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DBZ_Earth's_Special_Forces

The Dragon Ball series, broadly speaking, illustrates the interrelations among the individuals whose actions are dictated by the lust for power. And this desire for power manifests itself in the quest for the Dragon Balls, which are said to grant wishes of anyone who has collected all seven of them. The Dragon Ball series, then, is a process of power struggle narrated from the viewpoint of Son Goku and his journey into the achievement of absolute power. In a sense, everyone fends for himself and everyone collects the Dragon Balls for his own gain. This is why Goku is suspicious of Bruma when they first meet. Bruma reasons well when she decides to keep Goku close to her as her bodyguard, while intending to steal his Dragon Ball. In this way, a seed has been planted for a potential conflict in the future, and an ally has become at the same time an enemy. This scheme is also seen in Dragon Ball Z, where Goku is defeated by Raditz and forms a coalition with his nemesis, Piccolo. It is a beneficial agreement for both of them, for Goku needs Piccolo’s help in order to save his son, Gohan, from Raditz, while Piccolo needs Raditz to be gone in order to defeat Goku with his own hand. In the similar manner, the seed for trouble unfolds itself naturally in both Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, involving those who aim to achieve the absolute power. What is unique to Goku, though, is that he wants power not for his own sake but for someone else. This may seem rather surprising and inaccurate, since all Goku cares for is to be strong simply because he wants to be strong. But if we look at how he fights and how he gets stronger each time, we can see that he is always fighting for someone else. It was his desire to help others for their sake that got him involved with the Red Ribbon Army in Dragon Ball. In the battle against Raditz, he chose to sacrifice himself over defeating his nemesis, Piccolo. The reason why he was able to become a Super Saiyan too was out of anger of Kurilin’s death. This is strikingly different from any other characters when they become stronger, as is most obvious from the battle against Frieza. Frieza’s strength comes from the humiliation he suffers, while Goku’s strength comes from the love for his friends. As we may remember, this is the truth about Goku’s strength as Vegeta also finally recognizes at the very end of the battle against Buu. The Dragon Ball series, then, is not simply an anime about selfish individuals fight against each other, but it is about what a powerful caring individual should do to protect the others when surrounded by the selfish individuals. It is a story of ethics in power politics of everyday life. The Dragon Ball series, through metaphoric means, teaches us how to maintain the good in us when confronted with the evil. In a way, the conclusion is contained in the beginning: once you have learned how to use power for someone else, you have achieved the absolute power that no one can take away from you. Goku may be said to have possessed from the beginning ‘the seed of this enlightenment’, and to that extent, he may have been the strongest of all from the very moment he decided to help Bruma in Mt. Paozu.

*This is just the beginning of what is to come – a project I have always wanted to write. For those of you interested in reading further, you may occasionally come back to check on my earlier post “A Philosophical Interpretation of Dragon Ball Z” for the moment (which is itself incomplete as of yet) to get a better sense of where I am going with this. https://isseicreekphilosophy.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/a-philosophical-interpretation-of-dragon-ball-z/ But eventually, my aim is to a comprehensive treatise on the philosophy of Dragon Ball series, and this is where it starts.

ISIS meme

On January 19th, 2015, two Japanese journalists, Haruna Yukawa (42) and Kenji Goto (47) were taken hostage by ISIS. The extremist group demanded Japanese government to pay 200 million dollars – the same amount of money the Prime Minister Abe promised to give to aid the countries fighting against ISIS when he was visiting the Middle Eastern countries from January 16th to 20th. The demand made by ISIS appears to be a direct response to the Japanese government’s commitment to help the International communities in the fight against terrorism. ISIS demanded the ransom be paid within 72 hours in exchange for the two hostages. As Japan would not and could not succumb to the terrorists’ demand, the deadline passed and one of the hostages, Yukawa, was mercilessly executed by ISIS. This was in many ways an inevitable outcome, despite the ceaseless effort of the Japanese government to locate their whereabouts to rescue them unharmed. ISIS then made a second demand in exchange for the life of Goto, but this time they did not want money but the release of an Iraqi woman, Sajida al-Rishawi, facing a death penalty in Jordan for bombing hotels in the Arab Kingdom, killing dozens of people. Having failed to make the exchange of the hostage with the terrorist, the second hostage, Goto, too was executed shortly after.

I am writing this, however, not to talk about the political underground maneuvers the Japanese government was undertaking, but rather, the Japanese public’s insensitive response to ISIS’s video message to kill the hostages and, what is more difficult to swallow, the uncanny fascination of the foreign media and the foreign public about the said Japanese response. I have heard people commenting on how clever and brave Japanese people are to respond to ISIS with the memes of the ISIS executioner, photo-shopped so he would look ridiculous and absurd, undermining the fear and apparent authority of ISIS, so as to downplay their threat. Anyone who thinks the Japanese did something the International communities failed to do in responding to ISIS, I think, is full of themselves and completely ignorant of the context as well as the socio-cultural background of the contemporary Japanese public’s mindset with regard to the international relations.

“Unfortunately, the fate of those two men has already been sealed,” says one Facebook user in the US, “there is no way that they would ever be freed by ISIS. This meme, while admittedly insensitive to the loved-ones of those two men, is a way of saying that the people of Japan will not fear ISIS and mock their attempts at terrorizing their country.”[1] Yet another user commented, “I actually think this is the most brilliant response to ISIS yet. They feed off of their ability to create memorable, terrifying images that are spread over social media. This kind of undercutting is precisely what’s necessary here.”[2] On the other hand, there are also many Westerners who share the sentiment that these photos ridiculing the execution are simply insensitive and not funny at all. But yet again, those of us who express our disapproval of what the Japanese public did are mercilessly bashed as ‘being ignorant of the Japanese culture’ and hence do not know what we are talking about. Simply because these photos are coming from Japan, this response of Japan becomes so exotic and right. Indeed, a lot of Westerners praise Japanese public for making the memes of ISIS and their executions, and when asked if they are not being insensitive themselves, their response follows more or less the exact same line as this one commenter says with confidence,

“[t]his is a way for Japanese citizens to say ‘fuck you, we will not give in to terrorism’. They’re mocking ISIS, not making light of executions. It’s a cultural difference. You all are just looking for something to be offended about. This is Japanese people trying to turn a terrible situation into a message, and we are Americans judging their response from the outside.”[3]

Whenever people argue in support of these memes, what I find everywhere is the word ‘cultural’ as the support for their claims, as if this word takes care of everything they claim and justifies anything they say. Japan has a different culture, they say. Those who criticize their way of dealing with things are simply idiots who only want to impose the Western viewpoint. We who know that there are various cultures in the world and we who know the plurality of views and accept them are the wise, the smart, the transcendent. But these people do not yet understand that the ethics does not work that way. Stoning of women to death is wrong everywhere in the word regardless of their culture. Rape has in recent years become depicted as a ‘culture’ in the West, but that certain does not make it okay. Overworking the company’s employees should not be excused just because we are talking about Japan, while maintaining that it is completely evil when done in China or in the developing countries. One’s culture does not determine a social ethics – it does not change from region to region, or from time to time. While it is true that some unethical conducts are legally accepted in various regions of the world, either explicitly or implicitly, what used to be ethically commended does not become unethical in our time. Discrimination against women, slavery, or killing of people by Samurai warriors in the past may have been accepted but was never commended except politically. It never was okay to kill with swords any by-passers, for instance. Their killing may have been justified through socio-political code of conduct, but that is NOT the same as saying these conducts were ethically sanctioned. Similarly, the appeal to ‘their culture’ simply misses the point when one is talking about ethics and humanitarian sentiments.

This, however, is not unique to the topic at hand. What is unique about the comments made by the foreign public and media alike about Japanese public is that all these people who argue either for or against this response of Japanese twitters is this: they all assume the Japanese public understands what is at stake in taking any action against ISIS or any foreign affairs. Their arguments are based upon this premise that the Japanese public knows what they are doing – after accepting this premise, both parties argue for or against the response made by the Japanese. Those who say the memes are insensitive do not understand what the Japanese public is thinking by making these memes. Those who say the memes are excellent response attribute a certain intelligence and agency to the Japanese public who created the memes. This is why they praise the Japanese public because they think the Japan made these memes in response to the offense made by ISIS. The reasoning for their support is that Japanese people responded to the fear with the laughter. I thank them for giving us a credit, but I respond to them that they should have done some research into the very Japanese culture they so fondly speak of. Thus, Kirk Spitzer from Time Magazine[4] and Adam Taylor from Washington Post[5] speak accurately when they both reach the conclusion that Japan lacks sympathy for the hostages held by ISIS. By saying, as the aforementioned social media commenter did, that “[t]his is Japanese people trying to turn a terrible situation into a message, and we are Americans judging their response from the outside,” she is also guilty of her own bias that ‘outsiders do not know what the people in other countries do’.[6] In the similar manner, NBC as well as other news media also accepts the false premise in reporting, “Japanese Twitter users are defying their country’s hostage crisis by mocking ISIS.”[7] This should be made obvious when we see how the Japanese public responded the ISIS threat by commenting that Goto and Yukawa are responsible for going to such a dangerous place in the beginning, and that “[n]either Mr. Goto nor Mr. Yukawa went to Syria upon request from the Japanese government,” and “[t]hey needed to know the possible results before going to that region,” concluding adamantly that “[t]hey are responsible.”[8] This is indeed the sentiment the majority of Japanese people unfortunately share.

Indeed, this kind of unsympathetic attitude by the Japanese public for the hostage situation also happened in 2004 when three NGO Japanese members were taken hostage by a militant group in Iraq. Since a lot of foreign media and the public alike are making assertions about the Japanese ‘culture,’ I think a little background about how the Japanese public responded to the hostage situation in the recent past would help them understand the socio-cultural mindset of the Japanese public. If you still think what happened in 2004 was due to the bravery of the Japanese and completely permissible because it is of a different culture from the Western one, you can pat yourself on the shoulder for at least being consistent.

On April 8th, 2004, two freelance activists and one photojournalist were kidnapped by a militant group in Iraq, who sent a video message to the Japanese government, showing the kidnapped with knives held to their throats. The captors demanded that the Japanese government withdraw its troops from their humanitarian mission in Iraq. Although they were released unharmed after a week of captivity through the mediations from the Islamic clerics and the International communities, the released victims were severely judged for their irresponsible behaviors and were unwelcome in Japan. Heavy criticisms followed, blaming their faults for deliberately going to a dangerous place under the slogan, ‘self-responsibility’, jiko-sekinin. When this incident happened in 2004, I was in Japan, teaching at a cram school. As I finish teaching at the cram school, I would usually catch a train home after 11 pm, where a lot of college students as well as salarymen are seen on the train. Only a day or two days after the video was released from the militant group in Iraq, I started to overhear everyone talking about the situation and how the government should respond to the terrorist threat. What I kept hearing from the general public on the train still infuriates me whenever I remember it. Two middle-aged men were talking to each other loudly enough for the others around them could hear them. “It is stupid,” one man started, “that they [the captured] should go to Iraq. It’s completely their fault and they should take their own responsibility [jiko-sekinin].” The other man excitedly responded in agreement and in anger, “why should the Japanese government do anything to save them? They are at fault for putting us in the precarious situation! Young people should think thrice before acting selfishly.” These two men kept complaining about how idiotic the young people are and how they should get killed at that instant so the government would not have to worry about it anymore. In the next few days, I asked around to my friends and acquaintances about the hostage situation, and not a single person responded that the captured individuals were at fault and “although it would be nice if they could be saved, they are causing so much trouble” and it is simply not worth the risk to save them. The conversation always ended with the question, “seriously, why did they even have to go to Iraq? They are so stupid.” It is bad enough that the Japanese public had technically abandoned them while victims’ lives were still at stake, it did not end there. The Japanese media as well as the government also rejoiced in unison that the captured brought this on themselves and they should take jiko-sekinin. Indeed, after the victims were released and rescued back to Japan, then Prime Minister of Japan, Koizumi Junichirou, told the media that “these [the rescued] people should be more considerate of the others,” and should not leave the country. As can be gathered from what the public and the government kept saying, when the three victims returned to Japan, they were severely criticized and literally no one welcomed them back to Japan. Even during the week of this hostage situation, the family members of the captured were constantly harassed, and they received countless number of letters telling them “because of your child, Japan is now in danger,” and “why don’t they just die there in Iraq already?” In fact, the family members received continuous threats and hate mails while their kids were held captive that they had to take shelter under the police protection! “You got what you deserve!” said a sign that greeted them at the airport.[9] Similarly, the Japanese government spokesman, the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda commented on the rescued, “[p]eople who go there say they do so on their own responsibility, but they should think about how much trouble they cause when something like this happens,” expressing the sentiment the majority of Japanese public shared, “I wish they would use a little more common sense.”[10] He further added, “if you go to a dangerous place like that, your loss of life is your responsibility. You have to be prepared for something like that.”[11] According to Adam Taylor from Washington Post, a psychiatrist who treated the rescued hostage told the New York Times that “their stress levels back home in Japan probably were worse than they had been while kidnapped in Iraq.”[12] The tragically inhumane response by the Japanese towards the rescued victims did not end here, however. The Japanese government, in addition to bashing the victims for lacking the common sense, billed their family for the airfare home and other related cost in rescuing them – a sum total of more than $6000 each![13]

