Philosophical musings (Details)



"Follow the appropriateness of the season, consider well the nature and conditions of the soil, then and only then least labor will bring most success. Rely on one's own idea and not on the orders of nature, then every effort will be futile. To enter a pool looking for trees to fell or to seek fish on mountains, one is bound to come back empty handed."
Jia Si Xie, Qi Min Yao Shu (Essential Techniques for the Peasantry), a 6th century Chinese agricultural encyclopedia
(Shih, 1982).

 "All phenomena have their causes.  If one does not know these causes, although one may happen to be right about the facts, it is as if one knew nothing, and in the end one will be bewildered...The fact that water leaves the mountains and runs to the sea is not due to any dislike of the mountains and love for the sea, but it is the effect of height as such...
  All this is so, too, with regard to the endurance or fall of states, and to the goodness or badness of individuals.  For everything there must be a reason.   Therefore the sage does not inquire about endurance or decay, nor about goodness or badness, but about the reasons for them
Lü Shih, Lü Shih Chun Qiu (Master Lü's Spring and Autumn Annals), 239 BC.

 "To know that one does not know - that is high wisdom.  The fault of those who make mistakes is that they think they know when they do not know. In many cases phenomena seem to be of one sort [alike] when they are really of quite different sorts... Lacquer is liquid, water is also liquid, but when you mix the two things together, you get a solid.  Thus if you moisten lacquer it will become dry.  Copper is soft, tin is soft, but if you mix both metals together they will become hard.  If you heat them they will again become liquid; if you heat a hard thing it becomes liquid.  Thus one may see that you cannot deduce the properties of a thing merely by knowing the properties of the classes of its components. "
Lü Shih, Lü Shih Chun Qiu (Master Lü's Spring and Autumn Annals), 239 BC.