Th e Priority of One Principle over Many  

Psychophysical Energies   2022 Latest Answers  

Th e locus classicus of the problem is found in Zhu Xi’s well-known statement,  

“Pattern unites, psychophysical energy diff erentiates” ( 理 同 氣 異 litong  

qiyi ), 29 and is closely related to the question of precisely in what manner the  

Great Ultimate is present everywhere, in every single thing or process in the  

world. On the one hand, individual thing-events are what they are because  

they are all endowed with their patterns, their individually unique patternings of the receptive and active forces that enable them to be harmonies and  

constitute their respective natures, more precisely, their “physical natures”  

( 氣 質 之 性 qizhi zhi xing ), meaning their embodied and concretized natures.  

In this sense, each of them can be said to possess its own individual Great  

Ultimate. On the other hand, the Great Ultimate represents the one Pattern  

or Harmony, the shared “logic” of such diversely harmonious patternings of  

the receptive and active forces that give rise to the thing-events of the world. 30

From the perspective of the individual thing-events, it could be called their  

“original nature” in abstraction from its concretization into their respective  

physical natures. 31 It is in that sense somewhat similar to Plato’s Idea of the  

Good, the idea of perfection in which all the individually perfect ideas participate, though without the dualistic separation of the ideal and the material.

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