As you may see, the Japanese public’s attitude towards the hostage situation in the past was a cold one. Looking at the recent ISIS hostage situation with this social background, I am sure the readers will begin to wonder if what the Japanese public did with the insensitive memes was actually a response to ISIS at all. In fact, it is easier to think that the memes were directed at those Japanese captured rather than at ISIS. Let us now take a look at some Japanese twitter comments, instead of those comments made by English speakers on the Internet. Indeed, the Japanese-language social media have been nothing but unsympathetic toward the hostage situation. “They needed to know the possible results before going to that region, especially now. They are responsible,” says one Twitter, while another reprimands Goto and Yukawa for going to Syria ignoring the government’s warnings.[14] What should jump at you when you see these responses from the Japanese public is that the Japanese public is angry at the victims rather than the captors. ‘Of course this was going to happen,’ the Japanese criticizes, ‘there are some dangerous people out there, and by going to Syria, they were asking for it.’ Notice the similarity of the argument in the North America when women get raped – the North American public would say, ‘of course you get raped wearing clothes like that, it is your fault!’ The Japanese public’s response to ISIS, to me, is nothing different from this kind of argument. It is the victims’ fault. They brought it upon themselves. Shame on them. It is not difficult to see in the society whose mindset is so detached from solidarity that hostages “tend to be hard to raise sympathy amongst people, especially anonymous Internet users, and instead the are forced to become a subject of online mockery.”[15] I hope I have shown that the Japanese public had no interest in responding to ISIS but were only annoyed with the hostages and found the opportunity to mock them on the video clip sent by ISIS. For, as is obvious from the comment made by Goto’s mother, Junko Ishido, the general public in Japan is illiterate in the International political affairs. Holding an hour press conference, Junko repeatedly equated the Islamic people or religion with ISIS itself, and showed no sign of understanding the issue at stake. Rightfully, a Syrian reporter present at the press conference asked her at the end if she was aware that there is a difference between the extremism and the Islamic religion or people, Junko apologetically responded, “I am sorry, but I was not aware that there are any different.”[16] In my private conversation on Facebook with a friend on how insensitive the memes made by the Japanese public were, I pointed out that the Japanese public is not at all concerned about the hostages, nor are they aware of the current affairs. He responded, however, along with other foreign public, “[b]y reducing ISIS’s self- presentations to banal video-game type images the Japanese memes take away their exoticism. The Japanese public doesn’t need to have been literate about Islam for me to make this argument.” This, I think, is missing the point. Because my argument precisely is that the Japanese public is not making an argument at all. Again, they are mocking the hostages and not ISIS. This is what the foreign media and the public alike do not seem to understand. “Although many people are criticizing ‘ISIS Crappy Collage Grand Prix’ as imprudent,” one Japanese Twitter commented, “ISIS, who uploaded a video clip just because they want to kill people, are even more imprudent.”[17] Comments like this are swarming all over in Japanese-language social media. That this is not isolated incident or a misrepresentation of the Japanese sentiment should be clear from what has been written. It is perhaps natural that they do not, for who could possibly think that the Japanese public is mocking the hostages in the situation like this? But again, by assuming that the Japanese would not make fun of their own citizens, and by assuming that people naturally would be upset about their own people being taken hostage, they are once again guilty of, what I may call, enlightened cultural relativism. Cultural relativism condemns those who speak of what is right and wrong solely according to their own cultural standards. So, a cultural relativist would argue that there is no objective standard to rely on to make a judgment about morals or etiquettes of another culture. So a cultural relativist would acknowledge a certain practice such as slurping of noodles as culturally appropriate and passes no judgment on it even though it is seen as inappropriate in his own culture. While it seems to show respect for other cultures, a cultural relativist faces a more difficult problem when the issue at hand is stoning of women to death or mutilation of female genitalia that are culturally still practiced in various parts of the world. Because these are cultural practices, a cultural relativist must accept them as culturally correct and has no authority to interfere with such practice. This is what I meant at the beginning that the appeal to the culture misses the point when we are talking about humanitarian sentiments. But then, there are other, recently emerging groups of intellectuals who claim to have an emic understanding of issues, and thereby argue with authority that some cultural practices are beyond our comprehension yet they must be coherent in their own cultures and hence are correct, while condemning other cultural practices as outright wrong from emic perspective. These groups of people, i.e. enlightened cultural relativists, claim to argue from inside the said cultural framework as if they themselves are positioned in the culture (which is why they can claim an emic perspective), and while acknowledging, as cultural relativists do, different standards in cultures, they exert their own interpretations of the culture as someone who understands the cultural system they are speaking of. In this way, they can argue that mutilation of genitalia is wrong because presumably a lot of people in the said culture too would feel the same way as the enlightened cultural relativists themselves do. Similarly, they can argue that slurping of noodles is acceptable because although as the outsiders of the culture, it is inappropriate but their emic perspective assures them that it is culturally appropriate and reach the conclusion that it must be acceptable. What gives them the authority is their confidence that they have understood the culture inside out. This is why they are enlightened – they believe they understand the cultural relativism and having understood it, they go on to make an argument about cultural practices. The problem, however, is that these people are not anthropologists or ethnologists. They do not literally go into the said culture and live for years to understand the cultural presuppositions and implications. The way they get their ‘emic’ perspectives is through imagining themselves as positioned in the said culture and from there draw an inference. In the case of the Japanese public’s response to ISIS, the group of enlightened cultural relativists once again interpreted the memes, and immediately concluded that the Japanese public must be attacking and mocking ISIS, rather than the hostages. Their emic perspective would tell them that if they had been positioned in the Japanese society and made these memes, they would most certainly be mocking ISIS, hence there must be some coherent meanings even to this apparently insensitive response to ISIS. Now that they are arguing from the Japanese perspective on the situation, they do not imagine themselves as ignorant individuals but attribute to themselves intelligence and agency. Supposing that there is intelligence and “common sense”, they argue, the Japanese people must be making a rational argument. The argument they come up with that the Japanese are responding to the fear with laughter. What an exotic means of responding to a terrorizing organization! This is such a sophisticated argument the Japanese have contrived! Creating the memes, collaging with game characters? This is truly Japanese! ‘This must be it,’ the enlightened cultural relativists would say, ‘this is the Japanese response.’ We have decoded the cultural mystery! Whoever says the otherwise is ignorant and does not care to understand the cultural perspective, for we know what we are talking about.

Sadly, this seems to be the general attitude from the foreign media, as the French radio program also rejoiced in the sentiment, “En ce sens, les Japanais aussi sont Charlie.”[18] While the dialogue of the enlightened cultural relativists walked on its own, the Japanese public cared not at all about whatever the foreign media was reporting. Many Japanese Twitters in fact commented and wondered why the foreign media are praising the Japanese for the memes, which come from the website equivalent of Reddit in the North America. This is why no Japanese media are taking up on the issue, and why in fact, the Japanese commentators and analysts are criticizing, as I am, the level of insensitivity displayed by the Japanese public.[19] It is only the foreign media like France Inter in France, Global Mail in UK and NBC News in America that seem to interpret the absence of intent in Japanese public’s mind as the meaningful, well-contrived strategy against the terrorist organizations.

[1] http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/japanese-social-media-users-are-protesting-isis-with-memes#.fsY162xmJ, accessed on February 12th, 2015. See the comment by Jeannie Cerda.

[2] A conversation had on my Facebook. Accessed January 24th, 2015.

[3] http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/japanese-social-media-users-are-protesting-isis-with-memes#.lq9jXMN0r, accessed on February 12th, 2015. Italics mine. See the comment by Sarah Stuchbery.

[4] http://time.com/3680492/japan-isis-hostages/ accessed February 15th, 2015.

[5] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/01/20/japan-and-hostages-a-nagging-feeling-that-its-their-fault/ accessed February 15th, 2015.

[6] http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/japanese-social-media-users-are-protesting-isis-with-memes#.morm0rG8D, accessed February 15th, 2015. See the comment by Sarah Stuchbery.

[7] http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/japanese-twitter-users-mock-isis-internet-meme-n291591, accessed February 15th, 2015.

[8] http://time.com/3680492/japan-isis-hostages/ accessed February 15th, 2015.

[9] Adam Taylor, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/01/20/japan-and-hostages-a-nagging-feeling-that-its-their-fault/, accessed on February 15th, 2015.

[10] Ibid.

[11] NBCnews. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4843265/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/t/freed-japanese-hostages-billed/#.VOKDPznvzdQ, accessed on February 16th, 2015.

[12] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/01/20/japan-and-hostages-a-nagging-feeling-that-its-their-fault/, accessed on February 15th, 2015.

[13] http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4843265/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/t/freed-japanese-hostages-billed/#.VOKDPznvzdQ, accessed on February 16th, 2015.

[14] Kirk Spitzer, “Why Japan Lacks Sympathy for the Hostages Held by ISIS” in http://time.com/3680492/japan-isis-hostages/, accessed on February 15th.

[15] http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/isis-crappy-collage-grand-prix, accessed on February 15th, 2015.

[16] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XECVIcKp0Fs

[17] France Inter, http://www.franceinter.fr/blog-net-plus-ultra-photoshop-contre-les-djihadistes, accessed on February 16th, 2015.

[18] France Inter, http://www.franceinter.fr/blog-net-plus-ultra-photoshop-contre-les-djihadistes, accessed on February 16th, 2015. “In this point, the Japanese are also Charlie,” referring to the recent Charlie Hebdo attack in France.

[19] http://matome.naver.jp/odai/2142303045830159601, accessed on February 16th, 2015.

