Section 2 : The Nature of Human Life

第二節 人生之性質

  A. The senses of the body: In the human body there are two basic components, as we have noted above, and these are e-tropons and harmonons. These two elemental particles influence each other. Harmonons of course can control e-tropons, but e-tropons can also influence harmonons. Harmonons are “spirit”, and e-tropons are “flesh”. The struggle between harmonons and e-tropons is endless. This is so-called the conflict between spirit and flesh. Within harmonons can be found oxygenic and hydrogenic essence, a certain type of yang e-tropic substance, and a certain special factor (which is termed factor-X). When the force of harmonons suffices to control e-tropons, each constituent element is able to exercise its function, which enables human senses to develop in their normal course. Conversely, when e-tropon force resists and overcomes control by harmonon force, there will occur phenomena of convulsive action that are perverse and contrary to right principles. This is how human life loses its balance.


  As for functions of each constituent element within the harmonon, they are largely as follows:


  1. Hydrogenic essence is an impurity in the human bodily essence, and it controls actions of the spirit.


  2. Oxygenic essence is an element which circulates moisture throughout the body, maintaining the body’s warmth and extending the life of harmonons.


  3. Electropic substance regulates physiological activity and consciousness. It also functions in the sense of sight (the penetration of light) and hearing (auditory penetration). It is a fundamental requirement for life as a human being.


  4. Factort-X possesses spiritual realization and resolve. It guides the three above constituents and directs the operation of nerves. It is the underlying substance among the elements, and the gateway from the mundane to the sacred. It is what Buddhists call Alaya consciousness.


  The above four elements of harmonons, referred to in Taoist terms, are the hun(魂) or “soul”(factor-X), the p’o(魄) or “anima”(e-tropic substance), mei(魅)(hydrogenic essence), and ku(鬼谷) (oxygenic essence). A mei is composed of twelve ku; a p’o is composed of nine mei; a hun is composed of six p’o. Thus their combinative relation can be expressed by the following formula:


  Harmonon = 3X + 6 e-tropic substance + 9H°(hydrogenic essence) +12 O°(oxygenic essence) + heat.
  1 hun = 6 p’o; 1 p’o = 9 mei; 1 mei = 12 ku


  Bear in mind that spirit is one in its essence. When we speak separately of the three hun and six p’o, we refer only to function. The four are as one, and the one transforms into four. Fundamentally it still is the harmonon.


  B. Inquiry into human nature: Mencius (孟子) considered human nature good, but Hsun-tzu (荀子) considered it evil. In truth this is a relationship of harmonons and e-tropons. Harmonons are fundamentally innate and pure, having neither goodness or evil. This is so-called “childlike mind”. As soon as they are joined with e-tropons, they mix with inherited relations of e-tropons (from father’s sperm and mother’s ovum). Thereupon comes permeation by good and evil, and conformity to sensual form. If we characterize them separately, harmonons are light, gentle, soft and fundamentally indestructible by fire or water; e-tropons are heavy, ruthless, hard and destructible by fire or water. Harmonons possess spiritual awareness and initiative while e-tropons are devoid of consciousness and act compulsively. Thus for a harmonon and e-tropons to coexist in the same body is truly an integration of conflicting elements, a harmonizing of contraries. The struggle between them continues unceasingly. Not until the e-tropons are victorious, when they achieve their goal of expelling the harmonons (i.e. death), is there an end.


  In the modern field of abnormal psychology there is the “subconscious”, which is the effect of e-tropic resistance. Regarding this point, in Chapter V, Section 2–“Relation of Bonding and Harmonizing Forces”–there is a detailed discussion. But due to the differences in the constituent elements forming the harmonons (the varying proportions of the four elements), harmonons also differ in their makeup. Therefore the nature of human beings has innate variations. This accounts for the differences in personalities among human beings. Moreover, acquired differences in e-tropon makeup go further to cause all the more differences in individual nature. These are, by and large, as follows:


  Strong harmonons + strong e-tropons: An endowment that is rigid and charismatic
  Strong harmonons + weak e-tropons: Keen and resolute
   Weak harmonons + strong e-tropons: Grasping and coarse
   Weak harmonons + weak e-tropons: Refined and elegant
  {Endowed by physiological heredity(e-tropons) and innate nature (harmonons)}


  C. The crux of self-nature and physical desire: All charged bodies exert a force which attracts others with incomparable speed. The push and pull of feelings and physical desires are a response to attraction by e-tropicity. In the human body there is a distinction between yin and yang e-tropicity. When such e-tropicity is emitted, it becomes an initiator of thoughts and a manifestation of character. That which is emitted from the e-tropic substance in harmonons is yang e-tropicity, representing kindness and compassionate feelings; what is emitted from e-tropons is yin e-tropicity, representing feelings of greed, resentment, and delusion. Love is a feeling that compromises the two. It too is a je-chun. When Christianity takes love as an expression of the highest state of feeling, it is based on this. As for Buddhism, it takes nothing other than yang e-tropicity as its “right mindfulness”.



