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|Other Titles:||Kang Youwei’s Peregrination in the Heavens: An Exposition|
|Issue Date:||2016-06-02 11:48:41 (UTC+8)|
In his final years, Kang Youwei found interest and comfort in what he called “peregrination in the heavens” (tianyou). This seems quite contrast to his earlier stance in seeking to reform China and save mankind. Perhaps having suffered repeated failures he too, as he did, appeared to have lost juvenile befuddlement and with it indifference often associated with aging. He thus entertained the idea of withdrawing from the worldly cares, while roaming his mind in the so-called celestial regions, seeking joy and freedom from transcendental bliss, thereby dispel gloom in twilight of his life. But escapism alone cannot explain his peregrination in the heavens. His fantastic Lectures on the Heavens (Zhutian jiang) to his students bears clearly an element of optimism and confidence. Kang’s inspiration of peregrination in the heavens derives originally from modern astronomy, which he had studied since 1880s. The scientific knowledge and equipments allowed him not only to reject the sacred and superstitious nature of Heaven (tian) cherished by the Chinese tradition but also to obtain a cosmic context, in which the earth appears so tiny that nothing mundane is really mattered. He hence discovered that the small earth was none but the sole paradise in the vast dark universe, deserving to be treasured. In this sense, Kang’s broad intellectual vista was being further expanded in his final years. He wished his fellow men not just to be delivered from their distressed existence through constant but gradual reforms but looked forward to realizing the utopian world of the Great Community and beyound – the appreciation of the universe. Knowing that the secret of the awesome universe could not after all be revealed by astronomy, he at last believed in God. Interestingly, however, he took it for granted that the existence of God could be proven by philosophical arguments.
|Relation:||政治大學歷史學報, 15, 29-38|
The Journal of History
|Appears in Collections:||[政治大學歷史學報 THCI Core ] 期刊論文|
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