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 Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (1933)

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PostSubject: Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (1933) Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:04 am

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An online .pdf (which I'm unable to download but have copied some passages from) - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

I'm in the middle of this book, and have been enjoying it for two reasons:

1. It agrees with my own ruminations. It makes me laugh out loud (sometimes cry inside) in recognition and familiarity with Korean culture. Though naturally there are some differences between the two, it's interesting that between 1933 and 2016 such comparisons can be made.

2. It is witty and incisive in style, reflecting well on the author's personality.

Quote :
Going about in Shanghai, you are not long in catching on to some of the traits of the people that will be characteristically in evidence in remote parts of the country where foreigners have little or no direct influence.  There are ways in which the Chinese seem unsusceptible to influence, and remain themselves even among foreigners.  

For example, the readiness of all classes of Chinese to say whatever will please your ear at the moment, altogether irrespective of its truth, will be impressively noted in dealing with them.  If you want your suit dry cleaned by Friday afternoon, or some such thing, of course you are assured that it will be ready, and you may privately rest assured that it will not be.  This trait is rather common among tradespeople all over the world, and particularly to be expected among certain classes of immigrants in America.  But in China it is a cult.  And on inquiry, you will be told that in the whole history of the Wing Wong dry cleaning concern no suit was ever cleaned in so short a time as you mention, and the hint is that you are highly unreasonable to have expected quicker service.  The same experience will characterize dealings with Chinese high and low, from trifles to things of importance.  I should say, from personal experience, that the total of procrastination is no greater per diem and per capita in China than in some Latin American countries.  But after summarizing a fair number of instances both ways, I sense that the motive is different in China.  There is not a cult of mañana, exactly, because the Chinese, compared to Latin Americans, are very industrious.  It is simply and almost absolute disregard of truth which prompts them to say what they estimate will be the most pleasing to you and, incidentally, what will get rid of you most smoothly if you are unprofitable, or get your order if you are a possible customer.  In answering inquiries about time, distance or anything else, a Chinese will say what he thinks you want to hear oblivious to the fact that you may prefer accuracy, even though it is disappointing.  

In this particular, you may recall the admonition of a Chinese philosopher of the past, a moral that the Chinese have certainly learned to practice, to the effect that one should never refuse a request in an abrupt manner, but should grant it in form, though with no intention of fulfillment:  “Put him off till tomorrow, and then another tomorrow.  Thus you comfort his heart,” advised the ancient sage.

This characteristic of the Chinese, their cheerful indifference to truth, exasperates a foreigner perhaps more than any quality in their nature.  And as is natural, without any conception of truth as a principle among themselves, they seem frequently incapable of believing anything said to them by others.

After a few days of being lied to by Chinese on all sides and at all times, you will wonder at the strange individuality of your experience.  For you will have heard all your life, if you are an average American, that a Chinaman’s word is as good as his bond.  Accordingly, you broach the problem to a veteran foreign resident:  

He agrees that a Chinaman’s word is as good as his bond.  But he postscripts this with the salty humor with which the explanation is always sprung:  “Of course—but then his bond isn’t worth a damn.”

That leads to mention of one of the standing jokes of the Orient—the yarn about Japanese being so distrustful of one another that they hire Chinese to count the money.  Americans have told me this yarn appeared in a school geography used in America many years ago.  Anyway, it is amusing after a little experience in China.  

...

When shopping in China, if you are a stranger, every recourse will be exhausted in practically every shop to short-change you.  If the count is short, the shop-keeper’s defense will be that the exchange of small money for large has changed that day.  Upon your willingness to call on the exchange shop next door and prove him wrong, the shop-keeper hands over a little more money.  Upon further argument, he will hand over a further installment in the cause of accuracy.  At the last he will complain that he has no more ten-cent pieces or no more coppers.  Upon your pressing him with a willingness to change a larger piece, he will comply as if that were what he had been hoping for all along, and as readily as not brazenly open up a till which displays a peck of small change, without batting an eye, and all smiles and courtesy, amiably pay over the shortage and urge you to call again, escorting you to the door with a bow.  

It is Anglo-Saxon nature to be irritated at this.  But that is the system in China, quite as natural to them as assuring you that the cloth won’t fade and that the vase is a genuine Ming, though the cloth is of two colors where a part of it has already struck the light and the vase is stamped plainly with the trademark of a concern never organized until 1925.  All words in China are meaningless, and costing nothing, they are dispensed with profligate abundance everywhere on all occasions.  Chinese dearly love jabber, protracted harangues over trifles and endlessly gushing eulogies and contentions which upon their face are ridiculously untrue.  Foreigners with a reverence for conciseness and accuracy, especially Americans and British, are of course decidedly out of their element in all this.  They feel the fatigue of the constant resistance to this unrelaxing combat in every negotiation, large or trifling; and with this fatigue there accumulates a rising exasperation at its needlessness, and a deep chronic inward contempt for the Chinese because of it.

But you soon find that where the Chinese have a genuine talent for exasperating you, they have a double talent for placating you when you exhibit anger.  No race approaches them in a talent for what we call handing out soft soap.  If you have gone out of a particular shop indignant at the proprietor, lo, the next day he will likely be lying in wait with a present, a trifle that he begs you to accept as a token of old friendship.  No reference will be made to his former atrocities.  And he will succeed in being so plaintive, so movingly pathetic in his passion for your continued kind regard, and so skillfully histrionic in the compliments he bestows, that three to one you will accept the package of tea, or whatever it is, thank him, and silently cursing yourself for your gullibility, mumble that you will be in to see him later about that what-not he wants to sell, and which he would not sell to any one else at twice the price.

This interprets in part what people mean when they say they like the Chinese.  They mean they find them affable.  The “like” does not embody the element of admiration of character implied in referring to members of our own or a closely similar race.  To like the Chinese, an Anglo-Saxon must necessarily dismiss, in the weighing, many standards that he would employ in a judgment of a fellow Occidental.  And it is true, a point to be elaborated later, that large numbers of Americans do find the Chinese likable; for their unsurpassed amiability, gracious etiquette, spontaneous lying for the expediency of the moment, and other talented diminutions of face-to-face difficulties, all act as soothing lubrication in matters where we should risk friction for honesty.  Few Americans would express a liking for another American they could not respect in the matter of character.  But Chinese whose entire system of standards is anathema to our own are spoken of as being well liked, and correctly so, with this subtraction in mind.

