- 发布时间：2012-11-24 08:50
- 发布时间：2012-11-24 08:50
Dialogue of Civilizations VS Clash of Civilizations
By Prof. Lin Xiangxiong, President of Global Chinese Arts & Culture Society (Singapore)(l) Human Culture Cultural Humanity "To observe the conditions of the sky so as to know the change of the time; to observe the conditions of people so as to cultivate the world."
This is the definition of human culture made by the "Book of Changes", a "sealed book" called by modem academic circle in China. From Eastem outlook on universe, the change of the time is inferred and understood by observing the conditions of the sky. All that presented through human life and labor as well as the spiritual materials created are called culture! Certainly, this is a relatively narrow interpretation on culture in the spiritual aspect by ancient Easterners.
The outlook on universe and the interpretation on culture in the West are more profound. "Culture is the integration of spiritual civilization and material civilization produced by knowledge, belief, art, morality, law and customs embodied by work and labor during the process of human life." Some people say, "Culture is the sum of social and spiritual form of life produced, developed and created on the basis of the matter and the spirit during a certain period of time in human history......" or "Culture is the sum of material wealth and spiritual wealth created by mankind during the process of social and historical practical life......"To sum up, for the mankind, regardless of Eastern or Western edification and cultivation, the word "culture" is of great concern to the rise and fall of the race, society and the times. Vieetng from the human history at home and abroad, the prosperity and downfall are closely related to culture. For a nation and country with profound and rich cultural heritage, its backwardness and poverty are temporary; on the contrary, for a nation and country without culture and history, its prosperity and abundance are also temporary!
For mankind, culture is as valuable as blood in the human body, it is the essence of the soul. A person creates unlimited space and history in his/her short life. When culture sublimates to become wisdom, it not only changes its life, but also changes the destiny of the broad masses of the people, as well as the society and the times.
Cultural exchange between China and the West began before Christ, and the land and maritime Silk Roads in Chinese Han Dynasty created the precedent for the interchange and exchange of human material and spiritual civilizations.
In the long history of human culture, ancient Babylonian civilization, ancient Egyptian civilization, ancient Greek civilization, ancient Roman civilization and ancient Indian civilization have all broken up and declined due to flames of war and pillage, their imposing buildings are still awe-inspiring but have been damaged and fragmented, standing erect in the historical rain, and recalling the powerful and mighty empires in olden days! All are gone! How can this be endured? !
Chinese civilization has experienced many vicissitudes of life in history, has been damaged and ravaged by the West.
In the rise and fall through thousands of years, foreign nations invaded China in succession, old dynasties were replaced by new ones. However, Chinese culture has strong vitality and the bearing and essence that "the sea can hold the water from thousands of rivers", has absorbed, mingled, fused and combined other cultures under the principle of "coexistence of diversity" with Han civilization as the mainstream, thus Chinese culture has been gradually strengthened and enriched, which embodies the practice of "pluralistic integration" in the progress of human culture development.
Today, the works and maxims of ancient Chinese sages and prophets not only instruct and guide the descendants of Yanhuang to create economic miracle perseveringly and independently, giving the world people a deep impression in the aspects of politics and economy, but also gain the discourse power in the human stage of the 21st century, and undertake historical responsibility, balance the situation, and create peace. Human culture not only should cultivate cultural humanity, but also should be shared by the whole human race!
(II) The differences between Chinese and Western cultures
Harmony VS Clash
Culture is the material civilization and spiritual civilization accumulated during human life and labor practice handed down from generation to generation by different ethnic groups living in different regions, this being the case, misunderstanding and clash occur due to the difference of ethnic traditions and customs, and the variation of objective environments where they have been living, this is inevitable. The theory of the clash of civilizations put forward by the West is a typical example. The difference between Chinese and Western cultures lies in the outlook on universe.
Western outlook on universe is "opposition between heaven and mankind", they regard mankind as the center and dare to challenge the nature and explore the universe. While Eastern outlook on umverse is "unity of heaven and mankind", which pursues "morality and nature", they consider that human beings live between heaven and earth, thus there exist the ancient totems of "right time, right place, right people" and "heaven, earth, man".
