Language Imperialism in Western Scholarship, Media, and Schools

Writer and cultural critic Thorsten J. Pattberg discusses the perils of poisonous Western ‘Language Imperialism’ in China.

At the core of this notion is the West’s (almost) universal disregard for foreign cultural property and originality, as demonstrated in this piece by the Western syndication of “philosophy” and its shady and shameless propaganda methods. Western academics, publishers, and journalists have fabricated an Orwellian ‘World History’ in which Western-only (now exclusively English) terms are eligible. Everything else must be translated, or perish.

This coercion and blackmail of Chinese thought has been going on for centuries, unchecked, uncontested, with the result that today’s ‘China Studies’ and by extension China and the Chinese people in the Western mind have become literally ‘Chinese-free’. This is going to change, says Pattberg, but slowly: That’s because language imperialists hold most positions of power, are well funded, and are determined to guard their dubious (often biblical and philosophical) translations, their academic, political, or journalistic legacy and their colonial sense of entitlement. It’s basically like confronting an organized religion or very dangerous cult of China experts.

The only thing language imperialists don’t have is probably this: an easy future. Just like racism, language imperialism is going lose its justification and its legitimacy eventually; in favor of a more just, authentic, and more correct depiction of foreign cultures. The liberalization of Chinese and other foreign terminologies has only just begun.

Dr. Thorsten J. Pattberg (裴德思 Pei Desi) is a German writer, linguist, and cultural critic. Dr. Pattberg has written and published extensively about Global language, Competition for terminologies, and the End of translation. He is also active in promoting Confucianism, in particular Chinese terminologies, on a global scale.

Linkedin:
https://cn.linkedin.com/in/thorstenpattberg
You’ve Heard About It:
http://thorstenpattberg.blogspot.jp/

RELATED READING: Free Asia-Pacific from Western hold (China Daily)

“Historians persistently warn against misleading biblical and philosophical Western translations of non-Western concepts, but few people outside the profession have heard about their critique. Meanwhile, Western language imperialists pick “Cultural China” into pieces word by word. Most of today’s Western China Studies is fraudulent, incorrect, and misleading.” –Asia Times, July 24, 2012

Language Imperialism in Western Scholarship, Media, and Schools - by Thorsten Pattberg

Institutions and persons mentioned by name (for or against the notion):

Frontiers of Philosophy in China, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, George Orwell, Slavoj Zizek, Benjamin Schwartz, Ji Xianlin, Tu Weiming, Gu Zhengkun, Roger T. Ames, Cambridge University, Harvard University, Warp Weft Way, Peking University Department of Philosophy, Council of Research in Values and Philosophy, The East-West Dichotomy

Book titles and images shown (for or against the notion):

Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy by Bryan W. van Norden

Chinese Philosophy: A Selective and Analytic Approach by Joseph S. Wu

Encyclopedia in Chinese Philosophy by Antonio S. Cua

Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy: Han Dynasty in the 20th Century by Justin Tiwald

Chinese Philosophy by Peter Nancorrow

Creativity and Taoism by Chung-yuan Chang

Heaven and Earth Are Not Humane: The Problem of Evil in Classical Chinese Philosophy by Franklin Perkins

The Way and Its Power: Lao Tsu’s Tao Te Ching and Its Place in Chinese Thought by Arthur Waley

On Philosophy in China by Hyun Hochsmann

The Beginnings of Philosophy in China by Richard Gotshalk

Chinese Philosophy by Wen Haiming

Virtue Ethics and Consequentialism in Early Chinese Philosophy by Bryan W. van Norden

Philosophy on Bamboo: Text and The Production of Meaning in Early China by Dirk Meyer

Understanding Confucian Philosophy: Classical and Sung-Ming by Shu-Hsien Liu

An Intellectual History of China, Vol 1, Knowledge, Thought, and Belief before the Seventh Century CE by Zhaoguang Ge

Chinese Thought in a Global Context: A Dialogue Between Chinese & Western Philosophical Approaches by Karl-Heinz Pohl

Three Ways of Thought in Ancient China by Arthur Waley

Yinyang: Cosmology, Lineage, and Ritual by Robin R. Wang

Chinese Thought: From Confucius to Mao Tse-Tung by Herrlee G. Creel

Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power by Yan Xuetong

Dictionary of Chinese Symbols: Hidden Symbols in Chinese Life and Thought by Wolfram Eberhard

A Short History of Chinese Philosophy: A Systematic Account of Chinese Thought From Its Origins to the Present Day by Fung Yu-Lan

Readings in Han Chinese Thought by Mark Csikszentmihalyi

A Daoist Theory of Chinese Thought: A Philosophical Interpretation by Chad Hansen

The World of Thought in Ancient China by Benjamin I. Schwartz

Contemporary Confucian Political Philosophy by Stephen C. Angle

Sagehood: The Contemporary Significance of Neo-Confucian Philosophy by Stephen C. Angle

Human Rights and Chinese Thought: A Cross-Cultural Inquiry by Stephen C. Angle

A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy by Wing-Tsit Chan

Oriental Philosophy: A Westerner’s Guide to Eastern Thought by Stuart C. Hackett

The Central Philosophy of Tibet by Robert A. F. Thurman

Confucian and Neo-Confucian Philosophy by Chung-ying Cheng

Dao Companion to Neo-Confucian Philosophy by John Makeham

Embodied Moral Psychology and Confucian Philosophy by Bongrae Seok

The Confucian Creation of Heaven: Philosophy and the Defense of Ritual Mastery by Robert Eno

Confucian Reflections: Ancient Wisdom For Modern Times by Philip J. Ivanhoe

An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy by Karyn L. Lai

Confucian Perfectionism: A Political Philosophy for Modern Times by Joseph Chan

Confucian Philosophy: Innovations and Transformations by Chung-ying Cheng and Justin Tiwald

A Confucian Constitutional Order: How China’s Ancient Past Can Shape Its Political Future by Jiang Qing

An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy: From Ancient Philosophy to Chinese Buddhism by Jeeloo Liu

A History of Chinese of Chinese Philosophy, Vol 1, The Period of the Philosophers by Fung Yu-lan

The Way of the World: Readings in Chinese Philosophy by Thomas Cleary

Key Concepts in Chinese Philosophy by Zhang Dainian

Philosophy, Philology, and Politics in Eighteenth-Century China by Li Fu

Dialogue of Philosophies, Religions and Civilizations in the Era of Globalization, ed. By Zhao Dunhua

Book titles and image on Good Writing shown:

Media Writing: Print, Broadcast, and Public Relations by W. Richard Whitaker

An English Grammar with Exercises, Notes, and Questions by Rev. W. Allen

The Grammar of Empire in Eighteen-Century British Writing by Janet Sorensen

An Arrangement of English Grammar with… by David Davidson

The Principles of English Grammar by William Lennie

Effective Internal Communication by Lyn Smith

The Little Book on Oral Argument by Alan L. Dworsky

Speaking to Good Effect: An Introduction by Douglas G. Lawrie

Writing Remedies: Practical Exercises for Technical Writing by Edmond H. Weiss

The Wall Street Journal: Guide to Business Style and Usage by Paul R. Martin

The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers, The University of Chicago

Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing by John R. Trimble

The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White

The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage: The Official Style Guide Used by the Writers and Editors of the World’s Most Authoritative Newspaper by Allan M. Siegal and William G. Connolly

The Economist Style Guide: The Bestselling Guide to English Usage, The Economist

Effective Writings Skills for Public Relations by John Foster

A History of English Language by Richard Hogg and David Denison

Eighteenth-Century English: Ideology and Change by Raymond Hickey

Political Book titles and images shown:

China’s Security State: Philosophy, Evolution, and Politics by Xuezhi Guo

Politics and the English Language, George Orwell

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington

On China by Henry Kissinger

The End of History and The Last Man by Francis Fukuyama

God’s Empire: Religion and Colonialism in the British World by Hilary M. Carey

George Eliot and the British Empire, by Nancy Henry

A Union for Empire: Political Thought and the Union of 1707 by John Robertson

Understanding the British Empire by Ronald Hyam

Race and Empire in British Politics by Paul B. Rich

The Ideological Origins of the British Empire by David Armitage

1984 by George Orwell

Concepts mentioned:

rujiao, daojiao, fojiao, jiao, xue, jia, zhexue, shengren, tetsugaku

 

Key words: Western language imperialism, philosophy is a syndicate, new imperialism, cultural property theft, end of translation, Rules for Writing, Goebbels Law, lingualism

The Cult Of China Experts and How They Poison Everything

Who watches the watchmen? Western “China experts” who see the Beijing leadership as corrupt and illegitimate are increasingly becoming a law unto themselves. Policing social media, punishing “apologists” and vilifying anyone who refuses to discuss China solely on Western terms, the evangelists present themselves as social justice warriors. However, China isn’t their country – and the negativity is poisoning everything.

This article was first syndicated by Asia Times on Oct 23, 2014:

Dr. Thorsten J. Pattberg (裴德思 Pei Desi) is a German writer, linguist, and cultural critic. http://www.east-west-dichotomy.com/about-the-author/

Linkedin:

https://cn.linkedin.com/in/thorstenpattberg

You’ve Heard About It:

http://thorstenpattberg.blogspot.jp/

American Confucianism: China Studies at the Crossroads (Video)


There ruminates a discussion, from East to West, as to how the perfect American Confucianism ought to be constructed. Should it be transplanted from China; or implanted from within America?

There are two possible sinotypes: One is “Chinese-American Confucianism” and the other is “American-Chinese Confucianism”.

Chinese-American Confucianism means that Chinese language elements slowly sink into American society. American-Chinese Confucianism, on the other hand, refers to English words taking on Chinese meanings.

The difference between those two modes – or directions – of Western sinification, if you will, is considerable, and their advantages and disadvantages must be addressed. [...]

Note: This article has first been syndicated by Asia Times on Aug 29, 2013.

If there ever was a free German spirit, it has long gone kaput (Video)

After the Great Wars, the United States colonized the German lands and broke their spirit. The Reich was de-nazified, but also de-Germanized, with the result that German culture, German philosophy, and the German sciences all came to a sudden end. Germany was turned into a proper Western nation

That this is so, and never happened otherwise, few politicians have any illusions about, except during this mid-summer of 2014, when the leaders in Berlin witnessed a nationwide protest against the recent massive American CIA/NSA surveillance operation targeting not only suspicious German politicians, terrorists, and businessmen but also the entire German population –just in case. [...]

Read full article at Dissident Voice.

Media Data:

Author Thorsten J. Pattberg
Track Title: The Spirit of the German People
Album Title: New Orientalism (Track: 1)
Year: 2014
Comments: Special to Dissident Voice, July 25, 2014
Portrait by Li Baodao
Audio Effects: Th_Sounds, Bulbastre, EHR, Moo-lfz
Production: WeToldYouSo1
(c) 2014 Pattberg

“Western Eggs” and China’s Worship of Euro-American Culture


WeToldYouSo1: In this provocative piece, originally syndicated by Big Think, Dr. Pattberg talks about the perils of being associated with China.

In China, racism, nationalism, and xenophobia are still rampant; but so is the excessive worship of everything Western – brands, products, and people. That’s because, in the eyes of many Chinese, Western people represent money, power, and privilege -all those things that China once possessed but were taken away by Western powers during the age of imperialism. Chinese who overtly try to westernize are often called ‘fake bananas’ (outside yellow inside white), while white people who eat Asian food and internalized the Chinese language are often labelled ‘Western eggs’ (outside white inside yellow).

Last, since China is constantly patronized, belittled, or demonized by Western media (because it is the West’s ideological enemy and economic and political competitor), those “Western Eggs” who mingle too much with Chinese people are often shunned by Western bosses and the expat society who may perceive them as spies and troublemakers.

All those problems are real in China, and they might be affecting your employment, search for housing, co-operation, and your personal relationships.

 

German Orientalism (Psst,… Video)

 ”In this critical piece syndicated by Global Research and Big Think, Dr. Thorsten J. Pattberg looks at how the German elites conduct themselves in China. Knowing little or nothing about cultural China, letting alone the language, many German expats, patronizing and full of themselves, behave like colonial masters reenacting the early 20th Century civilizing missions under William II. The story follows the embarrassing 2012 Shanghai trip of Annette Schavan, then-Minister of Education. Having lectured the Chinese on the rule of law and universal ethics, she was forced to resign from her political posts a year later when her doctorate was revoked due to plagiarism.”

Produced by WeToldYouSo1

Is He back?

Confucius (Credit: Jay P. Lee/Flickr.com)

Not a day passes at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China in Beijing without some Washington bureaucrat ringing: “Is he back?” For, as long as China watchers report nothing new from the ideological front, the West will talk money and economy. The day Confucius returns might change all that.

Read about the latest developments in the resurrection of Confucius, feat. Xi Jinping’s visit to the ‘International seminar to mark the 2,565th anniversary of the birth of Confucius’ in the Great Hall of the People. /Via China Daily.

Announcement: Benjamin A. Elman at The University of Tokyo (09/2014)

Benjamin A. Elman
“Philology and Exegesis in East Asia: Yan Ruoju’s 閻若璩 (1636-1704)
尚書古文疏證Vs. Zhu Xi’s 朱熹 (1130-1200) 中庸章句序”

Tokyo, September 28, 2014; 15:00 – 18:00

Photo: Benjamin A. Elman (c) princeton.edu

My research colleagues and I have attempted in recent years to present new views of the classical versus vernacular dichotomy that are especially central to the new historiography of India.  Based on recent Indian/South Asian findings, we examined alternative frameworks for understanding East Asian languages between 1000 and 1919.  Using new sources, making new connections, and reexamining old assumptions, we have asked whether and why East Asian languages should be analyzed in light of a Eurocentric dichotomy.  This discussion encouraged us to explore whether European modernity is an appropriate standard at all for East Asia.  Individually and collectively, we have sought to establish linkages between societies without making a priori assumptions about the countries’ internal structures or the genealogy of their connections.

