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22: CHAPTER XXL On Heat and Cold

CHAPTER XXL On Heat and Cold (Han-wen). 

People reasoning on heat and cold assert that, when the 

sovereign is pleased, it is warm, and, when he is angry, it is cold. 

How is that? 

Joy and anger originate in the bosom. Subsequently they 

find their way out, and once outside, are the causes of rewards and 

punishments, rewards and punishments being the manifestations of 

joy and anger. When heat and cold are sufficiently strong, things 

become withered, and men are injured, and that is done by heat 

and cold, which are said to be the representatives of joy and anger. 

Within the course of a few days a sovereign is not always 

full of joy or anger, which sentiments having broken forth from 

the bosom, expand and appear as heat and cold outside, thus showing 

the feelings of the bosom. When the sovereign is pleased or angry, 

this fluid of his bosom is not changed into heat or cold. Why 

should the fluid in his bosom be different from the fluid within the 

territory of a country? The fluid of the bosom is not transformed 

through joy or anger, how then should heat and cold originate 

within the territory? 

During the time of the Six States, 1 and the Ch'in and Han 

epoch the feudal princes were subjugating one another, armour-clad 

warriors filling all the roads. The States were investing each other 

with the greatest animosity, and their leaders thought of nothing 

else than of vanquishing their enemies. A feeling of universal 

slaughter pervaded everything. Yet at that time it was not always 

cold in the Empire. The time of Yü was one of universal peace. 

The government was good, the people contented, and the sovereign 

always pleased. In every house they were playing the guitar, 

singing, beating drums, and dancing. Yet at that time it was not 

constantly warm in the Empire. Is the feeling of joy and anger 

evoked by small things only, and does it not care for great ones? 

How is it so little in accordance with the deeds done? 

1 Yen, Chao, Han, Wei, Ch'i and Ch'u, which in 332 b.c. made an offensive 

and defensive alliance to check the encroachments of the Ch'in State, but by and by 

the latter overpowered and absorbed them all. 

On Heat and Cold. 279 

Near the water it is cold, near the fire warm, the heat and 

the cold decrease in proportion to the distance, for the quantity 

of the fluid varies according to the distance. The seat of the fire 

is always in the south, that of the water in the north,1 therefore 

the northern region is cold, and the southern limit hot. 

The fire in a stove, the water in a ditch, and the fluid in the 

human body are all governed by the same principle. When the 

sovereign is pleased or angry, this fluid of heat or cold ought to 

he especially strong in his private apartments, and much less so 

outside his territory. Now the temperature is the same without and 

within, consequently it cannot well be the result of the sovereign's 

joy or anger, and the assertions of our scholars to that effect are futile. 

With an emperor a sudden change of the mental fluid takes 

place in the empire, with princes in their territory, with ministers 

and high officers in their department, and with common people 

in their house. Since even ordinary people are liable to such 

changes, their joy and their anger must also produce such fluids 

(as heat and cold). The father quarrels with the son, and husband and wife reprove one another. If there ought to be anger, 

but anger be turned into joy, or if faults be forgiven, and the 

wrong done hushed up, there would be cold and heat in the same 

house. This shows us that the sudden changes (of temperature) 

are not being caused by joy and anger. 

Some one will say that there is attraction by affinity. If a 

man be pleased, he is kind and genial, and in his kindness gives 

rewards. The Yang principle is giving, and the Yang fluid is warm, 

therefore the warm fluid corresponds to it. If a man be angry, 

he is enraged and indignant, and in his rage puts people to death. 

The Yin principle is cold murder, and the Yin fluid is cold, therefore the cold fluid corresponds to it. " When the tiger howls, the 

wind blows from the valley, and when the dragon performs its 

antics, the brilliant clouds rise."2 Their fluids being identical, and 

their species the same, they attract one another. Hence the saying 

that with the body one removes the shadow, and that with the 

dragon one attracts the rain. 3 The rain responds to the dragon 

and comes, the shadow responds to the body and goes. 4 The nature 

1 According to ancient natural philosophy. Consequently temperature cannot 

be the result of the feelings of the sovereign. 

2 A quotation from Huai Nan Tse III, 2, with a slight variation of the text. 

3 Therefore during a drought clay figures of dragons are set up and worshipped to attract the rain. Cf. p. 55, No. 47. 

4 Viz. with the body. 

280 Lun-hêng: C. Physical. 

of heaven and earth is spontaneity. In autumn and winter punishments are meted out.1 Smaller misdemeanours are partly pardoned, 

but the capital punishments cause a bitter cold. The cold comes 

as an accompaniment of punishment, which shows that they attract 

one another. 

If heat and cold be compared with wind and clouds, and joy 

and anger refer to the dragon and the tiger, a mutual attraction 

might be possible, provided that the fluids be the same and the 

categories similar. 2 When the tiger howls, the wind rises from the 

valley, and when the dragon gambols, the clouds rise within a 

radius of one hundred Li, but in other valleys and other regions 

there is no wind nor clouds. Now, sudden changes of temperature 

take place everywhere, and at the same time. There may be executions within a territory of a hundred Li, but it is cold within 

a thousand Li, consequently this could not well be considered a 

proof of a connexion between the two events. Ch'i and Lu were 

conterminous, and gave rewards and punishments at the same time. 

Had Ch'i rewarded, while Lu punished, the effects would have been 

different also. Could then the Ch'i State have been warm, whereas 

it was cold at the same time in the Lu country? 

In former times nobody was more cruel in punishing than 

Ch'ih Yu and the doomed prince of Chin. 3 The subjects of Ch'ih Yu 

were most perverse and dissolute, and in doomed Ch'in red clad 

criminals were walking on the roads shoulder to shoulder, and yet 

at that time it was not always cold in the Empire. On the market 

of the emperor's capital oxen and sheep were slaughtered every 

day by hundreds. He who executes man as well as he who kills 

animals has a wicked heart. Albeit, the air on the market place 

of the capital cannot always be cold. 

One might object that a man is far superior to animals, and 

that man alone provokes the fluid. However, does the one who 

puts to death provoke the fluid, or do those who are put to death, 

cause the change? In the first case, no matter, whether the one 

who inflicts the death penalty executes a man, or kills an animal, 

the mind is the same, and in the latter men and beasts are both 

creatures. They all belong to the ten thousand beings, and would 

not a hundred mean ones be worth as much as one precious one? 

Some people will maintain that a sovereign alone can evoke 

the fluid, but not common people. If, to set the fluid in motion. 

1 Cf. p. 148 Note 7. 

2 An attraction between joy and heat, anger and cold. 

3 Chill Shih Huang Ti. 

On Heat and Cold. 281 

a sovereign is required, why does the world make so much of Tsou 

Yen? Tsou Yen was a commoner, and yet he could move the fluid 

quite alone, as everybody admits.1

When one man is put to death, the air becomes cold, but, 

when a man is born, does the temperature become warm then? 

When a general amnesty is granted to the four quarters, and all 

punishments are remitted at the same time, the fluid of the month 

and the year does not become warm thereby. 

In former years thousands of people have had their houses 

burnt, so that the flames and the smoke went up to heaven, and 

the Yellow River broke through its dykes, flooding a thousand Li, 

so that far and wide there was no bound to the prospect. Fire 

is identical with the hot fluid, and water with the cold one. At 

the time of the conflagration or the inundation of the Yellow River 

it has not been warm or cold. The setting in of heat and cold do 

not depend on government, I dare say, but eventually heat and cold 

may be simultaneous with rewards and punishments, and it is for 

this reason that the phenomenalists 2 describe them as such. 

Spring is warm, summer hot, autumn cool, and winter cold. 

These four seasons are spontaneous, and do not concern the sovereign. The four seasons are not caused by government, but they 

say that heat and cold correspond to it. At the beginning of the 

first month and subsequently at the " commencement of spring " 

all the punishments have been meted out, and the prisons remain 

empty. Yet one day it is cold, and one day warm. What manner 

of punishment is being inflicted, when it is cold, and what kind 

of rewards are given, when it is warm? We see from this that 

heat and cold correspond to the time periods of heaven and earth, 3 

and are not made by men. 

When people are suffering from a cold or from fever, their 

actions have no influence upon these diseases. By exposure to the 

wind, or to bad air their body has become chilly or feverish. By 

changing their habits, or altering their style of life they do not 

1 When Tsou Yen, a scholar of the 4th cent, b.c, had been put into prison 

upon a trumped up charge, he looked up to heaven and wept. All of a sudden 

snow began to fall, although it was midsummer. See also p. 194. 

2 A class of scholars, often mentioned in the Lun-hêng, who seem to have 

devoted themselves to the study of natural phenomena and calamities, such as heat 

and cold, inundations, droughts, famines, etc. to which, however, they did not ascribe 

natural, but moral causes, misled by the pseudo-science of the liking and similar works. 

3 Of which the Chinese distinguish 24, beginning with li-ch'un " commencement 

of spring," They count from the days on which the sun enters the first and fifteenth 

degree of one of the zodiacal signs. 

282 Lun-Hêng: C. Physical. 

get rid of their cold or their fever. Although the body is quite 

near, it cannot bring about a Change and a cure. Now a city or 

a State is much more distant, how should it be possible to regulate their fluids? — When a man has caught cold, he drinks medicine, which soothes his pain, and when, being somewhat weak, he 

has got fever, he swallows pills, which make him perspire, and 

thus cure him. 

In Yen there was the " Cold Valley " in which the five kinds 

of grain did not grow. Tsou Yen blew the flute, and the " Cold 

Valley " could be cultivated. The people of Yen sowed millet in 

it, and called it " Millet Valley." If this be true that with playing 

the flute the cold fluid was dispelled, how could this calamity be 

averted by a change of government or action? Therefore, a cold 

and fever cannot be cured but with medicine, and the fluid of the 

" Millet Valley " cannot be transformed but with music. 

When Yao was visited with the Great Flood, he ordered Yü 

to regulate it. Cold and heat are essentially the same as the Great 

Flood.1 Yao did not change his administration or conduct, being 

well aware that the Great Flood was not the result of government 

or conduct. Since the Flood was not brought about by government or conduct, we know that heat and cold cannot be caused 

by government either. 

Some one might in disproof quote from the " Various Verifications " of the Hung-fan which says that " excitement is as a rule 

accompanied by cold, and- cheerfulness by tepidity."2 Accompanied 

means: followed, tepidity: warmth, and "as a rule: " always. 

When the sovereign is excited, cold weather always follows, when 

he is cheerful, warm weather follows. Cold and heat correspond 

to excitement and cheerfulness, how can their connexion with the 

government be denied? Does the Classic say that excitement causes 

no cold, and cheerfulness no warmth? 

The sovereign being excited or cheerful, cold or heat set in, 

but by chance and of their own accord. If they corresponded intentionally, it would be like the obtaining of omens by divining 

with shells, or like the finding of numbers by telling the fortune 

from straws. People pretend that heaven and earth respond to 

the questions addressed to them, but, as a matter of fact, it is 

nothing but chance. Heat and cold respond to excitement and 

cheerfulness, as omens and numbers are the response to the inquiries  

1 They are all natural phenomena. 

2 Shuking, Hung-fan Pt. V, Bk. IV, 31 (Legge Vol. III, p. 340). 

On Heat and Cold. 288 

of the diviners. Externally they seem to respond, but actually it is hazard. How can we prove that? 

The principle of heaven is spontaneity. Spontaneity means 

absence of purpose. When the two kinds of divination are applied, 

things may meet eventually, or happen by accident, and perhaps 

coincide with human affairs. The heavenly fluid is there already, 

therefore one may speak of a principle. Should it correspond to 

government, however, there would be no more spontaneity. 

Ching 1 has distributed the 64 symbols of the Yiking over one 

year. One symbol rules over 6 days and 7/10. The symbols consist 

of Yin and Yang.2 The fluid rises and falls. When the Yang fluid 

rises, it becomes warm, and, when the Yin fluid rises, it becomes 

cold. According to this theory heat and cold depend on the symbols, but do not correspond to government. In accordance "with 

the " wu-wang " symbol 3 of the Yiking,  inundations and droughts 

have fixed times. All the innumerable calamities and disasters are 

of the same kind. 

I am afraid that the phenomenalists have missed the truth 

for the following reason: — "The ideal man is endowed with the 

same virtue as heaven and earth. When man takes the lead, heaven 

does not disagree with him, and when he follows heaven, he respects heaven's time." 4 The Hung-fan on the other hand says that 

" excitement is as a rule accompanied by cold, and cheerfulness by 

tepidity." According to this passage of the Hung-fan the heavenly 

fluid follows man. The Yiking however only says that, when man 

takes the lead, heaven does not disagree with him. But why does 

it add that, when he follows heaven, he respects heaven's time? 

To follow means that heaven was already cold or hot before, and 

that man followed with his rewards and punishments afterwards. 

This statement of men does not agree with the Shuking. That is 

my first doubt. 

Ching determines heat and cold by the Yin and the Yang fluids 

ascending and descending, whereas the phenomenalists lay all the 

stress on punishments, joy and anger. The two schools walk different ways. That is my second doubt. 

When people determine heat and cold, it may be cold to-day, 

and warm to-morrow, or at dawn there is plenty of hoar-frost, 

1 Ching Fang, a metaphysician of the 1st cent, b.c, who spent much labour 

on the elucidation of the Yiking. 

2 Marked by broken and unbroken lines. 

3 The 25th hexagram of the Yiking. 

4 Quotation from the Yiking, 1st diagram (Ch'ien). Cf. pp. 98 and 128. 

284 Lun-Hêng: C. Physical. 

and in the evening resplendent light, or one morning is rainy, but 

warm, and another bright and cold. Now rain is Yin, and brightness Yang, and conversely cold is Yin, and warmth is Yang. A rainy 

day may clear up, and become cold, and a bright day become 

rainy, and warm. The categories do not correspond correctly. That 

is my third doubt. 

These three doubts are not set at rest, and the principle of 

spontaneity is not upheld either.