The article was published in Frontiers of Literary Studies in China vol. 9, no.3 (September 2015). Abstract This paper explores Chinese science fiction writer Liu Cixin’s 刘慈欣novelette “The Poetry Cloud” (Shi yun, 1997) by contextualizing it within the debate between scientism and humanism in 1990s China, an event that has been downplayed in its significance in shaping Liu’s ideas. The first section of this article will investigate how the narrative framework of science fiction represents and refreshes the symbolic meaning of poetry in the abovementioned context. Secondly, by analyzing the three main characters, Yiyi, Big-tooth, and Li Bai, with a focus on their perceptions of poetry, the next section will discuss the different opinions they represent with regard to the debate. Finally, by studying Liu’s work in the context of Martin Heidegger’s reflections upon technology, the last section examines his solution to the tension between scientism and humanism in the programming of a poetry cloud that marries poetic imagination with technological means. This essay argues that the story demonstrates how Liu, a technological elite, vacillates between technological determinism and humanism, and tries to provide a possible solution to their inherent contradictions. Keywords Liu Cixin, identity, poetry, technology, humanism, scientism Introduction This essay attempts an original investigation of Chinese science fiction writer Liu Cixin’s novelette “The Poetry Cloud” (Shi yun, 1997) by examining this work in relation to the debate between scientism and humanism in 1990s China. This debate is embodied in the narrative tension between technology and poetry in Liu’s novelette, but critical opinion has tended to marginalize the importance of this work in his reconsideration of the prevailing thought of scientism in general and technological determinism in particular. The following discussions will start with exploring the symbolic meanings of poetry in the abovementioned context, trying to discover how the narrative framework of science fiction represents and refreshes its traditional culture implications. By studying the three main characters, Yiyi, Big-tooth, and Li Bai, with a focus on their perceptions of poetry, the next section will move on to the different opinions they represent with regard to the debate. The last section examines Liu’s solution to the tension between scientism and humanism by analyzing this work in the context of Martin Heidegger’s reflections upon technology. The main argument of this essay holds that this novelette demonstrates how Liu, a technological elite, vacillates between technological determinism and humanism, and tries to provide a possible solution to their inherent contradictions. As a product of poetic imagination and technological means, the sublime poetry cloud signifies the reconciliation between poetry and technology, and, as envisioned on a larger scale, between humanity and the universe. Although “The Poetry Cloud” is highly acclaimed among readers, only Song Mingwei and David Wang Der-wei have begun to discuss it in an academic setting, and neither of them has contextualized this work within the debate between scientism and humanism in 1990s China. In existing scholarship, “The Poetry Cloud” has never been studied and analyzed in depth, and this essay is the first academic paper that deals with this novelette. “The Poetry Cloud”: Tension between Poetry and Technology A senior engineer by day, science fiction writer by night, Liu Cixin (23 June, 1963) is the best-known author of the genre in China, which has developed rapidly in recent years. “The Poetry Cloud” (1997) is the first part of Liu’s Great Art Trilogy (Da yishu sanbuqu). This story fabricates a future dystopia where the whole human race has become the source of food for alien dinosaurs. When a poet named Yiyi is sent to a god-like alien creature as a gift by the dinosaur ambassador Big-tooth, he declares that classical Chinese poetry is the only thing created by humanity that cannot be surpassed by technology. In order to demonstrate the omnipotence of technology and to fulfill his own curiosity of this artistic form, the alien creature incarnates himself in Li Bai and decides to write the best poem by programming a poetry cloud to encompass all possible poetic creations. However, when all poems are stored in the sublime nebula, he cannot identify which one is a true masterpiece. Luckily, the whole human race is able to return to earth due to the ultimate poetry composition. Since the late Qing dynasty, Chinese science fiction writers have rarely questioned the revolutionary power of technology. From the nineteenth century to the present day, science fiction has consistently proved to be an ideal vehicle for registering tensions related to the definition of national identity and the modernization process. As in other peripheral areas—such as Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil—the emergence of science fiction in China was incorporated into the narrative construction of the nation state in the nineteenth century. Threatened by Western imperialists who were armed with modern science and technology, Chinese intellectuals introduced science fiction mainly as a tool to prompt people’s interest in science and technology through its utopian narrative that projects the political vision of China’s reform onto an independent, idealized, and technologically more advanced world. No matter how science fiction waxed and waned depending on China’s political vicissitudes, the renovation of the nation through technological innovation has remained