Recent scholarship has presented a strong challenge to earlier models for understanding early modern languages in East Asia.  Following the lead of Sheldon Pollock, who described the spread of Sanskrit in ways often diametrically opposed to the history of Latin, Peter Kornicki, Wang Sixiang, John Phan, Haruo Shirane, Daniel Trambaiolo, Atsuko Ueda, Shang Wei, and myself present essays in this volume that in aggregate challenge accepted distinctions between classical and vernacular languages in East Asia.  I shall attempt to present in this lecture the elements of a new conceptual framework that recognizes that in East Asia the literary and vernacular registers historically interacted and influenced each other as part of a unified, if hybrid, language system that was mastered by Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and Vietnamese according to their own unique linguistic resources.

Time and venue: See at The Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia; ioc.u-tokyo.ac.jp.

Professor Elman is Professor of East Asian Studies and History at Princeton University (see profile at Princeton.edu).

In case you miss his lecture at Tokyo University on Sept 28, 2014, he will give another lecture at Todai on Oct 9, 2014. If you are into East Asia Studies and if you are in Tokyo, don’t miss this great opportunity to meet one of the world’s leading scholars on East Asian philology and historiography.

Selected work: On Their Own Terms (Harvard University Press), in which Prof. Elman explains how the Chinese collaborated with the Jesuits and, later, with the Protestants, over four centuries, yet ultimately discovered their own paths of producing modern science.

Watch a popular lecture by Benjamin on Youtube:

The Great Reversal: The “Rise of Japan” and the “Fall of China” after 1895 as Historical Fables

“Apes”/”Monkey King”: What Blockbusters Reveal About How Nations See Their Global Role

Pattberg: What Blockbusters Reveal About How Nations See Their Global Role

BEIJING – This year has seen two primates leading at the box office: Sun Wukong, the ‘Monkey King’; and Caesar, boss character in ‘The Planet of the Apes’ franchise. The chest-thumping action aside, let us discuss their very different leadership styles and cultural backgrounds:

Caesar is the irascible alpha-ape on steroids (literally, his high IQ is the result of biotechnological engineering). He is strong and fierce, and although he is shown militarized (on horse, wielding a machine-gun) on the misleading film-posters and –trailers, throughout the movie he acts wise and considerate –until the third act when he is forced to retaliate.

Wukong is not a leader but a principle: a force of nature. He is a Taoist immortal, a Buddhist deity born of a celestial rock, carrying a magical golden hooped rod that allegedly weighs 8 tons. A bit inane, he is rebellious and impatient. He fell off the 33rd floor of heaven -unharmed, because he is the product of 2000 years of advanced Chinese mythology. [...]

READ FULL ARTICLE AT CHINA DAILY

Image credits: Caesar/Planetoftheapes.wikia.com; Sun Wukong/Colourlessopinions.com

ЧТО СОБОЙ ПРЕДСТАВЛЯЕТ КИТАЙСКАЯ «ПРОПАГАНДА» НА ЗАПАДЕ, КОТОРОЙ ПУГАЮТ ИНОСТРАНЦЕВ ВО ВСЕМ МИРЕ, И В ЧЕМ ПРИЧИНА НЕУДАЧ ИНСТИТУТА КОНФУЦИЯ

-ТОРСТЕН, КАК СЛОЖИЛОСЬ ТАК, ЧТО ВЫ НАЧАЛИ СОТРУДНИЧАТЬ С ИНСТИТУТОМ КОНФУЦИЯ? КАК ИЗВЕСТНО, ОРГАНИЗАЦИЯ В НЕКОТОРОЙ СТЕПЕНИ ПРЕДСТАВЛЯЕТ ЗАКРЫТЫЙ БАСТИОН ДЛЯ ИНОСТРАНЦЕВ.

- В АПРЕЛЕ ПРОШЛОГО ГОДА ПЕКИНСКИЙ УНИВЕРСИТЕТ НАПРАВИЛ МЕНЯ НА ВСТРЕЧУ С ДОЛЖНОСТНЫМИ ЛИЦАМИ ОТ ИНСТИТУТА КОНФУЦИЯ, ГОСПОДИНОМ МА ЦЗЯНЬФЭЕМ – ЗАМЕСТИТЕЛЕМ ДИРЕКТОРА ХАНЬБАНЬ, И ЯН ЦЗИНЬЧЭНОМ, ДИРЕКТОРОМ ПРЕПОДАВАТЕЛЬСКОГО ОТДЕЛА В ШТАБ-КВАРТИРЕ ИНСТИТУТА КОНФУЦИЯ.

ХАНЬБАНЬ НАХОДИТСЯ В ДВАДЦАТИ МИНУТАХ НА ТАКСИ ОТ ПЕКИНСКОГО УНИВЕРСИТЕТА, НА УЛИЦЕ ДЭШЭНМЭН. МЫ ВСТРЕТИЛИСЬ В КАФЕ И ЗАКАЗАЛИ ЧАЙ ПУЭР. ОБА ДЖЕНТЕЛЬМЕНА БЫЛИ ЗНАКОМЫ С МОИМ ЭССЕ «КОНЕЦ ПЕРЕВОДАМ», ГДЕ Я ПЫТАЮСЬ АДАПТИРОВАТЬ ДЛЯ ПОНИМАНИЯ ИНОСТРАНЦЕВ «НЕПЕРЕВОДИМЫЕ» СЛОВА-КОНЦЕПЦИИ КИТАЙСКОГО ЯЗЫКА, КАК «ШЭНЖЕНЬ» И «ЦЗЮНЬЦЗЫ»[2].

ХАНЬБАНЬ – ПОДКОНТРОЛЬНОЕ ВЕДОМСТВО МИНИСТЕРСТВА ОБРАЗОВАНИЯ. ГОСПОДИН МА СООБЩИЛ, ЧТО МИНИСТЕРСТВО ПРЕДЛАГАЕТ ОПУБЛИКОВАТЬ МОИ РАБОТЫ, А ИЗДАТЕЛЬСТВО Я ВЫБИРАЮ САМ. Я ВЫБРАЛ CHINA’S FOREIGN LANGUAGE PRESS. ГОСПОДИН ЯН СТАНОВИЛСЯ «СУПЕРВАЙЗЕРОМ» ПРОЕКТА.

SOURCE: EXPARTISTA.COMЧТО СОБОЙ ПРЕДСТАВЛЯЕТ КИТАЙСКАЯ «ПРОПАГАНДА» НА ЗАПАДЕ, КОТОРОЙ ПУГАЮТ ИНОСТРАНЦЕВ ВО ВСЕМ МИРЕ, И В ЧЕМ ПРИЧИНА НЕУДАЧ ИНСТИТУТА КОНФУЦИЯ

The Spirit of the German People

BERLIN – After the Great Wars, the USA “colonized” the German lands. The Reich (Empire) was de-Nazified, but also de-Germanized, with the result that German culture, German philosophy, and the German sciences all came to an end. Germany became a Western nation. That this is so, few politicians have any illusions, except this mid summer in 2014, when Berlin suddenly protested against the massive CIA/NSA surveillance of the entire German population. And just when Washington feared Germany could make impossible demands for more sovereignty and cultural autonomy, it soon became clear that Berlin, quite to the contrary, wants to JOIN the planetary surveillance apparatus, and as America’s associate and best buddy of the Anglo-Saxon world order at that. The following text is an excerpt from an analysis published with Dissident Voice;


Cultural Imperialism

To anyone who lived in Germany during the last thirty years, it became apparent that this nation has turned into a satellite state with tinsel culture. German philosophy, German science, and German literature are all dead. Its archaic Humboldt’sche education system and those Magisters, Diplomas, and Doktorats went broke; now German universities imitate Anglo-Saxon-style credits and Bachelor (BA), Master (MA), and PhD degrees. Cinemas exclusively run Hollywood movies. The Germans are slaves to US propaganda: their news services copy/translate about 90% from Anglophone sources; the younger generations watch LostGame of ThronesHomeland, or Breaking Bad –US television series. Teenagers play X-Box, adore US celebrities, and buy Apple computers or iphones. Office workers sip Starbucks coffee, type on Dell computers, use Microsoft Office software, and in their breaks eat at McDonalds, Pizza Hut, or Kentucky Fried Chicken. Germans are completely dependent of the internet –which (let’s be honest) basically consists of US companies dressed as public services such as Google, Yahoo, Youtube, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Wikipedia, Huffington Post, Ebay, Amazon and hundreds more.

