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Li - Dynamic Form in Nature

2 3 Li are essentially dynamic formations, and as such can give the impression of a frozen moment, of a process caught at a particular instant of time, or, in a more abstract sense, of the principle of energy engaging with that of form. Li are appealing in a purely aesthetic sense because, although they tend to be relatively simple configurations, they have a high degree of content. In this era of microprocessing we are all becoming familiar with the extent to which information of all kinds can be condensed and stored. Perhaps because of this the descriptive potentialities of the sorts of squiggles, blobs and striations that are presented here are more easily appreciated than in even the more recent past. If this is indeed the case it would seem that the aesthetics of Li are as characteristically modern as they are respectfully ancient. According to the great Sung philosopher Chu Hsi 11301200 CE The term tao refers to the vast and great the term li includes the innumerable veinlike patterns included in the Tao ... Li is like a piece of thread with its strands, or like this basket. One strip goes this way, and the other goes that way. It is also like the grain in bamboo. On the straight it is of one kind and on the transverse it is of another kind. So also the mind possesses various principles ... Llanidloes, 2002. may be found throughout the natural world. They present, in a traditional Chinese view at least, an order that arises directly out of the nature of the Universe. It is this somewhat platonic notion of eternal and preexistent forms that thus accounts for the appearance of strikingly similar formations in widely different circumstances and in quite unrelated phenomena. That an ancient Chinese term should be appropriate for this particular category of graphic imagery is itself part of that by now wellknown convergence of older Eastern and of mystical concepts with more recent developments in our own Western, more analytical, traditions of thought. Western science has always been interested in pattern, indeed patternrecognition can be seen as the very basis of science. But it is only in more recent times that the sort of quasisymmetrical forms that are presented here have been considered worthy of serious investigation. This has involved a great extension of symmetry concepts, and a moving away from rigid classicism. In fact physicists have long abandoned older notions of a static, material substantiality in favour of a view that regards substance as the product of energetic forces that are ceaselessly at work in the Universe. In this, of course, the integrative quality of current scientific views brings them much more in line with older Eastern religious and philosophical concepts. There is an aspect of Li however, to which Western thought, at least on a general philosophical level, has not yet aspired this concerns the notion of a phenomenal dualism, which is so much a part of Eastern particularly Chinese cosmological views.
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