鬼            Having spoken of the scientific attitude in pre-modern Japan through the eyes of Ninja, who supposedly possessed supra human knowledge of the human behavior and natural medicine, it is now time to delve further into the Buddhist conception of how the world operated. In the first part of my research, I discussed the ways in which a particular group of war specialists in Japan developed their own system of scientific knowledge, prior to the Western contact, and thus making it distinctly Japanese. This group of war specialists, Ninja, studied extensively on human behavior and psychology but my studies have shown that they had poor understanding of medicine and lacked the interest as well as the philosophical rigor in discovering the causes of illness, which in turn led them to essentially rely on nothing but the placebo effect in curing sickness. Hence, in this second part of my research into the history and philosophy of science and medicine in pre-modern Japan, I will look at the broader perspective on medical theory and attitudes towards illness amongst the monastic doctors as well as the commoners prior to the importation of the Western science. In particular, my interest is in the etiology of various types of sickness and how people in Japan dealt with the symptoms. It is of course not possible to speak of purely Japanese practice, since Chinese influence is everywhere seen. However, my study will show that Japanese Buddhist philosophy nevertheless developed distinct features unique to Japan, perhaps as a result of the synthesis of the Buddhism with the Japanese native religion of Shintoism. It is in this context that I will be discussing about the medical philosophy proper to Japan, which must have existed in order to account for sickness and beliefs unique to the culture that were not found in the continent. In this article, I will focus on the supernatural yet real causes of illness according to the Shinto-Buddhist philosophy. In pre-modern period Japan, the causes of illness were explained in terms of Traditional Chinese medical philosophy, Taoism, and Buddhist medical theory. For example, Chigi智顗(538-597), the founder of Tien T’ai school and the author of Makashikan, a widely studied book exploring etiology, asserted that there were six major causes of illness. They are 1) the imbalance of four elements, 2) excessive eating and drinking, 3) lifestyle related diseases, 4) daimon, 5) evil spirits, and 6) deeds in the previous life.[1] Of these, the first three are natural causes and thereby can be treated with the medical knowledge. On the other hand, the latter three are supernatural causes and cannot be treated except spiritually, i.e. one must follow the path of the Buddha. I will focus in particular on the daimon and evil spirits in the field of medical thought in pre-modern Japan, and unveil the familiar concepts of Oni and Yokai in light of medical context in the history of Japan, analyzing the ways in which these supernatural forces came into the medical philosophy in the Japanese monastic medicine. This paper will be divided into three parts, preceded by a brief preliminary remark. First, I will examine what Oni, Yokai and evil spirits are, what their attributes include and what they have to do with the causes of illness. This part will be a socio-historical exposition, and as such, I will mention several prominent figures in the history of Yokai monsters and discuss about the stories told of them. These figures include: Kappa, Zashiki Warashi, Tsukumo-gami, Tenjo-Name, Uji no Hashihime, Shuten-Doji, Onryou as Evil Spirits. I will begin with laying out the socio-cultural belief that the different demons were said to cause different illnesses, and each illness was attributed to a task-oriented deity or a spirit. The second part is a philosophical exposition, in which a detailed analysis on the Buddhist doctrines that were introduced to Japan during the Heian Period in the beginning of the 9th century are examined, which set the stage for the intellectuals of the time to explain these phenomena in terms of the Buddhist doctrines of Consciousnesses, which later became interfused with the native Shinto beliefs and Chinese Ying-Yang theory of medicine, creating Japan’s own philosophical system called Onmyoudo. However, Onmyoudo is more concerned with the natural science as in concoction of medicine or regulae for the dietary recommendations. Since my aim in this paper is to explain the supernatural aspect of the causation of illnesses, I will postpone the analysis of the Onmyoudo as the philosophical system, and I shall only focus on the Buddhist philosophy of Consciousnesses. In the last part of this paper, having reflected upon the socio-cultural beliefs about the causes of illness and having examined the philosophical framework of the time, I will offer an interpretation of the causes of illness, as synthesized version of the two, and conclude that what has usually been considered as distinct fields of study, i.e. socio-anthropology of evil spirits and the philosophy of Buddhism, are in fact deeply related to one another and the ontology of Yokai and evil spirits cannot be fully explained without having an recourse to the fundamental system of Buddhist philosophy. For it has been written and explained that the demons and evil spirits were thought of as causes of illness in Japanese literature, and everyone in Japan knows that demons and evil spirits would bring misfortunes and sickness, but it appears that no one actually has talked about this in light of philosophical reflections but only as a historical fact. People have taken for granted that these demons and evil spirits existed and then discussed about what they would and could do. But upon reflecting on the contemporary philosophy, it seems the beliefs in the demons and particular monsters are rooted in the conception of consciousness as the cosmic force in the Buddhist literature. Furthermore, such demonstration of Yokai phenomena and Buddhist philosophy as a unified framework that constitutes a holistic intellectual system would show how Japanese medical philosophy did not show any interests in the qualitative-quantitative dichotomous way of conceiving the medicine and nature as in the West, and hence no such thing as a ‘scientific revolution’ (dissatisfaction with the way things were explained) came into the scene.   Preliminary Remarks: Defining the Yokai monsters800px-Hyakki_Yako   According to the most widely read medical treatise written by Chigi, Makashikan, of the late 6th century, some of the main causes of illness include demons and evil spirits as well as the deeds done in the past life. In Japan, demons as well as evil spirits are said to belong to the larger category of what is called Yokai. Yokai is written with the kanji characters that mean attractive, bewitching, suspicious 妖and 怪mysterious, creepy. It may be translated as monsters, demons or sometimes as goblins or evil spirits. In this way, Yokai may be said to include all of these supernatural entities, though as we will see, some have acquired distinct attributes and popularity that they may be better expressed as Oni, Onryou or simply as evil spirits in general. These entities are said to enter from outside into the body from the five sense and torment people either physically or spiritually.[2] One medical treatise of the time lists the causes of illness as due to the deeds done in the previous life, blasphemy against Buddha, gods of pestilence or fierce gods and departed souls as well as spirits of fox and Yokai monsters.[3] And this same treatise recommends recitation of sutras and exorcism as well as performing an Onmyo ceremonial rituals. In particular, chanting and reciting sutra were said to have the definitive effect in curing illness, so much so that the 13th century monk, Mujuu 無住 (1227-1312), spoke that “even if you make a mistake reciting the sutra, as long as you believe in it, it has the power to cure even malaria,” suggesting that the placebo effect is a large factor in treatment.[4] Hence, the same monk argued that “it is better to transcribe sutras and read them, hence accumulating good deeds, than to pay money to doctors who do not know anything about medicine. In fact, those quack doctors would not only be able to cure the illness but also make it worse.”[5] Furthermore, yet another treatise specifically refers to the 15 types of demons that are task oriented and how each of them spreads particular illness and makes children sick.[6] Seeing in this light, Yokai may be said to be beings that possess supranatural powers and cause phenomena or experiences in us that are inexplicable according to the modern science. These phenomena or experiences not only refer to the spirits that cause illness and misfortunes but also came to refer to the experiences of simply having seen an animals that talk, encountered with aliens or been in a haunted house. These so-called Yokai phenomena are oftentimes dismissed in our modern society as being unscientific or superstitions, i.e. that which is contrary to the scientific thinking. But by the scientific reasoning is simply meant that a particular experience or an instance of phenomenon to be quantified and measured, and yields the same outcome upon repeated experiments. If regularity and quantifiable phenomenon are what is lacking in classifying Yokai as a scientific phenomenon, then Yokai are not scientific phenomena. But that does not mean Yokai beliefs are at the same time unreasonable or irrational. Just as many of us believe in ghosts or in karmic forces, these beliefs do nevertheless affect us and shape our understanding of the world as a cosmic entity. Further, the fact that these beliefs are held by rational people suggests that there is a rational explanation for why they believe in what they do. Just as people who believed in the existence of witches and feared them as imminent danger in Europe not too long ago in history for which there is a rational explanation, there must have been a similar mindset or a framework that allowed people to believe in the existence of Yokai monsters as well as ghosts and demons in the past. Just because we cannot explain them with our science, it does not mean that the people living in a different place and time did not know what they were doing. It is my aim in this essay to shed light on the philosophical framework and sociological mindset of the period in history that we seem to dismiss as irrational and nonsensical, and explain that what seems unreal or unscientific to us does indeed have a sophisticated theoretical justification that warranted them rationality for their belief.

