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The Poetic Principle in the World of the I Ching: Mankind’s Long Journey to Reason and Beauty

In this lecture Dr. Quan Le focuses on the I Ching, the first Confucian Classic (of five: Yi Jing, Shu Jing, Shi Jing, Chun Qiu and Zhou Li) which magnificently embodies the poetic principle famously outlined by Shelley, centuries later, in his Defense of Poetry which re-asserted that Poets are the true legislators of the world.

The I Ching is an ancient Chinese divination text and among the oldest of the Chinese classics. It has been a centuries old guide to mankind’s long journey towards a moral reason. It has provided guidance to the worlds of religion, philosophy, literature, and art.

I Ching (Yì jīng) means the “Classic of Change”, the Chinese character for change Yì 易 shows the sun with the rain underneath, a stark image of contrast between the sun and rain symbolising change. The I Ching has existed for over thirty-two centuries in written form and for several centuries prior to that in its oral tradition.

Confucius is considered to be the writer of the ten wings of the I Ching. The ten wings are the philosophical commands on the core text, which consists of four thousand four hundred Chinese characters of Middle Chinese.

The most important dimension of the I Ching is the philosophical, epistemological and political dimensions which is the focus of this lecture.

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