a recurring theme in this genre. Nevertheless, as exemplified in novelist Liu Cixin’s “The Poetry Cloud,” searching among traditional Chinese culture for transcendence became a common theme in China’s science fiction in the 1990s. As Ruth Hayhoe points out, during the whole twentieth century, there was a struggle in China to achieve the economic and social benefits of Western science and technology, while still asserting Chinese patterns of culture and knowledge in order to maintain Chinese identity.Classical poetry, for example, is a symbol of Chinese culture and an aesthetic practice of local knowledge that expresses the intellectual and spiritual pursuits of Chinese tradition. In terms of the criteria of modern rationality, however, poetry lacks the productive value of Western science and technology. Yet, when incorporated in Liu’s narrative, poetry somehow surpasses technology and leads to the liberation of humans in an unexpected way. Such appropriation of classical Chinese culture can be commonly found among the works written in the 1990s—such as Liu Xingshi’s “The Legend of Wuzhong Mountain” (Wuzhongshan Chuanqi, 1992) and Wang Jinkang’s “The Balance of Life and Death” (Shengsi Pingheng, 1997). This theme of focusing on classical Chinese culture in the genre of science fiction raises an interesting question: Why, after informacion cialis espanol several decades of relying on Western science and technology for material progress, did many Chinese writers almost simultaneously look back at their traditional culture? An does cialis raise blood sugar examination of the debate between scientism and humanism in China during the 1990s will help us understand Liu’s narrative manipulation of “The Poetry Cloud.” Poetry: The Debate during the 1990s in China Since the launch of the reform and openness policy in 1978, the strong belief in the power of science and technology has significantly facilitated the development of “technological determinism” in modern China—a particular form of scientism. It assumes that the advance of modern technology—especially productive technology—is the fundamental drive for the development of history, which includes changes in social structure as well as cultural values. In the “The Poetry Cloud,” technology is worshipped for its magic or even divine power, as the fictional Li Bai indicates: Did you see that? This is technology, the kind of power that enabled our race to rise from slugs in the muddy ocean beds to gods. Technology is the real god. We worship Him with our whole body and soul. However, the triumph of technological determinism over humanism faced a dire challenge during the 1990s. Along with the introduction of new sociological and philosophical theories concerning science and technology—especially the post-modern discourse—the legitimacy of “technological determinism” was undermined. From the “searching for roots” movement (xungen) to the “Chinese culture fever” and the “national studies fever,” the rethinking of the value of Chinese traditional culture resulted in a dispute between the humanists—who supported the deconstruction of science—and the scientists—who worried that an anti-science attitude in contemporary China would cause the nation to risk forfeiting its rational spirit. The core issue in the reevaluation of Chinese culture has been the debate about how to seek a balance among different values—Chinese and Western, traditional and modern. As often as not, poetry serves to symbolize the resurgence of traditional cultural values and to challenge the dominance of technological determinism. In Liu’s narrative, “poetry” does not refer to the entirety of this literary form—which includes the poetic writing of all styles and languages—instead, “poetry” refers only to classical Chinese poetry. In other words, Liu reduces all of the possible signifies of the signifier poetry into the sole form of “traditional Chinese poetry,” with the extolment of its unique aesthetic running through his narrative: Yiyi: Because it [poem] is an art that can only be expressed in classical Chinese. Even when translated into another human language, it still loses the better part of its meaning and beauty, and it is transformed into something quite different.  Li Bai: Most [art forms] are complicated and obscure. But this, with so few symbols, making up such tiny matrixes yet expressing such complex layers and subdivisions of feelings, all composed under such strict, almost brutal, restrictions of style, meter and rhyme is, I admit, something I have never seen before… By highlighting its distinct style, rhyme, and meter from the perspectives of both the professional scholar and the layperson—to wit, the alien creature “Li Bai”—Liu reaffirms classical Chinese poetry as “an unsurpassable art form” on account of its untranslatability and inimitability—it can only be created and fully understood by those who understand classical Chinese and share the same cultural background as “us.” From the late Qing dynasty, it has been a long-lasting challenge for Chinese intellectuals to address the problem of national identity by fairly justifying traditional Chinese culture under the impact of Western cultural values. At the beginning, the growth of national awareness by connecting “nation” with “culture” was rooted in a resistance to Western knowledge systems—which were generally known as “sciences” (kexue). A sense of cultural superiority was based on a faith in the uniqueness of Chinese culture, and was presented as a rejection of the unqualified Western audience who were not part of “us.” At that time, early Chinese science