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The Myriad Things: Random Thoughts On Nature In China And The West

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Chapter Summary

In China, nature was appreciated by the aristocracy of the Chinese Middle Ages as well as the literati and officials of Chinese modern times: both of them resided in the countryside. In the West, at the beginning of European modern times, the bourgeois and the representatives of the lower aristocracy enjoyed the natural scenery on the outskirts of the cities. Whereas the Chinese thought was grounded on the ever-productive and self-renewing forces of nature (natura naturans), its Western counterpart was the natural world created by God (natura naturata). From the point of view of mundus creatus, natura naturata is of minor importance in comparison to that which it symbolizes; from the point of view of mundus increatus, there is nothing important except for the germinal form of naturata naturans, which is present in every tiny bit of the myriad things.

Keywords: Chinese Middle Ages; European modern times; natura naturans; natura naturata



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