Chinese people never stop to become immortal

 Today, when mentioning that god-seeking history, many people cannot help sneering at it. Indeed, in today’s point of view, their practice was really laughable! Yet, we might as well give a cool and careful analysis:Which should be sneered at, their means, or their purpose to “become immortal”? By becoming “immortal”, we could not only get boundless joy and happiness, but also avoid the tragedy of “dying in action before the final victory”, so that many people might have sufficient time and sufficient conditions to make good. Becoming “immortal” could enable people to get the greatest happiness, and to achieve the greatest success so as to make the greatest contribution. Should the struggle for becoming “immortal” be sneered at? As a matter of fact, they just represented the ancient Chinese’s pioneering spirit, revolutionary spirit and exploring spirit.

 Is that a scientific exploration? Is that a scientific spirit?

 “Science=correctness” has become an ingrained and unbreakable idea for several centuries. However, science also involves failure. In the 606 times, it failed for 605 times, and it succeeded only in the last time. When Edison invented the electric bulb, he failed for more then ten thousand times, and finally he brought brightness to the world. Were the previous failures not scientific explorations? Did they not represent a scientific spirit? In order to realize a great goal, we often need to try for ten times, a hundred times, a thousand times, ten thousand times… and finally we may succeed. The ancients in China never stopped their try to become immortal, and their road was so tortuous: from the three large-scale adventures to the overseas three godly mountains to seek gods from Emperor Wei of State Qin to Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty, to the later deaths of many kings from taking of cinnabar, to the turn to internal practice of alchemy… no one made a great coup in the struggle.

 Nevertheless, although the seeking of immortality failed, in the process of exploration, the external and internal arts of alchemy led to the ancient science. The external art of alchemy combined many branches of science into one, such as chemistry, mineralogy, botany, zoology, medicament, astronomy and so on, becoming the source of the oriental science that was earlier than the Western science (in Europe, until the 16th century, science was still called “natural magic”). It is just because of this, as time went on, many subjects grew out of the science of immortality, such as chemistry, health preserving science and so on.

 Since the ancients failed again and again in their pursuit of immortality, people began to look at “immortality” with a cold and critical eye, feeling it was naive and absurd. However, we might have neglected this point: Haven’t many wishful ideas of the ancients such as the “clairvoyance”, “clairaudient” been already turned into reality by the invincible might of science?

 Mankind has already entered the space age, and landed on the moon. But five hundred years ago, in the Ming Dynasty, there was a man called “Wan Hu”, who bound himself onto 47 crude rockets, wishing to fly to the sky. He was bombed into pieces in a great explosion. The sad finale of “smashing his body to pieces” could not cover up the brilliance of Wan Hu’s dream. Later, astronomers used Wan Hu’s name to name a ring mountain on the moon.

 Many of the god seekers in history also ended up in death. They were also “Wan Hu”, as stirring and tragic as Wan Hu! Maybe in modern people’s eyes, their doing was just like Wan Hu’s binding himself together with 47 crude rockets, being so ridiculous. Many people laughed at Qin Shihuang and Emperor Wu’s god seeking, laughed at Li Bai and Su Shi’s indulgence in immortality, laughed at the alchemy art… However, just in this laughter, they do not know they have neglected what we could learn from the ancients. Laughing or sneering at someone or something may blur people’s vision, affect people’s wise perspective, and lead people away from in-depth thinking:Did the ancients’ pursuit itself contain some wisdom and value? Especially in the present time, did it deserve our revaluation?

 As for Wan Hu’s act, people of those days would never think it was a great exploration, but only when the landing on the moon has become a reality can people revaluate Wan Hu. Likewise, in treating those god-seekers of ancient China, perhaps, only when people have conquered the limitation of Time and realized immortality can they revise their thinking and revaluate their practice.

 Since the tragic end of Wan Hu’s “smashing his body to pieces” has already been changed for the great victory of mankind’s flying into the blue sky and conquest of outer space, how can we not have reason to believe the ancient god-seekers’ sad stories will be converted into the fine reality of everyone becoming a god?

 The ancients’ god-seeking process was a process of mankind’s struggling to conquer the natural limitations and transcend nature, that is, the process of marching from the greatest realm of necessity to the greatest realm of freedom. We should not judge their destination was wrong just because their road was wrong. Although they failed again and again, their ideal was mankind’s greatest ideal;Their hope was mankind’s greatest hope;Their exploration was mankind’s greatest exploration.

 Mankind’s history is one from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom. When we recall history, we could say:The ancient god-seekers were the spearhead in mankind’s struggle to transcend nature, transcend necessity and march from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom. Their exploration was great, and we should cherish the memory of them. They were not foolish, nor lamentable. Today, if we do not realize this great ideal while we can, we will be most foolish and most lamentable.

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