Mr. Qian Mu put forward his opinions on Chinese and Western cultures: the difference between "moral spirits" results in the difference between cultures, such as "opposition between heaven and mankind" and "unity of heaven and mankind". Western culture originates from the ruthless combatant spirit in ancient Greece, ancient Egypt and ancient Rome. The three cultural elements of "the spirit of individual liberalism" originated from ancient Greece, 'eorganization spirit" or "national spirit" originated from ancient Rome, and "the religious and universal spirit" originated from Judaism and Christianity constitute Western culture or moral spirit, which has been inherited and developed for two or three thousand years.
The European Renaissance in the 14th-15th centuries broke the fetters of rigid church doctrine during the Middle Ages, supported by the traditional moral spirit, Westerners have created "Eurocentric theory" or "Euro-centrism" and have reigned over and led the world for nearly 300 years. This Western spirit induced the Industrial Revolution, created capitalist society, extended and expanded to the exploitation and plunder of global resources and market, and it has evolved to the colonialist and political expansion for the sustainable development of capitalism. This kind of practical expansion in the aspects of culture, economy and politics finally results in strong hegemonic mindset, which inevitably leads to the "clash of civilizations"! On the contrary, the moral spirit of Chinese culture pursues the "unity of heaven and mankind", "heaven, earth and I emerged together, and all things and I are one", "moral nature" and "the harmony of heaven, earth and mankind", all things in the heaven and earth belong to the Great Nature, they should coexist harmoniously with the heaven and earth, only in this way, can they grow continuously.
Eastern thought considers that man is only a small part between heaven and earth, a grain of sand in the Ganges River, a drop in the ocean; on the other hand, because there is a "nation", people have a "family". "The teeth are cold when the lips are lost", thus the interdependence of nations is formed. The core outlook on value and moral spirit of Chinese culture are "Every man has a share of responsibility for the fate of his country", "Poor, they made themselves alone good; successful, they made all the world good", "Be zealous for public interests, ready to stand out for justice", "Be the first to become concerned with the world's troubles and last to rejoice in its happiness", and "shed one's blood and lay down one's life", sacrificing myself to achieve our goal for the times, the society and the people in the world. The saying of Zhang Zai, a master of Neo-Confucianism in Song Dynasty, "To ordain conscience for Heaven and Earth, to secure life and fortune for the people, to continue lost teachings for past sages, to establish peace for future generations", shows that Eastern culture has the awe-inspiring righteousness and a bosom and bearing imbued with a spirit that can conquer mountains and rivers.
The intuitive spirit of Eastern culture is affected by the teaching of Confucius: "Cultivate oneself, put family in order, govern the state, and pacify the world". The core value of Chinese culture is built on the spirit of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism.
The thought of Laozi and Zhuangzi is the code for interpreting the universe, Taoist outlook on universe directly expounds the essence of "unity of heaven and mankind". "The Tao that can be told ofis not the absolute Tao; the name that can be given is not the absolute Name." The profound expression of "mystery of mysteries" can only be understood by the heart, but cannot be explained in words; all things in the world are developed from nothing, from the Tao. "He rears them, but does not lay claim to them; controls them, but does not lean upon them; achieves his aim, but does not call attention to what he does." While "Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from Heaven; Heaven takes its law from the Tao; the law of the Tao is its being what it is." These show Laozi's interpretation of the Tao (the outlook on umverse) and the explanation of the mystery of the nature! The plain dialectics of Taoism is the concise explanation of "unity of opposites" of all things. Zhuangzi further expounded the relations of mankind in the universe and among all things, from his famous works "A Happy Excursion" and "On Leveling All Things", we can get a glimpse of his spiritual level of "becoming a butterfly". Mankind is a part of the nature, and mankind should live in harmony with the nature.