Part I: Yokai, Oni and Evil Spirits

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  As has been mentioned, I will first introduce some Yokai monsters and what they are said to do. There are a countless number of Yokai monsters in the history of Japanese folklore, and it is neither possible nor necessary to discuss all of them for the purpose of this essay. I will here pick some of the major and minor Yokai monsters for analysis rather arbitrarily; namely, Kappa, Zashiki-Warashi, Tsukumo-gami, Tenjo-Name, and Rokuro-Kubi. In the Koshinto belief (the Ancient Way of the Gods), the souls were found in everything. Resulting from this animistic worldview was the belief that things either animate or inanimate, after having been used or lived for a long time, would become holy and be elevated to the status of the gods. These old things that become gods are then called “Tsukumogami” and they may bring you fortune or cause you harm, depending on how you have treated them. As it will be seen, gods in Shintoism are rather like deified spirits in that while they can be worshipped as guardian gods, they can be feared as ill-disposed gods as well. This appears to be the general trend in describing Yokai monsters, i.e. as those gods that have been neglected and forgotten, causing misfortunes to people so people would notice their presence once again so that they can worship them. This is why the Yokai scholar, Kazuhiko Komatsu, describes Yokai as the deities that are not worshipped and gods as the deities that are worshipped.[7] Some examples of these Tsukumogami may include the one-eyed one-footed umbrella and the human shaped cat. The former is said to sneak up on humans and lick them with its large oily tongue,[8] while the latter is more pernicious in that it feeds on humans.[9] Yet another Yokai, Zashiki-Warashi has an appearance of human child, usually aged from 3 to 15. It can take either gender, and when it is a boy it wears a black traditional kimono, and when it is a girl it wears a red padded sleeves kimono jacket. They are heard playing in the tatami room or in the hallway by themselves usually during the nighttime, and when you go to the room where the child’s voice is coming from, you find nothing but the toys and footprints. In recent years, there have been reports that an employee in a building, when working until late at night, heard children’s voices and footsteps from upstairs, and when she went up to see who were there, she only found old toys on the floor and no one else in the building. This Yokai, however, is said to bring fortune to the household in which it resides, and when Zashiki-Warashi leaves the house, the house becomes poor. SekienTenjonameToriyama Sekien, the ukiyo-e artist, in the 18th century depicted yet another Yokai that lives in an old house and leaves stains on the ceiling. This Yokai, Tenjo-Name, appears when there is no one in the room and licks the ceiling to leave marks and disappears.[10] One cannot help but wondering what it wants to do. But probably, some of the most popular Yokai in the popular folklore are Rokuro-Kubi and Kappa. Rokuro-Kubi is usually a female, whose neck stretches or comes off completely to attack people at night and suck their blood. It often comes off completely when she is asleep, and if the body is moved to elsewhere while the head is detached, the head cannot find its way back to the body and goes missing.[11] Kappa too is a Yokai that has a weakness. Kappa is often translated into English as a water imp. It is shaped like a human child and sometimes depicted with scales on its body. Its body is greenish and has a plate on its head. The plate is always wet with water and if it should dry out or gets broken, Kappa loses its power or dies. It has a small beak, a shell, and its hands are web-like. Its arms are connected in the body, and if you pull out one, the other one comes with it. It likes cucumbers and sumo wrestling. This is why we call sushi rolls with cucumbers, “Kappa-maki”. Kappa is usually said to take kids into the water and drown them. [12] So parents in Japan would often tell their kids not to go near the water.Kappa_water_imp_1836 When looking at these Yokai figures, one would immediately see that there are no universally shared characteristics in what they do. Not only is their ontological status ambiguous but also their social functions are obscure at best. Where do they come from? Do they generate from species to species? They must, if these witness accounts across centuries are to be trusted. Or perhaps they are immortal and the same individual keeps appearing throughout the history. One cannot help but asking what sort of purpose, if any, it serves to live for centuries by licking the ceilings of houses or playing with old toys, when there are video games and smartphones available. Indeed, the only social function they play seems to be that they frighten people. But why do they? The answer to this question may be found in more specific Yokai that has its root in Buddhism. For Yokai, after all, are a Shinto belief combined with Buddhist philosophy, which gives the intellectual framework for the native deities to thrive in accordance with the Buddhist teachings. Without understanding the Buddhist origin of the spirits, it is not possible to understand the reason for Yokai’s continuing presence in Japanese intellectual history. I will now examine Oni and evil spirits as causes of illness. Oni is often translated as demons in English, but more strictly speaking, Oni has the same connotation as the Greek word for gods, i.e. daimon. Its essential characteristics do not involve goodness or badness, but only that of powerfulness. Daimons can be good or bad depending upon how we interpret their actions. This is the notion of Oni we have in Japan, for sometimes Oni are seen as harbingers of wealth and fortune. I will deem this notion of Oni as only subjectively true, and according to the Buddhist tradition, Oni are to be always feared as “dreadful supernatural beings emerging from the abyss of Buddhist hell to terrify wicked mortals [and] their grotesque and savage demeanor and form [should] instill instant fear” in us.[13] Further, Oni are described as at one time one-eyed giant who sucks the human’s vital energy and devours humans, or at another time as having one or two horns protruding from their scalps, as having the third eye in the center of the forehead, and as wearing a loincloth of fresh tiger skin.[14] Above all, the most common attributes of Oni are their cannibalistic nature and their ability to transform themselves into anything.[15] It is indeed the Yokai with utmost negative association. In fact, we can see that a lot of illnesses were attributed to the gatherings of Oni from antiquity. For example, in the “Explanation of the Dharani Teachings on the Guardian Gods of the Children” (仏説護諸童子陀羅尼経所説)[16] written in the 6th century, fifteen different Oni were described that are said to make kids sick. These Oni appear as various animals or demon-gods and possess the children. For instance, one Oni takes the shape of a snake, and makes a child belch incessantly as to suffocate him. Another Oni appears as a lion and makes a child vomit. And yet another appears as a bird-like man and causes the possessed kid’s shoulders to shake. The other symptoms caused by the Oni’s possession include baby colic, diarrhea, high fever, dizziness, foaming in the mouth and crunching fists and so on. There were also Oni that spread epidemics, and depressions or mental illness too were attributed to the Oni’s doings. In the 15th century, various studies were conducted in order to identify which Oni is responsible for which illness or epidemics.[17] Although Oni were oftentimes depicted as having some kind of physical appearances, they were often depicted as such simply to render them visibility. For example, in Onmyoudo, Oni referred specifically to the immaterial evil spirits that caused human infirmity. Their invisibility was, in fact, a predominant feature of Oni in their very early stage and it was their invisibility that made them dreadful to us, because there was no way of defending ourselves against what we could not see.[18] Insofar as the Oni refer to the immaterial evil spirits, there does not seem to be much difference between Oni and Ma, which is the evil spirits proper that is listed as the distinct cause of illness from Oni in Makashikan.[19] What is different indeed lies not in their supposed appearances, but in the way in which they affect human health. For Oni enters into the body from the five senses to those who wish ill of others and try to do evil deeds and physically torment them, whereas the evil spirits proper will corrupt apperception and strip away the wisdom to attain Buddhahood. Further, they stir up the ill will in people and destroy the good deeds.[20] In other words, Oni cause physical harm to people, whereas Ma causes spiritual harm. Moreover, whereas Oni choose to cause harm to those who are harmful to the others, Ma will come into people’s body when in the midst of their training as soon as they allow a room for accepting any desires by thinking of impure thoughts.[21] They are on a spiritual, psychological level, attached to the clothes people desire or food people take in, and they enter into one’s body when he gladly accepts those desires and is taken in by them. So according to this tradition, vengeful spirits and ghosts who cause harm to people or who scare them cannot be classified as evil spirits but rather Oni or more broadly as Yokai, for they do not impinge upon people’s effort to attain Buddhahood. Nevertheless, both Oni and Ma are treatable by the Buddhist purification methods, and this is why exorcisms were often recommended in addition to the recitation of Buddhist sutras.epidemic oni We now know what we mean by Yokai, Oni and evil spirits – we also know that they affect us in various different ways. Some seem to exist to scare us and make us recognize the gods who have long been neglected, while others are there to keep an eye on who amongst us have ill intentions and desires to harm others. Yet others try to hinder us from attaining Buddhahood, luring us with material goods and pleasures of life. What I want to focus on now is precisely what happens in us when these external enemies come to affect us. In order to understand why we see Yokai monsters around us, we will need to understand the mechanisms of how Oni are said to attack us. This is because Oni appears to be more closely connected with us than many of the Yokai monsters, for as we have seen, although some Yokai come to hunt us, either with the rolling head that sucks human blood or by abducting kids into the abyss of the water late at night, but many of them are relatively harmless and mind their own businesses. The head of Rokuro-Kubi is not conscious of attacking any particular persons but only subconsciously aware of its actions. This is why a manservant at a certain temple asked the monk in one morning, ‘Has my head come to visit last night?’ The monk responded that a person’s head came to his chest as he slept, and he grabbed it and threw it out. The manservant replied that he had a habit of losing his head and asked that for fear of not causing the monk more trouble, he would like to take a leave.[22] Kappa, too, does not go out of his way to drown children but captures only those who come near the water after dark. Oni, on the other hand, seeks out people with malicious intent, and possesses them to make them sick or severely injure them. From this, I argue that Yokai monsters are rather like variations of Oni – distant relatives, as it were. Just like Oni, Yokai too were feared as vindictive spirits, as we see from some of the older accounts of spiritual Yokai in Shoku-Nihongi 続日本紀 (797) and Makura no Soushi 枕草子in Heian period.[23] But after the Heian period, Oni came to dominate the role of vengeful spirits and Yokai came to be set aside to refer to some innocuous yet mysterious phenomena that could not be attributed to the sheer negativity portrayed in Oni. This is probably because Oni is a Buddhist concept that came to Japan along with the Chinese philosophy, whereas Yokai developed out of a native Shinto concept of animism and only shares the qualitative similarity with Oni. With the spread of Onmyoudo in Heian period, Oni came to symbolize the fearful and the illness, and Yokai phenomena were confined to the rather minor role of Tsukumogami and the other mysterious events. It was only during the Edo period that, with the gradual disappearance of strong belief in Onmyoudo, the concept of Oni deep rooted in such doctrine too came to be dismantled, and what was left were the mysterious but rather innocuous phenomena supposedly attributed to the shapeless Yokai and invisible spirits. Because the core beliefs about Yokai as the fearful spirits were passed onto Oni, and Oni played in large part the role of spreading illness, understanding the cause and the essence of Oni would necessarily clarify what the intellectual basis for the belief and acceptance of such entity. For this, we will now look at the development in Chinese Buddhist philosophy on consciousness, which were largely studied in Japan. In particular, I will focus on the two Buddhist schools that had a tremendous influence on the later development of Buddhism in Japan that I believe would help shed light on the rational acceptance of supernatural entities as the agents of illness.     Part II: Buddhist Philosophy of Consciousness摩訶止観   The first school I discuss is called the Consciousness-Only School, which represented the major development of Mahayana philosophy in India, and this school prepares the way for understanding the T’ien T’ai School, which was introduced to Japan by Saicho in 806. As was mentioned earlier, T’ien T’ai School was established by Chigi in the 6th century in China, and one of his most-studied treatises on Buddhist practice, Makashikan, or the Great Concentration and Insight, lists Oni and Evil Spirits as the causes of illness. T’ien T’ai philosophy is best known for its idea of three thousand worlds immanent in a single instant of thought. What this means, however, is best illustrated with the understanding of dharmas and differing levels of Truth. And the understanding of consciousness in Buddhist philosophy, I believe, will also explain the roles played by Oni and evil spirits as the causes of illness in Japanese society. The central doctrine of the Consciousness-Only School is that of eight Consciousnesses. According to this school, the mind or the consciousness is divided into eight functions and consists of the five sense-consciousnesses of touch, taste, sight, hearing and smell; one sense-center consciousness that organizes sense data and forms conceptions of objects; one though-center consciousness, which wills and reasons on a self-centered basis, and one store-house consciousness (alaya). These Consciousnesses are in perpetual change, involving threefold transformation. The first of which happens at the storehouse consciousness, where the ‘seeds’ or effects of good and evil deeds, which exist from time immemorial are stored, that become the energy to produce the external manifestation such as ideas and images of things existing.[24] This consciousness brings these seeds into manifestation spontaneously through contacts with the other consciousnsses. Although it itself is indifferent to its associations, the storehouse consciousness is constantly affected and perfumed or influenced by incoming perceptions and cognitions by these external manifestations. In this way, “the three dharmas (the seeds, manifestations and perfuming) turn on and on, simultaneously acting as cause and effect.”[25] This transformation in the storehouse consciousness is not external nor does it come to an end, and is thought to be a perpetual transformation from time immemorial. There was never a time at which there was no consciousness nor will the consciousness remain the same at any point in time. Indeed, the Consciousness-Only School argues that there has always been consciousness transforming without interruption and explains that it is like a violent torrent and “the basis of the constructions in the four realms which form the substance of existence, the five stages of transmigration, and the four kinds of living beings, and its nature is so firm that it holds the seeds without losing them,” and as the violent torrent continues for a long time, “some sentient beings will float and others will sink.”[26] This is important, as it means the four realms of substance (Earth, Water, Air, and Fire), the five stages of transmigration (the hells, those of ghosts, animals, human beings and heavenly beings) and the four kinds of living beings (those produced from the womb, from eggs, from moisture and through metamorphosis) are all combined in this consciousness and they constantly influence, or perfume, each other to produce manifestations. The second transformation of consciousness involves the thought-center consciousness, and perpetually takes the storehouse consciousness as an object and is always accompanied by the four evil defilements of self-delusion, self-view, self-conceit and self-love. In the first transformation, we saw the storehouse consciousness as pure consciousness itself with perceptions flowing in and out and producing something while the consciousness itself remained indifferent to any of the seeds, manifestations and perfuming. But here at the second transformation, we see the emergence of self in consciousness. As soon as one cognizes oneself as a thinking subject, self-view exists, which is the belief that exists, “erroneously imagining certain dharmas to be the self that are not the self.”[27] At the same time, self-delusion, or ignorance and lack of understanding of the character of the self emerge. Where there was the principle of non-self in the storehouse consciousness, now self-conceit gives rise to doubt about the possibility of non-self. It produces a sense of pride in the self in feeling of superiority and self-love develops a deep attachment to what is clung to as the self. Through this perpetual transformation, the sentient beings are bound to the cycle of life and death, and the “four defilements constantly arise and pollute the inner minds and cause the six other transforming consciousnesses to be continuously defiled.”[28] The third transformation of consciousness consists of the last six Consciousnesses all together. They are the Consciousnesses of touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste with the binding sense-center consciousness, and they discriminate the spheres of objects. Because their job is to discriminate sphere of objects only, it is important to note that they too are neither good nor evil in themselves. The difference between the common five Consciousnesses and the sense-center consciousness is that whereas the each of the five has its own sphere of objects, the sense-center consciousness takes the external world as a whole as its object. What is interesting is that while all three transformations take place at the same time and influence each other, and therefore are governed by cause and effect, each transformation is hierarchically organized in that without the thought-center consciousness, there is no grasping of an idea of any external manifestation. Nor would there be any conceptual activity and identification of the self independently of the external world had there been no storehouse consciousness. It all depends on the alaya and it is only through the root consciousness of alaya, can the five sense Consciousnesses manifest themselves in accordance with various causes.[29] Because all depends upon the storehouse consciousness, it is argued that everything is consciousness only and inseparable from consciousness. The word “only”, the Treatise explains, is intended not to deny however that “there are mental qualities, dharmas and so forth inseparable from consciousness.”[30] Further, what follows from this is that because dharmas and manifestations are not separated from minds, sentient beings become pure or impure in accordance with the mind. This is again explained and supported in the Four Wisdoms of bodhisattvas that the contradictory Consciousnesses are but characters, meaning the same thing perceived by ghosts, human beings and deities appear differently to them in accordance with their past deeds. If there was an external sphere as actually existing, how could this be possible? Such is only possible if consciousness takes non-being as its object. Indeed, “he who has realized the freedom and the ease of mind can change and transform earth into gold without fail according to his desires[, but] if there really was an external sphere, how can these transformations be possible?”[31] Here, the Treatise uses an instance in alchemy to support the view that there really is not an external world independently of our consciousness and argues that an apparent transmutation of base metals into precious ones is nothing but a manifestation caused by mental qualities. Although external spheres are apprehended by the consciousness, its externality is still erroneously formed and created by the sense-center consciousness, and these objective spheres that are immediately apprehended are in fact the perceived portions of the Consciousnesses themselves. It is only in this sense that we say they exist externally. But because we know that the colour and so forth that the sense-center consciousness conceives as external and real are erroneously imagined to be existent, we say also that they are nonexistent.[32] In this way, the Consciousness-Only School steers “far away from the two extremes of holding that dharmas are real (although they have no nature of their own) or holding that dharmas are unreal (although they function as causes and effects),” and establishes the Middle Path, which the school holds it to be the correct view.[33] Only through this Middle Path can we differentiate the three kinds of dharmas, avoids being deceived by the worldly existence and discern what has the real existence. For when we know the Middle Path, we can immediately see what is conceived by the vast imagination through juxtapositions of external manifestations, such as horns of a rabbit and unicorns, and recognize that these are purely illusory, being qualities of the mind, and have only false existence.[34] Similarly, those dharmas that depend on others for productions, such as capsizing of the boat in the sea, have purely temporary and dependent existence, and hence have no nature of their own.[35] So the school holds that only the reality that transcends all specific characters and represents Thusness has the true existence and is the Ultimate Reality. Such reality is only realizable “when through discipline and enlightenment the pure seeds in the storehouse consciousness are cultivated and the impure aspect of the storehouse is overcome.”[36] It is only when one is not enlightened does one see horns of a rabbit, a unicorn or a walking umbrella that are purely illusory and therefore have only false existence. Further, some beings may be said to depend on each other for their existence, such as the capsizing of a boat. Suppose a boat was capsized in the sea. And further suppose that this was caused by the successive waves hitting the boat. In this case, the chief condition of the wave is the combination of the wind and water in the sea in such a way that produced a wave. This wave is further followed by succeeding waves enough to capsize the boat. There is the chief constitutive condition, which is wind and water; the immediate condition, which is the following waves; the objective condition, which is the boat on the water; and the upheaving condition, which is the last wave that brings all conditions to the climax, i.e. upsets the boat. This series of event is apparently caused and as a result the boat is capsized, but its causes only have dependent and thus temporary existence, for the capsizing of the boat cannot happen unless all causes are present at the same time. The process of enlightenment resembles that of being in a dream. For, just as we do not know that we are in a dream while sleeping, we do not become aware of the fact that the sphere of objects are unreal before we reach the state of true awakening, and we would be perpetually in the midst of a dream.[37] Having examined the Consciousness-Only School, I will now look at the philosophy of T’ien T’ai School. In the Consciousness-Only School, the Middle Path is identified with Thusness that transcends all specific characters and hence it attempts to arrive at the middle ground between realism and nihilism. T’ien T’ai philosophy, on the other hand, aims to synthesize the both realms in which transcendence (noumenon) and immanence (phenomenon) are harmonized, producing the perfect harmony of the Three Levels of Truth: the Truth of Emptiness, the Temporary Truth, and the Truth of the Mean. The first two levels of truth have already been discussed; namely, that all dharmas are empty because they have no nature of their own but depend on causes for their production (the Truth of Emptiness) and that the dharmas are nonetheless produced and do possess temporary and dependent existence (the Temporary Truth).[38] The third level of Truth is the combination of the first two, that is, it is the very nature of dharmas that they are both empty and temporary (the Truth of the Mean). By not taking on the middle ground between the emptiness and temporary truth, as the Consciousness-Only School did, but rather combining the two into its philosophical system, T’ien T’ai School was able to include all that there is, without making any distinctions between the external manifestations that are qualities of the mind and the internal activities of the pure consciousness in which the production of seeds and perfuming the manifestations perpetually took place. In this way, T’ien T’ai School achieved what is called the three thousand worlds of immanent in an instance of thought. In the realm of the Temporary Truth, there exists ten realms: Buddhas, bodhisattvas, Buddha-for-themselves, direct disciples of the Buddha, heavenly beings, spirits, human beings, departed beings, beasts, and deprived men. In each of these realm involves the other realms as well. So in the realm of Buddha, all the other realms are included, and in the realm of heavenly beings, all the other realms are included, and so on, making it one hundred realms. Each of these realms in turn possesses the ten characters of Thusness: character, nature, substance, energy, activity, cause, condition, effect, retribution, and being ultimate from beginning to end. Each of these then possesses living beings, of space and of aggregates (matter, sensation, thought, disposition, and consciousness), which resulting in the three thousand worlds and the totality of manifested reality.[39] It is the world as the totality of all the worlds. All these realms are so interpenetrated that they are said to be immanent in a single instant of thought. These are not produced by any mind, nor are they included in an instant of though, but rather “all the possible worlds are so much identified that they are involved in every moment of thought.” Unlike the Consciousness-Only School, where the world is the consciousness itself, in T’ien T’ai philosophy, all phenomena are manifestations of the Mind and each manifestation is the Mind in its totality.[40] As has been mentioned, because this philosophy involves all, and since everything involves everything else, it implies the doctrine of universal salvation. All beings possess Buddha-nature and are therefore capable of salvation. And this salvation is achieved through the method of concentration and insight, or Makashikan. Namely, by recognizing the three levels of Truth just discussed.

