October 8, 2011
I was looking for some material to read while holidaying in Plakia Crete (October 8, 2011, 3 days away from my daughter Anna’s birthday) and came across a book called “The Four Seasons of Greek Philosophy” by an author with the same name as the famous actress, Maureen O’Sullivan. Here are some of my thoughts after reading this book by a humorist:
There is an absolute truth, but it cannot be spoken, because it is “Above Form” (Xing Zhi Shang 形之上). One can come to know it, after years of study, but one cannot speak about it, because as soon as it is spoken, it becomes “Below Form” (Xing Zhi Xia 形之下) and it is not absolute any more.
Other truths are relative truths, relative to the space and time when it is spoken, it is only true to a particular context but it may not be the same when the circumstance changed.
This should not stop us from searching for the Truth, but we must keep in mind what we have found may not be absolute, especially when it can be written down (like I am doing it now), but only relative to the situation and it keeps changing from time to time.
When someone said that he has discovered the truth, keep an open mind and try to figure out the needs hidden behind this truth that he is telling, for there is a “Need” in his particular space and time to come up with this particular version of the truth and that happened with different schools of philosophy in ancient Greece, which deeply influenced the way we think in modern times.
I am telling you this “relative truth” because there is a need in me to figure out what are the differences and similarities between the ancient Greeks and the ancient Chinese, and I have to agree with Maureen in the end – “they are ever changing and yet always the same,” like philosophies all over the world, from ancient to modern time. It is only the preference at a particular time that made the East and the West seem not the same.
“Nothing is either good or bad, but only thinking makes it so” – William Shakespeare.
“Nothing is either good or bad, but only the opposite makes it so” – Howard Choy.