October 14, 2010

Quotes by Liu Xiaobo (1)

Liu XiaoboLiu Xiaobo is the Nobel Peace Prize winner of 2010 who is currently in jail in mainland China. I don't know much about him but just discovered one of his books "Mist of metaphysics" and it appears very thoughtful to me, also a bit pessimistic.
Below are some quotes from the book (my own English translation):

About metaphysics:
"Metaphysics is a compound of ways of our thinking and existence, an entirety of our behavior and motive."

"All knowledge of mankind is process of questions and answers. The history of thought is the history of questions."

"Whereas everything that man creates is for transcending his own limitation, the limitation of existence itself decides that he could never break the boundary."p6

"Discovery is creativity, common sense is imitation."

Space and Time:
"...the importance of time and space lies in the fact that they are the measurement of our life, the reference for the meaning of life - which work as a leverage for our survive will."

The value of thinkers:
"The value of a thinker is not about what problems he solves, but what kind of problems/questions he presents, because a new question means a new start and new development. Even if he does solve problems, the solutions must be open and provocative, must conceive new problems/questions"

About human wisdom, the separation of human and nature:
"If we ask: why under God's supervise Adam and Eve still stole the forbidden fruit, choosing the misery of knowing instead of the happiness of unknown? Was it really because of the temptation of Snake? I think, this temptation of snake was not the true cause of this action, the true cause was our human nature. And the reason that we created such a story to put the responsibility to others (snake) was because we have fear - we fear we have such kind of instinct. Indeed, giving a outside cause to our human tragedy can more or less alleviate the cruelty of this destiny." p14

About Time - the value also the limitation of life:
"The Buddhist concept of reincarnation is an avoidance of time, a murder of the sense of time. This avoidance of time creates a psychological satisfaction, a triumph over death, but the price is all our current life. Being apathetic to time is being apathetic to life. If all our hardship was caused by our previous life, we should not fight, be completely obedient to whatever come to us. Those whoever lack vitality, would also lack the sense about time. The sense of time is the sense of life... " p22


  1. Very interesting. I'd like to read more about him. I'm curious how people from the East view Buddhism, if they consider it as flawed and obsolete as we Westerners think of our own religions.

  2. thanks np! i am trying to find this book but it looks like it will be hard to find it.
    i totally understand how a westerner found eastern philosophies inspiring. i myself is a fan of taoism and zen buddhism (i cannot find the difference between them). however, i tend to believe that the influence of both are more negative than positive. and of course it is not those great philosophers/thoughts to blame. i always found there are distinct lines in between philosophies and cultural ideologies.

  3. Yun yi, I think this is marvelous, you've done a great job. The history of thought is the history of questions - I shall remember that always. If you don't mind I would like to post your translations on my blog tomorrow. He deserves to be better know, not simply for who he is but waht he has written

  4. thanks ana. feel free to post. yes he deserves to be better know.

  5. This quote - "About human wisdom, the separation of human and nature: . . ." I find particularly insightful. In my religion, this is exactly what we believe - that Adam and Eve did take the fruit, and although the serpent DID offer it, Eve first ate the fruit because she realized that without going through misery, they would never be able to understand the mysteries of God, and that they would not have been able to obey God's other commandment - to multiply and replenish the earth. Adam and Eve were in a state of innocence in the garden, and if they remained they would could not have had children, and would have remained in a state of innocence forever, and in doing so, Eve also realized that by obeying the commandment to not eat the fruit they would be disobeying the commandment to have children. It is one of the most interesting contradictions of Christianity - That mankind was set in a situation from the very beginning where God required them to use their intellect to make a difficult choice between obeying one command and remaining in ignorance and bliss, but without growth, and disobeying another, or to disobey the one commandment where they would then have knowledge, but experience misery and therefore have growth and posterity,so it really was the hunger for knowledge, creation, and personal and intellectual growth that brought Eve to eat the fruit. It really is a very basic part of human nature to be incontent with lack of growth - we are driven to continually learn and grow, to create and build or constantly be looking for something better.

    I always find it interesting that it was the woman who finally realized that this had to be done in order to move on . . . :)

  6. @Anji,
    Yes the myth of Eden certainly is the most intriguing story among all the religions.
    From the "fact" that it was Eve (women) to take fruit first, I personally see a true historical phenomenon that women were put on the first place for this greatest "Sin" of human ever made - that women are even "sinner" than men.