...  

People in American who turn with disgust from the doings of Tammany Hall, the Boo Boo Hoff regime, and the Chicago gang, as the lowest possible in political corruption, simply fail to appreciate the real possibilities of corruption as it is seen in China.  And here, at least, we have a fairly numerous corps of honest citizenry, a sort of normally neutral vigilante reserve, who step in now and then where and when things become too bad and prevent extension of the more vicious excesses.  There is no such reserve of honest citizenry in China, and no sign on the horizon of any in formation in the future.

...

It would, in fact, be impossible for a foreigner in his sternest moments to conjure any savagery comparable to what Chinese receive all the time as a matter of course from their own people.

...

[A] great deal of our sentimentality and resultant indulgence is completely misconstrued by the Chinese, and in the end they appear to feel more resentment toward us for it.  

...

In employment of Chinese involving any responsibility at all, foreigners in China encounter practically an impossibility in impressing upon native employees that initiative in reporting things amiss is preferred to the rooted custom of concealment and deception.  The philosophy of the native goes much beyond that of restaurant waters and cooks in America, who proceed on the assumption that what a person doesn’t know never hurts him.  The Chinese version is that whatever a person can’t find out at the moment, irrespective of the certainty with which he will find out a little later, is of no consequence.  This last-mentioned trait is very characteristic o the so-called “high class” Chinese, and characterizes most dealings with Chinese officials.

...

We think of lying as a recourse, a somewhat venturesome and usually reluctant expedient intended to maintain a deception until the crisis of a difficulty is past.  The Chinese idea of lying is first of all that it is an answer—a response of some sort, opposed to the bothersome or disagreeable actualities of the moment—designed to protract uncertainty in another person, or at least get rid of him.  It may not even be expected to do this, but will be designed merely to parry the approach of the disagreeable.  Chinese lies of this latter variety are often so ludicrously transparent that they could deceive no one for a single instant.  They may be the first ill-considered absurdity that comes into the liar’s head.  But, eternally fond of words, he will stick tenaciously to one lie until it is hopelessly blasted, then without change of countenance ignore it altogether and switch to another equally preposterous, contradicting the first.  And to gather his wits, while cornered and pondering a new one, your noble host may be relied upon to launch into proverbs, with which the tongue and head of every Chinese are at all times hopelessly infested.

...

I have frequently noticed, and I believe all foreigners in China have noticed, their complete indifference to noise.  A Chinese clerk can make up his accounts of type his notes as congenially while a carpenter is hammering the floor under his chair as he could alone in the middle of Gobi.  Not once have I ever so much as heard a Chinese refer to a noise as a distraction.

...

The clan system explains why more Chinese do not starve.  As long as one has a relative a shade better off than himself, he can expect a division.  This division is not made with a show of loving-kindness.  It is often hard fought for, and gained only after the more prosperous of the two has tried in vain to show that he has nothing to share, and is finally threatened with the dread picketing, an extremity developing only now and then in the case of unusually resistant persons.

It is noted that what a Chinese demands under this system, and what he gets, he looks upon as a right, not as anything to be grateful for.  This tradition is worth remembering in connection with American philanthropy, to which the Chinese help themselves readily enough, with an accompaniment of the polite words of thanks and appreciation that they know foreigners expect, but without much evidence of warmth of heart in the business.

The Chinese clan system is responsible for a vast number of worthless government employees.  An official of standing is expected to fill openings with relatives, and if no openings exist, to create them.  The hordes of cousins and nephews must be satisfied, irrespective of any claims of ability.  

...

It is a very ancient usage of metaphor to speak of life, both individual and racial, in terms of streams and currents.  There is at times a useful fitness in this visualization.  It intimates meanings difficult to make clear without figurative language, and for which no other figure seems equally well suited.

For the Westerner in the Orient there is a renewed appropriateness in the imagery.  In the case of the Chinese, even in a physical sense they seem to us a yellow flood of live things, swirling and billowing before us in numberless thousands everywhere, so similar, so endless, that they appear more a fluid mass, a ponderous simmering stream, than individual entities.

But more than in this outward aspect the Chinese suggest some inner current, some invisible motivating force bearing them along, of which they are but the physical evidence, patterning them all to common characteristics of mind and soul as well as of body.  We feel in the race merely the perpetuation of this life stream, the expression of the peculiar mystery in its constancy from progenitors to posterity.  The Chinese appear less susceptible to counter influences of environment than many other races with which we may compare them.  We come to doubt that any Chinese really free themselves from the powerful influences of conformity to a racial pattern.  Their racial life stream is as permeating as a methyl dye, as reduplicating as yeast, actuating each to see, think and feel in the typical Chinese manner.  The educated Chinese may parrot the words we use to express our own contrasting outlook and sense of things, but within depths beyond the reach of intellectual compliance he remains alien to us, and faithful to the forces of the life stream in which his soul was born to swim.

To what extent the Chinese at large are what they are because of their inner racial spirit, and to what extent they are so because of long-continued hardships of environment, we cannot accurately measure.  The two forces merge indistinguishably, and we can observe only the force of the combination.

In the matter of environment, many centuries have passed in China since the average individual there had any significant control over his lot in life.  When he emerges to existence, it is not to look upon choices, but to face forward along lines of narrow necessity, along a slim furrow of possible survival kept open by his family ancestors through the thicket of competing humanity.  Into this he steps and toils until he dies.

There is no escape, no means of reaching a status of relative comfort and security, whatever the effort.  Experience teaches him that moderately intensive effort means perhaps enough to keep alive, less means starvation, and more futility.  The principle applying to physical endeavors applies likewise to moral endeavors.  Moderate goodness keeps him out of jail, a less amount risks penalties, and a greater amount sacrifices needlessly much that he might otherwise enjoy.  The Chinese thus becomes the most coolly calculating materialist the world has ever known.  He lives skeptically immune to moral enthusiasms, having long ago arrived at an opportune materialism whither some of our own gospel ministers tells us we are now rapidly drifting.

Many centuries ago the Chinese adventured their farthest in moral observances above the deadline of necessity, below which no crowded society can survive.  By all evidence they did not go very far above this deadline at any time.  Traditionally they have acknowledged mentally what the brute world acknowledges with instinct—that an alert and prudent selfishness dominates in the end all things.  In such a society, a freak individual actuated to higher conceptions had to carry on at a tremendous disadvantage.  With this realization, though unworded, in his experience, the Chinese of today is disposed to look upon our effervescence of moral loftiness as an impracticality, something that cannot long be sustained, something juvenilely untutored in the longer lessons of human nature.

