International Society for PANETICS                                ARCHIVES
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Dr. William Lanouette

Dr. Glen Geelhoed

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the University of Toledo

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 Welcome to the Siu Archives

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    This website explores and applies to the human condition the writings and philosophical perspectives of Dr. Ralph Siu. The International Society for Panetics founded by Dr. Siu is closing its doors, and opening these wonderful works of Dr. Siu to interested scholars, academic institutions, and interested parties.

     A distinguished American author, scholar, military, and civil servant, Ralph Gun Hoy Siu was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1917 and died in Washington, D.C., in 1998. Siu's lifelong creation is a diversely original synthesis of Eastern and Western philosophy, shaped by insights that are both witty and humble. His practical aim was to better understand our world in ways that enable us to recognize the causes of humanly inflicted suffering as a way to then help alleviate it.

     This collection reveals and celebrates the research and writings contained in the Ralph Siu Papers at the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections at the University of Toledo in Ohio, a university renowned for its East-West cultural focus. A finding aid for the Siu Papers is available online.  Click here for Siu Archives

     By exploring this website and the original documents in the Siu Papers we hope you will discover an original approach to humanity's ageless questions and quandaries. We hope, too, that you in turn use these materials to advance the human discourse.

     The archive  is organized by topics and themes. Topics include philosophical writings by Siu and his associates, while themes identify human endeavors seen in Siu's "panetic" perspective. He coined the term "panetics" to describe a new discipline that integrates knowledge about how suffering is inflicted and alleviated. (Based on the word paneti, meaning "to inflict" in Pali, the ancient language of the Buddha.

End Suffering The International Society for Panetics
End Suffering The International Society for Panetics


Siu's Essential Writings 


Tao-Time Trilogy:

  •  The Tao of Science, An Essay on Western Knowledge and Eastern Wisdom
  • The Portable Dragon. A Westerner's Guide to the I Ching.           
  • Ch'i. A Neo-Taoist Approach to Life.

Management Trilogy:

  • The Craft of Power.
  • Transcending the Power Game. The Way to Executive Serenity.
  • The Master Manager

Panetics Trilogy:

  •  Less Suffering for Everybody. An Introduction to Panetics.
  • Panetics and Dukkha. An Integrated Study of the Infliction of Suffering and Reduction of Suffering.     
  • Seeds of Reflection. Word Clusters for Meditation on the Infliction and the Relief of Suffering.

Harmony Trilogy:

  • Unifying Theory of the Human Organism and Behavior.       
  • Cheerfulness.
  • Shaping One's Own Life. A Socratic Anthology of Perennial Questions.
Among these twelve scholarly and reflective volumes, Siu's Cheerfulness may at first seem the most surprising/novel. But in its spirit and its insights it captures Siu's essentially optimistic and engaging persona. Siu wrote that "cheerfulness is probably the closest to the perfect state of well-being attainable under an actual set of circumstances," for it is "the agreeably exuberant vibrations spread over the broad expanse, generating waves of cheerfulness in every creature responsive to its effervescent grace."
Just reading that thought may make you cheerful! But there is witty perspective on every page. Siu wrote that he suspected "the irreversible decline of a civilization is not signaled by economic failure or political crisis, but with the collapse of cheerfulness."


Siu's Life and Times


By way of introduction, Ralph Siu obtained his Bachelors degree (1939) and Masters degree (1941) from the University of Hawaii, and Ph.D. degree (1943) in biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology. He then entered the United States Army Quartermaster Corps and headed a team of researchers that developed new "jungle type" fabrics, clothing and equipment. As the Quartermaster Corps' Director of Laboratories and Chief Scientific and Technical Director for more than a decade (1948-62), Dr. Siu spearheaded numerous critical projects, including pioneer efforts on irradiated food - a key component of President Eisenhower's Atoms-For-Peace program. (Click here to see entire letter)


Siu's Originality


Ralph Siu was fond of citing Eastern wisdom to explain Western events, and one of his favorite examples involved the Chinese Premier Zhou En-lai. Ralph said, with a knowing smile, that in the 1970s a French journalist asked Zhou what he thought of the French Revolution. Zhou's reply: "It's too early to tell." In Zhou's Eastern perspective, which measures time in millennia, the French Revolution that had occurred a mere two centuries ago must have seemed a recent event. And in many ways its results certainly are inconclusive. So it is with Panetics, Ralph Siu's focal achievement in a commanding synthesis of Eastern and Western thought. Ralph himself once told a Washington Post reporter that with Panetics "it usually takes at least a generation for a new idea of this magnitude to catch on."
(Click here to see entire letter)

"Ralph was a genuinely cheerful man. Reading his works, in this website and beyond, we can come to understand why. We can "subsume and resonate." He has shown us the way."


                                                                                                -- William Lanouette

Chairman and Past President of The International Society for Panetics.