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Imbalances in the Development of Chinese Culture

来源:万方期刊网  时间:2014-08-20 09:38:26  点击:

作者:李嘉晨
 

【Abstract】 During the development of Chinese culture, it absorbs a lot of exotic new things from the west. This situation directly induced two imbalances in the structure of our culture nowadays. One of these imbalances is between the Chinese traditional culture and the western culture, and the other one is the humanity culture and the science culture. Both these imbalances are rooted in the relationship between the eastern and western cultures, which are combining, interweaving and conflicting during the developing process. The differences between these two cultures and the influences from the western one determine the current imbalanced pattern of Chinese culture.

【Key Words】 Chinese traditional culture; western culture; imbalance; humanity culture;
science culture
 

It is universal that the cultures in different countries or areas are totally different because they are the outcomes of the historical heritages. Therefore, to some extent, I would like to call the content and features in these cultures “the genes of the culture”. As the most essential substance, the gene of the culture seems to be a cornerstone in a building. Absolutely, there are disparities among these genes in different cultures, just like the genes in the creatures, and to a great degree, they influence the course of the culture development.(万方期刊网)
Like what I said, the genes of cultures in China and western countries are totally different. Kinship, a view of life in Taoism, plays the most significant role in the development of Chinese culture, no matter which dynasty or times this country is in. However, in a way, a relative contrary concept----equality is the most fundamental part in the relationship between two different generations. These two distinctive ideas derive from the distinctive history development.
The attention attached to the kinship in China basically is from the perspective and system of patriarchy and clan, dating back from the China feudal society, in which we have the system of succession by the eldest son. Although after the New Culture Movement, this kind of system was criticized by a group famous of scholars then, nowadays there are also plenty of expressions demonstrating and inheriting the kinship idea, kept saying over and over, like the adage of “A dutiful son is obliged to pay his father’s debts.”, “The father’s fortune is inherited by his son.” This kinship perspective prevailing in the eastern country does not have no causes. In the Analects, Confucius said our bodies are from our parents, which represents the view of life as well as its continuity. This means in the gene of traditional Chinese culture, the things not completed by parents must be accomplished by the next generation. 
Nevertheless, why does a dutiful son have to pay his father’s debts? The western people completely do not hold the similar viewpoints. This situation depends on the western belief of the God. In this kind of perspective, the western people underscored the importance of equality between the parents and children, because, they think, everybody is the offspring of the God and there is no difference in the origin of different generations. Therefore, no hard rules exist that the children have to inherit their parents’ fortune. Certainly, there is no definite right or wrong between these two utterly different perspectives, because they both are both the outcomes of different histories and hold their pros and cons. Also, these viewpoints are closely related to the next development of cultures persistently.(万方期刊网)
The difference between the relationships of two generations is just a drop in the bucket when we compare the eastern and western cultures. In the culture development in China, gradually, we find an imbalanced situation that obstructed the changing process. Also, one part of the imbalance is rooted in the differences between China and the west. After the twentieth century, when situated in a special phase of culture development, we increasingly regard the western culture as the modern one------from our elementary education to the culture atmosphere in society, western culture accounts for a great proportion. Of course, this situation owes to the historical trend, but the wane of our own traditional culture should raise our awareness of the imbalance of culture greatly. Nowadays, the young talk about the western cultures clearly and logically, even the traditional one in west, which “benefits” from various resources they obtain through the media and in the school. However, faced with the Chinese traditional culture, they cannot make a speech about it as fluently as about the western one, and even classics of traditional culture are also unfamiliar in the new development of culture. They think the Chinese culture is always ancient and do not hold practical use in daily life, so they turn to pursue the western one representing the modern ideas blindly. Perhaps a great number of people have already recognized the situation and they do not take it seriously, but this is such a severe phenomenon as leads to the loss of subject consciousness of culture.(万方期刊网)
Some people will ask, what is the subject consciousness of culture? To be brief, it means which culture is regarded as the cultural standard and takes the most part in the culture of this country. I believe the majority of Chinese will stick to our own culture. However, through the reality of social practice, there is no doubt that the western cultures are playing the leading role. Some experts explained the phenomenon and deemed it reasonable and necessary------they said when China faced the situation of poverty, colonization and even extinction, she had to surpass the west in the material civilization actively, and during the process she also accepted the western spiritual civilization to achieve a great advance and absorption completely as controversial are the Chinese culture and the western one. Yet, the problem at present is, after a hundred years, whether we should introspect this issue.
A media producer in America asked some Chinese news films to a China journalist. The Chinese asked him why he did not introduced some Chinese exported art films, and then the American rejected, smiling and said honestly that he felt the art films in China always try to cater to the taste of audiences in western and forfeit our own features, but what they want was only the typical Chinese thing. It follows that in the international world, we are in the verge of losing our own identity. We learn so many things from the west that we have the problem in recognizing the identity and possessing the position to publicize our Chinese culture in the world. Those all result from the imbalance between the Chinese and western culture, or in other words, the modern and traditional culture. (万方期刊网)