In the scheme of things for the average Chinese, with so little reserve against adversity, the chance hazards of a poor crop, a war, an oppressive local official, a flood, a famine, a plague of insects, or a charge preferred by a malicious neighbor, defeated often the best efforts of toil.  Hence with enough prudence to keep outside the law, in this monotony of repeated generations born only to survival, there was little difference between what life might offer to the virtuous and to the wicked.  The aspirant for moral improvement, if there was any such thing among the downtrodden poor, found himself beset by conspicuous futilities.  Survival was the aim, and the vices that might assist it were as attentively studied as the virtues.  Similarly, the vices that might brighten moments of leisure were cultivated as expediently as the moralities to the same end.   A philosophy of opportunism, weighing the dividends, governed in both.  

Meanwhile there remained a small group more fortunate, a few scholars, versed in the moral aphorisms of the sages.  These kept alive admonishments to rectitude.  Their proverbs and tenets were in spirit a part of the law of the land, invoked in ordinary criminal and civil judgments.  In this way the vocabulary of righteousness became familiar among the common people, who thus understood what was expected of them in the way of behavior.

But the common people—and likewise most of the uncommon—while knowing what was in theory expected of them, found conditions of survival often dictating contrary courses.  But the code was powerful in theory.  Few cared to apply it to themselves, but each was ever alert to apply it to his competitors.  To show esteem for the law, it was best for every man with ideas of getting along well to go about with lofty principles constantly on his tongue.  This system of profuse moral proverbs was a sort of banner betokening a person’s affiliation with the forces of righteousness.  It was wielded in very transaction of life, to show that a man so steeped in its principles could not possibly be a violator.  With everybody practicing this expedient nobody was deceived.  The vocabulary of righteousness was likewise esteemed because it belonged to the sages of the past, and was therefore sacred—in theory.  Passionate rectitude was asserted in every negotiation, with nobody accepting the words for literal truth.  The loftiest declarations of honor, everywhere used and nowhere meant, became as much taken for granted as the ‘dear’ in the salutation of our most impersonal of letters.

Thus in time the language was debauched until no words were left which were not a mere ritual instead of an expression of conviction.  This is a condition impressively apparent in other parts of Asia, where every shopkeeper and peddler opens with ‘May I perish if I speak falsehood,’ or some similar conventionality, the while aiming at the most ridiculously transparent fraud.  But from the experience of foreigners who have lived in various Oriental countries, we may infer that the Chinese have outdone all others in this corruption of the entire vocabulary of honor and integrity to an unmeant ritual.  Among them a vast etiquette of lying long ago supplanted all literal implications.  

This lying has been described previously.  Reference to it here is in connection with the difficulty, not to say impossibility, of lodging in the head of the average Chinese any notion that what is said is meant.  Upon insistence that terms of honor and square dealing are thoroughly meant, the Chinese replies ‘of course’—he would never think of doubting you.  In thus agreeing, incapable of sensing your seriousness, he feels he is merely reciprocating the ritual.  The Chinese are inclined to hear in the missionaries’ ‘good talkee’ nothing more than a Western variant of their own immemorial camouflage.  The emphasis upon moral values is nothing new to them.  They have had them abundantly on their tongues, going their devious and unchanging ways, for thousands of years.

The Chinese use moralizing words regularly for the same reason low-class French use perfume—to distract attention from the underlying dirt.  It is the custom of the country.  You can find the loftiest sort of moralizing in letters from Chinese bandits demanding ransom for kidnap victims.  Caught red-handed in the most outrageous rascality, your illiterate coolie will burst loose like Old Faithful in a geyser of moral rhetoric, without the slightest concern at an inconsistency between the utterance and the evidence.

With such a conception of the uses of the vocabulary of virtue, it is not astonishing that the Chinese so readily assent when the missionaries urge upon them its value.  The exasperation is that they refuse to look upon it as something for reflection.  It is too familiar to be given second thought.  Have they not always admired the words of righteousness?  

So much for the tenacity of the Chinese in their adherence to racial spirit, their traditions from environment, and their differing conception of language, with every moralizing word a double entendre, its literal meaning obsolete.  

Because this chapter and the next dwell upon the unsuccessful efforts to merge Western with Chinese ideas, it is well by way of prelude to invite examination of our own characteristics—the things that most contrast our racial current with that of the Chinese.


Our foremost distinguishing feature is the confidence, in individuals and masses, that great additional human progress is possible by united efforts, that human cooperation, assisted by time, will steadily diminish the afflictions of existence.  We instinctively look upon time as an ally, expecting the future to do for us what the past has left unsatisfactorily incomplete.  Except among the few educated Chinese mimics of Western ideology, these conceptions do not appear to occupy the thoughts of the Chinese.  What is more, the Chinese at large appear immune to the spirit of such an outlook.  They may parrot the words we use in regard to it, but the inner spirit remains alien.

Our philosophy springs from the youth of our race stock, and it has been increasingly energized by the enormous success we have had during the last three centuries.  We look back upon these strides, and believe they will continue toward an exalted destiny for ourselves in which the rest of mankind will share.  A run of luck for a few centuries, slight in the long perspective of history in which empires have risen and fallen, has invigorated us with the confidence that all presently besetting obstacles are surmountable.  It is difficult for us to realize the extent to which this philosophy is a product of favoring fortune.  Not far behind us we have the conquering blood of Roman legions, and of conquering Teutons, Danes and Normans.  For twenty-five centuries this march of triumph toward new horizons has had but few and brief intermissions.  Energy was rewarded—new forests ever waited the ax and new mines the pick.  Across Europe, across the Atlantic, across America, it has gone militantly forward.  For nearly five hundred years our religious and political emancipation has been increasing, encouraging individual thinking in ethical and social ways to produce and aggregate of human kindness and cooperative aspiration vastly above what the church itself had offered or previous governments had permitted.  At the same time, premiums upon invention have achieved an average of wealth which, while not eradicating selfishness, have been sufficient to induce a certain magnanimity of outlook.

