method. (To seek subsistence by reason.) Gentlemen love wealth, but should get it in a righteous way.
Universal Harmony: It pursues common development, with harmony at the core. (For common subsistence in nature.)
The purpose of the above three is to “subsist.” Usually people choose one of the three according to circumstances. They cannot be differentiated as superior or inferior. In fact, whichever doctrine to choose, it is a good doctrine as long as it helps subsistence, is suitable, appropriate and applicable.
Western and Eastern philosophies have their strong points as well as weaknesses. The Great Balance Theory will try to absorb all strong points while taking into consideration their weaknesses. Everything develops in a circle. It is good today but perhaps no long good tomorrow; it is weak today but perhaps no longer weak tomorrow. The best is the one that helps subsistence, is recognized by people and is chosen for use according to circumstances. The criterion is one that is changing, suitable, appropriate, satisfactory to common people, pursues truth, and develops unceasingly.
I love my teacher, truth, and especially endless development. And thus, the Great Balance Theory and other schools uphold the principle of harmony to “respect and be understanding, learn and borrow experience.”
In the eyes of common people, regardless of school, group, political party or theory, there is only one criterion when judging them. That is, orderly increase or decrease of overall interests. As long as the doctrine meets the criterion, and is satisfactory to common people, it usually is a good doctrine.
IV. Views of the Great Balance Theory
1. Plain in content. It advocates appropriate separation of the “research and popularization” of philosophy, trying to make people feel that philosophy is around us, present in our food, clothing, housing, transport and use.
2. Simple in method. It prompts people to update and grasp the idea of “balance,” and provides simple, efficient and humane methods, making people feel easy to handle and comfortable.
3. Obvious in effect. It tries to promote the relationship between man and nature, society, man and man itself to “supplement each other, oppose yet complement each other, go in a virtuous circle, and grow in an orderly way,” and also the “orderly increase of overall interests.”
The Record of Changes in China also says, “Qian (heaven) can be known through changes, while Kun (earth) is capable through simplicity. Changes can be known through changes, while simplicity comes from changes… Change and simplicity is the principle of the world.” However complex the world is, it is no more than contradiction; however complex the cosmos is, it is no more than Yin and Yang; and however complex the computer is, it is no more than sequence of 0 and 1.
V. Theoretical foundation of the Great Balance Theory – the Theory of Relativity, which holds that everything is not absolute. (Each of the two aspects of contradiction is rooted in each other, relative, and dialectical, and unitary.)
Philosophy itself is a learning about relativity. The Great Balance Theory holds that motion is also relative, though the form of the opposites is different. When people study “motion,” they take “stillness” in people’s “heart” as an object of reference, so “stillness” serves as an opposite of the “motion”. Although such “stillness” is also “moving,” “stillness is rooted in movement,” and the “moving stillness” must “exist” to show its “motion.” Otherwise there will be no “motion.” This “stillness” in a relative way is what people call “metaphysical.” We say it exists, but we cannot see it; we say it does not exist, but it does exits. Without “metaphysics” there will not be physics. However, as ancient men said, “metaphysics” is always changing, “flowing” in six directions.
The “god” in the Theory of the Absolutism is also relative. If there are no “things on earth” opposite to “god,” then nobody knows about “god.” And in reality there are no absolute things. If sons of the poor are always poor, those of the rich are always rich, those of judges are always judges, and nothing changes in the world, then the poor won’t have any hope and would prefer not to live… And the world would not exist.
As ancient men said, Yin cannot exist without Yang, and Yang cannot grow without Yin. One exists, and the opposite shall exist. There is nothing absolute in the world; instead, relative. Forms of the “relative” vary greatly and are always changing, and cannot be generalized. While “balance” can generalize and express them, be the opposite of all things on earth, and “combine into one” with all things, becoming the law of birth, growth, maturity, aging and transformation of all things. Such a unique function of “balance” determines that balance is most qualified to be first principle of the cosmos.
When studying the Great Balance Theory, we must pay attention to: (1) Deepen and update the idea of balance; (2) Balance originates in conflict, with harmony as the major aspect, conflict as the supplementary. (3) We only recommend it, but will not force it upon people.
In summary, the Great Balance Theory is always an open theory. It will continuously absorb man’s wisdom in ancient and present times, revise, improve and supplement itself, and strengthen studies with a clear aim in abreast with the times, and there is no need to discuss which school of religion, theology, philosophy, natural sciences or other school or doctrine it belongs to. The Great Balance Theory will keep in abreast with the times to absorb, integrate, transform, and select from those helping the “orderly increase of overall interest,” and continue the process without bias forever.
Actually, such should have been human philosophy long ago.
The way of thinking determines the way out, opinion determines method, accomplishment determines status, and the spiritual realm determines life. —— Li Jixing