fiction already manifested a cultural hybridity in the combination of a translated modernity and a self-conscious yearning for the rejuvenation of the Chinese tradition, and this trend of thought gained ascendancy once again in the 1990s. During the “searching for roots” movement, many “indigenous” art forms—such as Go (weiqi) and Chinese Opera—were frequently incorporated into literary gel viagra forms to represent traditional humanistic cultural values—that is, the roots of being Chinese. Undoubtedly, classical Chinese poetry is one of China’s most remarkable cultural symbols. In traditional Chinese culture, poetry, held in extremely high regard, provides a format and a forum for the expression of deep emotion and spiritual aspiration, offering the audience a rare vantage point for insight into the inner life of Chinese writers over the span of more than two millennia. In “The Poetry Cloud,” classical Chinese poetry not only belongs to Chinese intellectuals, but it also stands as “the essence of the inner world of the human soul” that deserves to be “transmitted to other parts of the universe.” From this arises the inner conflict of Liu’s attitude towards poetry—how can something untranslatable be transmitted? According to Tang Yijie, the debate between humanists and scientists involves one important issue: that is, “How to establish new Chinese culture that accommodates current global development?” This question resonates in Liu’s work, as it is considered from generic cialis online a cosmological perspective. Science fiction is able to reinvigorate traditional Chinese culture in a way that realistic fiction is unable. In this alternative narrative world, the laudation of classical Chinese poetry goes beyond the widely acknowledged aesthetic domain that was affirmed during the 1990s. Liu actually sets the ability to “grasp the essence of classical Chinese poetry” as the underlying criterion to distinguish “real human” from “non-human,” as illustrated in the following table: The most interesting example is the God-like creature. To experience poetry creation, he physically clones Li Bai, which leads him to gradually comprehend the essence of poetry. It is worth pointing out that this criterion has nothing to do with the biological definition of human beings. To put it another way, “humanity” is not defined by “genes,” but by the ability to understand “poetry.” Under this criterion, whereas domesticated humans are “non-human,” the God-like creature incarnated in the fictional Li-Bai finally becomes “human” through his effort to understand poetry. In this regard, Liu counters prevailing scientism and technological determinism with a trace of sarcasm—that is, by deliberately placing an understanding of classical Chinese poetry above that of the scientific understanding and technological cialis for daily use dosage development. Taking the aforesaid criterion of distinguishing between “human” and “non-human” as a point of departure, the following sections will analyze what position the three characters (Yiyi, Big-tooth, and Li Bai) represent in the debate between technological determinism and humanism. Yiyi: The Humanistic “Self” The hero Yiyi is a poet who teaches classical literature to the humans kept in breeding farms. These domesticated humans have some knowledge of classical is cialis the same as viagra Chinese poetry because dinosaur breeders try to “improve the quality of their meat” by making them learn poetry. Nonetheless, Yiyi appreciates this form of art spontaneously and takes pride in being a poet: Big-tooth: I’ve noticed that you think yourself noble and pure, and others to be beneath your notice. Very interesting feelings for a little fowl from a feed-lot. Yiyi: Thus the way with all poets. Yiyi straightened himself in the [Big-tooth’s] pocket, proudly holding his head high. Clearly, Yiyi is a real human by Liu’s definition. He, as an aloof poet indulging in classical Chinese poetry, values it as the product of the human mind. Indeed, Yiyi’s ancestors were also poets—those who were not involved in the Earth Defense War because they did not care about anything other than their inner world. Thus Yiyi has inherited their spiritual legacy—the “tradition” of being a poet. Meanwhile, Yiyi neither worships the power of technology, nor does he believe that technological development is the most important pursuit. In his view, poetry has nothing to do with “technology,” in that technology is “anti-poetic”: Yiyi: Nature, in the eyes of Li Bai, is the girl you see at the riverside. The same nature, in a pair of technologically-oriented eyes, is the bloody components lined up in an orderly fashion on a white cloth. In other words, technology is anti-poetic. Yiyi represents the humanists who propose rediscovering the advantage of traditional Chinese culture—especially Confucian humanists who notably rely on sense perception for their understanding of the world. What they call sense perception is similar to what is termed “epistemology” in Western philosophy. According to Confucian humanist Li Zehou, the most essential contrast between the Western and the Chinese structure of human intellect is “Western empiricism versus the Chinese dialectic”: In the Chinese tradition, mainstream thinking is characterized by understanding through the senses so as to reach a state of the unity of nature and man… Real creative thinking is obtained neither from inductions nor from deductions of some common laws. It is a kind of free imagination and mastery directly through the sense. Similarly, Yiyi proposes that one understand the world not from a pair of technologically-oriented eyes, but from a poetic sense embodied by the ancient poet Li Bai. In his view, the scalpel of technology can only dismember a pretty girl into “bloody components,” but the essence of her beauty can be grasped by perceiving her with imagination and sense perception. Confucian humanists are also noted for their ethical purism. In “The Poetry Cloud,” as Big-tooth points out, Yiyi always consider himself “pure and noble”—a characteristic which distinguishes him from other human “bugs.” Yiyi’s strict self-discipline is manifested in his weathered appearance as opposed to the fine-looking face of domesticated humans, who are carefully raised by the dinosaurs. What makes Yiyi distinctive is not merely his appearance but his mental independence. He “lives in his own inner world, and does not care for the changes happening around him.” The external environment does not affect his spiritual aspiration, which enables him to think critically of technology, instead of being subjected to it. To sum up, like the Confucian humanists, Yiyi believes that the supreme spiritual state of humanity is in the form of aesthetics, and that relying on technology causes humans to risk losing such spirituality. In this story, the magnificent power of technology to “change” the color of the sun might be a metaphor for technology’s all-pervasive presence in people’s lives during the 1990s. Although remarkable innovations greatly advanced the progress of modernity, their growing interference with the human body and mind nevertheless undermines the definition of “human.” In China during the 1990s, this process was exacerbated by the ever-accelerating market economy that further subjected individuals to the alienating force of technology. Confronted with the oppression of an “ethic” derived from the “tool,” Confucian humanists treated traditional cultural values as an ideal weapon against the invasion of technology in the spiritual sphere of humanity. For Yiyi, teaching poetry to domesticated humans is a way to retain his human dignity. Big-Tooth: The Technological “Other” In contrast to Yiyi, Big-tooth firmly believes in the productive force of technology. As the ambassador of the Devourer Empire, Big-tooth sends Yiyi as a gift to the alien creator, so that their society may benefit from his technology, bringing a great leap to their civilization: Big-tooth: If we could but master one-hundredth of that super technology, the Devourer Empire would have a bright future. While presuming that the alien creator will appreciate classical Chinese poetry, Big-tooth himself regards it as “a boring and useless actress in viagra commercial learning,” despite its ability to improve the quality of human meat. Ironically, although Big-tooth disparages the poet as “a most useless kind of bug,” he is not able to understand their useless creations. Big-tooth’s interpretation of classical Chinese poetry is rather idiosyncratic, for example: Behind a mountain the day fades, The Yellow River unites with the Ocean. Scenes a thousand miles away, One may survey from a higher floor. Big-tooth: It means a star has fallen behind a mountain on a planet, and a river called the Yellow River flows toward an ocean. You see both river and Ocean are formed by compounds of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. And if someone wants to see further away, he should climb higher. By satirizing Big-tooth, Liu humorously and hyperbolically mocks the technological determinists’ ignorance of traditional culture. Poetry is a non-rational linguistic system that is logically and naturally prior to rationality, and “it offers an experience of another kind of order, a system that operates independently of the production of the meaningful discourse that it enables.” Clearly, poetic language cannot be interpreted according to scientific rules—such as those of chemistry—as it works with a kind of logic that is devoid of discursive logic. To understand this poem, one needs imagination and cultural empathy, and Big-tooth’s overdependence on scientific rationality serves to merely expose a blind spot inherent to scientism: the ignorance of its own limitation. In addition, Big-tooth also exemplifies the barbaric “evil technologists” whose origin can be traced back to Westerners during the late Qing period. According to the prequel, “Human and the Devourer”(Ren he tunshizhe, 2000), alien dinosaurs are the descendants of the earthly dinosaurs. One hundred million years ago, their exhaustion of natural resources resulted in fatal catastrophes on earth, which forced them to expand civilization by means of interstellar colonization. Not unlike the predatory and expansionist dinosaur civilization in Liu’s work, the new state capitalists of the eighteenth century also began overseas colonization owning to an urgent need for resources—leading to the exploitation of colonies without mercy. Moreover, the barbarism of dinosaurs is not only embodied in their primitive appearance—as indicated by the name “Big-tooth”—but also manifested in their inability to gasp the meaning of classical Chinese poetry, as mentioned above. In pre-modern China, the binary opposition between “Chinese” and “barbarian” was deeply rooted in the consciousness of Chinese intellectuals. The superiority of traditional Chinese culture was constructed upon the comparison between the civilized self and the barbarian other—China always imagined itself as the political and cultural center of the civilized world. Even the Manchu government’s proposal to “learn the advanced technology of barbarians in order to defeat them” still implied that China was the center, despite the superficial progress of Western civilization in terms of technological development. Wang Hui points out that the “obtrusion” of the West in the nineteenth century was an intense traumatic experience for China—since then, Chinese intellectuals have exerted their utmost efforts to either overcome or integrate the systems of the modern world. Although Western colonial powers failed in their attempts to conquer the whole China, their violent and aggressive image has become a ghost in the discourse of science and technology that has haunted the narrative of modernity for Chinese intellectuals. Seen in this light, the colonial empire of dinosaurs in Liu’s “The Poetry Cloud” seems to indicate that colonialism is a rapacious occidental other that—despite being technologically advanced—fails to transcend their barbarian essence. Another noteworthy trait of the dinosaur is “eating humans.” best cure for cialis headache As Fredric Jameson noted in his “Third World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism,” the implications of the verb “to eat” in Lu Xun’s Diary of a Madman (1918) are the dramatization of an essential social nightmare—that is to say, under the acquiesce and protection of the most “traditional” mechanism of Chinese culture, the “compatriots” have to relentlessly “eat” each other in order to survive the turmoil of the late Qing dynasty. Nevertheless, in Liu’s narrative, that which “eats” humans is not traditional social customs, but the dinosaurs that represent colonial and technological power. While Lu Xun’s attitude toward the Chinese people is to be “sympathetic with their sufferings, and infuriated at their indifference,” Liu laments the depravity of the whole human race, one that has been tamed in the technological conservatory built by dinosaurs: On the way back to Earth, most of the humans were quite depressed, though for an entirely different reason from Yiyi’s. Once back on Earth, they would have to open up the land and cultivate their own food. For people who had been farm-raised and were viagra legal thailand thus weak-limbed, and could not tell one grain from another, this was indeed a nightmare. It is quite ironic that, for the humans who have been accustomed to being kept in cages, the real nightmare is not “being eaten,” but being “free.” Criticizing the technological alienation of humanity has been one of most enduring themes in the genre of science fiction. In Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World, the profound combination of reproductive technology, sleep-learning, and psychological manipulation creates a utopia-like dystopia, where the mission of human life is to seek carnal ecstasy instead of freedom. Likewise, in “The Poetry Cloud,” advanced technology enables dinosaurs to build a perfect conservatory for humans: On the distant grassland, the dance was over, and the jolly people started their sumptuous dinner. A group of young girls ran towards the riverbank, playing in the shallow water at the shore … composing an intoxicating image in the twilight. With a pleasant living environment and abundant and delicious food, the cage seems to be a utopia for humans. Even acknowledging that their ultimate fate is to be eaten, the humans—blithe and carefree—still persist in a general myopia, without any will to resist or revolt. Lu Xun attributes the mass paralysis of the “house of iron” to the most traditional mechanisms of Chinese culture. By contrast, in Liu’s novelette, that which turns humans into the living dead is not traditional Chinese culture, but the technology used by the dinosaurs to build a conservatory for human survival—but only for survival. Liu is anxious to remind the technological determinists of the taming effects of technology: that which has been eaten is not just the bodies of the humans, but the dignity and the essence of humanity. Li Bai: The Technological Elite in Between In Chinese culture, the historical Li Bai (701–62)—who lived during the Tang dynasty, when Chinese poetry was flourishing—has been deemed a genius who cultivated traditional poetic forms to new heights. However, in “The Poetry Cloud,” the debut of the fictional Li Bai is marked by what Darko Suvin has called “estrangement”: This is the creator of the new World, the great Li Bai. How can a poet create a world as God did? The answer is by technology: They’ve mastered unimaginable technologies, and exist in the form of pure energy. They can jump from one end of the Milky Way to the other in a flash. That makes them gods enough. In the story, the fictional Li Bai is an alien creature who has mastered super technology and worships it cialis for daily use review “with his whole body and soul,” just as Big-tooth does. Proclaiming himself to be “a collector and researcher of the art of the universe,” he is just as fascinated by classical Chinese poetry as Yiyi. In Metamorphoses of Science Fiction, Darko Suvin regards estrangement as “a cognitive and creative attitude,” which enables science fiction to use imagination as a means of understanding the tendencies latent in reality. Contextualizing this fictional Li Bai against the backdrop of a heated debate between Chinese scientism and humanism in the 1990s, let us further examine the inner conflict of the technological elites that have been caught in the middle. The paradoxical attitude of Li Bai toward technology and poetry epitomizes Liu’s continuous vacillation between his standing as a technological elite and as a fiction writer. During his famous dialogue with Jiang Xiaoyuan—a historian of science from Shanghai Jiaotong University—Liu said “as a fanatic advocator of technology, I personally believe that technology can solve all problems.” This belief has also been demonstrated in the grandly majestic scenery of technology described in his works, such as the Big Art Trilogy. Like the fictional Li Bai, both the low-temperature artist from “The Ocean of Dream” (1997) and the universe musician from “Ode to Joy” (1997) possess unimaginable super technology. In fact, it has been acknowledged that the most striking feature of Liu’s work is to combine abstract fantasy with concrete reality, thereby highlighting the beauty and significance of science and technology. According to Song, Liu tends to highlight the ideal of a “scientific utopia,” based on a profound faith in the power of science and technology. Liu’s master plot is man’s encounter with the unknown dimensions http://cheapcialisdosage-norx.com/ of universe, a place that remains largely alien to human understanding. Populated by grandiose superhuman, trans-human, or post-human figures or visions, Liu Cixin’s fictional world is fiercely lofty, sublime, and awe-inspiring. However, as mentioned previously, technological determinism was subjected to critical examination by the humanists of the 1990s, despite the numerous achievements of science and technology in China at this time. Liu’s vacillation might not be a unique case—the tension between scientism and humanism has been an obsessing and recurring question. During the new cultural movement of the mid 1910s to 1920s, science and technology provided the purpose of the revolution proposed by Chinese intellectuals as well as an ideal objective—that is, an alternative pragmatic worldview. After the Cultural Revolution, “technoscience” began to embody the social rhetoric of enlightenment and served as a prerequisite for democracy. Under such circumstances, scientific and technological intellectuals were extolled as cultural heroes under the banner of patriotism. Nevertheless, when being exposed to the trend of “Chinese culture fever” and “national studies fever,” they were forced to reevaluate and reflect upon their faith in science and technology, which, according to the humanists, hindered the development of Chinese culture. Li Bai and Yiyi’s debate over whether technology can surpass art is a metaphor for the situation that the aforementioned scientific and technological intellectuals were facing: Li Bai: This is technology, the kind of power that enabled our race to rise from slugs in the muddy ocean beds to gods. Technology is the real God. We worship Him with our whole body and soul. Yiyi: But even gods cannot surpass that kind of art! We too have gods, imaginary gods, and we worship them too; but we do not believe that they can create the kind of poetry written by Li Bai or Du Fu. At first glance, Liu just weighs Chinese poetry against technology. But at the crux of the dilemma is the underlying tension between instrumental rationality and value rationality, which are represented by technology and poetry, respectively. Max Weber has argued that the fundamental tension between being “scientific” and “humanistic” is the dichotomy between “instrumental rationality” and “value rationality.”For instrumentally buy generic viagra online rational actors who are utilitarian and even ruthlessly systematic, technology is the instrument to achieve their objectives. On the contrary, value-rational action, according to Weber, is defined by the conviction of actors that a binding or exigent cialis online pharmacy value can be ascribed to the act as a “conscious belief in the unconditional intrinsic value—interpreted in ethical, aesthetic, religious, or other terms—of a specific act that is purely an act and independent of the outcome.” In “The Poetry Cloud,” classical Chinese cheapcialisdosage-norx.com poetry symbolizes the value rationality that challenges the instrumental rationality of technology. The debate between Li Bai and Yiyi seems to hint at the ultimate success of poetry. At the end of the story, when humans are emancipated from their technological conservatory, Yiyi displays full confidence in the future of humans on Earth. No matter how much hardship lay ahead, human beings will be their own masters again. According to the humanists, the awakening of humanity will be realized through a freedom from the overreliance on technology. However, does this imply that Liu has accepted the arguments of humanists? To understand Liu’s solution to this inner vacillation, it is necessary to return to the original question raised by Big-tooth that facilitates this debate: Is the essence and nature of intelligent life really unreachable by technology? The Poetry Cloud: The Double “Revealing” of the Truth In “The Poetry Cloud,” the fictional Li Bai’s programming of a poetry cloud to encompass all possible poetic creations begins to answer the aforesaid question. As suggested by Song, the ultimate poetry cloud symbolizes the possibility of the eventual success of technology. The last part of the story—a utopian description of two Chinese poets’ happy life after the total extinction of the solar system—is best read as a simulacrum—a visual reality fabricated by the technologized mimesis of the poetic vision. In my view, Song emphasizes the physical life of the two poets, but neglects the mental impact that the poetry cloud actually brings to Yiyi and Li Bai. The programming of the poetry cloud is a “Hobson’s choice” for Li Bai. At first, the fictional Li Bai mimics the behaviors of the historical Li Bai in order to experience the creation of real poetry, but fails because he is not able to appreciate the true beauty of nature as a result of his mental reliance on technology. As Yiyi points out: Yiyi: Technology has clouded your eyes, concealing the beauty of nature from you, so the first thing you should do is to forget all about your super technology. In his “Question Concerning Technology,” Martin Heidegger discriminates between “technology” and “the essence of technology,” arguing that the current concept of technology refers to http://bestotc-viagraonline.com/ a division between technological means and human activities—that is, “the instrumental and anthropological definition of technology.” These should be understood in contrast to the essence of technology, which refers to “a mode of revealing”—that is, “technology comes to presence in the realm where ‘revealing’ and ‘unconcealment’ take place.” In “The Poetry Cloud,” technology as an instrument or a means to instrumental rationality ironically conceals the beauty of nature from “Li Bai.” It is only through “the eyes of [the historical] Li Bai” that the fictional Li Bai starts to “embrace nature.” In other words, poetic imagination reveals to Li Bai the beauty of nature. According to Heidegger, the “revealing power” of “the essence of technology” proceeds according
to a fixed script: The revealing that rules throughout modern technology has the character of a setting-upon, in the sense of a challenging-forth. Such challenging happens in that the energy concealed in nature is unlocked, what is unlocked is transformed, what is transformed is stored up, what is stored up is in truth distributed, and what is distributed is switched about anew. Unlocking, transforming, storing, distributing, and switching about are ways of revealing. In the eyes of those whose perception of the world is influenced by instrumental rationality, such as Big-tooth, the essence of technology reveals only the utility of natural things, and therefore deprives nature of its beauty. On the contrary, for those who follow value rationality, like Yiyi, to grasp the beauty of nature is beyond the revealing power of the essence of technology. Whereas Heidegger contrasts poetry and technology as two kinds of revealing power in his essays collected in Poetry, Language, Thought, Liu tends to reconcile the tension between them. The poetry cloud demonstrates that technology can reveal both the utility and beauty of nature: Li Bai transforms energy concealed in nature into poems—providing enough energy for the ultimate poetry program means exhausting the mass of the whole solar system—and stores them in a quantum computer. These poems are then distributed as the poetry cloud that, ultimately, renews Yiyi’s concept of beauty: Yiyi: It’sreally amazing! Even I have begun to admire technology. Li Bai: I see the limits of technology when applied to art… I’m a loser, oh… The sublime scenery of the poetry cloud overwhelms Yiyi. The presence of the poetry cloud changes both Yiyi’s and Li Bai’s attitudes towards poetry and technology. The poetry cloud is nothing more than a “simulacrum,” but it is also similar to the Monolith—a machine that uplifts intelligent beings in a fascinating way—featured in 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, Liu’s favorite science fiction writer. With Li Bai realizing the irreplaceability of poetic imagination and Yiyi starting to admire technology, they are gradually moving toward each other, and the tension between poetry and technology is reconciled. It can be concluded that, in Liu’s view, poetic imagination and technology are both methods for revealing the beauty of nature but work in different ways and, in order to reveal the truth, they need to rely on each other. Interestingly, Taoism deeply influenced the historical figure Li Bai, and Taoist thought is also reflected in the work of Heidegger. The work of both Li Bai and Heidegger tends to show that the granting of art can save us from the challenge of technology. The ethics of Confucianism and the cosmic awareness and free spirit of Taoism came to comprise the personality of the historical Li Bai. During the 1990s, Confucianism—the most widely practiced indigenous Chinese form of humanism—was viewed as the counterpart to scientism, while Taoism was given much less attention. Heidegger argues that people should overcome the danger of modern scientific techniques and return to their genuine home. Maybe in Liu’s unconsciousness, it should be Taoism—the local humanism which searches for “the union of man and nature”—rather than Confucianism that brings humanity back to its “poetic dwelling” in an era invaded by technology. Conclusion According to David Wang, the tension beneath the wonderful narration in Liu Cixin’s novels comes from the absolute fantasy of popular scientific knowledge and the expectations of humanity’s imagination. Although this tension is subtly relieved in “The Poetry Cloud,” it still remains a fundamental impetus for Liu in the creation of his majestic narrative worlds. We sometimes encounter characters that share the same features as Yiyi, Big-tooth, and Li Bai, as they are somehow criticized as stereotypes. Since the introduction of science fiction to China, the writers of this genre have often been intimately involved in the process of choosing the ideal future course of the nation from two paths: To be scientific and as technologically advanced as the West, or to follow the wisdom of Chinese culture? The puzzle has haunted this genre’s participation in the narrative construction of the nation’s modernization, registering a lady from the viagra