German companies, if they are smart, don’t want to have anything to do with the provincial German ways; they’d rather present themselves as “international,” meaning American -because that’s where all the theories come from, including the rules of global business, financial structures, and monetary regulations, letting alone ethics, language, and corporate culture.

From an historical point of view, Germans are well known to assimilate happily into American culture and apply for US citizenship; yet no American, if he or she understands their country’s status in the world, would readily volunteer to become German.

The English language, meanwhile, has become so dominant in business, politics, entertainment, culture, arts, education, sciences, and the internet, that growing up as a German, in a pure German-language environment, wasting years on mastering the difficult grammar that leads to nowhere.

In fact, the German language has become a serious handicap –hence the German elites sending their offspring abroad: to schools and universities in the US or UK. And if they don’t, they have to master English anyway –only later, harder, and more costly. To prevent the exodus of German education, universities are forced to do two things: a) they must offer degrees for free (no study fees), and b) they must offer English as the language of academic instruction (and if it was only to attract foreign students, who would otherwise pass on Germany and migrate into the Anglophone world). When Germans venture abroad, walking the streets of Shanghai, Bangkok, or New Delhi, they will always first be addressed as Americans. And in a way, they are; they are “Western people,” which, really, is just a polite way of saying they are Accessory Americans.

How Could It Come to This?

If nations have a metaphorical ‘life’, there are some which ruined their youth and adulthood; they can’t be leaders anymore (while others did just fine). Modern Germany, founded in 1871, is such a troubled nation. It came late to the Industrialization; late to the Enlightenment (it has its own, limited version: Aufklärung); to Democracy; too late to Feminism; it was –frankly speaking- a terrible colonial power; it never got the hang of multiculturalism; and it notoriously started both World Wars. When Anglophone intellectuals think of the Germans, they are probably envisioning Dr. Faustus (who sold his soul to the Devil), Dr. Frankenstein (crazy scientists), the Jews and the Nazis, Panzer, Blitzkrieg, and Storm troopers eating bratwurst. Many German loanwords in English have negative connotations, such as dreck, kaput, Anschluss, Gestapo, flak, and Führer.

Consequently, whenever the Germans flex their muscles in this 21st Century, their criminal past catches up with them: all those war-crimes, atrocities, the final solution, the holocaust. Without supervision, and letting them known that they are supervised (!), the Germans would immediately fall back to racist antics, nationalism, and cultural intolerance.

During the period of de-Nazification, German history books were revised and approved by US administrators. Tens of thousands of violent newspeak had to be removed and eradicated from the German language, terms like Aryan, Lebensraum, Mischlinge, and judenrein. Patriotism was stomped. At least three generations of Germans, all deemed Nazi, had to be shamed and dishonored –unprecedented in the history of the world. Despite horrible massacres and crimes against humanity of their own, neither the Americans, nor the British, the Turks, the Slavs, the Arabs, the Persians, not even the Japanese have ever cut off their ancestors or shown similar disloyalty to their fathers and grandfathers. The Germans broke with their criminal family (civilization), abdicated the Germanic tradition (culture), and, naturally, finished and now soulless, readily volunteered for adoption. Germany thus became a “Western nation.”

The occupying forces (USA, United Kingdom, France) supervised the German Basic Law, the ‘Grundgesetz’, in order to ensure liberal democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. In academia, the process of total Westernization was most severe: The Germans witnessed the collapse of all Deutsche Wissenschaften: not only did over one million intellectuals migrate to the United States (taking their disciplines with them), but orphaned German technologies and theories were quickly picked up by more resourceful Anglo-Saxon scholars and translated into English. German literature today is only as good as some Anglophone critic endorsed it. The remains… the unprocessed German knowledge… a useless crapulence. The Germans lost their ‘Deutungshoheit’ –the sovereignty over the definition of (their own) thought. Only if the US discovers it does German knowledge exist.

In contrast, the history of the USA was a single coherent success story. Every German kid wanted to be American, because –as school indoctrination ensued- German past was shameful until, luckily, the Americans came to liberate Europe. That said, Germans are all still trapped in “being Germans,” are they not, with the consequence that when they grew up, their cognitive predicament develop into a cultural psychosis: nasty emotional swings between two extremes: a massive inferiority complex towards everything American, and an ugly demeanor of superiority toward other cultures.

A Conquered Spirit

Under US global leadership the Germans were allowed to rebuild their Länder (with generous US loans) but forbidden to centralize its power (Germany is a Republic and Federation of 16 states, with 16 governments; Berlin one of its poorest in GDP per capita); and just like the Soviet Union created East Germany in its own image, so did the United States a fantastic job in transforming West Germany into a backyard for US capitalists, military deployments, and outlet for the American Dream. The proud Germans, who once defeated the Romans, and who repelled the Napoleonic forces, and who once even build a German Empire of their own, were now officially “relieved” from the heavy burden of continuing History (with a capital ‘H’). To carve out for them a meaningful existence they were encouraged to (or driven into) craftsmanship: assembling automobiles, washing-machines, and words like Elementarfunktionszusammenhänge.

Germany didn’t seriously crash with US interest (not even during the Iraq war) after its occupation in 1948 because it profited from comet-trailing US imperialism into all corners of the world (mostly via UN and NATO) –but terms and conditions applied: Berlin had to prostitute itself to Empire.

Image credits: Reichstag in Berlin/East-West-Dichotomy.com

What They Didn’t Tell You About The Ivy League


THE Gretchenfrage is this: Should honest, intelligent parents from a not so-privileged background send their inexperienced offspring to the Ivy League when they know (and have been warned by the likes of Prof. Deresiewicz) that over there their morals and values could be severely compromised? They will see a world so privileged, so spoilt, arrogant, so well-connected, and so over-the-top conceited, that this could seriously affect their mental well-being.

Oh, sure, the kids of the working class may compete on a grade-level with the sons and daughters of the US ruling class, academic dynasties, congressmen, the global plutocracy, Chinese top officials, the Jewish connection, Eastern princes and Arab sheiks; but they may forever feel as social climbers, freaks, outcasts, and they will almost certainly practice self-segregation, not being morally prepared (letting alone equally resourceful) to mingle with the high class and well-bred.

