Nine Discourses

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Nine Discourses of Wisdom


Download the translation of the "Nine Discourses on Wisdom"


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    "The Nine Discourses of Wisdom" is the work where Chu Bangfu lays down the foundation of his various theories explaining how the universe, and us included, work! It seems pretentious, but sorry, that's what it is. And the reason he had to synthesize his views is that he wanted to establish the foundations  for an  Artificial Intelligence system that not only will make the computer understand and communicate with humans as a human, but will even advise them on any matter, and in particular on wisdom itself.

    We will see later why Chu wants to make such artificial program, but for now let us consider that, to achieve this goal, he had to reassess all the parameters governing man and his surroundings. (That's what the AI is supposed to reproduce and or deal with). His book therefore presents his  ideas on human nature, and how the "survival" reflex, the ego, and the search for advantage are its basic mechanisms. He also reviews the way we perceive and  conceive reality, the thinking process and how we direct behavior and establish our values. In regard to traditional Chinese philosophy,  Chu is an orthodox, a follower of  Lao-tzu and of the Classics. It is from this point of view that he analyzes everything. But he also re-interprets it in terms of modern science, with a "Chu spin". 

    In the same time, this analysis takes into account the "surroundings" in which man evolves: his relations with other individuals, with groups, and the environment at large, the universe, to which we are linked from time immemorial. For this he also had to analyze the principles that govern the laws of the Cosmos, and one is quite baffled to read how he challenges the theories of Newton and Einstein to propose a new approach of Physics based on a force of "universal pressure" rather than of "universal attraction". And what is most startling in this new paradigm based on science as well ancient wisdom is that "reality", whether under the form of  matter or spirit or whatever, is all explained as fundamentally united and coming from one unique principle.

    We will not then be surprised that for the author, as for the ancient proponents of traditional Chinese metaphysics, the final purpose of the man's destiny is the return to his origin, which is "defined" in the Tao De Jing Chapter 1, mentioned by Chu in his preface:


"There is something formless yet perfect,

"Existing before Heaven and Earth,

"Abiding alone and unchanging,

"I do not know its name:

I call it the Way,

And if a rightful name is insisted upon,

I would call it the Ultimate. "

(Lao-Tsu, Tao De Jing, extract of chapter 25.)


    The "Nine Discourses of Wisdom" was published 1998. The English translation presently available to download) is considered to be a first attempt only, published on the web just to convey the essentials of the author's deep and complex thought. It will be improved in the coming months while a French translation is prepared.

    Several essays based on the "Nine Discourses of Wisdom" are in preparation for the next coming months. Anyone interested can participate at will. Essays will be posted in a specific page in this section of this website. The essays should cover, among many other possible subjects, the following areas:

1) Why, in a book containing the word "wisdom" in its title, one the background reasons for the author to write it, is to lay down the foundation of a Natural language  program, and the creation of understanding chip? The answer to this question is linked, we think to his views on the next step that Evolution will take on planet Earth, where the role of intelligent, even spiritual computerized machines, might take a leading role in human affairs, maybe replace human dominance. Therefore, it is about time that we understand our nature and what surrounds us, in a much better fashion than we do now; then, summon all our wisdom to improve ourselves and to implant it in those future machines that, because they will not have "ego" --and all its side effects, could be more suited than us to achieve the purpose of Evolution.


2) Definition of the human nature according to the Nine Discourses, compared with other definition and approaches. (includes themes like: evolution to the human species as a result of a chain transformation of energy; formation of the "ego center"; core motivation: survival and getting benefits;  beginning of perception to thinking process.)


3) The "Upper System" of the "Cosmic Principles", i.e.: the Ultimate Reason of things is beyond concepts and eludes description. Can we try to define this notion as far as words permit it? Can we try to surmount the limitations of language by using other means, more visual for example, like symbols? Can the "word" explanation of symbols help to go some how beyond the limits of concepts? Can we reach this "Ultimate" by a "personal" transformation? What then will be the steps to follow? Who has talked about that in a clear way that could be of help? (All the help is required on this one!)


4) Modern Science and traditional sciences: Is it okay to link a scientific approach and a "traditional sciences" approach,  like the Yi Jing, Chinese correlative thinking (Example: Five Agents theory), Yin Yang theory, and other "traditional sciences" from other cultures? Don't these traditional sciences reminds us of some fundamental principles that the division of modern science in highly specialized disciplines focusing on technological applications have made us keep out of the equation for too long?

5) Some scholars specialized in Chinese language have purported that the graphic aspect of Chinese characters makes them a nuisance and an impediment to the development of Chinese Culture and literacy. The author of the Nine Discourses proclaims exactly the opposite, that graphic characters are superior to alphabetical languages in conveying meaning, and even that they are the best instrument to realize Artificial Intelligence in the computer. Some of his reasons are explained in the book. What is it exactly, in the "graphic character", that make them so precious to the author? Do you agree? Why or why not.

Suggestions and critics are more than welcome!

(email the webmaster, or write in the Forum)


Extracts and comments will be posted later.


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