SOURCE: Vision Media

August 13, 2008 03:04 ET

Olympic Lessons From China's Terra Cotta Army -- Vision.org

Vision Investigates the Philosophical Issues Involved in the Quest for Immortality

PASADENA, CA--(Marketwire - August 13, 2008) - All eyes are on China as the XXIX Olympiad portrays the epitome of human athletic prowess. Records fall, human talent is heralded and heroes are crowned. The continued conquest of human challenges begs the question, "Are there barriers to human progress and potential?" Are there any limits to what humans can achieve? Vision.org examines the life of China's First Emperor, a man of remarkable accomplishment in a new feature article, "The Man Who Would Cheat Death & Rule the Universe."

The accidental archaeological discovery of Shi Huang's Terra Cotta Army in 1974 suggested that China's First Emperor hoped to adorn himself for the afterlife.

The magnificence of Shi Huang's mausoleum depicts his attempt to fashion the future and secure his central position in the cosmos. Thousands of foreboding clay figures surround the lavish grave site representing a formidable force ostensibly gathered to fight the anticipated enemies of the next life.

Though outfitted for overcoming death, the tomb serves as naked evidence of how vulnerable even the highest echelons of human endeavor are to the inevitable enemy of death.

Vision.org writer David Lloyd explains that despite Shi Huang's hopes to the contrary, "the Terra Cotta Army never went into battle, and their emperor didn't conquer death and the afterlife. Nor did he succeed in ruling the universe or anything else. Lying buried and forgotten for more than two millennia, his hollow and motionless army and servants are in fact mute testimony to the limits of human power and influence."

A man of unparalleled personal power, Shi Huang died at around 50 years of age. His dynasty ended with the enforced suicide of his son shortly thereafter.

Alas, the Emperor's efforts to fashion his forever were inadequate. Although clothed in acclaim and achievement in life, his grandeur and glory didn't guarantee him access to the afterlife he sought.

Reminiscent of the truth-telling youth in Hans Christian Anderson's popular fairytale, "The Emperor's New Clothes," Vision.org writer David Lloyd exposes the emperor's efforts to attain the afterlife as flamboyant but fatally flawed.

"The Terra Cotta Army bears silent witness to one man's colossal yet vain endeavors to conquer death. The First Emperor of China failed, like all others who have tried. He did not become a god, nor did he conquer death, the afterlife or the universe."

Attempts to master mortality and fashion the future are replete with religious and ethical issues. Historically, quests for the hereafter are more commonly characterized by hubris than humility. Are all men so easily blinded by presumption and pride as they ponder the path of life?

Potentates and paupers alike seek to know what lies beyond the grave and how to prepare to face the inevitable enemy of death.

Vision.org investigates the philosophical issues involved in the quest for immortality and examines excerpts from the Judeo-Christian ethic that offer advice on the purpose and potential for human life. There is not only hope beyond the grave for China's First Emperor, but for all who have ever lived.

About Vision:

Vision.org is an online magazine with quarterly print issues that feature in-depth coverage of current social issues, religion and the Bible, history, family relationship topics and insights into philosophical, moral and ethical issues in society today. For a free subscription to the Vision quarterly magazine, visit their web site at http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/default.aspx.

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    Edwin Stepp
    www.vision.org
    Vision Media Productions
    476 S. Marengo Avenue
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    Phone (24 hrs): 626 535-0444 ext 105

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