III: The Etiology of Illness by Supernatural Entities

oni We have seen that Yokai, Oni and evil spirits are said to cause fear and illness. We have also seen what the Buddhist philosophy teaches us this world really is. It is nothing but the consciousness, and the apparent external phenomena are but mental qualities and manifestations of one’s own mind. It is how the mind perceives the floating manifestations arising from imagination. The kinds of manifestation one sees, then, differ from person to person, as the Four Wisdoms of the Consciousness-Only School explains. What we see with our consciousness is dictated by what we do and what we eat. If there is an imbalance in our constituent elements, we become deluded and fall into an easy prey by Oni. Our weakened body will not resist the intrusion of various daimons and the very fact that we become ill serves as a warning and a reminder that we need to be more mindful of our dietary restriction. Similarly, we become sick due to the deeds we did in our previous life, for the soul of such individual is tainted, and the manifestations of the consciousness too will become muddied with malignant seeds. Indeed, illness was such an essentially feature of what it is to be a human that many monks conceived the state of illness as dharma, and taught that one should use the illness as the object of our consciousness and observe it with the wisdom arising from the immobile faith. It is the times of illness, he argued, when one attains enlightenment. Through such means, then, one should discover the reasons as well as the meanings that such illness has brought to him, and search for the treatment, and attain enlightenment by experiencing the entire process as the totality.[41] So Chigi as well as other monks often perceived illness as an opportunity to reflect oneself and the others around him, and this attitude was known as “Byousoku-Bosatsu” 病即菩薩, or the attainment of Buddhahood in sickness.[42] Especially amongst the T’ien T’ai monks in Japan, they preferred to consult with Mahā-prajñāpāramitā-śāstra 大智度論, authored by Nāgārjuna 龍樹, and argued that illness are either caused by the past deeds or by kleshas, i.e. worldly desires.[43] In both physical and spiritual illness, the true cause is said to be in the kleshas煩悩. Once kleshas get activated, it will cause imbalance in the body and bring disharmony in the life rhythm, causing one to be sick. The treatment, therefore, is to actually recognize what is causing the kleshas, and avoid having an attachment arising from the imagination, and further to understand that everything is in a state of flux and nothing is absolute. Things in this world exist as dependent on one another and constantly changing. When you understand this, you will recover from illness.[44] Similarly, Komatsu argues that when a person does something bad, he starts feeling guilty and becomes convinced anyone may harm him because of what he did. This sense of insecurity and fear in turn cultivate the Yokai in his mind. In other words, it is this very fear he feels himself that causes him to fall ill, while attributing the cause for his illness to the evil spirits of the other people.[45] When looked at this way, it is natural to perceive Buddha as the wise doctor and sutra as the medicine, as they were often spoken of as such. Monks then offer the words of Buddha by prescribing the patients the spells or citation of sutras. Indeed, there is an account of medical practice in Japan given by a Jesuit missionary in the 16th century, which reads that   In Japan , when you become sick, a doctor comes and takes the pulse, perform an acupuncture on stomach, back and arms. Although they do not perform bloodletting, they follow dietary restrictions that are contrary to out customs, and take in medicine. They also pray to Buddha and gods, make others observe dharma, have monks read them sutras, and call in exorcists who can perform sorcery.[46]   These monks whose job it is to exorcise were called Genza験者. How this was performed was that they would summon the protector daimons, who then would enter into the sick person. These protector daimons would chase away the Yokai or evil spirits that possessed the sick, which in turn is transferred to another body called Yorimashi憑座. Yorimashi are persons or objects capable of attracting spirits, giving them the physical space to occupy. Once this is done, the protector daimon would once again chase away the evil spirits from Yorimashi to complete the exorcism.[47] There is, of course, this problem of where the spirits would go afterwards. This is not really explained, but granting that all phenomena are mental qualities, evil spirits thrive well in sick person’s mind most comfortably. But once transferred to the healthy subject, the mind of Yorimashi is presumably strong and resistant, so the evil spirits will be driven away from such a subject relatively easily. Once separated from a subject, they lose the consciousness in which they inhere, and disappear into Emptiness. Yokai then are the mental manifestations of one’s own kleshas and how one deals with the external world as such. This is why there are a countless number of different kinds of Yokai and none seems to appear in bulk but always individually – i.e. those who are chased after by Rokuro-Kubi are not on the same night attacked by Kappa and see Tenjou-Name when he comes home. And when many Yokai are depicted, they always appear simultaneously with the other types of Yokai monsters, as in Hyakki Yagyou 百鬼夜行, or Night Parade of One Hundred Demons, throughout Japanese history. In this case, they do not attack specific individuals but walk around at night perhaps representing the kleshas of the phenomenal world. In the case of Oni, however, is rather different, for they represent the evil deeds in the generality. This is why they all share the generic features and they all exist for one purpose, i.e. to cause physical harm to those with malicious intent in order to prevent them from attaining the Buddhahood. Evil spirits further differ from both Yokai and Oni in that Yokai and Oni may appear to ordinary people but evil spirits are normally reserved for those monks who are about to attain Buddhahood but fell prey to the worldly desires in the midst of their training, as we have seen from the account given by Chigi in Makashikan.[48] In this respect, evil spirits may be more pernicious, for they also prey on the Buddhist monks, or those who learn to attain Buddhahood. Perhaps, these evil spirits are so persistent in nature that even with the exorcism using Yorimashi, they may remain independently of anyone’s mind, and it may possess a consciousness of its own. Such evil spirits may materialize and bring about misfortunes of natural disasters, as in the case of the vengeful spirit of Sugawara no Michizane (845-903). Michizane’s vengeful spirit is a famous example of Onryou 怨霊 causing a catastrophic damage to the Heian capital in the 10th century. Michizane, a skilled statesman and a poet, was disgraced, demoted and sent to an exile by jealous Fujiwara leaders. Soon after he died in exile in Kyushu in 903, the Palace at the capital was struck by lightening, and “week after week the capital was drenched by rainstorms and shaken by thunderbolts,” followed by “the violent death of prominent men and the constant outbreak of fires.”[49] These misfortunes continued successively and were of such a magnitude that it was attributed to the vengeful spirit of Michizane. Even after restoring him to the office and ranks he had held during his lifetime and all his official documents sentencing him to exile were destroyed, the calamities continued. In 942, finally an oracle was decreed that a shrine should be erected, where Michizane was to be worshipped as a deity. The calamities finally stopped, and this shrine, Kitano Tenmangu, is still popularly visited by the Japanese in Kyoto to this day, and he was given a title as Tenjin, the Heavenly Deity, in 986.[50] This is a case where the carrier of the evil spirit was never exorcised, nor was he a practicing Buddhist, but not having been exorcised, one could imagine that such a wrathful spirit may grow on to discharge its negative energy until it rested on the shrine which was built to calm the anger of the spirit. Here, I am merely offering a possible interpretation of how such vengeful spirits of aristocrats in the absence of subjects to inhere in could have caused destructions and political instability. But this explanation also well accords with the Shinto belief that daimons become gods when worshipped and become Yokai when neglected. In fact, we do see quite often that evil spirits appear from time to time after the death of the subjects throughout literature and history. It appears that this happens when the grudge of the living subject is so strong that the manifestation of malicious mental qualities becomes attached to this world and somewhat materialized sometimes as Oni and Onryou. Such spirits remain in the phenomenal world and frequently visit specific individuals. Thus Komatsu also argues that while jealousy and irrational emotions residing in the unconsciousness may be restrained by the codes of ethics ordinarily, when opportunities arise, Yokai that lives in this unconsciousness breaks out its boundary and tries to control people. This uncontrollable emotion can oftentimes hurt people and become dangerous to other people as well. It starts with hatred or jealousy, which grows into the demonic will when unrestrained, and then to demonic activity, which finally leads to making the subject a demon with an appearance of demon.[51] This is best evidenced by the story of the princess under the Uji Bridge 宇治の橋姫. There are various versions of this story, but one that appears in the Tale of Heike 平家物語 tells a story of a certain princess who was overly jealous of another woman. She visited the altar of the gods in Kibune and asked the deity to turn her into a demon so she could kill the other woman. She was given an oracle telling her to change her appearance and go to the riverbank at Uji. So she went, having tied up her hair into five sections and shaped them into five horns. She also painted her face in red ink, put an iron tripod on her head and held three torches in her mouth. She sat and submerged herself in water at the riverbank. After twenty-one days, she turned into a living Oni and went out abducting and killing people whom she had grudge against.[52] This theme of abduction by Oni is a common narrative in the ancient writings. Shuten-Doji 酒呑童子, the Oni said to be the master of all other Oni, too abducted people in the capital and fed on the flesh and blood of the abducted. In most cases, the abduction occurs as a result of cheating and betrayal, a blasphemy against Buddhist teachings. In the case of Shuten-Doji too, the young daughter of the retired emperor’s councilor was abducted because the councilor “failed to keep a promise to Kannon when [he] sought her blessing for the birth of the child,” and the diviner who figured out her whereabouts advised the councilor to appeal to Kannon with the appropriate prayers in order to get his daughter back, and it was only with the aid of the deities and Buddha that Shuten-Doji was defeated.[53] 酒呑童子2

