Yu Qiuyu 82. Non-expeditionary and non-aggressive Chinese civilization
Chinese culture is a flowing river, not withered vines, old trees and crows.Sitting in the lecture hall of Yu Qiuyu’s Compulsory Course on Chinese culture, you can savor the silent and majestic vitality of Chinese culture.Since ancient times, China has a tradition of “not expeditionary”. Is this a kind of civilization or a disease?Is it greatness or cowardice?– Anonymous The Chinese people prefer fighting within themselves rather than fighting outside. As the saying goes, “If one does not sweep the house, how can one sweep the world?” Only by “cultivating one’s moral integrity and maintaining one’s family” can one “run a country and bring peace to the world.”The five-thousand-year history of Chinese civilization is actually a history of conquest and being conquered.– Anonymous As I mentioned earlier, the sheer size of Chinese culture gives it its own exuberant vitality.Their large size gives them strong vitality, vision and tolerance, which increases their integration ability and confidence in times of crisis.Later I said that due to its large size, no matter how big a disease it encountered, it could recuperate in other places, and it could give birth to new life in the process of circulation, so that it did not disappear in the grass like other cultures.Chinese culture is not like this, this grass may not survive, soon saw a way out of the grass.The road is failing. I see another high slope to the north.There is always a way to go, which is the meaning of the vast territory for the survival of Chinese culture.Today, I want to talk about another effect that this vast space has brought to Chinese culture, that is, the explosion in all directions, which makes the volume of culture itself, like that of geography, present a vast state.It is not only circulation, even when it is not circulation, its transmission power is very large, and we imagine that an emperor ruled the whole country completely different from the situation.In fact, the development of Chinese culture is completely different from what some sociologists now analyze.For example, when we talk about neo-Confucianism, at the very beginning, there are four families (lian, Luo, Guan and Min), which all represent different place names, and they are very distant place names.”Lian” refers to hunan, Jiangxi this area;”Luo” refers to Henan;”Guan” refers to Shaanxi;”Min” refers to Fujian province.These four places later led to the Lu school of Jiangxi and the Wang School of Zhejiang.Take the book of the Fifth Son of the Song Dynasty and make a brief summary of it. Let us take a look at it and see that there are so many schools of philosophy closely connected with their own region. Almost all the land of Kyushu is talking about this school, and they all talk so brilliantly.In this sense, Chinese culture really reached the point of blossoming everywhere, which is just Neo-Confucianism.When you open the map of China, it is called all over the place. What I just said is just one of the schools. It is amazing.This is true of Chinese culture in philosophy. In other fields, symphonic movements have appeared in the vast space.Learned the history of literature and art history knows, such as jiangxi poetry, public security, set JingLing, changzhou, west zhejiang word set, wu classics, anhui classics, east zhejiang history, what tongcheng school, wu door painting, jinling eight, yangzhou eight eccentrics, these are the various kinds of artistic genre and geographical names together, is very famous.No matter how bad the emperor or eunuch is, they cannot interfere with the great development of these arts and cultures.In addition to the school I just mentioned, it will be even more obvious if it is expanded to calligraphy, seal cutting, guqin, ceramics, embroidery and architecture.The vast space of Chinese culture produces a very vast and spectacular scene, every one of them.When my good friend Ma Weidu talks about ceramics in his archaeology column, you can see how many places and kilns he talks about. This is just one end of the story, and other fields are the same.Back to my own field, which I am very familiar with, is local opera.Incomplete statistics now count 172 local operas.It is completely supported by region, even by dialect and local music, which constitutes a grand view of Chinese opera art.If we compare this characteristic with other cultures, the difference is very obvious.The cultural projects produced by other cultures are generally concentrated in the capital and one or two economic centers. They have never blossomed in all directions and harvested in all directions, as the Chinese culture does, regulating the harvest and the lack of harvest everywhere to avoid the overall shortage.If we travel in China, we went to look more desolate, can also see a tablet, see a school site, or to see a lot about what happened here in ancestral temple culture phenomenon, it really makes people feel: only this scattered in such a vast land of Chinese culture, they will be able to with the earth.The impression of Loulan culture, due to its large volume, has produced such a large circulation and such a large comprehensive cross-regional explosion. No matter the circulation or explosion, it has a very important premise, that is, it needs enough people.In ancient times, there was a lack of accurate statistics of population, because the household registration system and tax system at that time hardly included women, and it was difficult to include some farm workers and tenant farmers who were kept in their homes, so it was not accurate.But we can now supplement our ancestors with the magnitude of our Popularity in China, based on multiple sources of evidence.Looks something like this, we are the population of China, qin when he already has more than 2000, to the western han dynasty has 60 million, 80 million, the tang dynasty northern song dynasty breakthrough, reached $200 million in the Ming dynasty, qing dynasty daoguang years reached $400 million, and some bears hardships and stands hard work, actively to make a living, perennial kept as people younger striving for future generations.Therefore, China can always be called a sea of people among mountains and rivers.Because of this background, the longevity of Chinese culture provides the first possibility.Is that clear?There are so many people, so large places, and so high mutual understanding, a huge vitality avoids all kinds of disasters, fast flow, always burst out in all directions, so it is difficult for the whole culture to wither.This is the first feature of Chinese culture that I talked about.The second secret of longevity is that this characteristic of Chinese culture, namely its geographical size and population size, is transformed into huge energy, and this huge energy is likely to become an arbitrary force that invades the world.However, the power of Chinese culture has no such pursuit.This is the second secret, and it comes on the heels of the first.Large volume and large energy without aggression and expedition, the combination of the two becomes a great miracle.As I mentioned last time, matteo Ricci, a European missionary, spent 30 years in China and had to study this secret. Why did