<1> Description of the right figure
These drawn as a pair of figures, not two different figures. The right shows the four elements necessary for the composition of natural objects. The left shows the four essential ingredients for natural phenomena to occur.
In this figure, the letter "氣" means vital power. The word "本" below it means sustaining power. Organisms may have long or short lifetimes. BAIEN thought that the organism's lifetimes are all-sustaining power.
Because of BAIEN's philosophy based on on animism, he considered both inanimate objects and celestial bodies to be life forms. In that sense, BAIEN is also a pioneer of Gaia hypothesis.
However, BAIEN considered the "Life hypothesis of the universe " beyond the Gaia hypothesis. Gaia is part of his theory. His idea may seem strange, but he thought that everything in the universe was an organism that has a different phase that existed. That is not strange for Asians. That is a universal idea even today.
The word "物" at the bottom refers to a substance that fuses with life. Life becomes an organism only when it integrated with the materials. Just as trees are rooting in the earth, each life force is rooting till every corner of the substance which is given its own form.
The roots of trees absorb water and nutrients, and the leaves get the light. Animals and birds are under the sunlight in a day and drink water from their mouths. BAIEN considered these to be only differences in the phase of the organism. Therefore, he used the word "根", which means "roots", at the bottom of this figure.
The letter "體" on the right means the shape of each entity and "精" which is the next means the precision of each mechanism. The wonders instincts of insects and the wonder's ability of slime molds come from their precise mechanisms. The phloem and conduit of plants and the vascular and nervous systems of animals are also precise. The crystal structure of minerals is also precise. The orbit of celestial bodies is also precisely determined.
The character on the left, "性" refers to the characteristics of an individual entity. "英" means the most prominent manifestation of its nature. For example, a cherry tree has a unique feature that is different from other trees. The beautiful full cherry blossom is the most typical character of the cherry. So "英" means the typical character of the entity.
BAIEN considered the difference in these beings to be due to each distribution of the ingredient. Here we can see the influence of Aristotle's theory of the Four Causes. It probably derived from '物理小織' by 方以智, but the comparative study of the literature has not started yet.
The study is a future research issue that transcends the eastern and western parts of the world.
Takahashi Masayasu (1936-2005) was the first researcher to discover this historical issue. He was my mentor.