RELATED Seriously, Many Ivy League Students Have No Soul…

Let me illustrate this culture shock: Imagine you go to high security prison for the extremely “talented” gangsters but refuse to accept the reality of their place being perverted by a certain ethical code that is patriarchy, violence, revenge, and, well, the law of the jungle. You cannot resist the rules of the turf, it’s impossible. It gets to you. So, if you are weak on that ethical code, don’t go to prison. And don’t hang out with people that are affiliated with crime culture.

The Ivy League is also an extreme place, much more difficult to get into than a state prison, granted, but no less perverted by a certain ethical code that is corruption, nepotism, cronyism, and elitism. In a nutshell: a certain kind of people is drawn to this elitist culture to improve their precious skills. You will see and witness things at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, etc. that, if you come from a descent and humble background, may be impossible to comprehend -the arrogance, the abundance, the dining, wining, and doing favors. This culture of entitlement is clearly not for everyone.

There are many other excellent universities (and even other countries, imagine that!) that have smart teachers and great libraries and are much more down to earth, more diverse, and better for the soul. In fact, Ivy League, this notion and concept, is quite an American invention. It doesn’t exist anywhere in the world in such an obscene, institutionalized form.

That the Americans indulge in this extreme segregation of their society into the privileged 1% and the 99% human soup is painful to watch, but a deep-seated problem in all Anglo-Saxon cultures, I’m afraid. That’s why they were so successful at imperialism and colonialism, they still are: They grant much more freedom to their subjects (than the Germans, French, or Japanese imperialists of old were ever willing to grant), as long as the 1% stay in power and benefit.

RELATED Beware of ‘Universal Ethics’

After all, the Anglo-British still have their monarchs, royalties, the House of Lords, posh grammar schools like Eton, and their snobbish Oxbridge. In such a pathological, rapacious, and impenetrable class society, education isn’t about knowledge (if it ever was) at all, it is solely about privilege. The books on the shelves are all the same. What is studied doesn’t matter as much as where it is studied. And so, many American families -and more so the rich and powerful clans in all corners of the world- would give their life, pay a fortune, and sell their soul to send someone of their own to Harvard. Just for the name of it. And f*** that education!

Image credit: Harvard University/East-West-Dichotomy.com

Shared on Big Think – Dragons and Pandas.

Seriously, Many Ivy League Students Have No Soul

SERIOUSLY, though, many Ivy League students have no soul. That said, what’s the big deal of having no soul when it got you into Harvard or Yale? You can’t have petty moral issues in high society; elites simply see the greater picture anyway; that suffering, inequality, and injustices among the 99% are absolutely necessarily to keep the 1% elite at the top.

And if the elite fail to guard themselves from the climbing masses, they will be replaced by revolutionary elites who then precisely do what all the elites in world history have done before them: guarding and defending their privileges. In that respect, the metaphor of trading one’s soul –as Dr. Faustus did- for supreme privilege in human society is quite accurate.

RELATED Soldiers and Scholars

It is, therefore, perfectly conceivable, as Prof. William Deresiewicz explained in his essay, that some highly gifted people should evade the devil and put the one life they got to better use, and shun the nasty, snobbish, and ruthlessly privileged high society. Bravo for having the guts to say what an ugly business the Ivy League has become.

I love it when people mistake talent and skill for privilege. It’s like a poor man walking into London’s Buckingham Palace and telling Prince William: I am as capable as you are, I want to be the future king. We would say that that man was deluded, believing in meritocracy where there never was one. Likewise, this silly idea of a educational meritocracy in America:

RELATED Beware of ‘Universal Ethics’

As if the daughter of the local office clerk had anything in common, say, with the daughter of the president of China whose family owns billions of dollars and assets. On the contrary, I would argue that the former doesn’t belong into Harvard, and could be harmed, psychologically speaking, by experiencing  the incredible injustice, corruption, nepotism, and the insurmountable gab in human society, by hanging out with the wrong class of people.

If people from ordinary background went to Harvard or any other elite school, this could leave them broken in spirit, disillusioned with humanity, departed from their family values and integrity, and, if they still desperately tried to belong … lose their precious soul in the process.

This was a public comment on Yishai Schwartz‘s New Republic’s ‘An Attack on the Ivy League Is an Attack on Meritocracy Itself‘.

10 Reasons Why You Should Apply For Yenching Academy

BEIJING – I am as excited as you are that the new Yenching Academy of Peking University (PKU) [北京大学燕京学堂] has been successful established and is now recruiting its first 100 graduate students. This will be the opportunity of a life-time for you, and I strongly encourage any up-and-coming China scholar to apply for this program. You will only regret if you didn’t send your application form:

“The Yenching Academy offers a 1-year Master of Chinese Studies program (in English) designed to prepare an elite class of future leaders to meet the challenges of the 21st century global landscape.” –PKU

GO TO YENCHING ACADEMY WEBSITE AND FIND APPLICATION FORMS

Your author had been a visiting student at PKU from 2004 to 2006, and returned for his doctoral studies from 2007 to 2012. Back then, there was nothing like the Yenching scholarship; academic poverty was a big issue (it still is for many Chinese students), letting alone PKU’s guerrilla bureaucracy (graduation procedures required eight signatures and seals). There was also the existential threat of sky-rocketing rents outside campus (now exceeding $1,200/month for a one-bedroom apartment). As to the interview process, we didn’t even use Skype back in 2006, so there was a lot of traveling back-and-forth (obtaining visa was much easier then, though). Luckily (for the new generation of students), Peking University has addressed the issues of funding, housing, and guidance by creating this first-class residential scholarship program.

DOWNLOAD YENCHING BROCHURES FROM CORNELL UNIVERSITY (PDF)

So, here are my personal 10 Reasons Why You Should Apply For Yenching Academy of Peking University:

1.   Peking University is the leading institution of higher education in China.

2.   Yenching Academy awards the prestigious ‘Yenching Scholar’ title on top of the usual Peking University Alumnus status (both are life-long privileges). Tip: Do a research on name and origin of “Yenching” to understand its historical significance.

3.   Beijing is China’s political, cultural, and financial capital. It has 21 million citizens, more than Australia’s entire population. The student district in the north-west, Haidian, hosts 168 universities. The intellectual atmosphere and sheer concentration of talents will blow your mind.

RELATED China and the West Grow Closer through Higher Education Cooperation

4.   Full scholarship is offered, which is rare. Also, expect “quality” accommodation and teaching facilities, at least relative compared to the majority of the other 20 million or so students enrolled at Chinese universities. This program is so selective; you will feel like a Chosen one, an X-Men, a Confucian ‘Junzi’…

5.   Meet some of China’s most renowned scholars, cultural masters, and famous intellectuals from around the world, letting alone world leaders, businessmen, and top politicians. (PKU recently asked visitors Michelle Obama, the America’s First Lady, and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, to write endorsements for Yenching Academy, which they did!)

6.   A degree from Peking University is a door opener in China and the world, comparable to a degree from Harvard, only better.