IV: Conclusion

  In this paper, I have explained the socio-historical origin of the spirits and Yokai phenomena as well as the Buddhist origin of Oni and evil spirits and how they are said to affect us and make us sick, i.e. by failing to observe the Buddhist teachings and turning away from enlightenment. However, it seems after the Edo period, these supernatural entities gradually came to walk on their own, as it were, and Yokai as effects of the manifestation of consciousness remained and were depicted, clothed with material appearance. These entities seem to have lost their philosophical justification for their existence and instead obtained independent reality in modern day Japan. While their existence continues to both amuse and frighten us, I think it is also important to understand that these entities posed immanent danger for the people in the past with good reasons. In Buddhism, it is said that there are four kinds of beings: those produced from wombs, from eggs, from moisture and through metamorphosis. What does it mean for something to come to be through metamorphosis? Clearly, this refers to the manifestations of the consciousness of the Buddhist philosophy. In this sense, although they do not generate from species to species in the natural means of generation, Yokai and other super natural beings are certainly granted their being-hood in this world. They are not merely imaginary beings but they too are the members of the “one thousand worlds” of immanence in a single instant of thought. Hokusai_rokurokubiThat is why the long neck of Rokuro-Kubi was also explained in terms of ectoplasm, where the soul is said to escape from the body and becomes materialized, and it was believed that the neck is connected with the body through a spiritual thread. Buddhist philosophy also explains the regularity of the phenomena by means of the characters of dharmas and their seeds. For it does seem strange that we have many accounts of the same Yokai with the said characteristics from time to time if all these phenomena are merely attributable to the distinct and individual consciousness. But such problem is easily dissolved by appealing to the doctrine of the causality in Consciousness-Only School that regularity is simply characters of dharmas and as such involves the process of mutual cause and effect, i.e. perfuming. In this process, “certain seeds regularly perfume in a certain way, and therefore people with similar seeds in them are perfumed in the same way.”[54] The way this manifests in our world, again, is the kleshas. Certain conditions also must meet, as in the case of the Four Causes mentioned earlier with the capsizing of a boat example. In order to see Kappa, for instance, one must be situated in such and such an environment that manifestations are perfumed in the similar way so as to have a reason to fear such creature. Further, one must be near a pond or a river, and not in the center of downtown or in a bathroom stall in an old school. These are all preconditions that influence the seeds in certain ways. So, it is futile to say, as Komatsu warns us perhaps jokingly, that in order to avoid getting attacked by Yokai spirits, one must simply avoid encountering one.[55] Nor is it possible to follow his advice not to go outside at night because at the moment when we decide to go outside, our consciousness is not yet properly warned that no effort can be made to change the course of perfuming. However, it is possible to avoid going to places where they cause you to feel fearful, such as graveyards or abandoned buildings, because the perfuming of the manifestations is not the same as a soft-determinism. Suppose I am at home in the evening, and realize that I need to get some milk at the store. Although it is not possible to change the desire to go out to buy the milk, I can decide not to take the route that makes me go through the graveyard or the route that leads me into a dark alley just because it is a shortcut to the store. Similarly, once I find myself in an abandoned building, I can either stay or leave the area at will because essentially it is my own consciousness that shapes the external manifestations and the internal activities of perfuming in bringing about a particular course of action. At the same time, precisely because it is our own consciousness that determines the phenomena and the activity of the soul, it is even possible for anyone who holds grudge against someone or jealous of someone to send out, without his knowing, the vengeful spirits of his own or even of his pets to those he has in mind, and direct these spirits to possess them to make them ill or cause them misfortunes. [56] If the Buddhist philosophy teaches anything about prevention and treatment of the illness, it is that we should never be so attached to the material world and worldly desires that we would feel the need to cling onto the present, but rather be unattached to the mundane world and, like Buddha, we should be like the lotus flower floating on the water.[57] For “if the mind is attached to something, it is bound to it and cannot be emancipated from birth and old age, sickness and death, sorrow and grief, and suffering and distress.”[58] Suuhi_Nekomata Shunkosai_Hokuei_Obake Enshin_Kasa-obake   [1] Taku Shinmura, Medical History in Japanese Buddhism 日本仏教の医療史, 34-36. [2] Taku Shinmura, 36-37. [3] 『日本霊異記』、『今昔物語集』cited in Shinmura, 30. [4] Shinmura, 15. [5] Mujuu paraphrased in Shinmura, 20. [6] 『仏説護諸童子陀羅尼経所説』mentioned in Shinmura, 30. [7] Kazuhiko Komatsu, Yokai-gaku Shinko 妖怪学新考, 17. [8] http://yokai.com/karakasakozou/ [9] http://yokai.com/nekomata/, http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/猫又#cite_note-12 [10] Kazuhiko Komatsu, 62. [11] http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/ろくろ首 [12] http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/河童 [13] Noriko T. Reider, Japanese Demon Lore: Oni from Ancient Times to the Present, 1, 3. [14] Ibid., 7. [15] Ibid. 27-35. [16] Translation mine. See, http://www.suttaworld.org/Collection_of_Buddhist/taisho_tripitaka/pdf/menu/19index.htm for the original text, and for the rough description of its content in Japanese, http://i80000.com/japanese/html/cyber/sub_cyber_1_list.asp?Page=44&Search=&SearchString= (accessed Jan. 21st 2015) [17] See Shinmura, 31. The documents published in 1473 and in 1480 are mentioned as evidence of this. [18] Reider, 13. [19] Again, see Shinmura, 36. [20] Ibid. [21] Ibid. [22] http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/ろくろ首 (accessed on Jan. 22nd, 2015) [23] http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/妖怪 (accessed on Jan. 22nd, 2015) [24] Translated by Wing-Tsit Chan. “Buddhist Idealism: Hsuan-Tsang of the Consciousness-Only School” in A Sourcebook in Chinese Philosophy, 371. [25] Ibid., 380f. [26] Ibid., 382. [27] Ibid., 383. [28] Ibid. [29] Ibid., 385. See 15., “Sometimes the senses manifest themselves together, and sometimes not, just as waves manifest themselves depending on water conditions.” [30] Ibid., 386. [31] Ibid., 388. [32] Ibid., 390. [33] Ibid., 387. [34] Ibid., 372. [35] Ibid., 372f. wind and water making a wave, succession of waves, a boat in the sea, capsizing the boat… [36] Ibid., 373. [37] [38] Ibid., “The T’ien T’ai Philosophy of Perfect Harmony,” 396. [39] Ibid., 396f. [40] Ibid., 397. [41] Shinmura, 11. [42] Ibid. [43] Ibid., 37. [44] Ibid., 37f. [45] Komatsu, Yokaigaku Shinko, 44f. [46] Ibid., quoted from Shinmura, 19. Translation mine. [47] Ibid, 14. [48] Ibid., see 34. [49] Geroge Sansom, A History of Japan to 1334, 215. [50] Ibid., 215f. [51] Komatsu, Yokaigaku Shinko, 44. [52] Ibid., 180. See also Reider, Japanese Demon Lore, 54. [53] Reider, 186f. [54] Sourcebook of Chinese Philosopy, [55] Komastu, 45. [56] Ibid., 205. [57] Sourcebook, 367f [58] Ibid.

Oni Utamaro Having spoken of the scientific attitude in pre-modern Japan through the eyes of Ninja, who supposedly possessed supra human knowledge of the human behavior and natural medicine, it is now time to delve further into the Buddhist conception of how the world operated. In the first part of my research, I discussed the ways in which a particular group of war specialists in Japan developed their own system of scientific knowledge, prior to the Western contact, and thus making it distinctly Japanese. This group of war specialists, Ninja, studied extensively on human behavior and psychology but my studies have shown that they had poor understanding of medicine and lacked the interest as well as the philosophical rigor in discovering the causes of illness, which in turn led them to essentially rely on nothing but the placebo effect in curing sickness. Hence, in this second part of my research into the history and philosophy of science and medicine in pre-modern Japan, I will look at the broader perspective on medical theory and attitudes towards illness amongst the monastic doctors as well as the commoners prior to the importation of the Western science. In particular, my interest is in the etiology of various types of sickness and how people in Japan dealt with the symptoms. It is of course not possible to speak of purely Japanese practice, since Chinese influence is everywhere seen. However, my study will show that Japanese Buddhist philosophy nevertheless developed distinct features unique to Japan, perhaps as a result of the synthesis of the Buddhism with the Japanese native religion of Shintoism. It is in this context that I will be discussing about the medical philosophy proper to Japan, which must have existed in order to account for sickness and beliefs unique to the culture that were not found in the continent. In this article, I will focus on the supernatural yet real causes of illness according to the Shinto-Buddhist philosophy. Indeed, in the pre-modern period Japan, the causes of illness were explained in terms of the Traditional Chinese medical philosophy, Taoism, and Buddhist medical theory. According to one such view heralded by the etiology explained in the most widely studied book, Makashikan, written in the 6th century by the founder of Tien Tai school, Chigi (538-597), the major causes of illness were six in number. They are 1) the imbalance of four elements, 2) excessive eating and drinking, 3) lifestyle related diseases, 4) daimon, 5) evil spirits, and 6) deeds in the previous life.[1] Of these, the first three are natural causes and thereby can be treated with the medical knowledge. On the other hand, the latter three are supernatural causes and cannot be treated except spiritually, i.e. one must follow the path of the Buddha. I will focus in particular on the daimon and evil spirits in the field of medical thought in pre-modern Japan. I will unveil the familiar concepts of Oni and Yokai in light of medical context in the history of Japan, and analyze the ways in which these supernatural forces came into the medical philosophy in the Japanese monastic medicine. [1] Taku Shinmura, Medical History in Japanese Buddhism, 34-36.

[following is a chapter summery of Hiro Hirai’s book, Medical Humanism. Quotations are all from the primary sources quote in the book]Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 1.31.47 AM

Daniel Sennert (1572-1637), a professor of medicine at University of Louvain worked largely on the early seventeenth-century intersection of matter theory and life sciences, focusing on and developing a corpuscular interpretation of the origin of life to explain biological, normal generation (univocal generation) as well as spontaneous generation (equivocal generation). This chapter examines the univocal generation first and then his theory of spontaneous generation, which Sennert argues along with Liceti that there is no such thing as strictly speaking abiogenesis.

Sennert first asks whether souls can be produced. He answers in the negative, and argues that souls are multiplied but not produced or generated. This is because for him souls can be (and were) created by God at the beginning, and God as the first and universal cause is the only agent who can create souls. Having ordained nature to perpetuate the course of generation and corruption, God gave the second causes a capacity to produce the generation of all things from the very first soul simply by multiplying themselves. This is an argument against those who hold the eduction of forms – for even if forms are drawn out from the potentiality of matter, the question of where they originate is left entirely unanswered. For this reason, Sennert advances the idea that all forms can multiply, just as is read in Genesis: “Be fruitful and multiply.” That is why he thinks that souls are not produced anew but are only multiplied in the generation of natural beings. Further, he also differs from Liceti with regard to the forms in that while the latter taught that forms are generated from a certain “rudiment” of form preexisting in matter, Sennert does not accept the idea that the form, first possessing a generic nature, then receives its own specificity from an external agent, and criticizes the opinion since Liceti did not reveal what this rudiment really is.[1]

For Sennert, a simple quality like heat cannot produce a form, which is a divine substance. He thus concludes that besides the disposition of matter something formal is needed in the seed as the cause of its action.

Now for Sennert, the plastic faculty is equated with the soul itself, which is for Schegk that which is introduced from the heaven after the pure motion exerted from the male parent to communicate the spermatic/plastic faculty into the matter. This spermatic faculty, for Schegk, is replaced by the human soul that already preexists, and disappears after this replacement with the soul. But, Sennert asks, if the spermatic faculty gets replaced with the soul, and acts like the soul itself, why not call this spermatic faculty a soul, without introducing unnecessary terms such as plastic faculty, spermatic faculty, instrumental potentiality and productive actuality, etc? For Sennert, this plastic faculty, or the plastic reason-principle, is identical to the soul, which is not the instrumental but the principal agent of generation.

So for Sennert, the seed is animate and possesses a soul in itself. “[I]t is a very simple substance or a certain spiritus, in which the soul and the plastic force immediately reside, and contains within itself the Idea of the organic body from which it has fallen, thus possesses the potentiality both to form an organic body similar to that from which it has fallen to prefect itself into an individual of the same species as [that] of the parent.”[2] For Sennert, spiritus is not the principal cause of generation as it is for Fernel, but merely an instrumental cause of the soul. The soul uses the spiritus residing in the seed and, as far as the spiritus is in the seed, the soul is in its own subject. But when the spiritus goes away, the soul cannot remain in the seed anymore and the seed becomes sterile. Further, Sennert makes a radical break from the traditional thinkers in that Sennert recognizes only one soul throughout – the humans have from the beginning one rational soul, which has the vegetative, sensitive and intellectual faculties, which is transmitted through the seed.

