Michael Lackner's talk "Can fate be changed? Views on fate and fate calculation in traditional China" was held successfully on 9 September 2019, Sungkyunkwan University, International Hall 9B106.
During his visit to SICEP in September of 2019 and impressed by the two ancient Ginko trees in the courtyard of the Hall of Englightenment (Myeongnyundang, 명륜당, 明倫堂) on the campus of Sungkyunkwan, Professor Michael Lackner noted that the renowned German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote a poem honoring the ginkgo tree. The poem appears in Goethe’s anthology Westoestlicher Diwan and is his homage for his former lover Marianne von Willemer, the “Suleika” who appears in several of his other poems.
The heart-shaped ginkgo leaf gives symbolic representation to Goethe’s theme: being one and double. The specific ginkgo tree that inspired Goethe to write the poem in 1815, grew on the castle’s grounds in Heidelberg, Germany.
Dieses Baums Blatt, der von Osten
Meinem Garten anvertraut,
Gibt geheimen Sinn zu kosten,
Wie's den Wissenden erbaut.
Ist es ein lebendig Wesen,
Das sich in sich selbst getrennt?
Sind es zwei, die sich erlesen,
Daß man sie als eines kennt?
Solche Fragen zu erwidern
Fand ich wohl den rechten Sinn:
Fühlst Du nicht an meinen Liedern,
Daß ich eins und doppelt bin?
The leaf of this Eastern tree
Which has been entrusted to my garden
Offers a feast of secret significance,
For the edification of the initiate.
Is it one living thing
That has become divided within itself?
Are these two who have chosen each other,
So that we know them as one?
I think I have found the right answer
To these questions;
Do my songs not make you feel
That I am both one and twain?