The Philosophy of Macrobiotics
George Ohsawa visited Paris via the Siberian Railway without any financial support and then published his first book, Unique Principle, in French (Vrin Company, Paris) in 1929 at the age of thirty six. The most important contributation of this work to modern society is in the fact that it will lead people to a better and deeper understanding of the principle on which Eastern religon, morals, character, living customs, and science are based. And this understanding in turn will help people to lead happier and healthier lives. (1)
To offer to the Western World a key to the philosophy and science of the Far-East, one which at the time opens the mysterious door of the so-called "Primitive Mentality", is a daring gesture to make for an Oriental. This key is the "universal law", the "unique principle" of ancient Chinese philosophy and science more than fifty centuries old.
The only law of Chinese medicine is explained in four words, Shin do fu ji, which means man is the result of his environment. In other words, to maintain natural and perfect health, man must feed himself on the products which nature offers him in the very same proportions as they are naturally produced. This refers, of course, to the natural, that is to say, traditional products which might be found within a 50 kilometer radius from his dwelling place.
Our body consumes energy at the expense of the carbon introduced into our system by our food. The cells, the units of our constitution, destroy and reproduce themselves constantly, always using food as fuel. Life may be considered as a fluid falling through the cellular terrain.
Everything that current medicine considers as a symptom has little importance in traditional Chinese medicine. What was sought was the deep cause of the illness, and neither heredity nor microbes are the cause in this respect.
There are only two categories of illness.
1. Yin disease, due to an excess of Yin elements.
2. Yang disease, due to an excess of Yang elements.
All medicine as well as all therapeutic agents also fall into two categories. The Yin ones heal Yang disorders; the Yang ones heal Yin disorders. But it must not be taken as a rigid classification from which one might draw up a sort of dictionary. That is why no medicine is more difficult to thoroughly grasp or teach than the ancient Chinese medicine. Yin and Yang classification, as in chemistry, is always relative.
All the medications are natural products of such great variety and number that the medical encyclopedia of Li-Che Tohen, published in 1578, consists of 52 volumes. They are grouped into three categories by their efficiency and manner of action: lowest, middle and superior.
Those of the lowest group are comparable to those of modern pharmacology, which is to say, they are the most effective in the shortest amount of time, but always eventually harmful and dangerous.
The middle medications are closer to the category of daily food. These are secondary products of the environment and, in general, still a far cry from the superior medications, which are direct products of the natural environment and can heal perfectly.
The superior medication is daily food with which one can achieve perfect health and happiness.
To sum up, the ancient Chinese medicine considers the living being the transformation of his nutrition, and any illness as a phenomenon of imbalance that has occurred in the course of his transformation. Consequently, the medical principle is that every illness cures itself by a simple adjustment of diet. In practice the treatment is also quite simple. (2)
1. The Unique Principle - Preface to the English Edition - Herman Aihara
2. The Unique Principle - English Edition - 1976
© Copyright 1976 George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation - G.O.M.F