RELATED Utopia with Chinese Characteristics

7.   The PKU campus is one of the most beautiful in China –lots of gardens (incl. the old Yan Yuan, Minghe Yuan, Jingchun Yuan, and Langrun Yuan, lakes (incl. the Unnamed Lake), plenty of historical spots, histories, and traditional architectures. The Academy is located at the very center of the university, with newly renovated facilities. PKU has over 30 restaurants/canteens, several hotels (including the 5-star Lake View Guesthouse), a theater, several supermarkets, bookstores, a post-office, banks and ATMs, print services, sport facilities, a hospital. Wudaokou, where PKU is located, is brimming with thousands of cafes, fitness clubs, and book shops. Yes, it also has a vibrant night life. What is more, Zhongguancun, the Silicon valley of China, lies just 1 km to the south, boasting New China: electronics, lavish boutiques, shopping malls, 3D cinemas, and hundreds of towering apartment blocks stuffed with start-up companies.

8.   Eat Chinese food every day; or try a new restaurant every day. Your scholarship allowance will make this easily affordable. Also, travel during the semester breaks. There is great food everywhere, and of fantastic regional variety. Try Tibetan and Muslim food!

9.   Make valuable connections or “guanxi” that will last forever. Your classmates will be “future world leaders” by definition (and program requirement). Register for think tanks in town such as ThinkInChina –a EU-China initiative. Also, don’t forget you are studying among the Chinese elites at PKU. Have you ever felt intimidated by the academic aptitude of East-Asians in general? Well, PKU is their mother-lode! Getting into the Yenching Academy program is like winning the social lottery. [harrumph…].

RELATED More Than A 1000 Philosophers

10. The time is right for China; and so it is for you: China has already surpassed the United States in terms of GDP adjusted to inland prices. It is determined to create a super-elitist education that puts China in the center of global academic excellence. Being the spearhead of a new era in world history, international relations, global culture, and economics, China is the best place to be right now.

Here are some survival tips that you may want to consider before embarking on this program at Peking University:

  1. The program is taught in English, so you will have less opportunity to master your Chinese. Also, your classmates (and the expat community) may be more “interesting” people (from the point of view of your “international” career), BUT, remember, they won’t help your Chinese skills much. Also, mingling too much with the expat community in Beijing may be fun (the parties, the activism, the hubris, the snobbism, the arrogance), it can easily become a Faustian pact of Anglophone complacency –in particular for those among you who would rather like to emerge completely in the Chinese culture for that year (Remember, the program is essentially humanities-centered). It may help to arrive in Beijing weeks before the program starts and/or plan for a longer stay after it ends.
  2. China censors a lot of information. Sign up for a VPN (Virtual Private Network) before you leave for China, so that you can access US internet monopolies such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. which are blocked in China. On the other hand, well, try the Chinese services like Baidu, Sina Weibo, Tencent WeChat, Tudou, QQ, Renren, Taobao, and many more. This is highly recommendable anyway, since it will improve your Chinese skill and knowledge incredible fast.
  3. Get your hands on a copy of The East-West Dichotomy –available in book shop and internet stores in China everywhere. Just saying.
  4. Plan ahead. A one-year fast-track master program, even at Yenching Academy, is too-short (your peers at PKU normally spend 3 years in a Master program, just so that you know) – so you will have to apply for job opportunities or a doctoral program during that year. (If you want to get your “boshi” (PhD) degree in China, this is the perfect opportunity for you to approach the professors.) In addition, visit the PKU Stanford Center, the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies, and the brand-new Worldethics Institute Beijing, and mark global events such as the Beijing Forum in your calendar. Once on campus, find out about important public lectures at lectures.pku.edu.cn (works only with a PKU-account).
  5. Beware of the bombast. That is easier said than done. Even Harvard University at times looks whimsical and provincial compared to Peking University. Europe, meanwhile, with the exception of Oxbridge in the UK, has no answer to Chinese elite universities. Moreover, China is an autocratic society where its top leaders are accountable to no one, meaning they can and will throw splendid ceremonies and conferences which you probably never experienced before (and will always want to come back for). To the savage critics, phrases like “nationalism” and “ethnic chauvinism” easily come to mind. To be true, the cultural engineers and faculty of Yenching Academy are first and foremost celebrating and congratulating themselves: “internationally reputed academic luminaries,” “most renowned and influential,” and “fellows with worldwide recognition.” Effectuating Xi Jinping’s notion of ‘conference diplomacy’, PKU’s president Wang Enge and his sages are obsessed with inviting foreign celebrities and super-scholars (only world leading universities qualify) to witness the spectacle of China’s cultural rejuvenation -anxious and aghast. “Why don’t we have 5 star hotels at our university?” or “Why can’t we build world-class programs like this overnight?” –those are common reactions from German, Japanese, and Australian professors your author gathered. [Read this critical account by Professor Shigeto Sonoda] It is the Who-is-who of China scholarship that attended several precluding international symposiums, donation ceremonies, and conferences leading up the inaugural ceremony on May 5, 2014. Already, the academic world –especially in the Pacific region- is enviously comet-trailing Peking University, trying to book seats in the front row. Will the expectation match the pomp? Who knows. One thing is for sure, once you are accepted here, there will be a lot of prestige, name-dropping, status-anxiety, and valuable insights into China’s psyche that will put you out of your humble orbit permanently.
  6. Ah, and yeah, if you feel lost and overwhelmed in this country-sized city, read some Beijing Survival Tips from Kaiser Kuo and Ryan McLaughlin. (Works even better in hindsight.)

Image credits: east-west-dichotomy.com

***

Thorsten J. Pattberg, Peking University (2013)

Dr. Thorsten J. Pattberg (裴德思 Pei Desi) is a German writer, linguist, and cultural critic. He graduated from The Institute of World Literature, Peking University, and is the author of The East-West Dichotomy (2013), Shengren (2011), Inside Peking University (2012), and the forthcoming Knowledge is a Polyglot (2014). He is currently a Visiting Fellow at The Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, The University of Tokyo.

To keep up to date with the news you can also follow me on Twitter: @worldethics; at Big Think: Dragons and Pandas; or my other blog: You’ve Heard About It.

World Congress of Philosophy 2018 in Beijing: More Than A 1000 Philosophers

LOVERS of the Big Think will rejoice at hearing about the world’s largest migration of brain:

BEIJING – Thousands of philosophers are expected to descend upon China’s capital in 2018 in order to fete the queen of all disciplines (the king is science). Here are some thoughts about the next 24th World Congress of Philosophy, to be hosted byPeking University.

Pattberg with William McBride, president of FISP in Beijing, 2013

With no other application to consider –this is not a joke, no other country or city wanted to host a mass think-tank like this (the logistics, the security, and the non-profit!)- the symbolism couldn’t be any more… symbolic –the previous Congress was held in Greece -Athens, the cradle of occidental philosophy (in 2008, it was held in Korea):

Seeing things in this way we can appreciate the significance of a Parthian — Sassanian — Arabian — Turkman saying: “The Greeks have only one eye and only the Chinese have two eyes.” Josafa Barbaro had learned such a saying earlier in Persia, in 1471 and 1474. Around that time he also heard the same idea expressed in an abstruse manner: “The Greeks only understand theories, but the Chinese are the people who own the technologies.” –Ji Xianlin

RELATED Only The Chinese Have Two Eyes

While modern Greece remains but a tinsel culture, China, the only ancient civilization still standing, in many ways has turned into the world’s greatest phenomenon. And while ‘philosophy’ –this idea and concept- may have originated in the Polis, it really prospered under Christianity in Northern Europe, and arrived in China (where it is called zhexue) proper in the late 18th century (via Japan, which was eager to catch up with the West first). China, to this day, has its own jia, jiao, and xue (schools, teachings, and disciplines) –many of whom are virtually unknown in the West.

