Thursday, June 12, 2003

The I Ching and Neils Bohr (易經與玻爾)

The I Ching and Neils Bohr (易經與玻爾)
[通訊技術 ]

Enlightened Scientists

The picture on the left is the coat-of-arms that Niels Bohr, one of the founders of quantum physics, wore on his formal dress when he received his knighthood in 1947. He created the atomic model, consisting of protons and electrons. In the I Ching, the Tai Chi is the all-encompassing totality and, simultaneously, all of its component parts. The Tai Chi is formed by Yin and Yang, much like the model of an atom that consists of the proton (Yang) and the electron (Yin). Bohr's reverence for the principles of the I Ching were apparent in his decision to wear the Tai Chi symbol when advancing into knighthood. He is also known for his creation of the Theory of Complementarity, which states that opposites are complementary, reflecting the mutual dependence theory of Yin and Yang formulated in the I Ching. Bohr stated that the "great truth is a statement whose opposite is also a great truth."

Editor's Comments:

Non-Westerners familiar with how history is taught in the West are acutely aware of a consistent refusal to acknowledge the cultural debt owed to non-Western civilizations. This reluctance lies behind the refusal to acknowledge that moveable type printing was invented by Pi Sheng in 1041, not by Johannes Gutenberg in 1455.

Amadio Arboleda, Professor of Publishing Culture at Josai International University and author of "Medieval China's Rich Print Culture: Harbinger of Gutenberg" comments on this tendency:

"Western scholars have long overlooked or understated the achievements of non-Western societies. This is abundantly true in the case of China. Many of these scholars are aware of the Chinese origins of such things as gunpowder, the stirrup, the iron plow (and row cultivation), the stern rudder, the compass, cast iron, matches, paper, paper money, rockets, guns, the crossbow and the decimal system. They also know that modern Western civilization might not have advanced as far and as fast as it did without knowledge of these and other such innovations. Yet few of these scholars give more than passing references to China's accomplishments and their influence on the West. (emphasis added) Much worse, they give little recognition to the superb intellectual and scientific environment that fostered such achievements... "

Neils Bohr, in a refreshing departure from such unfortunate business as usual, openly acknowledged his source of inspiration and gave credit where credit was due. In doing so Bohr demonstrated both a greatness of intellect and a generosity of spirit.

-- Bevin Chu

Explanation: Enlightened Scientists
Illustration(s): Neils Bohr's Coat of Arms
Author(s): David Lee, Joseph Kim
Affiliation: I Ching
Publication Date: 1992
Original Language: English
Editor: Bevin Chu, Registered Architect

No comments: