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Wang Meng: Traditional Chinese Culture Provides An Effective Lifestyle

Source: Qilu Evening News Date: 2014-08-06

The traditional Chinese culture is an ancient culture with wide scope of coverage and influence. It is also a unique oriental culture with huge influence and reputation. It has undergone twists and turns amidst severe challenges and walked out of the shadow of lagging behind world trend. Today, it is increasingly showing its great vigor and vitality. More importantly, it is a living culture that is capable of engaging in exchanges, dialogue and mutual learning and progressing with the times with the world’s mainstream cultures, modern cultures and advanced cultures.

Even more true, it provides an effective lifestyle, a special world view and philosophical outlook, a humanistic value and thinking, a unique and refined language, art and literature, a living attitude and life quality of content, practicality and stress on reality, and a highly relevant perspective to overcome some of the disadvantages of modernity.

The Chinese culture, first and foremost, is about the Chinese language culture, which emphasizes integration, big concept, interconnection between all things and harmony between its writing and all things. It does not aims to shape personal gods but pursues ultimate concepts – conceptual gods, such as way, connection, bigness, unity, benevolence, justice, heaven and change. It pursues a thinking order and social order from high to low and from low to high, and also from big to small and from small to big.

The Chinese culture is a pan-moralistic culture. It stresses human relations, harmony and order and advocates constraining unlimited competition and inflated desire. It stresses the innate ethical duties of man, respect for nature and harmony between man and nature. That may have some defects, impacting on the scientific progress and cultural innovation of China over thousands of years, but it also has served to maintain the continuity and unity of the great Chinese nation and help the Chinese nation tide over successive difficulties and enter the 21st century with all its dynamism. At the same time, in today’s world, it is of positive significance for countering malicious competition, harmful growth of desires, abnormal increase of living pressure and the impulsivity amidst high-speed growth.  

In addition, the Chinese culture is progress-oriented, as expressed in the classical saying of “The movement of heaven is full of power. Thus the superior man makes himself strong and untiring”. It easily fits into the surging modernity and adopts the idea of “development is of overarching importance” and is free from the hostility against modernity and science and technology or the negative and lazy attitude of making no effort to seek progress

The earth cannot be monopolized and culture cannot be uniform. The Chinese culture is one of the important reference systems for the mainstream cultures of the modern world and the Europe-centered Christianity civilization.

The key to the soft power of culture lies in its effects, by which I mean:

First, it serves to provide better and better life quality and joys of life, giving the people cultivated in this culture the sense of happiness, contentedness, delight and dignity. It is rooted in the people so that people love and respect this culture. In simple words, it is a culture that puts people first instead of enslaving people or taking people as enemies.
  Second, it has enough rallying power and appeal to make the people covered and influenced by this culture kind and united instead of prone to fighting, extremism, terror and separation.
  Third, it can keep its uniqueness and character and at the same time be friendly and able to properly handle its relationship with heterogeneous cultures, interact with the influences of foreign cultures and achieve complementarity through clashes of ideas and mutual learning. It won’t easily lose confidence or succumb to the pressure of strong cultures for self-disintegration, nor blindly resist heterogeneous cultures, nor fall into an identification crisis in the process of growing globalization and modernization in which it loses its own identity and lands itself in despair and hatred.
  Fourth, it has enough imaginative power, creativity, resilience and self-adjusting and improving ability to keep pace with the times, make constant progress and achieve self-renewal. It also values and has confidence in its own tradition — i.e. cultural self-consciousness and cultural confidence.
    We have already overcome and are also overcoming the anxiety, perplexity, worry and dilemma brought by the rapidly modernized and globalized world. And with our culture, we will surely be able to revitalize our country, create history and make greater contribution to mankind.