Is Lifespan Predetermined? Insight From 16th Century Doctor

Lifespan is surely influenced by fate (i.e. good genetics), so what’s the point of living in a clean environment and practicing healthy life habits?

“Click me!” – the baby

Hi, thanks for clicking on this blog.

I am passionate about Eastern medicine literature and ways to connect the ancient knowledge of health to our modern living.


What book are we reading today?

The source is called Orthodox Transmission of Medicine written in 1515CE by this doctor from Ming dynasty (I was unable to find information about him in English, so if anyone has further insight on him, please share with us!). He lived from 1438 to 1517, so this text was written just a couple years before his death.


Translation of the text:

Lifespan of each human
人之壽夭
 
Is destined and allotted by heavenly will
各有天命存焉
 
The heavenly will refers to
夫所謂天命者
 
The primal energy given by heavens, the Earth, and parents
天地父母之元氣也
 
Father acts as heavens 
父爲天
 
Mother acts as the Earth 
母爲地

It makes sense that our predetermined lifespan refers to this “source” energy that we inherit from our parents, but why from heavens and the Earth? Is it merely the symbolism for heavenly father and mother nature?

Eastern medicine’s belief in human beings receiving the heavenly and earthly energy suggests heavens and the Earth have their own “genetic” material that we inherit (after all, we are the microcosm!).

Because we resemble the cosmos, we are all made from the same energy that created the universe, which then separated into “ten thousand things.”


The Essence of father and blood of mother 
父精母血
 
Can be prosperous or weak and are not the same for all
盛衰不同
 
Hence human lifespan is different individually
故人之壽夭亦異

When it comes to human conception, Essence is an important substance for men while blood is for women according to Eastern medicine.

Essence is comparable to all genetic expressions that manifest physically.

It’s more than DNA, however, when it comes to Essence.

Essence also includes the transmitter of genetic information to the embryo:

Sperm has the info on our lifespan
SPERM!

In fact, a study from 2021 identifies non-DNA mechanism involved in transmitting “paternal experience” to offspring via information stored in sperm proteins.

The reason why mother’s blood is important for the embryo is straightforward:

The blood circulation that occurs via the placenta that transports oxygen and nutrients to the developing human being.

The quality of paternal Essence and maternal blood, as well as the cosmic energy received all make up the heavenly will that is our “given” lifespan.


Newborns who received prosperous energy from their parents
其有生之初受氣之兩盛者
 
Are given above average lifespan
當得上中之壽, 
 …
 
Newborns who received weak energy from their parents, 
受氣之兩衰者,

If they are able to be protected and nourished,
能保養, 
 
Are merely given a below average lifespan;
僅得下壽;
 
If not, most of them die young
不然, 多夭折 

However,
雖然, 
 
If external wind, cold, heat, and dampness invade
或風寒暑濕之感於外 
 
Or starvation, overeating, or overworking damage internally,
飢飽勞役之傷乎內, 
 
How can one fully live out the primal energy that was bestowed?
豈能一一盡乎所稟之元氣也

Absolutely.

No matter how immaculate my parent’s energies were,

No matter how sublime the universal force that inspired my creation,

If I consistently put myself in an extreme weather condition,

If I recklessly eat (or starve) while stressfully churning out this blog,

I wouldn’t be able to tap into the full potential of the heavenly will.

This just put a lot of things into perspective.


What do you think about this doctor’s take on lifespan?

Thank you for reading,

~energidoctor~

eternal student of life

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