The rise and decline of Chinese science and technology have been very closely related to that of Yijing. Shung Chung San (Sage) said, ” Chinese history evolved in two phases: the preceding Zhou Dynasty in advancement and the post Zhou Dynasty of decline”.
During the several thousand years prior to the Zhou Dynasty, to meet the challenges of survival struggle, Chinese ancients studied, practiced and developed Yi Academy as their knowledge system to understand the nature and change it and the development of Yi Academy experienced several stages: Fu Xi Yi, Shen Nung Yi, Yellow Emperor Yi, Xia Yi (Lian Shan Yi), Shang Yi (Gui Zang Yi), Zhou Yi and their downstream versions: the Taoism, the Confucianism, the Mohism and other schools. The continuous advancement of Yi Academy brought along the successful development of Chinese science and technology as the world’s leader.
However, since the monopoly of the Confucian school was established over the Chinese academic world in the Han Dynasty, the mainstream of Yijing studies have shifted towards two extremes: on the one extreme, Confucian scholars adapted Yijing theories to a Confucian milieu by interpreting Yijing as “a divination book” flooded with extremely mysterious and abstruse; on the other extreme, skeptic scholars tried to turn Yijing into a “divination book” full of flaws by juggling with words. Because the mainstream had deviated from the Yi approach to seeking truth from facts in this way, the development of Chinese science and technology was slowed down to a long-term standstill.
Fortunately, non-Confucian scholars, particularly the Taoists, and the Confucian astronomers, calendar experts and mathematicians whose academic achievements must be tested by practices, could continue to follow the Yi realistic approach to developing science and technology. Therefore, China was still the leader of the world’s science and technology until the 17th century.
When Chinese Yijing studies and applications were completely separated from the Yi realistic approach, China’ science and technology became fragile and fell behind the west. After the 17th century, with increasing introduction of western culture, science and technology into China, skeptic scholars took the advantage, copied indiscriminately the western theories and promote wholesale Westernization and hence politically were supported by the authority and western powers. They intensified their complete negation of Yijing: from “divination book” to ” Divination dictionary”, “Ancient divination fundamental”, “Religious book based on magic as the bone and superstitions as the flesh and blood”, ” some ancient mummy remains” etc. Even the well-established Yijing applied sciences, such as the Chinese medicine and calendar system of heavenly stems and earthly branches that had successfully passed the tests of thousands of years and became the essence of the Chinese culture, were totally treated as ” feudal superstitions” to be banned. When Yijing was being totally banned, China was in its most dangerous moment and the nation’s existence was in peril, encountering by aggressions and invasions of foreign powers.
The eight thousand-year histories in which Yijing and the Chinese nation have been sharing a common fate has proven that that the two different approaches to studying and applying Yijing can lead to completely contradict consequences. By continuously studying and applying Yijing as the general guide to seek the truth from facts, a primitive clan could grow up into the greatest nation with the world’s leading science and technology. In contrast, once it treated Yijing as a ” divination book”, the greatest nation was doomed to decline. Thus, to revitalize the nation as well as Yijing, it is a must to liquidate the baneful influences of both Confucian and skeptic treating Yijing as a “divination book”.
For individuals, Yijing has been the greatest textbook for cultivating outstanding talents. In fact, it has been screening great historic figures from the masses. All laymen and wicked scholars have always followed their Confucian and skeptic predecessors to mystify or belittle Yijing as a divination book. In contrast, the great historic figures, including both Eastern and Western greater thinkers, have always made epoch-making contribution to the development of science and civilization by re-finding the truth of the Yi Academy.
Following Fu Xi (the founder of the Yi Academy, Mathematics and Calendrical Science, 6000 BC), the representatives of such Eastern greater thinkers took their place through the ages, such as:
- Shen Long, the founder of Agriculture and Herbal Medicine, 5000 B.C.
- Huang Di, the founder of Astronomy, Engineering and Medical Science, and Written Language, 3000 B.C.
- Yao and Shun, great Astronomers, 2300 BC
- Xia Yu, the founder of Hydraulic Engineering and Geography, 2100 BC
- Yi Yin, great Politician and the founder of Cuisine Art, 1500 BC
- King Zhou Wen and Duke Zhou Gongdan, great Philosophers, Politicians and the founder of Social Science, Literature and Art, and Encyclopaedia, 1100 BC
- Guan Zi, great Politician and Philosopher, 700 BC
- Lao Zi, great Philosopher and Biologist, 600 BC
- Kong Zi, great Philosopher and Social Scientist, 500 BC
- Sun Zi, great Strategist, 450 BC
- Mo Zi, great Philosopher, Geometrist and Physicist, 400 BC
- Hui Si, great Physicist and Logician, 350 BC
- Zhuan Zi, great Philosopher and Physiologist, 300 BC
- Zhang Zhongjing, great Physician and the founder of Medical Prescriptions, 160 AD
- Wei Boyang, the founder of Chemistry and Qigong, 170 AD
- Hua Tuo, the founder of Surgical Medicine, 200 AD
- Ge Hong, Great Chemical Pharmacist, 300 AD
- Tao Hongjing, great Herbalist and Pharmacist, 350 AD
- Sun Simiao, great Physician 640 AD
- Shao Yong, great Philosopher and Astronomers, 1000 AD
- Chen Gua, great Physiologist, 1100 AD
- Qin Jiushao, great Mathematician, 1150AD
- Li Shizhen, great Herbalist,1518 AD
The representatives of such Western greater thinkers are:
- Gottfried Wihelm Von Leibniz, the founder of Differentiation and Integration Calculus and Computer Science, 1646-1716 AD
- Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the founder of Modern Philosophy, 1770-1831 AD
- Niels Bohr, the founder of Quantum Theory, 1885-1962
- Albert Einstein, the founder of Modern Physics, 1879 -1955
- Carl Gustav Jung, the founder of Analytic Psychology, 1875-1961
- lya Prigogine, the founder of Modern System Theory, 1917-?
In a sharp contrast to those laymen and wicked scholars who abused Yijing as divination book, all the greater thinkers acquired the wisdom through re-finding the truth of the Yi Academy. Isn’t the lesson drawn from the comparison deep enough for us to work harder so that future generations will not be misled by abusing Yijing as divination book?