Spontaneous Generation

Sennert argues in the manner of Liceti that the equivocal generation too is realized by an internal principle lying hidden in matter, which does not differ from non-spontaneous generation in which the principle of generation is also hidden in matter and inaccessible to human sense-perception. Indeed, Sennert goes on to say that spontaneous generation too is caused by a univocal agent, for living beings that do not reproduce themselves through the seed in the literal sense still possess something that corresponds to the seed. This something contains not the soul but the principle or the form which begins to carry out the functions of the soul when it finds suitable matter. In this way, Sennert explains that every corpse of plants and animals can seemingly produce worms and maggots spontaneously, when in fact it is this particular form which will manifest itself as a soul in a certain condition.[3] This is why Sennert explains that when Aristotle said “[t]here is water in earth, and pneuma in water, and in all pneuma is soul-heat, so that all things are in a sense full of soul,” Aristotle does not mean that all things are animate, but that there is in all things such a hidden entity which becomes manifest and executes the functions of life when it encounters suitable matter.[4]

This hidden entity, which he calls a seminal force, is the internal principle of generation, i.e. seminal principle. But after a great change in matter, according to Liceti, because of the loss of the heat that sustains the soul, the soul degenerates into another inferior species. But Sennert does not accept the mutation of the form, and rather he opts for the multiplicity of the forms in a subject, calling the one dominant and the other(s) subordinate forms. When this dominant substantial form disappears, one of these subordinate substantial forms replaces it by taking over its functions. Sennert further argues that this seminal principle is present in a subject even if it is divided into the minima or smallest atoms, which further supports his view that all things are full of souls. So in the case of living beings that are seemingly spontaneously generated, their seminal force can persist even down to the level of atoms until the time when it finds a suitable matter from which it establishes an animate body. So the atoms of living beings are essentially corpuscles composed of primordial atoms for Sennert, and although the soul residing in one atom may be too weak to generate anything, several atoms can be united, which allows the souls contained therein to be gathered and become more powerful.[5]

 

In recapitulation, whether it is called “seed,” “seminal principle,” or “soul,” there is first some entity that comes from the corpse of living beings and lies hidden in matter. So nothing is really generated spontaneously but everything is generated by its own soul or at least by this seminal principle which corresponds to the soul analogously. And when this entity is placed under suitable conditions, and stimulated by ambient heat, it begins to perform the functions of life.

The soul’s vehicle was no longer conceived as the spiritus itself but as an atom which is informed by its internal soul or the seminal principle corresponding by analogy to the soul, while the spiritus was clearly seen as being composed of atoms. So the Sennert’s idea of the seminal principle as the atom’s internal soul was made through his corpuscular reinterpretation of the soul’s vehicle. He then developed the idea of living corporeal corpuscles, which are scattered around the world and which carry the soul or the seminal principle, thus guaranteeing the continuous emergence of life. For Sennert, one atom, derived from living beings, has its own soul just as one atom of inorganic beings has its own form. Although Sennert borrowed the concept of the seminal principle from the concept of seeds, developed by a Paracelsian philosopher Severinus, it was Sennert who explicitly connected it to the atomism, hence playing the central role in understanding the development of matter theory in the advent of modern science. Thus, Hirai argues that Sennert is the great synthesizer of the concept of seeds with revived atomism, tracing back the origin of Gassendi’s idea to Sennert.

[1] Sennert quoted in Hiro Hirai, Medical Humanism, 157. “…it is a vain fiction to say that the generic nature is a rudiment of form and, as it were, a semi-form. It would follow from this opinion that like does not generate its like. Since the specific form gives each thing its own nature but not a generic nature, if the parent should only provide the matter in which the generic form exists, i.e., a rudiment of form or a semi-form as Liceti says, then it would be an external agent like heat that would introduce the specific difference.”

[2] Sennert quoted in Hiro Hirai, 159-160.

[3] Sennert quoted in Hiro Hirai, 163. “…the soul can be in some matter after yet another way without informing or vivifying this matter this matter or providing the actions proper to this living being. Thus the seeds of plants and animals can reside in water and earth, the soul [can reside] in these [seeds] without informing or vivifying water or earth.”

[4] Aristotle quoted in Hiral, 164. See also Sennert’s comment quoted on the same page. “To be sure, as Aristotle teaches, animal heat and especially that kind of heat that possesses the adjoined soul are truly in this whole part of the inferior world (earth, water and air). [They exist], however, not as their essential part or essential attribute because earth and water are cold by their nature and because neither earth nor water are informed by the soul. But [they are] as a thing put in a place or in a vessel, without doubt because earth, water and air contain the living beings’ corpses, parts and excrements in which there are atoms and corpuscles possessing a soul.”

[5] Sennert quoted in Hiral, 169. “Indeed, the soul of one single atom is so weak and it can neither vivify and inform the matter of the mushroom nor perform what can be done by the souls, gathered from many [souls], of numerous atoms united into one body.”

Portrait_of_Marsilio_Ficino_at_the_Duomo_Firence

Chapter 5 discusses the theory of spontaneous generation by both the Renaissance Platonists such as Ficino and the Italian philosopher and scientist Fortunio Liceti. On the one camp, Platonists argue for the abiogenesis as evidence for the theory of universal animation and the existence of World-Soul, while on the other camp, a quasi-Corpuscularian doctor Liceti, while agrees that the World Soul is a remote cause of the life on earth, sees the mechanics of spontaneous generation as an argument against views held by Ficino. While various ideas are examined in this chapter, essentially, this chapter focuses on the views expressed by Ficino in Platonic Theology and by Liceti in De Spontaneo Viventium Ortu published in 1618. In particular, the focus is on the fourth division of the first book of De Spontaneo (chapters 68-151), where Liceti examines the views advanced by three groups of people who advocate the doctrines of the World-Soul and Ideas. The first group Liceti considers is the Junior Planotinists, followed by the views of the Major Platonists, ending with those of Ficino.

 

I: Junior Platonists

 

Philoponus, Virgil and Macrobius, identified as Junior Platonists, hold the view that the souls of all living beings are generated by the World Soul, and the efficient cause of spontaneous generation must be attributed to this universal soul of the world. To this, Liceti disagrees and argues that life is given to human beings by the human soul and to other beings by their own souls that the body of a living being which has not yet received its own specific soul cannot have life in actuality. In other words, life comes to the body only by its own soul, and it cannot come by the soul of the universe. Indeed, Liceti argues, it is not the World-Soul but the parent’s soul that is the immediate and particular cause of the generation of offspring of the same kind. This makes sense especially since Liceti views the World-Soul as God the Creator, and although God is a common and remote cause, God is not the immediate agent in generation of living beings born in putrefied matter. Liceti thus concludes that spontaneous generation requires another immediate agent, lying hidden in the matter from which these inferior beings are spontaneously born.

II: Major Platonists

 

Major Platonists, such as Cristoforo Marcello, argues that the immediate agents lacking in the Junior Platonists are the Ideas. This is because it is obvious that these inferior beings that are spontaneously generated do not have any other agent through which they might obtain their souls. So it seems to follow that these beings are directly produced by the particular Ideas procreating their own souls. This agent cannot be identical with the product, so there must be another agent by which the particular form or soul of living beings is procreated. But no immaterial agent except the Ideas of the souls of the living beings have an essence similar to these souls. From which, Marcello concludes that the souls of spontaneously born living beings are produced by Ideas as the particular and immediate agents of their generation.

But Liceti argues that generation is a physical action, and it requires by direct contact through movement. But because Ideas do not act physically, this Idea or the intellect cannot assume the role of a physical cause in natural generation. So even the inferior beings cannot be generated by these immaterial Ideas. Further, Liceti adds that since the forms of natural beings cannot exist without matter, they are material and perishable. And in this way, they differ from Ideas, which are totally immaterial.

Liceti in his turn argues that spontaneously born living beings are generated by a “congeneric” agent residing in matter. Just as Aristotle held, for Liceti, living beings can be generated but forms cannot. Forms in fact are lying hidden in well-disposed matter before the generation of these beings, and they become “life-giving forms” and are given as their souls. For Liceti, as we will also see in Sennert later, nothing is generated totally spontaneously in the sense of abiogenesis. The form exists as a potentiality and a privation of a future form, possessing an aptitude to receive forms in the course of change. Liceti concludes that the material and perishable forms cannot be physically produced by Ideas that are not of the same kind, but only by material forms of the same kind.

 

 

 

 

III: Ficino’s Earth’s Soul and Liceti

 

Ficino:  the souls of living beings that are spontaneously generated are conferred upon matter by the soul of the earth or by that of the water through Ideas implanted in these souls. Finico argues for the Earth’s soul by an empirical claim, for he says that “we see the earth generating large numbers of trees and living creatures from their own seeds, and nourishing them and making them grow. Stones grow too like its teeth, and plants like hairs as long as they are attached by the roots,” and as soon as they are detached from the earth, they stop growing or die.[1] In this way, he continues to argue that the proper causes are in the soul of the earth, which produces a vine by means of the natural Idea or rational principle of the vine, flies through the rational principle of flies, and so on.[2] For “if art, which produces works that are not alive and introduces forms that are neither primary nor whole, has living rational principles, there is all the more reason to suppose that rational principles are present in nature, which does generate living things and produce forms that are primary and whole.”[3] It is hard to draw a conclusion from this that living beings are spontaneously generated in the earth by the earth’s soul because there requires a definite and particular seed for the generation of particular things. It is in this context that Ficino introduces the concept of spiritual seeds, which are “life-giving seeds of everything” through earth and water. These seeds are enclosed by the vital nature, and this vital nature “takes elemental qualities and adds to them the precious varieties of colours and shapes and the vigor of life.”[4] Further, this earth’s soul must of rational, since some of the earth’s animals do not lack reason and because the works of the earth are more beautiful than those of humans. So there must be, in earth and water, different parts – some are less pure and the others are very pure, and the former have irrational souls whereas the latter have rational ones.

Fortunio_Liceti

Liceti: In contrast, Liceti observes that many living beings are spontaneously generated in human bellies or in cheese although matter serving the matrix of their birth is not touched by the watery or earthly sphere. From this, he argues that the immediate agent of their generation cannot be the soul of the elements. Further, Ficino counted only one soul for the earth despite a great diversity of living beings born out of it. This does not seem to square with the observation, and hence it is not possible to say that the one earth’s soul counts for all the diversity we see generating. Although Ficino argues that the earth nourishes living beings and makes them grow as if stones were her teeth and plants her hairs, Liceti again observes that the seeds that propagate these living beings do not come from the earth directly but from plants and animals of their own kinds. So the generation of these beings should not be attributed to the earth that carries these seeds, but to the seeds themselves. This is because these seeds are not produced by the earth but by the living beings themselves. So, he concludes that plants and animals live by their own soul and not by that of the earth. And because of this, Liceti denies that these inferior beings are generated spontaneously from the earth’s soul, and argues that such a soul, even if it exists, would be general at best and too remote to generate beings as their immediate cause. In order for generation to take place, a particular, more immediate cause must be present, which Liceti contends are seeds themselves.

Further, against the argument by Ficino that the earth has a living rational principle, Liceti argues that the nature is blind and ignorant and does not possess any Ideas but has only a similitude with the products. This is the same with the humans, who give birth to offspring by similitude of nature without any Idea of offspring. Further, Ficino argues that the pure parts of the earth are full of rational souls and the impure parts have irrational souls, but Liceti counters with the fact that the purest part of the earth is its center but there is no living being found there, while the most impure part is full of living beings. This then is an argument against Ficino’s claim that the earth possesses a rational soul. So, it is not true to say, as Ficino wants to argue, that nature executes its works through Ideas implanted in it and that the earth’s soul procreates a vine by means of the Idea of the vine. But it is the seeds that lie hidden in the earth that possess souls, which then stimulate the generation of inferior beings. Although Ficino argued similarly with his spiritual seeds, for Liceti, the seeds are made of material corpuscles, yet extremely subtle like a physiological spiritus and endowed with the rudiment of a future form. This is because Liceti believes that the form must share some corporeity with the matter in order to affect generation, as we have seen.

To the argument of Ficino that the elemental qualities, employed by the vital nature, account for the various colours and shapes of things, Liceti denies this, and argues that even with the help of the elemental qualities, they cannot produce colours and figures, but what gives them colours and shapes is the substantial form of these specific bodies generated and their souls.

[1] Ficino quoted in Hiro Hirai, Medical Humanism, 137.

[2] Ibid., 141.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 144. Italics mine. This is refuted by Liceti and later Sennert takes this to advance a need for the tria prima principles in order to account for the lack of ability for the elements to create colours and shapes.

[below is a summary of the chapters 1, 2 and 4 of Medical Humanism by Hiro Hirai. I chose these 3 chapters because of the thematic similarities they share, leaving out the chapter 3 on Schegk as somewhat distinct from the others.]

Cornelius Gemma

The chapters 1, 2 and 4 of this book examine the interpretations of the formative powers by various thinkers in the history of embryology. The humanist physician, Leoniceno gives his commentaries on commentators of Galen and offers his own interpretation of the issue. First of Galen, although he believed that there must be a supreme intelligence in the formation of the fetuses, he left it open whether it was to be equated with any kind of soul and did not speculate its origin. This led many commentators to hypothesize what this formative power could mean, and the identification or the explanation was in demand, as to what it is that is doing the formation of the fetuses, as opposed to merely nourishing the animal bodies. This is because the nourishing the bodies, which is the proper office of vegetative soul, does not necessarily require a forming principle.