Thus the social conceptions bred were far above those that would have settled upon us had the great majority of the population toiled steadily in a treadmill fetching only enough for survival.  In our past, opportunity has fallen upon lusty stock—stock vigorous enough to win and to hold, but with enough instinct for organization to expand and develop, and above all, in later times, to share.  In America, for twelve generations in succession, parents have been able to look forward to wealth for their children exceeding what they enjoyed themselves.  In such a fortunate scheme of things a philosophy of triumph, doubtless innate in our life stream from earlier warrior days, has been confirmed until it has reached the condition of a blind cult of faith in all desires.  But where this militant determination was effective for routing redskins and slaying buffaloes, where the opposition was in concrete form, it is reasonable to recognize that in desiring to indoctrinate such a philosophy into a people whose entire experience refutes its applicability to them, we are up against a vitally different problem.  

In effect, we ask the Chinese, with their history of futility, to accept a philosophy of worth-whileness of effort and one that is directly a product of success.  For Christianity, as we offer it to the Chinese, is merely the brand-name of all that we regard as favorable to our general welfare.  The foundations of our material success were being laid in the science of Greece and on the battlefields of Roman legions well before the Christian era began.  Christianity is for us, in its theology and ethics, a cult of reward for effort, temporal and eternal.  To Chinese skepticism, the eternal part is hard to accept, while the conditions of his environment do not permit the belief that he will be much better off in this life, whatever creed he professes or does not profess.  Life is hard, and he prefers to stick to the ancestral methods of utilizing all opportunities to keep going.  If they happen to be virtuous, well and good.  If not, he is in no great pain of conscience.  As a choice, he looks to expediency first, last and all the time.  That a Christian God will look out for him any better than his household idols he doubts.  Looking around him, he sees neighbors who have professed Christianity suffer illness, oppression and catastrophe as he suffers them.  He may be told that the Christian God loves him, and is kindly.  But in the absence of concrete testimonial to the fact in the rice pot, he agrees with words alone.  He is not easily to be moved from the notion that he must look out for himself, and he is wary of any moral handicaps in the undertaking.  The primary question of all things with a Chinese is, does it pay?

Our missionaries in China are there to tell him that to be more like ourselves would pay.  The missionary assumptions reflect our life-current Western philosophy—that man can conquer obstacles in his social and economic order and steadily improve upon these orders—and that the Chinese will receive the Message if once they understand it, and that they can apply all our Westernisms associated with it if they desire to do so.  Believing in ourselves, we believe also in the Chinese capacity to repeat our performance once they have it explained to them.  
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PostSubject: Re: Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (1933) Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:32 am

Buddhist effect, in the east.
Population pressures necessitating repression of genetic dispositions happened earlier in the east than in the west.
In the west, with its frontiers in the south, Africa, and later opened up frontiers in the west, may have experienced an early pressure, due to the lack of techniques/technologies required to exploit these frontiers...making Judeo-Christianity spread, but then self-repression floundered, for a while - Christianity evolving into a pagan variant still with us.
Later, when population pressures fell upon the west, and no more frontiers were left, Marxism became inevitable.

The only frontier is space, but like Africa and America it remain a taunt - there but inaccessible.
The new Dark continent, or wild west.
If it becomes more accessible then Judeo-Christianity, and its multiple nihilistic variants (Nihilism in general) will diminish.
Word-games when your life is at stake is a quick way to die.
The present state is because of this inaccessibility of new frontiers, creating a de facto [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], making Nihilistic necessary, and popular for this reason.
Using words to escape inwardly, into subjective frontiers, is a coping mechanism - into fantasy, the esoteric noetic frontier, where surrealism reigns because it has no severe cost, and only offers the benefit of escape.
Words as entertainment, cynical dismissals, toys for boys forced to think like girls.

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PostSubject: Re: Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (1933) Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:43 am

I know from what I've read so far that the author does not attribute any of this to Buddhism, he actually says Buddhism and all other religions have made no real inroads in obstinate China.

I will pay attention to see if it addresses it later in the book.
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PostSubject: Re: Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (1933) Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:46 am

Buddhism converted to Marxism, there.
I known Buddhism was a (re)action to Hindu Aryanism, and its cast system.
Like Christianity was a (re)action to Roman Paganism, and Judaism a (re)action to Egyptian and Persian dominance.

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PostSubject: Re: Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (1933) Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:59 am

It seems to be just in their racial essence; the same ants who built the wall against the Mongols a thausand years ago are the same in every aspect to the ants who build ghost cities and replicate European towns today. They are already known for having no creativity though a high enough IQ to recoginze and build upon patterns like European man, but not before some other people has uncovered the pattern or experiments with doubtful possibilities. They have a different brain structure, there is a correlation between the degeneracy of Scientists, Autists and Orientals; their own specialized work and lives matter and nothing beyond and no matter the possible abuses from others.
Though interesting that part about them not being bothered at all by noises, reminds me of the articles about 'the more intelligent the less friends and noise' and about the 'coywolf' and its adaptability to city life by being unaffected by noise due to the dog's admixture. Perfect city-dwelling dog people with nothing in common with dogs, the Chinese.
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PostSubject: Re: Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (1933) Wed Mar 23, 2016 5:02 am

''In America, for twelve generations in succession, parents have been able to look forward to wealth for their children exceeding what they enjoyed themselves. In such a fortunate scheme of things a philosophy of triumph, doubtless innate in our life stream from earlier warrior days, has been confirmed until it has reached the condition of a blind cult of faith in all desires.''

Me thinks about the guillible and (sometimes arrogant) [Western] tourists and their spending (exploitation) of money excesses.
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PostSubject: Re: Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (1933) Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:59 am

I take a Spenglerian view on these kinds of things.  I think a period of great creativity, aggressiveness, and masculine nobility came and went in China long, long ago and that its culture leveled out, hollowed out, and became a corpse that continued to be venerated for a long time.  They grasped at some point (Confucianism) that preserving this corpse was a way to survive, and they did it coldly and calmly.

This is not to compare the racial/cultural spirits of West and East--I would say that comparing or contrasting them in their essences is somewhat moot, since they are so different.  But of course the West is evidently the more glorious in its achievements.  

As Satyr said once, if we look at East Asia as it is today we see perhaps our similar future.  Not similar in personality, but similar in age, accumulated experience, wisdom piled on top of wisdom--until the average members of the race do not face reality with curiosity, agony, or passion but instead a cold, calculating intellect that has become like a second nature.  In a way, it is enviable in its contentedness.  And yes, feminine.  