Fortunately, we find more Confucius Colleges established around the world and more Chinese conventional habits introduced in the foreign countries. I think, back to the subject consciousness of culture, we need to have us Chinese attach more importance to and identify with our traditional culture: Return back to China and Reach out to the World.
In the development of Chinese culture, there is also an imbalance between Humanity Culture and Science Culture. After the 20th century, this kind of imbalance occurred not only in China, but also around the world, which senses the ambulance of materials and the conveniences of life brought by the science development. These benefits weaken our attention to the humanity and its direct manifestation is the least ratio taken by the humanity culture in the education. In a country even a world where the economic base decides a superstructure, no wonder we exaggerate the significance of science culture. However, the deficiency in humanity culture will lead to the loss of power in spirit, the loss of support in the soul and the loss of the answer to “Where I lived, and what I lived for?” The question itself cannot be resolved by science or high technology and is related to the essence of human extinction.(万方期刊网)
Different from the above imbalance only in China, this issue is shared between the Chinese and Western cultures, which are interweaved during the process of balancing Humanity Culture and Science Culture. When the western countries enter the modern times, except from their own development of technology and science, they benefitted from a lot from the Chinese culture, especially in terms of humanity culture. On the issue, we have to admit the east and west totally different start points and different developing courses-----the west was short of humanity culture at the very beginning and had been importer of it from the east before the 20th century; China was rich in the humanity culture in the start and had been the exporter of it, but to our disappointment, she also neglected and gradually lost the humanity culture during the exporting process.
The establishment of humanity culture in west underwent three great phases, from the Renaissance to the Reformation to the Enlightenment. During this course, the west sought out the humanity spirit from the China and fought against the culture of worship, facilitating the germination and development of rational wisdom. Therefore, the humanity culture stemming from China at least was used to be imitated by the west and promoted the western development. What’s more, it is worth mentioning that the western countries did not discard their own possession while combining the modern, conventional and exotic cultures. But it is utterly another story in China when we absorb the new things, like the technology and the modern ideas, resulting in the level of science culture surpassing the humanity one greatly and affecting the whole atmosphere of the society culture.(万方期刊网)
Nowadays, having been in the 21st century for 10 years, we hardly make out the adjustment of the imbalances. However, here appeared two early signs: the recurrence to tradition and to the east culture, which are the trend of the world culture as well. These returns occurred because we realized after the modern technology is developing at a high speed, some damages in our daily life cannot be repaired by the power of technologies or the current comprehending of cultures, so they start to analyze the essences of the ideas from our ancestry. Indeed, we find the new discoveries from the conventional eastern culture and endow them the practical use in the new era, like getting back to nature, neutralism and the holography. Take “getting back to nature” for example, it does not represent to live in the forest, enjoy the sunshine and be isolated from the Internet at present. This idea is more suitable to be known as an attitude towards “just let it be”. In other words, this attitude convinces people that the human and any creature have their own ability of self-managing, self-adjusting and self-healing, instead of relying on the exterior power. The recognition of this idea set in the current time that the modern medicine depends overly on the equipments and drugs and loses its own creativity. That also explains why the American president asked to implement the medical reformation, because the country cannot undertake such a great sum of medical fee under the existing mode. Also it is no wonder of the appearance of “the Super Cell”, which resulted from too much antibiotics. However, in the traditional Chinese medicine, the purpose of treatment is to recover the ability of self-adjusting and self-healing, from the physical aspect to metal state. The subject of the TCM is the inner of the body-----the internal disorder, which embodies the disparities between two thinking pattern of two different cultures.(万方期刊网)
In the above paragraphs, we talked about the process of western modernization and the enlightenment to western science development from China. These all inspire us to re-cogitate the Chinese traditional culture. When we were at the critical moment of struggle for the nation of survival, we missed teasing out the Chinese traditional culture and hurried to learn the western culture. After a hundred year and after the thirty years of Reform and Opening, it is time that we rethought about it. But, can we make up for all the loss we missed before? The answer is definitely “NO”. In our brain, there has existed an ingrained standard from western: it covers up the existing elites in the Chinese traditional cultures and we use the western standard to measure and criticize the religion, philosophy and other subjects in China. For example, we admire the western precise researches on the quantum mechanisms, but its core was the holism and the system theory which was reflected in the Avatamsaka Sutra million years ago. Ken Wilber said in his book, No Boundary, more and more physicists agreed that the modern physics reflects the people’s world view in the east. Obviously, wandering and vacillating in the different cultures, we missed the chance of excavating deeply the elite of our own traditional culture and make a difference to our society.
When the whole world was highly praising and imitating the traditional Chinese culture, we are also in this train of rediscovery, but sorry for being guided by the western countries again. How to get rid of this nightmare is to recognize some obstruction in the conceptions and the methods on our own. The imbalances in our current development of Chinese culture are the most prominent, so to solve this problem is the first step to accomplish, thus awaking our attention to the traditional Chinese culture again. Choosing the right traditional Chinese culture, combining the western culture appropriately and endowing them the new practical use in our daily life and our country are the effective ways to inherit the Chinese culture and cancel the spell of western one.(万方期刊网)
 

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