In celebration of World Mental Health Day, here’s to a book that was first shown to the Chinese author’s friends "who were suffering from anxiety and depression" and after reading it “they burst out laughing and regained their good mood.”
🌕 Li Ruzhen (李汝珍) was a novelist of the Qing dynasty and completed Jing Hua Yuan (鏡花緣), or Flowers in the Mirror in 1827. The title refers to “illusion”, for example, a moon as seen by a body of water which appears to be close and near, however, is a mere reflection.
🌟 A social commentary and human satire, this book is one of the most original works in Chinese literature that show the author’s aspirations for an ideal society and pleads the female cause. For example, in the chapter ‘the country of women’, the author “imagined a society where women were the center of authority, where men wore long skirts to do housework, and women wore hats and boots to handle external affairs, as juxtaposed against Chinese patriarchal social norms and subjection of women (of that era).”
His novel was truly ahead of his time, and as a premier work of Chinese satire with the historical context of the reign of Empress Wu Zetian (武則天) makes it a must-read, in addition to being helpful and informative to students of Chinese culture (specifically Popular Daoism).
🌝 Chinese literature and philosophy have given me a deeper perspective on personal conduct, human relationships, and business strategy. I’m really grateful for this wisdom and the mental peace that has come along with it, too.
💡An important tenet of this philosophy is that ‘做人處世’ (being a good person in society) is foundational to a sense of well-being and therefore good mental health. If you have true confidence and peace of mind, what room is there in your mind for the negativity or criticism of others?
🌏 Happy Mental Health Day and here's to all of our self-development in order to successfully navigate our complex, interconnected, and ‘illusory’ world.