ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

›› 2007, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (05): 934-941.

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Address-response In Ancient Chinese Psychological Thoughts

Zhou Yiqi,Ye Guoan   

  1. Department of Social Psychology, Nankai University, Tianjin 300071, China
  • Received:2006-11-08 Revised:1900-01-01 Published:2007-09-30 Online:2007-09-30
  • Contact: Zhou Yiqi

Abstract: In essence, the mechanical cause-effect concept espoused by mainstream psychology is established on the principle of “physical closeness.” Under the domination of this kind of theoretical logic, mainstream psychology emphasizes part rather than whole; similarly, it stresses on entity rather than manifestation, resulting in selective ignoring, such as shutting the eyes to forms, long-distance effect, complicated phenomena, the significance of lives, etc. In this manner, there may appear disastrous consequences in that while depriving all things of a sense of beauty in the human mind, people are able to treat everything in nature at will, and thus, science creates an ugly world. In contrast to the mechanical cause-effect concept or the law of physical closeness espoused by mainstream psychology, field theory proposed by physics and biology as well as by Gestalt and Jungian psychologies is based on the long-distance effect. Inspired by this theoretical logic and hoping to compensate for the deficiencies in the mechanical cause-effect concept, some psychologists have begun to break through the limits of the mechanical cause-effect concept and focus on the influence of the whole on the part, the form, the symbol, etc. In comparison with the traditional scientific mode that aims at obtaining certainty, the Chinese traditional culture underlines probability and creativity. In ancient Chinese thoughts, field theory is present in the address-response perspective, which covers interpersonal communication, sympathy among the same species, and the turns of events. With relationship being at the center, address-response characterizes inter-subjectivity, creativity, and imagery. In line with this idea, the original mental state, the thing in itself, could be retrieved through cultivation. Thus, the principle that the thing in itself is regained through cultivation with practice being prioritized over theory is a great characteristic of ancient Chinese psychological thoughts. However, the Taoist approach places emphasis on how to make an appropriate response, while the Confucian one is more concerned with how to evoke a response in light of a sincere address. At the applied level, address-response finds its way to reciprocity in (1) interaction, (2) interpretative approach involved in ideal personality, (3) moral politics embodied by state governance, (4) reciprocal teaching in education, and (4) the awareness-responsibility enhancement in moral development, all of which are included in ancient Chinese psychological thoughts. Despite the lack of accuracy, ancient Chinese psychology paves a new path in its development. Its essential messages are that (1) active participation in the address-response process leads to a relationship and consequently creativity, (2) imagery discourse works better in the emotional facet of interaction, (3) appreciating and understanding this world requires the address-response approach, and (4) experiences with life and everyday knowledge are important. In this manner, there is no doubt that ancient Chinese psychological thoughts provide valuable inspiration for modern psychology. Being an open system, similar to modern physics, psychology needs to assimilate all that ancient oriental thoughts can offer, thereby helping people out of their psychological predicament in this alienated world and guiding them back to their spiritual homes that are in harmony with society as well as nature

Key words: the address-response concept, the cause-effect concept, field, cultivation

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