RELATED What is the Difference between a Sage and a Philosopher?

The question is, can China -with its largely untapped resources, ideas, and innovations- revive the once exceedingly gorgeous but now sadly torpid and dour discipline? Especially academic philosophy has estranged itself from the public, and alienated many academics. Moreover, its tedious methodologies and terminologiesare profoundly European, thus utterly biased. What can China do about it?

Indeed, at that time in the world, only China and Greece enjoyed a most prominent and magnificent culture. And it is high time that those handfuls of scholars or learners or whatever “-ers” in China who inevitably talk about nothing else but the Greek tradition come to an awakening. –Ji Xianlin

RELATED Was Confucius a “Genius”?

The time for China is right…

True, the World Congress of Philosophy, to be held every 5 years under the auspices of FISP (International Federation of Philosophical Societies), doesn’t pull the masses like the Olympic Games. It’s not even a competition –although it’s rewarding to think of THE fastest, THE strongest, and THE ONE with the biggest feet… One thing is for sure: there will be more disciplines and panels than ever before, largely because hundreds of Chinese, but also Indian, Persian, American… and other Asian thinkers, who will outnumber their European peers by far, need to be given adequate space.

There were times when the Chinese felt big about themselves, such as the Qing Empire at its heyday, an empire which, succumbing itself later to the prowess of the fleets and the cannons of the West, fell invariably prostrate at the feet of the West. But, today the Chinese nation, having been jolted awake, is striving to reassert itself among the nations of the world. –Ji Xianlin

The time for Beijing has come…

By fair estimates, given that EVERYONE wants to visit China these days, there may be up to 2,500 “philosophers” filing in their visa forms. Many universities (especially within China) will send entourages, complete with translators, secretaries, media, and their students.

RELATED The Last Sage of Europe

Where will they all sleep and dine? How do philosophers party? What should we print on the pillows and promotional cups? Do we really have to pay thousands of student volunteers –lest some Western philodox raises questions about exploitation and human rights? Can critics practice free speech? (Sure they can, PKU is surprisingly liberal).

Doing philosophy leaves us little time for worldly affairs - apart from romping those hefty orgies with women that is.

Philosopher Orgy

The cost? A secret, but it is rumored that PKU guaranteed a basket of one million dollars. It may be not enough, however, the (preliminary) list of sponsors is arleady impressive, including the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Tsinghua University, Fudan University, and two dozen other top schools and associations.

The historical significance of this event aside, the organizers in China, in line with Beijing’s ‘host diplomacy’, are poised to blow this out of proportion –in a good way: “Our invitation will be extended to Axial-Age civilizations (Greek, Judaic, Hindu, and Chinese), historical traditions (notably Christian, Islamic, Jain, Sikh, Baha’i), forms of spirituality in Africa and indigenous religions, and other newly emerging modes of philosophical inquiries as well as well-established disciplines.” [Read the entire proposal HERE]

I am inclined to say that the one eye of the Greeks and their descendants later on gradually turned into two eyes; however, these two eyes, as extremity always results in antithesis, are now about to close. The Chinese eyes, after closing for a while, are now about to open up. –Ji Xianlin

You can’t get more Big Think than that, can you? Let’s earmark Beijing in 2018; and hope to see some of you in China in the future!

To keep up to date with this blog you can follow me on TwitterRSS, my Website, or my other Blog.

Xue Yifan – It is Good to be the Only One (On Your Graduation ‘Group Photo’)

Xue Yifan, the now famous Graduation ‘Group Photo’, Peking University

BEIJING – In overpopulated, extremely competitive, and edu-obsessional society like China, it is ridiculously difficult to find yourself an unoccupied space, carving out a niche, or pursuing a profession that isn’t fiercely contested, letting alone staying in there alone for too long.

China’s universities are no different, having geared up for mass-producing scholars of all kinds, the more the better… almost. Even Peking University, by the way, agrees with mass-education, having standardized its graduation proceedings as ‘group’ activities -fat chance you will be sitting courses alone, ever.

Xue Yifan, 2014

The idea that there could be just one student on the official  ‘group photo’ didn’t occur to administrators. So, when Xue Yifan (薛逸凡), of the Yuanpei Institute for Paleontology at Peking University, who was latter called “the loneliest graduate” by Global Times, posted her graduation ‘group photo’ online, she attracted A LOT of attention from micro-bloggers and even state media, many who see her as model student, a heroine of scientific knowledge in a rare field that is apparently little understood by most students and their parents when selecting a university major.

MORE PICTURES OF XUE YIFAN ON BAIDU.COM

Ms Xue didn’t expect the media attention at all; she appeared humble but professional in interviews, looking for the next challenges ahead of her, possibly aiming at a career in academia.

That said, whatever road she takes in life, being among the few chosen ones is undoubtedly beneficial, especially in China. Being the only one, however… priceless!

READ FULL ARTICLE How A Graduation Photo Can Make You Famous In China (Big Think)

To keep up to date with Dragons and Pandas you can also follow me on Twitter: @worldethics; my website: East-West-Dichotomy.com; or my other blog: You’ve Heard About It.

Mixed races OK; Mixed Cultures WELL…; Mixed Languages OH F**K OFF

A Call for more Diversity: Liberating the World’s Vocabularies

BEIJING/TOKYO – When Chinese Uyghur Muslim activists accuse China’s central government of “cultural genocide” against its minority cultures, they usually gets applauded (letting alone financial supported and celebrated as ‘human rights’ heroes) by the entire Western press. After all, any support of China’s dissidents is helpful to undermine Chinese politics and the country’s social stability. But, careful what’s locked up in the dark attic of Western history… the Anglophone world -on all accounts of Imperialism, Colonialism, and Globalization- is by far the worst offender of cultural genocide everywhere on the planet, at least from a prospective of the lovers of cultural pluralism and linguistic diversity; to such an obvious extend, to be true, that several national governments including China, India, Iran, and Japan (but also Germany and France) have recently expressed deep regrets over their vanishing (cultural) significance in the world -naturally to the supreme benefit the vast US-Anglo-Saxon empire stretching from the arts and entertainment, over politics and media, to the sciences and the humanities.

RELATED Dreams of De-Westernization

Most ‘knowledge’ is English now; or else foreign ideas must be expressed in the English language: What is not known in the West, is no knowledge at all. Most linguists such as Wade Davis, the Canadian anthropologist, lament the general decline of  cultural diversity and in particular linguistic diversity; although they have a hard time to explain or define what it is exactly what is lost when translation occurs (from the foreign tongue into the English imperial parlance, say). While the Uyghurs in China have ethical reasons to complain against “cultural genocide” by Mandarin speakers, Western English media largely have little to no moral currency against Mandarin speakers whatsoever, it seems, because the West itself precisely is best at destroying minority cultures -one by one in fact, until nothing is left, and all world history is owned by Western writers -all other cultures: forgone and forgotten.

