The Significance of Studying Qi
An Approach to the Nature of Qi in TCM - Qi and Bioenergy (8)
By Xing-Tai Li  and Jia Zhao 
8. The Significance of Studying Qi
The difference between the cultures in the West and the East may be described by the difference between ‘linear philosophy’ and ‘nonlinear philosophy’. Since Qi phenomena are essentially nonlinear, a straightforward application of linear philosophy may not be effective in its study. We hope that the study of Qi phenomena may help bridge some of the apparent difference between Western and Eastern culture. As Flowers mentioned, in the Christian West, God was the center of everything as opposed to Qi being the center of everything in the East. Qi may be another name of ‘life’. As Flowers beautifully described, Qi may represent the entity of life itself (Flowers, 2006). Then, the understanding of Qi may shed light on other aspects of biological sciences. We hope that the study of Qi might help to unite more aspects of Eastern and Western philosophy.
"If Western people could understand Qi more, they would incorporate holistic Eastern philosophy into their own philosophical system."
Understanding of Qi will help bridge Western and Eastern viewpoints, According to Eastern thought, the universe has ‘life’ and the function of ‘life’ is represented by Qi. Qi flows and circulates throughout the universe and through each human being. Qi is a non-linear phenomenon, and therefore, it can function as an essential element of life and the universe (both of which are non-linear). If Western people could understand Qi more, they would incorporate holistic Eastern philosophy into their own philosophical system. Then, mind and body, as well as life and its environment, will be viewed as a unified entity, and the world would finally become a better place to live.
The concept of Qi would be of great value towards this direction, as it is understood as a kind of ‘energy’ of mind/body as a whole. If, therefore, there was some concrete method to enhance (strengthen) Qi, it would become one of the cornerstones of holistic medicine of the future. Thus, from the medical point of view, Qi can be seen as the totality of the body’s healing systems or defense mechanisms which include the immune system as their essential part. Qi has both energy and entropy (information) aspects. The practice of breathing to enhance the Qi level may in-essence help to restore the original ability of human beings. Therefore, it may contribute to improve our health, wellness and life itself.
Qi phenomenon seems to be characteristic to the nonlinear nature of life. If so, the study of Qi may help deepen our understanding on our life and the universe itself. Since Qi is related to our life activity, the understanding of Qi would contribute to the elucidation of the beautiful nature of life itself. Further development and understanding of Qi may help round out our belief in technology-oriented modern science which lacks humanistic aspects. This may help to transform the ‘Century of Death’ to the ‘Century of Life’. The 19th century was the age of the ‘industrial revolution’ which was symbolized by an invention of a steam engine. The 20th century is the age of ‘nuclear energy’. Then, what would make the 21st century more humanistic so that history might regard it as a century of life? The pursuit of studies on Qi might be a positive step. In conclusion, Qi phenomenon is not paranormal. It is a normal and real phenomenon and can be the object of rigorous scientific study. If the question is posed, ‘Why do you study Qi?’ We will answer, as a famous mountain climber once said, ‘Because it is there!’ We believe that further analysis of Qi may open up a new horizon in life science.
[Click here to continue to section 9, "The comparisons between Qi and bioenergy"].
This and the other entries herein appeared in: Xing-Tai Li and Jia Zhao (2012). An Approach to the Nature of Qi in TCM–Qi and Bioenergy, Recent Advances in Theories and Practice of Chinese Medicine, Prof. Haixue Kuang (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-903-5, InTech, DOI: 10.5772/28416. Available from: http://www.intechopen.com
 ^ College of Life Science, Dalian Nationalities University, Dalian, China, is given as the professional location of Xing-Tai Lii.
 ^ Norman Bethune College of Medicine, Jilin University, Changchun China, is given as the professional location of Jia Zhao.
Graphics added by Qi Encyclopedia.