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Ode to the Orange Tree

Timeless Conversation Between Two Aristocratic Men Gu Yuan & Guo Moruo

By Quan Le

This is the occasion for expressing some of my desultory remarks on Chinese culture, history and more generally on epistemology, my core interest.

Epistemology has 3 theoretical branches : theory of knowledge, heuristics/maieutics and hermeneutics.

Epistemology has one practical application at the center of the individual human life and the collective human adventure, meaning the axio-epistemo-political triangle : How to skillfully channel the Timeless structurating Forms of Beauty, Goodness and Truth into Space-Time.

Theory & Praxis are intertwined, needless to say.

Phenomenal Reality manifests because of the Powers of Beauty, Goodness, Truth.
Or in the words by Lyndon Larouche : “Substance is Efficient Cause & Efficient Cause is Substance”.

Poets, also Musicians and Artists, most of the time are the best among us for provoking a Kairos or 势  Shi (pronounced at the fourth tone) in Chinese : a manifestation of Timelessness (Beauty, Goodness, Truth) into Time (ignorance, greed, anger, jealousy, arrogance).

Qu Yuan (339-278 BCE) was a Chinese poet, statesman & philosopher who lived at a pivotal moment of the Chinese civilisation. He wrote a poem famous in the entire Chinese World : “Ode to the Orange Tree” a century before the creation of the  First Chinese Empire.

He was a nobleman of the rich southern Chu Kingdom. He failed to protect his King against the Chu oligarchy of landowners. Three families were especially powerful : the Zhao, the Jing and the Qu. Right, our man (Qu Yuan) was a rebellious member of the Chu plutocracy because he uncannily, for his peers, nurtured the aspiration to work for the Common Good (the Republic).

Qu (屈) is his 氏 (shi pronounced at the fourth tone) meaning his lineage or branch.
Yuan (原) is his given name.
Mi (芈) is his 姓 (xing pronounced at the fourth tone) meaning his ancestral name or family name.

Mi is the family name of the Kings of Chu, that Royal House had three major cadet branches : the Zhao, the Jing, the Qu.

So Qu Yuan was also known as Mi Yuan. Nowadays, Qu Yuan is the dominant form of his name.

Having been informed while in exile of the sack of Ying, Chu’s Capital City in 278 BCE by the troops of Qin (the Qin Kingdom having created the First Chinese Empire in 221 BCE), he committed suicide by drowning himself into the Miluo River. The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates each year this event on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese soli-lunar calendar, honoring thus Qu Yuan. In Chinese, this Festival is called Double Fifth Festival or Duan Wu Jie 端 午 节, also 端 五 节.

His mind having given birth to a map of the epistemological Journey, expressed poetically as “Ode to the Orange Tree”  is the living manifestation of the possibility for any man earnestly striving for true Knowledge (Epistêmê) to reach it here now and living his life on Earth with a Sovereign Mind.

The Body-Mind Reality.

What is Mind ?

The most universal map suggests that Mind has 6 layers called in English :

1-Vitality
2-Intellect
3-Psyche (Inchoate Soul)

4-Soul (Beauty)
5-our inner Cosmos (Goodness)
6- Self (Truth).

1-2-3 is the Animal Mind living in Time.

4-5-6 is the Divine Mind being in Timelessness.

The human fate is a tragic one because of the co-existence of Time and Timelessness in us. If the Divine Timelessness Dimension is not the Charioteer, madness (hubris being the extreme form) or despair from a brutish life are the inevitable results.

In the following Rising Tide Foundation presentation, I will be the intermediary for the dialogue, in the Timeless Dimension, between Qu Yuan and Guo Moruo (1892-1978), also a poet, a statesman, a philosopher & a historian. They were separated by 23 centuries in Space-Time but are still in contact in the Eternal Realm.

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