By Stefan Stenudd
I'm a Swedish writer and instructor of the peaceful martial art aikido. I've written several books about qi and other lifeforce concepts. I'm also a historian of ideas, researching the thought patterns in creation myths. My personal website: stenudd.com
The life energy exists in many traditions, such as qi (chi) in China, prana in India, pneuma in Ancient Greece, spiritus in Latin, and vitalism in philosophy. Here they are all explained.
Books by Stefan Stenudd:
The Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods, by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. The great Chinese classic, translated and extensively commented by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.
The ancient Chinese life energy qi (chi) explained and how to exercise it. Click the image to visit.
Taoism, the old Chinese philosophy of life, based on Tao, the Way. Click the image to visit.
Creation stories from around the world, and the ancient cosmology they reveal. Click the image to visit.
Life Energy Fundamentals
This distinction between the body on one hand, and the incorporeal mind and life force on the other, were surely instrumental in leading primeval man toward a view of two opposing worlds: the corporeal and the incorporeal.
There was one more ingredient in worldly existence pointing Homo rudis to such a division: the dead. People known and loved suddenly ceased to move, and there was no way to communicate with them anymore. Their flesh turned to dust, and nobody knew where their minds went. Still, the deceased ones remained in the memories and dreams of the survivors.
So, the dead seemed to move to another kind of world - an imaginary one, we would say, but Homo rudis had no reason to claim one world as more real than the other. To him, all that he experienced was real, in one way or other. The dead really remained, although only in memories and dreams. But there they were, and needed to be explained.
What survived death must be something of the mind, since the body obviously remained on the ground, deteriorating. The personality did not disappear, either from the memories or the dreams of those mourning the deceased. In their dreams, the dead seemed to move on, doing new things, keeping their relations to the survivors.
So Homo rudis concluded that the mind was somehow immortal. The ancestors lived on, in a non-material way. They were revered, sometimes also feared. In many cultures they were worshiped. Several theories in anthropology and the history of religion claim that this ancestor worship was the origin of religions and the belief in deities. The ancestral spirits - i.e. the memories of the deceased ones - became gods.
BooksI have written two books on the subject of life energy: Qi: Increase your Life energy and Life Energy Encyclopedia. This website has material from the latter. Here are the two books: