Search This Blog

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Moral Enforcement in Chinese Culture

最近朋友发给我一些杂文作家刀尔登的文集。很好看,尤其是对于我这种不太了解中国经典书籍的人来说,程度不深不浅,正好。其中留下印象最深的一句是说起孟子和多数的X子论点是,治国怎么治呢?把人民都变成好人了,国家就万事大吉了。 换言之就是改善民风,或“提高人民素质”。

一想果然如此,这或许是我见过的对中国文化最精辟的总结。The Chinese culture is in fact individualistic, but it is not the American kind of individualism. It's all about the perfection of individual morality.

实际上从汉朝至今这套政治理论是中国文化的主流,跟庞大而复杂但很实效的官僚结构并存。Throughout Chinese history, the ruling class (including the intellectual-bureaucrats) can't leave the ruled masses alone with their thoughts. The pursuit of refinement of morality has never ceased. The dream that utopia is a place where some pure-minded people live has never been completely abandoned and runs deep in the Chinese culture.

Of course, Chinese people are not and have never been better than anyone else (whatever "better" means). Nevertheless the political machine has its insidious effect. Chinese people are perhaps more preoccupied with individual morality than most other cultures --- When it's impossible to be the perfect person myself, I can always demand it of my neighbors.

人性之稳定和现实的力量令人叹为观止,中国人并未达到统治者努力推广的完美程度。或许这才是李约瑟难题的答案:为什么中国没发展出近代科学呢?因为大家都忙着去道德完善人民群众的思想了。

连老子也不能脱离当时的风潮,他的理论也是通过控制个人的性格和行为而达到政治的理想境界。或许在人口有限的当时这并不是完全无理的推测,把集体群众看作个体的机械总和。但是后来人口涨到面目全非,但政治理论仍然念念不忘提高人民个体的思想素质,也是挺奇怪的。人民真的会因为洗脑政策和自我完善而变得方便控制吗?毛似乎已经证伪了这个理论,但是被证伪的理论仍不停地被拿出来回收利用。

If the Chinese culture can be summarized into one sentence, it would be "You there -- Don't think bad thoughts."

No comments:

Timon of Athens

During the intermission of Timon of Athens at Folger, I eavesdropped on a discussion among the 3 persons (who looked like a mother with t...

Popular Posts