   1

          Just as Hippocrates taught that the body’s natural heat is nothing but the mixture of the four elemental qualities (i.e. temperament), and just as Galen called the vegetative soul the animal’s natural heat, Leoniceno justifies his use of the term ‘temperament’ to mean both the body’s natural heat and the vegetative soul. Synthesizing Hippocrates and Galen, Leoniceno equated 1) body’s natural heat with 2) temperament and 3) vegetative soul. Hence, all these things are terrestrial origin and congenial to the animal’s birth. This in turn is termed as “inbred heat”. Here, Leoniceno did what Galen did not – although Galen believed the natural heat to be the vegetative soul, he believed it is of divine origin and did not think that it is the mixture of the terrestrial elemental qualities.

However, Aristotle recognized two different formative powers, according to Galen. One is formative power of homogeneous parts such as flesh and bones, while the other is the organization of heterogeneous parts such as hands and eyes. The former is mutative, for it forms organs and alters the shapes for fitting ones, while the latter is the formative cause proper as it forms particular hands and eyes proper to the species. For instance, formation of flesh and bones are universal to all animals, but what kinds of eyes or hands these animals have differ from species to species, and they become the distinct characteristics of particular animals. So Aristotle invoked a higher intelligence to this formative cause proper, and wondered if there can be a supreme intelligence of a creator, i.e. celestial cause. Leoniceno disagrees with the later commentators of Aristotle that Aristotle here was in fact invoking a celestial cause, and insists that it remains an analogy, for Aristotle says that this “inbred” heat is not fire and is the foam-like principle in the breath, i.e. spirit. Leoniceno is content that this vital/inbred heat is contained in the seed or the spirit, which is a certain vehicle, a subtle body, that carries the immaterial foam-like heat principle. Is Leoniceno then saying that this formative power is devoid of reason? No. Along with Simplicius, Leoniceno argues that this formative power is not irrational but rather co-responsible with the immediate causes of things that are generated and corrupted. What this means is that the formative power, although itself not of celestial origin, is subordinate or auxiliary to the celestial and intellectual causes, and this formative power is the concause with the celestial cause.

2

              Of course, as was mentioned earlier, this is not what Galen held – for although he professed that he did not know the cause of this formative principle, he did believe that it must be of a divine origin, i.e. celestial cause. Jean Fernel picks out Galen’s view and tried to reconcile Aristotle (via Galen) with Plato, drawing upon the works of Marcilio Ficino. Fernel’s position on this would be that the vegetative soul (or natural heat) is essentially divine and that there is divine presence in natural and medical philosophy. Fernel indeed advances his argument as if Galen would have agreed with him, and to that extent, his argument is an elaboration of Galen’s view.

Fernel first argues that the form partakes in the divinity as opposed to the matter, which is nothing but the composite of the corruptible elements. The form thus equated with the divinity has more power than the four terrestrial elements, but precisely because it partakes in divinity, we cannot know the specifics of this power or where it originates. These hidden powers are called occult properties. Since these powers exceed the limits of natural philosophy, they are called divine and belong to the realm of the divinity. In this way, while Galen remained agnostic about the origin of the soul, Fernel attributed the notion of divine force to the natural beings on earth. Such divine force is wise and powerful, and responsible for the formation of living beings. This form is of necessity immortal, since it is not simply a congenial heat or a temperament (in which case, the soul/form would not be immortal because it would be nothing but a mixture of the four elemental qualities, and everything made out of these qualities are corruptible) but partakes in divinity. Such divine force must have the primary or the ultimate cause as the divine Creator, and neither whose substance nor his way of operation can be grasped by the human mind.

What is the essence of this soul/form? Fernel argues, according to the authority of Galen, that the soul is a completely simple, uniform and incorporeal substance. And in order for such incorporeal substance to have an effect on corporeal substance, it must be through some sort of semi-corporeal instrument, which is called pneuma. Notice that this is the breath or the spirit, a vehicle, discussed earlier by Leoniceno. Having argued that the soul is even more excellent than this pneuma, Fernel explains that pneuma is corporeal and essentially belongs to the body, whereas the soul is free of body and can subsist by itself. Further, upon the departure of pneuma, life ceases to function and life is restored when pneuma returns to the soul. So the soul does need this pneuma in order to function, although it can survive by itself. But at the same time, since the soul does not belong to the body and can subsist by itself, it is not a property of bodily substance (it can subsist by itself) or simply an incorporeal substance (it needs corporeal pneuma to function). It is somewhat half way between being a substance and being a property. What this means is that the soul is both incorporeal and subject to the needs of the body. It needs the body as its house to function, so it is not a substance in a complete sense.

How can the soul be both free and in need of body to function? If it is constrained by the body, it is not independent of body, and further, it runs the risk that the soul may be damaged when the host body becomes ill or poisoned. Fernel responds to this rather ingeniously that the soul does not suffer even when the host is damaged, but instead what is damaged is the chain of bonds that connects the soul with the body. So if a body suffers poison, then this union gets loosened, and when the union is broken, the soul flees itself, as if it had been freed from a chain tied to the body. This chain of bond is nothing but the pneuma, innate heat or spiritus. In this way, Fernel shows that the soul is not tied to the body in such a way that it needs the body’s constant aid.

Fernel then goes onto describe what power (dunamis) is, and explains that it is a potency of action and something the substance of a thing uses as a principle of action. In other words, it is in the thing but is different from the thing itself. It is that which emanates from the substance itself. Because this formative power/soul arises out of the substance from the very beginning, but is distinct from the substance itself, the vegetative soul must possess divinity as well. Although there are apparently two distinct powers in the tripartite soul, i.e. formation of the fetuses and the governance of the body, Fernels concludes with Galen that what molds the body also possess the ability to function each part of the formed body.

So the seed gives rise to this celestial mind and divinity, which is what the soul possessed. But if, as Galen argued, the soul possesses the force from the seed, such power cannot be of the celestial origin, and further it seems to suggest that the matter is actually an active principle itself, rather than the vehicle that carries such power. To the first worry, Fernel responds that Galen was speaking analogously to mean simply that this formative power is in the seed, and he was not actually saying that the force comes from the seed. Further, Fernel makes a careful point that the seed/matter is not identical with the formative power, but the celestial mind is placed in the seed. This also follows from the fact that Galen was speaking analogously about the relation between the force and the matter that emanates this force.

What exactly is then this spiritus/breath/pneuma? As has been said, it is close to incorporeal beings by virtue of being invisible. It is a means and instrument used by any substance devoid of body and hidden to human senses to communicate its force to the body. This is the way in which God communicates his power as well, through the use of the animus mundi, the World-Soul. The spiritus is said to be the basis of the soul and its forces, and in it lies the innate heat. The nature (or God) and the soul’s forces are enclosed in the spiritus, and this nature uses the spiritus and innate heat to form the living beings. So when the spiritus and the innate heat are lost, the chain of bond between the soul and the body disappears, and the life ceases to be. This nature being divine, it corresponds and shares with the element of the stars, i.e. the fifth element and aether. For Fernel, then, this aether provides the soul’s powers and implants the spiritus in natural beings, determining their form. While the composition and mixture of the elements can be the force of nature, the formation of specific organs and heterogeneous parts exceeds the capacity attributed to nature. Hence, there needs some other extraneous principle to guide through the formation of fetuses and living beings. In this way, Fernel attributed the cause of concoction to celestial heat, and not merely to the mixture of elements and their moderate heat. Without the celestial aid, concoction is noxious and destructive.

Such a conclusion has a medical significance, for it supposes a new etiology of diseases, because it is no longer just the imbalance of the four elements/humours that causes the diseases, but the elemental heat itself is conceived as something that is potentially bad for the body. The very idea that the formative power is endowed with a rational principle prevents Fernel from concluding that the spiritus is made up of the terrestrial elements. As the spiritus cannot come from the simple mixture of the four elements, it must be implanted into the natural beings at the time of generation, from then onwards directing the fetal formation and taking charge of the nourishment of the body. To this extent, then, the spiritus is said to be governed by and closely united with the World Soul.

4

              Influenced by the Renaissance Platonism of Marcilio Ficino and his contemporary leading physicians, Fernel and Cardano, the royal professor of medicine at the Univeristy of Louvain, Cornelius Gemma (1535-1578) promotes Hippocrates as the leading figure amongst the “ancient theologians” along with Philo and Moses. This chapter gives the first analysis of the historical and intellectual context of Gemma’s Hippocratism based on the prisca theologica, or the ancient theology.

The followers of Galen tended gnerally to give a naturalistic account of Galen’s medicine, i.e. humoural imbalance within the terrestrial elements. Fernel, Cardano and Gemma, however, also adapted Ficinian Platonism on the basis of Hippocratic writings. Among the key notions in Hippocratic corpus, Fernel picked out the word “divine” used by Hippocrates to refer to something lying beyond the sphere of the four traditional elements. Because what is divine is not transient or destructible but supra-elemental, it must be something celestial. Fernel, as we have seen, tried to establish the consistent theme of Platonism both in Hippocrates and in Galen, but Cardano, as well as Gemma, rejects the Galenic medicine and leans heavily towards the medical corpus of Hippocrates.

Contrary to Fernel, Cardano was particularly interested in the Hippocratic writings that dealt with the celestial and atmospheric phenomena. In his book, On Subtley (De Subtilitate), he argues to establish a synthesis of two eminent ideas, i.e. the soul is nothing but a celestial heat (Hippocrates), since the heat of spiritus is analogous to the element of the stars (Aristotle).[1] Arguing that the heat is the soul’s first instrument, Cardano explains that there must be the soul wherever this kind of heat is found, and wherever there is this celestial heat, one necessarily finds soul and life. This cosmic heat, for Cardano, is animate and endowed with intelligence. And because the World Soul is all pervading, the soul is said to be omnipotent in the entire universe. In this way, Cardano emphasized the celestial origin of the soul, arguing that the soul is immortal and cannot be corrupted, in accordance with Hippocrates, since nothing is corrupted but is only separated or dispersed. So for Cardano, Hippocrates figures as an ancient sage who knew and taught the very secret of the original constitution of the world and of the soul.

Similarly, Cornelius Gemma also calls upon the authority of Hippocrates by interpreting the notion of “something divine” in the manner of Fernel and argues that “the spiritus does not really differ from innate heat, just as the spiritus of the world does not differ from the element of the stars… [and] is the first instrument of a future form or soul. It connects the form to bodies as the spiritus is tied to these bodies by a carrier quality which intervenes. It is the same spiritus as that which perfects, connects, sees and understands all according to Hippocrates.”[2] Gemma then divides the medical art into three parts:

① that which shows the actual state of things before our eyes (diagnosis)

② that which works through prognostication or prediction (prognosis)

③ that which deals with the hidden causes of actions in natural things (practice)

He continues to argue that the first two are inseparably tied together, for the medicine is intricately connected with prophecy, just as Hippocrates said that Apollo is the shared father of both medicine and prophecy. The one concerning the hidden causes of actions is explained by the “seven degrees of divinity” – the first of which is in the matter and the second is in the form of mixed bodies, whereas the third degree is found in the spiritus either through the Idea conceived in the soul as in the case of the formation of the fetus or through the action of celestial rays as are the works of innate heat).

[Q: what are the other degrees of divinity? What does it mean for a degree of divinity to reside in a matter or a form?]

For Gemma, the notion of spiritus as a universal knot of all natural things is an indispensable pillar in the structure of the universe as well as of human beings.[3]

 

 

[1] Cardano quoted in Hiro Hirai, Medical Humanism, 111. “[i]t is evident that Hippocrates correctly said: the soul is nothing but that celestial heat. This also corresponds well to the opinion of Aristotle since he wants the heat of spiritus to have a certain analogy with the element of the stars. Indeed whether the heat is the soul or its first instrument, wherever there is this [kind of] heat, it is evident that the soul itself should be present; therefore [there should be] life too. For life is nothing but the work of the soul.”

[2] Gemma quoted in Hiro Hiral, Medical Humanism, 116.

[3] Ibid., 118. “Indeed the spiritus is the knot and tie of opposites and, by the kinship of its nature, looks at both sides to the same degree. So it is not surprising if it connects the soul to the body in a human being, celestial force with sublunary things in the exterior sphere, corporeal faculties with incorporeal faculties in both realms. And [it is not surprising either] if it mixes up among them the seminal reasons of all things which act and are acted on. Since [the spiritus] belongs to all, draws all through all, composing very different things into one species by the perpetual change of contrary movements (that is, attraction, repulsion or self-rotation), Hippocrates, more than divine, attributes this triple motion to the [spiritus] by really subtle signs in the first book of On Regimen and in the book On Dreams.”

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