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Lost in the Contradictions of Misunderstanding
on October 3, 2003
Robert Feld is welcome to embrace Unschuld's highly scholarly, hard to read, disjointed text. My primary point is that this is NOT the Nei Jing, it is not the text, it is not readable as such, and it is not a guide for would-be doctors interested in practicing based on Nei Jing. That much should be more clear in the description of the book, but it is not. It should be called "Essays on Nei Jing."
As for feeling buised over a lack of 'modern' solutions, something I never mentioned, or an under-esteemed 'holism'--the main point is that the original holistic theory is obscured behind the great many errors in the Nei Jing.
This is in fact a late stage text, not a nacent one, the assumptions of scholars aside. References to Mawangdui texts as the beginning are themselves fallacious. The origin of the system, and its holism, are deeper, older, and not contradictory like the Nei Jing essays. They reflect a holistic system of knowledge heavily obscured in the late-stage texts we (and all of Chinese history) received.
So, the 'scoffing.' Those who find Unschuld's tone abrasive, and we are many, will use this term to refer to the haughty modern scholarly quality that exudes from the pages; the debunker's knife, if you will. Though modern knowledge advances through dividing and studying the parts, there are other methods of studying nature, and certainly these ideas were not fabricated in a modern-worldview workshop. They were not put together in pieces, and animated by the fuel of superstition, as Unschuld often makes it seem.
I look forward to Unschuld's further works, including the forthcoming full translation of the text, and any ideas he has about the relative age of the various essays. Following a path of 'dividing instead of lumping,' they are not that dear to my heart, just to my mind. But what else are scholars to do? The elephant is not known to those who feel a wall under their hand.