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Tag Archives: china

People of the United States and likely elsewhere across the world put shame upon the People’s Republic of China when it was discovered the young girl who appeared to be singing for the opening ceremony had only been lip syncing. The girl who was actually singing had been deemed not beautiful enough to represent the country. One became a heroine, the other became a “role model” for proper Chinese conduct. A similar shame should be relinquished to the United States. Students in China may sometimes blindly praise Mao Zedong (River Town by Peter Hessler), but in the U.S. students are taught to blindly believe in the goodness of past presidents. George Washington went from “chopping down a cherry tree” to perfect leader. There are other examples of false perceptions in the U.S. as well. Martin Luther King Jr. is appraised qualities of sainthood by the education system. Indeed his feats were great, but he also struggled at times too. In fact, the NAACP felt so strongly about perceptions that it determined who the heroine of the Civil Rights movement would be. Before Rosa Parks took a stand (or more literally, a seat) against racism, another woman took a similar action. The NAACP considered a legal challenge, but one problem arose: the woman was unmarried and pregnant (Soul of a Citizen by Paul Rogat Loeb).

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In his book Soul of a Citizen, Paul Rogat Loeb, points out that many developmental psychologists believe individual growth is possible only through the interaction with the human and natural world, and through experiences that challenge us. A number of Chinese philosophers suggest an alternative. The state of Wu Shin (or Mu Shin no Shin) is a state of natural thinking without the presence of ego. More literally, no-mindedness. This concept is paired with Wu Wei, a sort of instinctual action. Bruce Lee was an avid follower of these ancient concepts. Essentially, Wu Shin suggests an ability to improve yourself without anything or the presence of higher thought commanding you to. To understand this better I suggest reading passages by Bruce Lee.

Another example that pits psychology against Chinese philosophy: M. Scott Peck says spiritual healing is “an ongoing process of becoming increasingly conscious.” Ancient Chinese philosophy tends to put more emphasis on simplicity. Again, the concepts of Wu Shin and Wu Wei are important in this way of thinking. Also, the idea of Yin and Yang —a sort of oneness of the world. The most famous of these philosophers is of course Confucius (Kongzi). Others include one of the followers of his ideals, Mencius (Mengzi).

It is only mere assumption to classify Confucius (Kongzi) as a supporter of free-markets, socialism, or other economic foundations. However, Kongzi clearly recognized the inequality of different materials. He stated how something made of silk material inherently has a different worth than the same thing made of another material. This is a strong basis of the free-market/Capitalism system. But there is another side to the coin. Kongzi also promoted ideals of oneness. According to my readings (Books such as River Town by Peter Hessler), many citizens believe that by working hard for China they are in fact working hard for themselves — a result of the ideal of oneness. This is a basis of Socialism and Communism.

CHARACTER

Pull down the curtains on a bad play

And bring down hope from the sky.

Open the curtains to the scene of a great play,

Scripted by the playwright of a dream.

Reveal Daimon:

Let the lines flow from your heart

And act on impulse

To reach the state of Wu Wei,

Allowing life to flow.

By B.X.C. MegaSonic

Most know about Bruce Lee the martial artist and actor; Many know about Bruce Lee the philosopher; Few know about Bruce Lee the poet. Indeed, Bruce Lee spent much of his free time writing poetry and translating Chinese poems. In fact, his poetry is of a high quality, worthy of acknowledgement although his other accomplishments are far overshadowing. Most of his poems seem to have been for his wife (or possibly wife-to-be at the time). He often speaks of being distanced from the one he loves. Although distant love is a recurring theme, each poem still has a certain uniqueness.

I picked up an intriguing book while browsing Barnes & Nobles entitled Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Tells us About Living in the West. Recently I have found myself addicted to Chinese philosophy and so the name of Confucius drew my attention. Then I read the back. It is a book about living in East Asia mostly from the perspective of living in Japan. Yes, Japan is in East Asia, but Confucius was not Japanese so the title was misleading. Okay, that’s fine, the book the still seems like it might be a good read. However, using Japan to generalize the lifestyle of East Asia is like using Germany to generalize the lifestyle of Western Europe. There are many similiarities to the way they think and conduct everyday life amongst the different countries, but also many, many differences. Perhaps the book should be entitled A Samurai Lives Next Door because Japanese thought is far more influenced by Samurai customs than by Confucius (or Kongzi). A most important difference between the most identifiable nations in East Asia, Japan and China, is that Japan has been much more influenced by western customs than has China. This is very significant when an author tries to write about a region. Perhaps the book is good, and perhaps the author does take these ideas into account – I have yet to read the book and may soon do so.

I made a new blog intro that is already on the “World of MegaSonic” page under the one for last year. I devoted this blog intro to self-expression, much as I did the previous one but in a different fashion. I use a knowledge of video games and video editing experimentation to tell a sort of short story that describes what I hope to accomplish with this blog. Plus a bit of humor for Chrono Trigger fans.

