FINAL COMMENTS ON PRANA AND CHI
The notions of prana and of chi were developed in a world where the dualities such as body and soul, psyche and soma, or energy and matter did not exist.
The Chinese chi is initially an undifferentiated dynamic matter that serves as the basis for the production of differentiated elements such as fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Each represents a certain relationship between yin and yang. The immense variety of the dynamics of matter managed by human practices derives from these fundamental forces. The notion of active matter does not have an equivalent in a physics that separates matter and energy.
When we spoke of prana, we saw that all activity that influences attention and breathing (such as the postures) has an impact on prana. Chi is a similar substance but more differentiated. It is influenced by what enters and leaves the body through respiration, but also by gestures and acupuncture needles. Most of the Chinese masters realize that they understand chi only by their ability to influence it, but it would be difficult to define it positively, to explain its constituents.
PART II Starting with the Certitudes of the Soul and Ending with the Ambivalences of the Mind
In the following chapters I highlight philosophical speculations that are still influential in the psychotherapeutic literature. Their impact is often camouflaged by recent refinements, but it remains timely as witnessed by the renowned personalities I discuss and the frequency with which they are referenced in specialized works currently under publication.
About Plato: Idealism and Body Psychotherapy
I dealist theories1 assume that immaterial structures animate and organize all that exists. These structures can be Plato’s Ideas.â In other forms of Idealism, like the ones that enlivened Galileo’s and Newton’s scientific discoveries, scientists mostly hypothesize that all the mechanisms of the universe structure themselves according to a natural logicâ2 that mathematicians attempt to express formally.