Beginning from the Spring-Autumn and Warring States Period, the doctrine of Confucius and Mencius is the core theory of Confucianism, which is the school of thought affecting the politics, the nation and the people. Since Han Dynasty, Confucianism became the spiritual guidance of the ruling class, affecting Chinese history for thousands of years. "Benevolence" and "righteousness" are the core value of Confucianism, while "universal love" is "do as you would be done by others". "Don't do unto others what you don't want others do unto you", "The man of perfect virtue, wishing himself to be established, sees that others are established, and, wishing himself to be successful, sees that others are successful." and "harmonious but different" and "harmony is most precious" are the teachings on the harmonious way of human coexistence and humanistic thought, which educate and edify human nature. The core of Mencius thought is "the goodness of human nature" and "conscience", based on his theory "Benevolence is the heart of a man, righteousness the road", the moral value of "giving up one's life for righteousness" is promoted. "People are on the top of priority, with state following, then comes the monarch", which fully represents his idea on the social structure in feudal system, the prototype of the earliest 'edemocratic system" in human society came into being.
Buddhism was introduced into China in the Spring-Autumn and Warring States Period, and it was popularized and flourished in Han and Tang dynasties. Especially in Tang Dynasty, Buddhism was adopted as the "National Religion", and it became fashionable in the whole society. Viewing from the angle of historical civilization and cultural exchange, Buddhism is undoubtedly the earliest and the most flourishing cultural exchange between Indian civilization and Han-Tang civilization. Indian civilization, through the introduction of Buddhism and the translation of Buddhist scriptures, was quickly fused with Chinese civilization and spread in China and gained momentum due to the devout faith and support of the imperial court. The truth and core value of Buddhism lie in the ascetic practices and persuasions such as "to do good and accumulate merit", "Karma and effect" and "reincamation".
6'Both name and reality are null", "Empty without entity", "All things are illusion", "Nothing has a nature of self' and '6A11 acts are transient", these are idealistic perception of "understanding empty" and "sudden enlightenment"that forms are created by the mind. Buddhism is in some way similar to the philosophy of Laozi and Zhuangzi, but it practices the aloof and detached outlook on life that "all the four elements are void". "All things are created by the mind", "the ultimate reality of all dharmas, all things are interconnected, the three-thousand system of worlds
is but a single thought" (namely, the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss is created by the mind), which are the top level of idealistic thought system, the following verse written by Hui Neng, the Sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism, is highly recommended: "Originally Bodhi has no tree, the bright mirror has no stand. Originally there is not a single thing, where can dust alight?"
Looking through the outlook on universe, outlook on morality and core philosophical value of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, they deeply infiuenced Chinese history, imperial court and people's life as well as cultural arts for thousands of years, therefore, there was a proposal in Sui and Tang dynasties that the three religions should be combined into one. During the process of their dissemination in China, Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism excluded each other, but affected each other; they fought against each other and absorbed each other, they integrated in the idealistic thought system, and become an important part of traditional Chinese philosophy.
(III) Cultural collision Pluralistic integration
The origin of mankind is absolutely not limited to "Yuanmou Man", who lived in Yunnan Province in China l.7 million years ago, maybe at that time, there existed "homo erectus" in Africa or other parts of the earth. It is believed that the same applies to the origin of culture! The origin of human civilization shall not only mean that Sumerians,who lived in Mesopotamia between the Two Rivers five thousand years ago, created written language, thus leading the human race into a provable civilized era, and the sole place of origin. In recent years, over three thousand spots with rock paintings of mysterious symbols such as mountains and human figures were found in Juci Mountain in Henan Province in China. According to the research made by experts, "Rock symbols" (also called "mysterioussealed book") were created over five thousands years ago, the same time when the Huangdi culture was created.
From the origin of mankind to the origin of culture, the two distinctive kinds of history show that from the "birth" of the Global Village residents to the appearance of civilization and culture, they "popped up" almost at the same time.
Although human culture is one entity, the differences in residential and living space, geographical environment and water source and climate, inhabiting and operation conditions, living and laboring conditions, customs and traditions lead to the differences in cultural creation, expression ways and hieroglyphics, which results in estrangement, in addition, the geographical separation by mountains and rivers, the hindrance by oceans and the inconvenience of traffic and communication, all these factors contribute to the isolation and estrangement between different peoples from remote antiquity to the Middles Ages, and the estrangement has led to irrational resistance. This is the most appropriate by comparing Eastern and Western cultures.