More from the book.  He emphasizes an ancient urbane skepticism to which he attributes China's lack of religious fervor.  So I wonder how Satyr's idea of Buddhist nihilism fits in.  If the following is accurate enough, I would say that developments within China itself were enough to produce the feminized or nihilist civilization we see there now, regardless of Buddhism.

Quote :
The general policy (up to 1930) has been one of expansion in mission enterprises in China, keeping salaries as low as possible and using increasing funds for extensions of school facilities.

To all this work the wealthy Chinese in China contribute infinitesimally little, and in most cases nothing.  In a country that owes its modern enlightenment, and in a sense its very existence, to mission work, this cool aloofness on the part of innumerable Chinese missionaries is striking, though not surprising.

They might reasonably be excused from contributing to the spread of an alien religion with which they have no sympathy, but the many leading medical schools and other social service projects founded by missionaries have long since lost their primarily religious character, and are today, and have for years been, outright, altruistic endeavors of utilitarian value, with no strings of theology attached.  Nearly all the medical nurses in China, numbering around 2,500, are products of Christian mission training.  The same is true in an approximate extent of most other professions of foremost immediate and potential benefit to the country.  China’s debt to the missions, from the standpoint of acquiring the coveted Western enlightenment, is in strange contrast to an official policy of “down with the foreigners” and “down with the missionaries,” expressed in governmentally permitted or connived-at lootings, attempted extortions and murders.

In the above paragraph, I used the word “existence” in speaking of China’s indebtedness to the missionaries.  Any one who will go over carefully the principal historical events of the nineteenth century in China may find that the sentiment bred by American and British missionaries among their respective populations at home engendered a sympathy for the Chinese that probably was the force saving China from political dismemberment by European powers.  It is not argued pro or con that this sympathy was in the long run a good thing for the Chinese.  They might be vastly better off under other flags than their own, a supposition with the overwhelming negative support, at least, that they could not be any worse off.  But this indebtedness to the missionaries is in striking contrast to the Chinese hostility to them.  The foremost anti-missionary agitators in China are the very ones clamoring with effusive self-proclaimed patriotism for a politically sovereign and unified China, an aim in which the missionaries have obviously been their best allies.  

Resentment against missionaries certainly does not spring from religious intolerance.  The Chinese are without doubt the most tolerant people under the sun in matters of religion, because of all peoples they are the least religious.  They are the one large group of the world’s population, in fact the only group large or small, that ever advanced equally far in civilization without any show of religious fervor whatever.  Missionaries have been and are resented, but apparently not for reasons of religious hostility.  

A little examination of Chinese ideas of religion reveals much that is significant.  To begin, their sages have reverenced Confucius conspicuously, but not in the sense of religious adoration.  The feeling was philosophic accolade and an avowed obligation of emulation.  The common people know only vaguely of Confucianism and Buddhism and Taoism, terms which among them are mere misnomer identifications of misty superstitions and propitiatory rites, having little or no connection with tenets of organized religious cults.  If you ask the average illiterate Chinese what religion he belongs to or believes in, he will not comprehend the question.  The Mohammedan minority among them is slightly more definite in allegiance, but even the elsewhere militant Mohammedanism died out into a tepid meaninglessness of name when it fell upon Chinese spiritual sterility.

There is not among the Chinese anything akin to the religious sense as it prevails in India, the Semitic world, among Negroes, Latins, or Southerners of the United States.  The priestcraft of China has lacked the pedagogic urge, and nothing in the way of instruction appears to have been done for those, the majority, unable to tread the analects and aphorisms of the ancient scholars.  The run-of-the-mill Chinese was never molested by the priest, and the temples were and are used almost wholly for propitiatory offerings in times of distress, or for good luck on the birthday of  a son or some such felicitous occasion.  The rest of the time, so long as the crops are good and the fish bite, the average Chinese desires no more intercourse with the Lord than with the sheriff or doctor or pawnbroker, recourse to all being emergency developments.  

From early times a sort of urbane Voltaire-like cynicism has characterized the educated native Chinese.  The favorite proverb Pou toun kiao toun li—“religions are many, reason is one,” expresses their indifference.  Through the centuries the Chinese philosophers have poked fun at credulous fellow-countrymen, especially at those disposed to attach much meaning to words of supplication addressed to an unseen deity.  “Suppose,” wrote one imperial commentator at the instigation of the emperor, “you had violated the laws in some way, and that you were taken into the judgment hall to be punished.  Do you think, if you went on bawling a thousand times over ‘Your Excellency!  Your Excellency!’, the magistrate would be more likely to spare you for that?”

Possibly it is unfortunate for the Chinese that Confucius arrived after scholarship and learning had already made fair progress.  Had he come upon the scene a few centuries earlier, primitive credulity might have invested his birth and life with the mythology and legend essential to make a religion out of his philosophy.  We know that a shroud of mystery and mysticism is necessary to dramatize any worth-while doctrine for popular consumption, and that moral wisdom, however self-evident its value, can never make much headway in the common herd unless it is accredited to divine origin and thus accepted as a religion.  But Confucius arrived among a population in which learning, amid the group he addressed, had advanced to where a critical attitude prevailed.  In this connection, it is well to remember that each great religion has been founded in a society intermediate between primitive credulity and moderate learning, one in which enough learning prevailed to recognize something excellent in a moral sense, but in which not so much learning had been attained that all ready credulity in supernatural agency was gone.  Hence the tardy advent of Confucius assured him contemporary veneration as a philosopher, but denied him posthumous glory as the divine founder of a great religion.

And yet to say that the Chinese would have been better off with a religion is a conjecture, because the chances are that they would have perverted it in their mass ignorance into all kinds of abominations.  We see that in neighboring India, where Buddhism landed in a society intellectually far behind the Chinese and thus readily became a religion, an originally creditable doctrine was so elaborated with mystic embellishments that its usefulness was largely destroyed, leaving India perhaps worse off with a superabundance of religion than China with none.  Such a possibility as that of Confucianism becoming a true religion, however, is merely a field for surmise, because we cannot accurately measure the racial receptivities prevailing as against the accidents of time and environment.  The Chinese impress one as utterly lacking in emotional responsiveness to religious things, and perhaps that racial trait would have doomed Confucius to remain a philosopher and not the founder of a religion, regardless of when he was born.  In any event, we may ponder the proposition that if the Chinese were too old and skeptical to formulate a religion 2,500 years ago, they are not likely to be more spiritually susceptible to a new one at this time.  

