rén fù tiān shù 人副天数
Humanity Should Be Aligned with Nature.
People’s physical constitution, emotions and ethics should closely correspond with the structure and order of Nature. The theory of “Humanity Should Be Aligned with Nature” was put forward by Dong Zhongshu (179-104 BC). He believed that all things between heaven and earth and their operation had their own intrinsic structure and order. A person’s body, feelings, thinking, acts, and ethics are all in correspondence with the structure and order of Nature, particularly in numbers. According to this theory, humans are but a duplicate of Nature. Dong’s idea provided the basis for mutual interaction between people and Nature.
Humans have 366 small joints, like the number of days of a year. We have 12 large joints, the number of months in a year. We have five organs, like the five elements. We have four limbs, like the number of seasons in a year. We open our eyes one minute and close them the next, which is just like changes of day and night. We may be firm this moment and tender next, resembling winter and summer. We may become grieved this moment and joyful the next, like yin and yang. We have plans and concerns, which are patterned after the operation of heaven and earth. We follow our ethics when acting, in compliance with the order of heaven and earth. All these are inherent in us as soon as we are born. People and Nature are matched in countable ways. In other aspects that cannot be expressed in numbers, our constitution corresponds with Nature. Both countable and uncountable aspects conform to the laws of Nature. (Dong Zhongshu: Luxuriant Gems of The Spring and Autumn Annals)