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What Is Medicine?Western and Eastern Approaches to Healing$
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Paul Unschuld

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257658

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257658.001.0001

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State Concept and Body Image

State Concept and Body Image

17 State Concept and Body Image
What Is Medicine?

Paul U. Unschuld

University of California Press

The ruler of Qin conquered his opponents in the year 221 bc and was able to rule over a unified China and called himself the “First Emperor of Qin.” He was able to create an integrated whole out of states that for the most part had been culturally and economically independent. He ordered a common script, common track width (on roads), and common weights and measures, thereby laying the foundation for a lasting exchange of goods and people in his kingdom that was necessary to support the huge new cities in distant parts of the country. The new state organism offered China an experience of being an organism consisting of several units, where each unit contributed to the well-being of the whole. For some philosophers of the time, the effect of this new economic and social organism on their worldview was so profound that they could not avoid internalizing the model as a whole, extending it even to their understanding of the body. The body organism in the new medicine was nothing but the state organism transferred onto the body.

Keywords:   First Emperor of Qin, new cities, bureaucracy, new state organism, network of roads, social organism, economic organism

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