Theology and ethics are in practically no sense related in Chinese conceptions.  In certain respects that is perhaps in their favor, for their deplorable ethics get them into trouble enough, and if they wrangled over notions of theology in addiction, the chaos would be beyond imagination.  And at least the separation of religion and ethics, as a spectacle, is in favorable contrast to the situation in parts of the world where constant inbreeding of the two has produced monstrosities of both.

Religiously, as in other respects, the typical Chinese mentality represents the human maximum of broad-mindedness.  It is striking to a newcomer in China to learn that a Chinese does not care what an acquaintance thinks or does, so long as it does not unfavorably affect him.  Acquaintances may be thieves, pickpockets and what not, so long as they do not rob him.  Varied religious ideas are if possible of even less concern.  The inferential advantage of this indifference is that such corrupt ideas as the Chinese have may supposedly be the more easily dislodged, because they do not adhere to any set and persisting dogma.  As a disadvantage, conjecturally, it will be very difficult to implant any improving sense of values in his head, because there is nothing in that spiritual vacuum to which such a sense of values might be attached.  In religious negativity, the Chinese are an amazing contrast to their neighbors the Tibetians, the Japanese and the Hindus.

This calls to mind the familiar lesson of history that the ignorant multitude will never behave themselves from a regard to duty to fellow men, but must be coerced in the matter either by swift and sure physical punishment in life or by indoctrination with the idea that an all-seeing deity will handle offenders in the world to come.  Most governments have relied upon the double effectiveness of the two combined, but the Chinese dynasties of the past singularly omitted recourse to spiritual suasion, and placed their reliance upon a terribly formidable penal code.  Possibly the unconquerable Chinese apathy to all spiritual ideas necessitated this exclusive reliance upon earthly physical punishment—no one may say with certainty.  The missionaries believe, and perhaps rightly so, that the Chinese could be more easily governed if they were better spiritualized.  But the catch is that they have shown themselves immune to spiritual influences.  It is like putting salt on the bird’s tail.  

It seems an unalterable racial characteristic—this emotional immunity of Chinese to spiritual conceptions of any kind, and to theological conceptions of Christianity in particular.  

But what does the educated, well-wishing, and open-minded Chinese think Christianity offers his people?

What we are accustomed to call Christianity has linked with it a great deal that is a Western ideology of values, material and otherwise, but strictly speaking not religious.  The spring of thought rising in Bethlehem has accumulated the chips and sediment of many differing racial forces and changing centuries through which it has passed upon its long westward journey to us.  Many of these accumulated features of our creed are in the eyes of thinking Chinese not visible outgrowths of the theological narrative presented by the missionaries.

The educated Chinese, of course, knows that we ascribe our material accomplishments to the stimulus of our religion.  But against that he is asked to reconcile bits of background that fit with difficulty into such a thesis.  He observes historically that the church fought science for centuries with intimidation and execution, accepting science only when it could no longer resist it.  Our science is the thing that impresses China.  Reviewing Christianity further through the centuries, he finds its repeated metamorphoses so divergent that to find any single message meeting his interests is baffling.  From a consolatory religion of slaves and refugees sanctifying poverty he finds it shortly afterwards the justifying assurance of pompous tyrannical kings and popes reveling in splendor and privileged oppression: something ever changing according to its foremost interpreters from age to age, sometimes enslaving millions, sometimes waging bloody wars to free slaves, sometimes renouncing force, sometimes maniacally searching out untold thousands of unoffending persons with torch and bastinado, now burning witches, now raising funds for free treatment of persons afflicted, its original message of peace and good will ever pursued and spread with fire and sword, its assured spiritual serenity inciting individuals and mobs to the maddest agonies of fury and slaughter.

Our informed Chinese may reflect that less than forty years ago Christendom was appalled with Robert G. Ingersoll pleased with eloquence, discussing the Master’s message of Love and Comfort:  “Do not proclaim as ‘tidings of great joy’ that an Infinite Spider is weaving webs to catch the souls of men.”  Christianity has changed a great deal since then.  Men by and large refused to accept the notion of a yawning hell, so the ministers of Christianity soft-pedaled its emphases upon hell.  Ingersoll’s plea could be uttered by any prominent metropolitan preacher today without getting into the headlines or causing a second thought to folks coming out of church headed for Sunday dinner.  Christianity has always been changing.  During the first two centuries, a Chinese might remind you, it plead for an inoffensive humility—a doctrine well suited to shackled slaves and indentured peasants.  But in spreading, as it rose into higher social strata, Christianity infected militant men used to conflict and battle.  The humility provision did not fit into the life stream of races competent for conquest.  So wars became labeled with religious slogans, and Christianity itself became militant.  It has come down to us voiced in such affairs as the Battle Hymn of the Republic and Onward Christian Soldiers.  Climates and races have ever made their modifications, and the clergy have ever made their compromises of accommodation.  

Protestantism is not in Tennessee what it is in Vermont, and Catholicism is not in Montreal what it is in Rio de Janeiro.  The vulgar imagination could not grasp Christianity as abstractions of principle and so it was personalized with saints and symbolized with the cross and the rosary to give it visibility.  Not only do the tenets of Christianity change—from century to century they actually conflict.  What Ingersoll saw as the Infinite Spider may well appear to the historically informed Chinese as but a temporary guise of the eternal chameleon.