The core value and outlook on universe of Eastern culture uphold the Confucian doctrine of “unity of heaven and mankind”, which is most highlighted in the thoughts of Dong Zhongshu of Han Dynasty and Zhang Zai of Song Dynasty. The Confucian philosophical outlook of "Heaven and men are a unit, they form the one" and the Taoist outlook "Heaven, Earth, and I were produced together, and all things and I are one" embody the outlook on universe of Eastern culture in the same way.
On the contrary, the outlook on umverse of Western culture is 'opposition between heaven and mankind", which not only opposes the heaven, the earth and the nature, but also dare to explore, investigate and analyze all things in the universe, they insist on achieving a result! This spirit of scientific exploration on the nature and all things in the universe and the rational and practical study method are awe-inspiring. However, in the unlimited universal system, the exploration and analysis of all things and natural phenomena restrict the scope of the mind and thinking. At this point, it is different from Eastern culture and outlook on universe.
Looking back on the origin, development, rise and fall of Eastern and Western cultures, we can see that ancient Babylonian civilization, ancient Greek civilization and ancient Roman civilization in the West have all been eroded away through the years; while Chinese civilization in the East, although suffered the ravages of war, cruel oppression, foreign invasion, and old dynasties were replaced by new ones, because of its "unity of heaven and mankind" which is inclusive and all-embracing, Chinese civilization has been strengthened and the Han culture has been enriched by integrating with other cultures, which embodies pluralistic integration.
In the 21st century, high-technology develops rapidly, not only explores the mystery of outer space and cosmos, but also decodes human genes. While in the electronic information age, long distance is no long a barrier to communication. Therefore, if Eastern and Western cultures can cross the boundary of traditional cultural ethnic groups and integrate with each other, learn from others' strong points to offset one's weaknesses in the aspects of material civilization and spiritual civilization, then it will create a beautiful, harmonious and lovable living space for all Global Village residents.
Mr. Ji Xianlin once said, "Goethe, the great German poet and thinker in the 19th century, extolled Chinese novels, Chinese culture, Chinese thoughts and feelings and morality in his talks with Eckermann in 1827. Therefore, he was of the opinion that Westerners should learn from Chinese." Picasso, a great modern artist in the West, once told Zhang Daqian, a great artist in the East, that he appreciated and praised Eastern art.
The freehand creation of China Eastern painting inspired the creation of Impressionist and many modernist works in the West after 19th century. The humanism and moral outlook of Confucianism gradually influence the thoughts and feelings of Westerners.
The Art of War written by Sun Zi has become the required textbook in the United States Military Academy at West Point. Especially in recent years, the works of the Hundred Schools of Thought in China's Spring and Autumn Period (especially Tao Te Ching written by Lao Zi) have become best-sellers in the West, and have aroused public attention. The complementation and combination of Chinese and Western medicines have brought good news for human health. In the current trend of "the spreading of Oriental Culture to the West", many Westerners with breadth of vision are looking for new cultural elements from the theories of ancient Chinese sages in succession, so as to supplement, strengthen and enrich their own culture, and broaden their vision. To sum up, in view of the above-mentioned examples, the collision, complementation and combination of Eastern and Western cultures are not only in the interests of mankind, history and culture, but also the necessity of natural development law in the universe.
Today, we emphasize the dialogue of human civilizations and the cultural development law of pluralistic integration, so as to resist the outdated theory of "clash of civilizations" put forward by the West, so that Global Village residents can live peacefully and harmoniously in a mutual-respected and unified world. We fully know that this "Long March" of human civilization is not an easy path, it is a tortuous, circuitous and bumpy road. However, we believe that there are a lot of intellectuals, experts and scholars with good sense, abundant knowledge and wisdom in contemporary world!
We further believe that whatever we do anything, so long as we put the people in the first place, "to secure life and fortune for the people", then we will move and influence more people to go with us hand in hand to embark on the journey of human culture!
"The way ahead is long, I see no ending, yet high andlow I'll search with my will unbending."
In the Island Country
On the morning of the 8th November 2012