January 29, 2010 at 3:10 pm (The Li Series)
Tags: Ch'i, Chinese thought, Complexity, Natural world, Neo-Confucianism, Science and spirituality, Self-organization, The li
Waves: the li as patterns in space and time
The Li Series is an integrated set of five posts which introduce the traditional Neo-Confucian concept of “the li” – the organizing principles of Nature – and explain their relevance to today’s world.
I recommend reading them in order, but I’ve given a brief synopsis of each one below, so you can jump to any post that you find particularly interesting.
I hope you find the ideas in the posts as interesting as I do!
Introduces the Neo-Confucian idea of the li and explains how it evolved to mean the “ever-moving, ever-present set of patterns which flow through everything in nature and in all our perceptions of the world including our own consciousness.”
Contrasts the li to our Western concept of the “laws of Nature”, and explores similarities to some scientific views of Nature expressed in the area of complexity science.
Explains how the li relates to the Chinese concept of ch’i (energy/matter), and explores some of the philosophical implications of viewing life in terms of the integrated dynamics of li and ch’i.
Argues that an understanding of the li offers us a kind of metaphysical Rosetta Stone: a conceptual bridge between the material world of science and the immeasurable world of the spirit.
Explores how the Neo-Confucian way of understanding the natural world may offer us a view of humanity’s oneness with Nature that’s increasingly important in light of the current global environmental crisis.