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Neijing Foreword 4




Hence the importance of the Su wen as a source of ancient Chinese intellectual
history lies in its formative period of about one thousand years; it
offers invaluable data on cognitive dynamics in ancient Chinese medicine
and knowledge of nature. Reading the Su wen not only increases our understanding
of the roots of Chinese medicine as an integral aspect of Chinese
civilization. It also provides a much needed starting point for serious
and well-informed discussions on differences and parallels between European
and Chinese approaches to existential threats such as illness and the
risk of early death. Such discussions are essential to an appreciation of the
cultural construct of illness and health in Chinese intellectual traditions; they
appear necessary in view of current political attempts to structure the coexistence
of Chinese and Western medicine either as competing or as complementary
paths in the unending quest for human health.



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