In traditional Chinese philosophy, the “natural world” contains three parts:  the sky, consisting of every planet in the universe, the Earth, including the physical sphere of the Earth and all creatures except humans, and the air between the sky and the Earth, including the weather. Additionally, the “human world” involves physiology, psychology, morality, social systems, and so forth. The traditional Chinese philosophy believes that the unity of the “natural world” and the “human world” shares the same laws as the universe. Although the phrase was first mentioned in Zheng meng by Zai Zhang (1020-1077), 

who was a philosopher of the Confucian school in the Northern Song Dynasty, the concept  had already appeared in the Spring and Autumn Period ( 770 BC - 225 BC) and had constructed the  foundation of the traditional Chinese philosophy system in which Zhou yi plays a key role. In a general sense, Zhou yi is a divination book. Actually, it expounds on the relationship between humanity and nature. Furthermore, Zhou yi explains that Causalities (principle of cause and effect) of the human world stand on the temperate and permanent order of nature that affects the human world comprehensively (Wang, Lao, Yang, & Liu, 1998).

My work explores the interactions between the “natural world” and the “human world.” “The universe revolves sturdily”, the first sentence in Zhou yi, briefly explains the natural law that everything is endless and circulating without a beginning or ending. Additionally, the book also lists humans’ circular system in twelve steps: germination, buffing, crudeness, independence, prosperity, decline, languishment, stubbornness, silence, isolation, originality and gestation (Wang, Lao, Yang, & Liu, 1998).  By studying the relationship between each step and the related natural situation, people would learn the regulations of human civilization from individual biology, personality, and the fate of a nation’s development. This is not a mysterious “supernatural” operating principle, but simply a natural system where all the activities in the universe are repeated and connected to each other.

In my work, I am interested in researching the human world’s circular system, especially focusing on the contemporary globalized situation, which includes international people, multiple cultures and the globalized economic system. I plan to create my own planet that will be an entirely human circular system consisting of unique personal time, location, culture, and daily supplies since these four elements construct a basic “human world.” The process of making the multi-purpose personal system not only bridges the distance of time and geography but also the cultures and economies of two opposite sides of the Earth.


 Latour, B. (1993). We have never been modern. London: Prentice Hall, Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Wang, R., Gen, L., Hong, Y., & Yu, L. (Eds.). (1998). Zhou yi bao dian. Inner Mongol, China: The University of Inner Mongol Press.

--by Yuanyuan Li--June 2009