commercial unique footnote in each historical process. Yet, research on Chinese science fiction has for many years focused on the early texts in the late Qing dynasty, while the implications of recent works have, by comparison, been disregarded. Our analysis of Liu’s work reminds one of the heated debate between scientism and humanism during the 1990s, and the distinction between the two vanishes into the melting point of postmodernism. When “post-humans” can exist in a state beyond human, being really human comes with a sense of poetic nostalgia. Acknowledgement: Special thanks to Kuan-yen Liu, who gave me insightful advice in the process of writing. I would also like to thank Alexander Jahn and Johannes Lange for their support and encouragement. Lastly, I am grateful to Dr. Li Guangyi for his efforts on putting together a wonderful workshop on “Chinese Science Fiction: A New Start.” References Blasing, Mutlu Konuk. Lyric Poetry: The Pain and the Pleasure of Words. New Haven, CT: Princeton University Press, 2009. Cai Zong-qi, ed. How to Read Chinese Poetry: A Guided Anthology. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2008. 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Li Zehou. Zou wo ziji de lu [To be true to myself]. Beijing: Sanlian shudian chuban gongsi, 1989. Liu Cixin and Jiang Xiaoyuan. “Weishenme renlei hai zhide zhengjiu?” [Why humans still deserve salvation]. 28 October, 2007. http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_485f2bc801000aw6.html. Date accessed 1 August, 2015. Liu Cixin. “Ren he tunshizhe” [Human and the devourer]. In Daishang Ta de Yanjing [Bring Her Eyes]. Shanghai: Shanghai kexue puji chubanshe, 2004. ———. “The Poetry Cloud,” translated by Chi-yin Ip and Cheuk Wong. Renditions, vols. 77–78. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2011. Ma Hongming. The Images of Science through Cultural Lenses: A Chinese Study on the Nature of Science. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2012. Song Mingwei, ed. Renditions, vols. 77–78. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2011. Suvin, Darko. Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1979. 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This novelette first appeared in the March 2003 issue of Science Fiction World
magazine, but Liu Cixin actually wrote it in 1997.
Liu Cixin started to write science fiction in the mid-1980s and became a full-fledged writer in the mid-1990s after developing his writing style for more than ten years. His multiple award-winning novel, The Three-Body Problem
) is the first hard science fiction novel from the People’s Republic of China that has been translated and published in the U.S.
The other two novelettes of this series are “The Ocean of Dream” (Meng zhi hai
1997) and “Ode to Joy” (Huanle song
Rachel Haywood Ferreira, The Emergence of Latin American Science Fiction
Song Mingwei, “Preface,” 7.
Ruth Hayhoe, China’s Universities, 1895–1995: A Century of Cultural Conflict
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 95.
Ma Hongming, The Images of Science through Cultural Lenses: A Chinese Study on the Nature of Science
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 92.
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 93.
Song Mingwei, “Preface,” 7.
Cai Zong-qi, ed., How to Read Chinese Poetry: A Guided Anthology
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 94.
Tang Yijie. “Luelun bainianlai Zhongguo wenhua shang de Zhongxigujing zhizheng,” 14–16.
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 89.
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 102.
Hua Shiping, Scientism and Humanism: Two Cultures in Post-Mao China, 1978–1989
Li Zehou, Zou wo ziji de lu
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 89.
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 89.
This is a Tang-era poem called “Climbing White Stork Tower” (Deng Guanque lou
) that has been attributed to Wang Zhihuan (688–742): 白日依山盡，黃河入海流。欲窮千里目，更上一層樓。
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 92. Emphasis added.
Mutlu Konuk Blasing, Lyric Poetry: The Pain and the Pleasure of Words
This novelette first appeared with the name “The Devourer” (Tunshizhe
) in the November 2002 issue of Science Fiction World
magazine, but Liu Cixin actually wrote it in 2000.
Wang Hui, “Renwen huayu yu Zhongguo de xiandaixing wenti,” 371.
Fredric Jameson, “Third-World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism,” 72.
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 109.
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 101–2.
100 ml viagra 
Darko Suvin, Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: on the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 88.
Darko Suvin, Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: on the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre
Liu Cixin and Jiang Xiaoyuan, “Weishenme renlei hai zhide zhengjiu?”
Low-temperature artist is an alien artist who creates works of art with ice and snow extracted from oceans.
Song Mingwei, “Preface,” 11.
Dai Jinghua, Yinxing shuxie: 90 niandai Zhongguo wenhua yanjiu
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 95.
Max Weber, Economy and Society
Max Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 109.
Song Mingwei, “Preface,” 11.
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 102.
Martin Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology,” 319.
Liu Cixin, “The Poetry Cloud,” 112–13.
Chan Wing-Cheuk, “Phenomenology of Technology: East and West,” 11.
Der-wei David Wang, “Utopia, Dystopia, Heterotopias: From Lu Xun to Liu Cixin.”