Modern Civilization, Modern People, and Modern Diseases (Part I)

April 15, 2012 Updated: April 8, 2013


Modern science strongly influences people. Today, people enjoy modern civilization while suffering from new diseases. The basis of modern science is direct observation. Founded on tangible objects that we can see, modern science applies qualitative and quantitative methods of examination.

As advanced as we are today, if we calmly look at the history of human civilization, objectively analyze archaeological discoveries, and carefully reconsider the unknown phenomena, we will conclude that the present-day scientific research is only one of many possible paths of exploration.

It is a fallacy to believe that ours is the only human civilization that ever existed. Many discoveries have demonstrated that other prehistoric civilizations existed. To more thoroughly explore and understand our surroundings and the universe in which we live, we must acknowledge that other scientific methods exist, probably completely different from our own.

If we stubbornly reject other possible methods, we are allowing our emotions to restrict us rather than having a truly scientific mindset. If we break through our postnatally acquired notions, concepts, and conditioning, we will surely find a more evolved science.

Modern science furthers the destruction and pollution of our living environment and helps poison our bodies. In return, it gives people short-term pleasure. The inventions of modern science teach people to struggle for material goods, which they pursue for indulging themselves.

Some people say that our lives are so much better than those of ancient people. It seems that we cannot fathom that people were happy in ancient times.

Actually, ancient people were happy. Ancient people were attuned to nature—the green mountains, the blue water, flying birds, and white clouds. They were carefree. They experienced a kind of liberation, existing in a realm in which one is attuned with heaven’s plan.

That was real happiness—deep, continuous, peaceful, and comfortable. Such happiness solidly nurtures one’s heart and body.

But modern people struggle painfully, stay busy, and never enjoy the happiness of reaching the other side of the mountain. Many modern people have lost human virtue, including prudence, diligence, tolerance, peacefulness, and courtesy.


The five flavors must be balanced; one cannot get attached to any single one.


In modern civilization, human beings have been weighed down with increasing numbers of modern diseases. How do we approach this issue? Only by letting go of attachments to modern science and modern civilization will we be able to understand and solve the problem.

Imbalances in Yin and Yang

Ancient Chinese culture believed that the interaction between yin and yang created the universe and all matter.

The movement of the universe, including all matter, follows the rule of mutual-generation and the balance of yin and yang. The human body is a small universe. While it has its own pattern of movement, it is also related to the entire universe.

The ancients had many sayings that were meant to instruct people about the relationship between fostering life and the changes of the seasons. Here are a few of the sayings:

• Man follows heaven and earth and harmonizes with the sun and moon.
• Follow nature, prevent evil qi from entering from the outside, nurture yang in the spring and summer, and nurture yin in the autumn and winter.
• It harms the liver if one opposes the qi of spring, harms the heart if one opposes the qi of summer, harms the lungs if one opposes the qi of autumn, and harms the kidney if one opposes the qi of winter.

Life must be orderly and in harmony with the changes of yin and yang every single moment.

The ancients also said that a person who gathers the qi of yang should spend his time outdoors during the day. As the sun rises in the morning, qi appears. Qi is at its height at noon and fades out in the afternoon.

The qi gate is closed after dark, so one should not be active and disturb the tendons and bones after sunset. If one reverses this time schedule, one’s body will suffer.

It is clear that if one’s activities are against the laws of the seasons and the yin and yang of the day, the human body will be in turmoil. The result is an imbalance of qi and blood and may result in illness. Aren’t today’s nightlife and other pleasures all out of harmony with the changes of yin and yang in the universe?

The ancients said that most illnesses are caused by being alert in the early morning, drowsy during the day, stimulated in the late afternoon, and active at night.

This means that one’s symptoms have a certain relationship with the changes of yin and yang. Many people have experienced this, which is also confirmed by modern medicine .

The ancients knew the Dao, followed yin and yang, and abided by metaphysical rules. They were restrained in their eating habits, awoke and slept regularly, and never strained themselves in their work. They lived their lives to the predestined time, frequently living more than 100 years.

Many of today’s people are different. They drink alcohol and indulge themselves in abnormal activities. When they are drunk, they exhaust their vital energy.

 People do not know how to preserve their vital energy and do not organize their time sufficiently to conserve energy. Many people only care about indulging in pleasure. They have ups and downs, and their behavior is erratic. This is why many people begin to weaken in their 50s.

This is Part I of two-part series. You can go here for Part II.

—Pure Insight