Christianity’s part in our progress is thus perplexing to the Chinese who may combine a knowledge of Western history with his innate cool skepticism.  Remote from the racial instinct of its fervor, himself racially alien to its spirit, he sees Christianity not as we think of it but in all the inconsistent entirety of its historical span.  He finds grounds to suspect that what we term Christianity is not to be accounted for altogether in terms of its theology, but is merely the pen name for our ever-varying structure of standards, confluently evolved from many sources, something persistently appealed to by Occidentals in dealing with one another, the while providing a flattering caption for our whole general system.  
As recently as the World War, it may be noted, we provided him the odd spectacle of millions on each side, each theologically confident, praying for each other’s annihilation.  In 1933, the Chinese may read, Christianity in Germany is adding an “Aryan” plank to its eternally adjustable platform.  He finds also about as many definitions of Christianity as there are speakers and writers on the subject, with deviations of creed as wide within the ranks of Christianity as between Christianity and other faiths.  He may observe such broad divergences as between the Doukhobors, who like to parade nude, and some adherents of Roman Catholic sects, to whom the naked human body is itself a sin—with flat-earth Zionists, Christian Scientists, House of David longhairs, wash-foot Baptists, shouting Methodists and silent Quakers thrown in for variety.  He may reflect that if there is no speech nor language where the voice of the Christian God is not heard, certainly there is none in which it is not disputed and wrangled over.  He is assured by all that the essentials of our gospel are simples, but everywhere he gets a different version as to what this simplicity comprises.  Each seems determined to out-impassion the other in proclaiming the true spirit of the Christian Message, but with such differences that the holy writ may be used alike in community chest drives and for lynching Negroes.  Of course, to our Occidental regard there is within it all, though its history is a gory trail of split hairs and cracked heads, some conforming principle, some indefinable emphases of upward obligation, that gives it a strength of human affairs beyond anything a Chinese himself knows.  But this view is not as immediately convincing to a Chinese as might be expected.  Our religion is borne upon our racial spirit, much of it alien and some of it inimical to Chinese temperament, with deep-fixed differences that cannot perhaps be named, but which are not the less divisions for that reason.  

The observing Chinese, then, may not conclude that our theology is something urgently needed for himself.  He may further reflect that if Christianity is denuded of its theology and reduced to principles of dealing, he already has among his own people (though unused) a system of principles practically identical in Confucianism and Taoism.  In fact, not many churchgoers in America could tell the difference if selected doctrines of Jesus Christ and Confucius were read aloud to them.  The Chinese and ourselves have received substantially the same kind of moral emphasis from our foremost teachers.  That Western countries have gone forward to a superior standard of life cannot be ascribed, without much presumption, to differences between our moral preceptors, because those differences are insignificant.  There is more evidence to conclude that the Chinese have lagged in achieving a spirit of fellow-dealing equal to our own because of their indifference to any emotional moral force whatsoever, and would be right where they are if Bethlehem had been in China and the Last Supper eaten with chop sticks.  Of course geography assists in accounting for differences, too.  But as to doctrines, the name is not nearly as important as its practice, and our observer may well reason that Confucianism even half practiced would do very well for the Chinese, at least as well as Christianity nine-tenths bungled.  The proposition is that the Chinese are not disposed to practice either.

Our missionaries in China readily admit that there would be no discernible difference between a Chinese who was a thorough practitioner of Confucianism and one a thorough practitioner of Christianity.  Hence when a Chinese is animated by missionary efforts to give a better account of himself in daily life, he is induced to assume a moral outlook that is called Christian only because that is the adjective applied to his inductors.  Chinese keep this in mind, and they do not look upon the name Christianity as implying essentials not available under other labels.

Quote :
The foregoing synopsis of the educated Chinese intellectual reaction to our religion is included here to suggest why Chinese patriots of the educated classes do not leap forward to encourage our missionaries in the redemption of their people.  Of course, in actuality few of them go through the steps of consideration detailed here.  But this, as well as I can gather, is what they feel in a general way.  The number bothering their heads about the matter at all is microscopic.

So I wonder, to what extent is the author projecting his own thoughts onto the hypothetical educated Chinese?  Certainly a little bit.  But again, it reflects my own thoughts about East Asians having lived among them, which is the biggest reason I felt compelled to share this book.

Quote :
But it is worth emphasizing that the Chinese do not appear to resent Christianity in any way as a religion.  They are not sufficiently devoted to any spiritual credo to mind the theology of another.  Every one of them readily admits its virtues as a code of behavior.  They not only admit it—they will in ordinary conversation express profound admiration for it.  But that is the end of the matter.  They are the most accommodating people in the world—conversationally—and then they go their devious ways with the subject tranquilly dismissed from mind.

The missionary’s stone wall is not opposition but apathy.  It is not Chinese nature in abstract matters to refuse—it is his nature to ignore.  Nothing has been devised that will penetrate this insulating calm of indifference, this dead air space around the Chinese soul, with the bite of a motivating spiritual idea.  To date unnumbered thousands have given the task their lives, and on the great yellow face of China they have not roused the bat of an eyelash in interest.  

We see throughout the Western world today that the spirit of the ages is against the advance of religion.  The momentum of the ages is against it in China.

Our two life streams do not merge.  They do not even flow in parallel directions.  That ingredients of our own would help the Chinese is hardly open to doubt.  That the Chinese can absorb them or care to absorb them is a proposition contrary to abundant evidence.  They can utilize some or all of our concrete achievements.  But these are not the things of the inner current where emotions, definable and undefinable, make us what we are, and cause us to make acceptance or rejections of moral values.  History provides no example of one race taking over the inner spirit of another as its own.  We have believed that in the case of the Chinese we could establish an exception.  But this confidence is itself an expression of our racial spirit, a spirit of triumphant aggressiveness in conquering material obstacles.  Through the missionaries we direct it against obstacles of another sort.  We are attempt to penetrate an alien spirit in the manner in which as pioneers we penetrated the American forests.  But it might be remembered that while we successfully penetrated the forests, our missionary efforts of many generations failed to penetrate the soul of the American Indians dwelling therein.  They bought our beads and our guns and our rum, but to the story of the Sermon on the Mount and the infant in the manger they merely grunted, and allowed that they were good.

Cool observation in China today indicates that when the Chinese have had their fill of our automobiles, our airplanes, and our telephones, and wear mail order suits, they will politely sip their tea—or perhaps coca-cola—and fan themselves, smilingly, to admit that our religion is “velly good talkee.”
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PostSubject: Re: Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (1933) Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:17 am

Nihilism is a psychological (noetic) rejection, denial, forgetting of past/nature, and also a relationship with world as void of absolutes (including the abstractions, noetic, constructs of meaning, purpose, God etc.)
It is the exploitation of the natural antagonism (agon, war, struggle) between organism and flux, producing friction (stress, fear, need/suffering)
Nihilism is a political method, exploiting human nature, to domesticate, exploit, direct, humanity - the average masses, the herd.
Converting their libidinal energies into work, or abstracting it into words, and money.
The conversion is an inversions, where natural dispositions are denied (human nature dismissed as a human construct - irony the byproduct of this conversion) - conversion of phenomena into noemenon; all noumena referring to other noumena - inter-subjectivity.
Words as magical connectors to other minds, or to the ONE mind (God).
Philosophy as exploration of political discourse - methods of exploring and exploring these relationships.
This is the nihilistic paradigm.
All is measures quantitatively - using the binary code, words taken literally and not as representations.
Fame & Fortune - money and popularity.

