By Yuri Pines

This formidable booklet appears into the explanations for the outstanding longevity of the chinese language empire, which lasted for greater than millennia (221 B.C.E. - 1911 C.E.). Yuri Pines identifies the roots of the empire's sturdiness within the actions of thinkers of the Warring States interval (453-221 B.C.E.), who, of their look for options to an ongoing political obstacle, built beliefs, values, and perceptions that may develop into crucial for the longer term imperial polity. In marked contrast to related empires all over the world, the chinese language empire used to be predicted and to a undeniable volume 'preplanned' lengthy sooner than it got here into being. hence, it used to be not just an army and administrative build, but in addition an highbrow one. Pines makes the argument that it was once accurately its ideological attraction that allowed the survival and regeneration of the empire after repeated classes of turmoil. "Envisioning everlasting Empire" offers a panoptic survey of philosophical and social conflicts in Warring States political tradition. by means of analyzing the extant corpus of preimperial literature, together with transmitted texts and manuscripts exposed at archaeological websites, Pines locates the typical rules of competing thinkers that underlie their ideological controversies. This daring method permits him to go beyond the as soon as trendy standpoint of competing 'schools of inspiration' and express that underneath the massive pluralism of Warring States notion one may perhaps determine universal ideological offerings that finally formed conventional chinese language political tradition. the result's a refreshingly novel examine the foundational interval in chinese language highbrow heritage.

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Additional resources for Envisioning Eternal Empire: Chinese Political Thought of the Warring States Era

Example text

Wrongdoings by the Son of Heaven will have negative consequences not just on personal or political level, but first of all on the cosmos itself, generating floods, droughts, epidemics, and the like. The Son of Heaven appears here as a true counterpart of Heaven, able to influence—even if negatively—natural processes. Importantly, in this case it is clear that the Son of Heaven influences the cosmos not due to his sagacity and perspicacity but despite his lack of these features. It is his position alone, not his personal abilities, that makes him sacred and allows him to equal the divine forces.

A person who understands the principles of the Way and implements them in his everyday life is the Sage (sheng ren 聖人). We shall not focus here on these much-studied aspects of the Laozi’s thought, but address instead a crucial question: is the Sage of the Laozi the ruler or not, and if so, what are the possible implications of such an equation for views of rulership? As we have come to expect with the Laozi, the text does not give an unequivocal answer to this question. 36 But important as they are, such passages pale in comparison with what appear to be predominantly ruler-oriented statements that speak about the Sage.

57 The “Ben sheng” chapter is not a political manual, and its major focus is on a sage, who will be able to internalize the cosmos within his body, thereby obtaining longevity. ”58 Here, as in most other texts, it is recognized that the sage and the ruler are not necessarily identical. And yet it is stated almost in passing that the Son of Heaven in the capacity of his position plays a crucial role in the cosmic order. For the authors it evidently does not matter at all whether Ways of Monarchism 43 or not the Son of Heaven is a sage.

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