In reflection of my accusation of the immorality of taking sides without understanding the situation (See Free Tibet?!), I must also review the Palestine-Israel commotion of late 2008/early 2009. When studying the situation, it may seem that taking a side, even if one understands the situation, is not always the best choice.

There is a growing sympathy, and rightfully so, for the Gaza-Palestinians. As of now, over 1,000 people have been killed, including numerous children. Far Fewer on the side of Israel haven been killed by Hamas rockets. The battle is lopsided in terms of power and morality, or so it seems. Hamas troops do use civilian holds as hiding places and safe keeps, but this is not the only issue at hand. Due to the ill-sentiment of the state and existence of Israel by a large portion of the Muslim Middle East, Israel apparently believes that whenever they are attacked they must show massive force to keep other possible enemies at bay. But even this is not the main issue.

How can someone pick sides when each side is in the wrong. As the saying goes — two wrongs don’t make a right. The quote may be overused, but it is a good virtue to live by.

Israel should take shame in its mutilation of Gaza. But the Palestinians should also take shame, in hte failure to call out the wrong from within. Hamas may not be a direct threat to the Palestinian people, and has even been known to be helpful to the people, but the existence of this entity creates threats for others and by doing so brings malice to Palestine. They seem to think it is okay for Hamas to exist as long as Hamas is no threat to them, and that Hamas helps them have a “better standard of living.” However, is it really okay to rely on such an entity? Is it really okay to  even simply be fine that such an entity exists? I can understand how the people of the region can pick their side in this issue, especially when their families, homes, and livlihood are threatned. However, for someone without a stake in the region, taking sides should nto be so simple as who killed more. How is it we can find support for the mass murder? How is it that we can find support for people who accept the support of an entity and the cost of others? When both sides are blatantly wrong, choosing a side is ignorant. Palestine and Israel need to just put away their weapons. For the people of this region the issue does dwelve deeper, but this particular conflict is foolish.

Our choice of what is more important and what is less important should not be determined by where we live. The issues of the world have no relativity to our own location. In determining what we believe to be more important, we should first know the truth of the situation. The education we have in school, and the education of reading is not necessarily enough. Take for instance the issue of Tibetan independence, a growing cause amongst people of the United States. Do we as people of the U.S. actually know enough to claim our belief as correct and moral?

It is apparent that the people of Tibet do not have a standard of living equal to the core of China, but we who have no true experience with the culture and the location can be easily deceived. We are presented in media with the Dalai Lama as a pure, religious leader representative of his people. However, further reading into the background of the Dalai Lama creates fuzz around the former perception. Chosen at birth, raised in high regard of the people, can he truly be the “good” person we are presented with in the United States media. Expelled by the “evil” communists of the People’s Republic of China, he is given the benefit of the doubt and a look into history can show he may not deserve such benefit. Then again, what right does China have to claim the land of Tibet? Perhaps, the land, already distinct and semi-autonomous should be given true independence. Yet, who are we, as Americans to say we know the answer.

The United States stole the southern region of the nation from Mexico. There is no outcry amongst the people to return this land to Mexico. Of course, the people of Texas do not have their rights and beliefs limited in the same fashion as the people of Tibet. At one time, it was so. The Latino people of the southern region of the United States have struggled with equality…continue to do so. In Mexico, of importance in such an argument, drug trade, crime, and kidnappings are far more rampant than in the United States. The state of Texas, for example, does suffer from drug smuggling, but the quality of life is far from Mexico, causing numerous immigrants to flea illegally across the border. Would we relinquish Texas to allow Mexico a better economy? If the Mexicans and people of Mexian descent in Texas, Arizon, New Mexico, and California were treated very poorly, perhaps they too would call for independence.

With this outlook—maybe China should just extend the same care for Tibet as it does for the core of the Middle Kingdom. We must consider the other consequences of Tibetan Independence. If they were to acquire a fully independent state, they would need to have a fully functioning government, economy, and other national systems. It could certainy be done. There is also the question of the Han majority who live in Tibet. Is it possible that any possible treachery could be reversed? Why is there no call of indepence for the other four so-called autonomous regions of China? The consequences can be higher than freedom, for Tibet and China.  How is it we can hold ourselves to be of higher morality than any other? Especially when we are unwilling to seek out the truth. I do not yet know the truth. I do have my suspicions as to what the truth of the situation may be, but I am not willing to call out for justice on the premise of a whim.

Is it okay to love another country?  In the United States, Patriotism is held as one of the most important values, and I do care deeply for my country. However, my experience living in Germany for three years and making friends with people from many other countries has lead me to a different point-of-view than the blind patriotism that prevails. I find it hard to dislike, let alone not care about a country that is the home of a friend. Maybe I would disagree with the way the government functions, or certain lifestyles that the people might adopt, but those apply to the United States as well. Then the argument that the U.S. adopts is that its freedom makes it worthy of the patriotism. But isn’t the love of a country an important basis for the willingness to improve that country? Of course it is not possible to actually love a country where one has never been, but there are a growing number of countries that I want to U.S. to have good relationships with; not just for the sake of the United States but for the sake of that country too.