I consider Buddhism the eastern version of Judaism.
Nihilism became a way of controlling masses by disconnecting them form past/nature. Reducing them to an idea(l), and suppressing natural drives.
Hinduism is Aryan in its expression: caste system.

Buddhism lacking the historical influence of Zaroastronism and Hellenism, took a different path towards nihilism.
In the west it infected the Semites, influenced by Egyptian spirituality, rejecting it  entering the period of 'wandering in the desert" seeking an alternative, then discovering it in Babylon where the Abrhamic God was born.
From there contact with Hellenic spirituality and social cosmopolitanism, through Rome's interpretations of both, Christianity was born.
Cross-Contamination also changed Judaism, forcing a splintering into three distinct variations, made more so after Hitler and the Second World War.  
As I've said elsewhere the so called Cold war is those three forms of Zionism competing, fighting over the spoils, through their mutations: Capitalism and Marxism.
Stalin becomes Demonized AFTER he cleanses the Zionists form the Russian communist party, just as Putin is demonized when he intervenes to take back the resources given away to them, by the drunk Yeltsin.

Neo-Buddhism is now also adopting feminism, and offering Brahman status to both sexes, something unimaginable to the original followers.
In places like Thailand Buddhism is practices as if it were a variant of Christianity.

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PostSubject: Re: Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (1933) Sun May 01, 2016 1:06 pm


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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (1933) Sat Aug 06, 2016 6:14 pm

It's hard for me envision that I, as an individual, am a product of my society, despite the obvious logic of it. Overall, I genuinely feel as though I have chosen my personality as per my own wishes.

It's the lack of historical perspective that blinds me. Though, I would be equally illogical in my assumption that knowledge of past events can yield accurate insight into the minds of those who actually lived it.

What intrigues me most about this thread is the position that the age of a culture helps to form its mental undercurrents. Does a young culture, such as the USA, act more foolhardy, full of awe and wonder at what lies ahead compared to an old culture, set in its ways and sluggishly prodding along with no apparent purpose other than the miserably mundane?

My principal concern and occupation is learning if the chains we were shackled with at birth can truly be broken. Or, do we merely suffer the illusion of such a freedom, and go on carrying the same chains in a more comfortable fashion?
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PostSubject: Re: Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (1933) Sun Aug 07, 2016 3:49 am

Acryptical wrote:
It's hard for me envision that I, as an individual, am a product of my society, despite the obvious logic of it. Overall, I genuinely feel as though I have chosen my personality as per my own wishes.

It's the lack of historical perspective that blinds me. Though, I would be equally illogical in my assumption that knowledge of past events can yield accurate insight into the minds of those who actually lived it.

What intrigues me most about this thread is the position that the age of a culture helps to form its mental undercurrents. Does a young culture, such as the USA, act more foolhardy, full of awe and wonder at what lies ahead compared to an old culture, set in its ways and sluggishly prodding along with no apparent purpose other than the miserably mundane?

My principal concern and occupation is learning if the chains we were shackled with at birth can truly be broken. Or, do we merely suffer the illusion of such a freedom, and go on carrying the same chains in a more comfortable fashion?


The self is not other than the world, but a continual differentiation of it - language is how the human finds his dwelling.

Individualization is a continual differential overcoming of inherited identities [culture] and integrated experiences [civilization].

The overcoming of one's mother in the Freudian sense - as in, outgrowing the sphere of security, is how the butterfly emerges from the protective cocoon as a mature/self-reliant unit, that progresses to it absolutely, but never attains completely. The overcoming of one's time - outer and inner environment is how the self attains to a more and more dscriminating, refined self-consciousness.

Knowledge is a continual discovering of the past, that requires a partial oblivion to the influences of one's time, to look courageously at the world beyond the human world.

In this light, inherited traditions are shock-absorbant bulwarks of cummulative wisdom, that one doesn't blindly follow, or cling to like one's mother, but we shape it to an even greater rigour.

Identity is a progressive discriminate differentiation, from out of integral pasts - integral traditions.
Individualism, is the maximum differential standard in the maximum integral culmination of the whole organic past - a peak link in the 'chain' of becoming.
Those looking for a blank slate or proposing one, for "pure unmixed origins", are asking for death or unicorns, as all life IS and emerges as inter-activity.
And those looking for absolute certainty of verifying identity are asking for a faith, a higher order, a higher vantage, a God, to be given something to believe in. This is a nihilism.


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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Ways That Are Dark: The Truth About China (1933) Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:22 am

Lyssa wrote:
Those looking for a blank slate or proposing one, for "pure unmixed origins", are asking for death or unicorns, as all life IS and emerges as inter-activity.
And those looking for absolute certainty of verifying identity are asking for a faith, a higher order, a higher vantage, a God, to be given something to believe in. This is a nihilism.

I dislike both, though my feelings may be similar to those who seek such.

Certainly, there is nothing pure about life or any aspect of it, as we comprehend purity. Such notions are security blankets, and serve no function other than delusion as far as I'm concerned.

What I seek requires physical experimentation (physical in the sense that it must transcend mental masturbation). That much I know. No amount of philosophy can bring me to the brink of what I wish to know. And what I wish to know is mostly, at this time, undefinable.

No, not undefinable. Beyond my ability to define it. But it is there. I see it. Though, my mentality is that I cannot grasp what I am seeing and I am forced to describe it through my own primitive understanding.

Lyssa wrote:
Knowledge is a continual discovering of the past, that requires a partial oblivion to the influences of one's time, to look courageously at the world beyond the human world.

In this light, inherited traditions are shock-absorbant bulwarks of cummulative wisdom, that one doesn't blindly follow, or cling to like one's mother, but we shape it to an even greater rigour.

Thus, the source of knowledge isn't really a significant factor. If we aren't making applicable what is known to our own lives, we're biological automatons, nothing more. While that may have been our original purpose, I refuse to accept such as my present purpose.

Yes, the idea of "identity" itself being refined to something singular is... the machine's prerogative. The robot must know what it is in distinct terms, in order to fulfill its programming because it needs a starting reference. Without it, it has nothing. A living, dare I say evolved?, human being does not need this. Ultimately, we require no justification (be it in the form of a distinct purpose, divine right, or higher calling).

That's the scary part. Letting go of mommy.

Always easier said than done.
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