he have such a large volume of energy but not an expedition or an invasion?What’s the reason?Ok, he got it, although a lot of people in the West still don’t get it, and I need to talk about that seriously.The first, of course, has to do with the way we are civilised.I have said many times that The Chinese civilization is an agrarian civilization, which is quite different from the nomadic and seafaring civilizations of the world.Moreover, our civilization is not only an agricultural civilization in the general sense. According to Professor Zhuoyun Xu, it is an intensive farming civilization. The characteristics of this civilization are that the hot land is hard to leave, and the labor procedure does not allow the producers to leave the place.But the nomadic civilization is different from the seafaring civilization, and I wrote a passage that I read: both the nomadic civilization and the seafaring civilization are great, but both have a natural aggressiveness.Their hoofs often forget where they start and where they end.Their sails may remember where they cast their ropes, but they know not where the other shore is.Whether the end or the other side, always in the distance, always in ignorance, of course, always sword and blood fire, occupation and slavery.On the contrary, in order to complete a series of complex production procedures from spring planting to autumn harvesting, agricultural civilization must live together and stick to the hot soil, which precipitates from the type of civilization into thick soil consciousness, which has become the basic quality of Chinese culture.Thick soil also fights over water, acres of land, or dominance of larger lands.But it would not sustain them on long expeditions far from home.This is a paragraph that I wrote.Now, let me be a little bit more specific, why does not expedition have anything to do with longevity?It seems to me that your constant expeditions have led to great victories, which may have strengthened your vitality and increased the length of your life. Why is it that not going on expeditions has prevented your own demise?Why?I need to do some very careful explanations.The focus of my explanation is a mythical figure from the Greek wars that I’m very aware of, called Alexander the Great.In ancient times, no expedition had a good result. Victory and loss were only temporary honor and disgrace, and the result must be the fragmentation of civilization on both sides. This law has been continued to the great geographical discovery in the 15th century.In the 15th century, new changes took place in the world order, but this law at least ensured that the Chinese civilization, which was not expeditionary or aggressive, continued intact and safely into the 15th century.None of the other ancient civilizations on earth survived into the 15th century.I thought about this most when I was in Greece.I have repeatedly passed the battlefield of the Persian-Greek War, some on land, some by the sea. The Persian-Greek War is a war that the Persian Empire invaded the Greek city-states in the fifth century BC. It lasted for more than 40 years and became a major content of world history.Since then, it has been commemorated by the marathon race, which actually originated during the Polish-Greek War.The expedition from Persia, now Known as Iran, to Greece was a long way off in modern geographic terms, but 2,500 years ago it had become a union, and the loser was the Conqueror Persian Empire.A hundred years after the End of the Polish-Greek War, the Greek philosopher Aristotle, one of whom I particularly admire, had a student named Alexander as king of Macedon, and he set out on an even larger expedition, conquering not only Egypt, but all of Asia.He did conquer Palestine, Syria, the Mesopotamia, Babylon, Susa, and Persepolis, the capital of the Persian Empire, all of which I visited.And I’ve seen traces of Alexander’s armies in India and Pakistan, and in the ancient world, the glory of a king was measured by how many places he conquered.Alexander was second to none in this respect.I’ve been studying the connection between Alexander’s grand expedition and the collapse of Greek civilization.Yes, he was the most amazing conqueror in ancient world history, conquering thousands of miles and winning many battles, but what did that leave for his own country, Macedonia?It was obvious that Macedonia was the main source of manpower for the expedition, for several waves of expeditionary forces were called up in succession, in addition to the large numbers at the beginning of the expedition.Few of these soldiers are recorded to have made it back alive, not least because the Macedonian population was decimated.More importantly, the loss of the strongest, youngest, most flexible, and most intelligent of the entire nation is a serious setback for civilization. For how long?It may have continued into modern and modern times.Mind you, the heroic team that sets out on the battlefield looks very heroic, but in fact he takes the best men of the nation with him, and a great many of them die in the field of battle.A large part of the life of the motherland has been taken away from it.Alexander himself died on the march at the age of 33.We called him the Great, and the Great lived only 33 years.When I talked about Tuodoma, emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei, I said it was strange that he was also a young man forever and only lived to be 33.Alexander, of course, was much earlier, and he only lived to be 33.After his death, his empire soon fell to pieces.Macedonia was soon destroyed by Rome.There was nothing he could do to exterminate him, for all his best men were dead.Why do I care so much about the Alexander expedition?He was a student of Aristotle, the most learned humanist in the ancient West.Aristotle was pleased to have such a student, and this student always treated Him with respect.It is said that after Alexander came to power, he sent dozens of academic assistants to Aristotle.Did his expedition contribute to the spread of Aristotle’s teachings?I thought so.But the answer is not good.There are two reasons for this.The first reason is that the basic act of aggression is irrational.Alexander, for example, when he captured persepolis, the capital of Persia, set fire to what was probably the most magnificent palace building in the world.I had lingered for a long time among the ruins, thinking that this burning was barbaric by any civilization’s standards, let alone by Aristotle and his students.Second, in order to effectively rule the occupied territories, Alexander had to pretend to respect the local culture.In Egypt, for example, he claimed to be the son of amon, the Egyptian god, and in Babylon he rebuilt the temple there and performed sacrifices on a large scale.In Persia he married the daughter of a conquered king.Diogenes told Alexander the Great to get out of the sun and as a result, the Greek civilization he carried with him was actually dismembered during the war.Can you imagine?Now he dismembered the son of Amon in Egypt, now he dismembered him in Babylon, now he dismembered him in Persia.I have no more of myself.Therefore, his dismemberment is actually the dismemberment of Greek civilization represented by Aristotle.