  Emanations of yang e-tropicity are straight, intuitive and thus most likely to get a direct response. Emanations of yin e-tropicity are indirect and curved. When a human being has evil thoughts, a great degree of vacillation, hesitation or violent mental disturbance will certainly occur. At this time the e-tropic substance in his harmonons will undergo an electrochemical change; the yang e-tropic substance will transform into a yin e-tropon. The emanation from this yin e-tropon will become determination that stems from this evil thought, and action will follow. Therefore if human beings often have evil thoughts, their harmonons will repeatedly go through yin e-tropon transformation, and will become harmonons containing great numbers of yin e-tropons. Evil actions will then become habitual, and though one may wish to suppress them, it will be impossible.


  Thus self-nature and physical desire in humans become respectively goodness or evil. Electropic radiation given off by the harmonon includes qualities of joy, kindness. amiability, true love, benevolence and tolerance. But conversely it also can harbor yuan(怨, opposition) and delusion. All are initiated by characteristics of the various elements contained in the harmonons:


  1. Oxygenic essence is the source of human and animal vitality, and it contains congenial force, rejecting nothing. Thus it has qualities of tolerance and kindliness.


  2. Hydrogenic essence possesses qualities of moistness. All things take joy in the living moistness it brings. Thus, it has qualities of amiability and delight.


  3. Electropic substance is pure, bright and rapid in its motions. In all life force there are signs of it, and its attractive force has considerable duration. Thus, it has qualities of true love and yuan(a reaction to love).


  4. Factor-X has adulterants such as cosmic and corporeal ch’i, and is prone to attachment. Thus it has qualities of delusion.


  Harmonons have in them these qualities which are innately conferred. Thus all qualities of true goodness, beauty, love and uprightness are emitted from within harmonons. But because harmonons will enter anywhere and bond with anything, they can become either good or evil. They can easily be permeated and are prone to be changeable. That is, e-troponic substance holds true love, but also yuan. Yuan, in turn, is of two types, with a distinction of positive and negative. From positive yuan, true love issues forth. From bad yuan comes evil qualities, and these become pride and bloodlust, so that there is no end to the delusiveness. Thus human want is never satisfied, and physical desire surges up without end, while the transmigiration and submersion of harmonons goes on without end. If one can draw ceaselessly on one’s true intention and nature to conquer the bonds of desire, then transcendence of constraint by natural law will come of itself, and transmigration will be avoided.


  Because harmonons are dynamic and good by nature, they are zestful and thriving. An example is the mood of happiness, which is spirited and buoyant. E-tropons, on the other hand, are static and negative by nature, like a dried-up tree which eventually decays. The good is pure in its ch’i and becomes life; the evil is of turbid ch’i and becomes an object. What has life can endure; what lacks life makes no more than a fleeting appearance. Thus spirit extends onward in time, but matter is not sufficient to be passed on. Thus are good and evil distinguished. E-tropons rely on a moment’s attraction of like by like. Their nature is brutal and lustful. They are like evil people who use each other just to get by. They form into groups for a time, but these groups are not sufficient to endure. Like incompetent, small-minded persons, they must eventually shrivel up, decay, fester and fall apart.


  But the nature of e-tropons is static and passive. They are still driven and guided by harmonons. If the harmonons are apt in their guidance, static things must follow them and tend toward the good. Otherwise, if harmonons emanate evil intentions, e-tropons will behave as if attracted by like force and surely proceed into utter depravity. Harmonons are like the superior man, and e-tropons are like the lowly person. The lowly man takes the superior man’s mind to be his own mind. If the superior man moves toward the good, the lowly man will follow and they will walk together. If the superior man is false in his intentions (a hypocrite), the lowly man will curry favor by the vilest acts of servitude.


  Thus the key to handling self-nature and desire lies first of all in turning the harmonons toward truth and goodness. The defining characteristic of human life is this struggle between mind and matter.


  D. Oneness and dual function of mind and matter: Is human life ultimately of the mind, or is it material? This is an ageless enigma. Most religious believers and philosophers of the past have argued from idealism. In recent times, most scientists and materialists have tended toward materialism. In actuality, not only do mind and matter both exist for a fact, they arise mutually and fulfill each other. From the above discussion, we can see that the cosmos is in truth an arena for mind and matter to coexist, unify and find harmony. This is a world in which e-tropons and harmonons are a oneness with dual function. The nature of human life, also, is none other than oneness with dual function of mind and matter.


  E. Self-initiated striving in human life: Therefore the defining nature of human life is in fact closely related to its ultimate end. For those who grasp well the goodness in life, there will be less likelihood of succumbing to e-tropons. The reason is that the harmonon is pure, buoyant and active. As soon as it gets free of its clumsy bodily frame, it can surely fly far and high, unrestrained by the natural laws of attraction and vortical wind (see Part I). Its realm of life will be the heavens, the place of immortals. Conversely, people who do not keep a good grasp of their harmonons will certainly be taken over by compulsive e-tropons. After passing away they will sink into the ground, with no way to travel far. They will be harmonons reduced to obeying random laws; and impermanence will be their fate. In this life they were human; in the next they may be a dog or chicken, perhaps a tree or stone. Such a wretched fate is what the Buddha spoke of as an “endless hell with mountains of knives and trees of swords”. If one does not pursue cultivation while alive, after death there will be no help for it, and all will be summitted to control by nature. Thus we can see that striving to cultivate oneself morally is not only a necessary condition of human life in this world, but furthermore is the one and only path for humans to save their soul and gain eternal life. Thus, the ultimate end of human life is to create oneself and strive within oneself.