RELATED Language and Empire – Why We Shun Asian Words, For Now

The only way, as I  see it, is to allow those cultures and their languages left in the world to freely participate in world history. (So far, national dictionaries and Western editorial language policies are universally discriminating against foreign terms.) But to do that, to free the languages, they need the universal right to express their ideas in their own words -I am referring of course to the most important key words unique to their cultural inventiveness. Until the benign but ultimately culturally ignorant West, because it is the supreme imperialist and colonial master of humanity, allows the world’s vocabularies to freely flow and mix with the English lexicon, no man and woman is truly free from cruel cultural imperialism.

To be precise, it is not enough to liberate the races, the genders, the people from foreign oppression if their words are shunned, censored, and omitted from world history. The liberation of the world’s vocabularies is going to be next revolutionary step toward freedom of expression. And we will not rest nor sleep but an hour too long until we are getting there…

READ MORE A Call for more Diversity – Liberating the World’s Vocabularies

Dr. Pattberg has written and published extensively about Global language,Competition for terminologies, and the End of translation. He is also active in promoting Confucianism, in particular Chinese terminologies, on a global scale. Please also follow him on Big Think, Dragons and Pandas.

Будущее Ханьбань и Институтов Конфуция

Торстен, как вам удалось получить место в Институте Конфуция? Ведь, как известно, организация представляет собой в некоторой степени закрытый бастион для иностранцев.

В апреле прошлого года Пекинский университет направил меня на встречу с должностными лицами от Института Конфуция: господином Ма Цзяньфэем, заместителем директора Ханьбаня, и Ян Цзиньчэном, директором преподавательского отдела в штаб-квартире Института Конфуция.

Ханьбань находится в двадцати минутах езды на такси от Пекинского университета, на улице Дэшэнмэн. Мы встретились в кафе и заказали чай пуэр. Оба джентльмена были знакомы с моим эссе «Конец переводам», где я пытаюсь адаптировать для понимания иностранцев «непереводимые» слова-концепции китайского языка, как, например, «шэнжэнь»1 и «цзюньцзы»2 .

Ханьбань – подконтрольное ведомство Министерства образования. Господин Ма сообщил, что министерство предлагает опубликовать мои работы, а издательство я выбираю сам. Я выбрал China’s Foreign Language Press. Господин Ян становился «супервайзером» проекта.

Что вы считаете главным достижением Института Конфуция за последние годы?

Институт Конфуция существует с 2004 года, это культурный ответ немецкому Институту Гете (основан в 1951 году), Британскому совету (существует с 1934 года) и «Альянс Франсез» (основан в 1883 году, но работает он по несколько другой модели). Успех ИК заключается в простых цифрах: уже сегодня открыто более 350 Институтов Конфуция по всему миру, на сотню больше, чем Британских советов или Институтов Гете.

В то время как мировой рынок уже перенасыщен британской и немецкой культурой, для Китая еще есть простор. Ханьбань стремится довести число Институтов Конфуция до 1000. Но эффективно ли работает Институт Конфуция? В этом я не уверен.

Какие же инструменты использует ИК для своей пропаганды? Щедрые гранты на обучение, бесплатные материалы и хорошо подготовленный преподавательский состав – ведь это еще не все.

ИК «завоевывает души» не простых студентов, а начинает с административных верхов иностранных вузов: деканов, профессоров, администраторов. Именно поэтому ИК ассоциируют с иностранными университетами. Это дает Китаю преимущества. Кроме того, любой ИК за рубежом имеет двух глав: декана-китайца и декана-иностранца.

Это великолепная стратегия. Я своими глазами наблюдал, как западные специалисты борются за престижные посты «директора Института Конфуция страны Х для Университета Y». Это неизбежно ведет к повышению по службе в самом Университете Y – от неизвестного преподавателя до декана. Потому что, когда речь идет о Китае, полумеры неприемлемы. Выгоды такого сотрудничества очевидны: связь с Министерством образования Китая, упрощенный визовый режим, авиабилеты, конференции, банкеты и дегустация вин. Естественно, новоявленный декан привлечет своих студентов в ИК. Это подход «верхи-низы» в авторитарном стиле.

В чем причины неудач ИК на Западе?

Честно говоря, не думаю, что Институт Конфуция имеет большой успех в плане создания привлекательного имиджа китайской культуры. Запад принес свои ценности в Китай, в их числе такие концепции, как демократия, права человека, управление по закону, философия, наука, капитализм и коммунизм. В этом и заключалась настоящая «мягкая сила». Китаю, с другой стороны, нечего дать взамен. В Институте Конфуция преподают китайский язык, то есть в понимании Запада студенты учат китайские слова. Они переводят на китайский слово «демократия» – «миньчжу чжуи». Если бы Институт Конфуция был Британским советом или Институтом Гете, он бы занимался продвижением уникальных китайских концепций, как Вэнмин, Датун и Чжуцзя (концепции, объясняющие «сущность цивилизованного общества», «спокойствие в обществе», «практичное управление/благожелательность народа»).

Но нет, в учебниках ИК дается «перевод» на западный манер – «цивилизация, гармония и конфуцианство». Это копия «один в один» западных концепций!

До тех пор, пока китайские «пропагандисты» не решили для самих себя, в чем должна состоять суть Китая, Институт Конфуция сам будет вестернизироваться и терпеть поражение. Они могут открыть еще десять тысяч ИК, это будет просто замечательно воспринято на Западе.

Институт Конфуция стал мишенью для критики западных СМИ и академического сообщества. К примеру, ему ставят в вину пропаганду ценностей компартии Китая, а не распространение ценностей конфуцианства, между которыми, кстати говоря, лежит пропасть. Что вы сможете сказать о критике ИК на Западе?

Пока Китай будет выбрасывать на ветер миллиарды юаней на финансирование Институтов Конфуция, все будет спокойно. Какой смысл критиковать спонсора? Кроме того, как я говорил ранее, на сегодняшний день спрос на ИК из зарубежных университетов не уменьшается, поскольку академики и политики явно стремятся усилить свой вес за счет связей с госструктурой Китая.

Обвинения строятся на том, что Институт Конфуция напрямую связан с управленческим аппаратом. Сама цель концепции «мягкой силы», способствующей улучшению имиджа нации, теряет всякий смысл, так как в глазах общественности это проправительственная пропаганда. Что вы на это скажете?

Разумеется, Институты Конфуция финансируются китайским правительством, так же как Институт Гете финансируется правительством Германии, а Британский совет – правительством Великобритании. Только на бумаге они выглядят как неправительственные организации (NGO). То же самое происходит со многими западными «неправительственными организациями» в Китае, например DAAD (крупнейшая в мире организация академического обмена – принадлежит правительству Германии. – Прим. ред.).

Я всегда говорю своим студентам: «Почему у европейских стран такое мощное влияние во всем мире? Все просто: ими была придумана система современного общества, и они знают рычаги управления».

ИК будет оставаться проправительственной организацией, получать инструкции от Ханьбаня и министерств, точно так же будут работать и их западные «коллеги» в Китае, пропагандируя вес­тернизацию. Нет ничего плохого в том, чтобы придерживаться своих принципов. При этом мирное сосуществование возможно. Чтобы избежать дальнейшей политизированности, нужен диалог, взаимодоверие и больше прозрачности. Сам Конфуций учил в своей политической теории: «Реши одну задачу – и ты избежишь сотен проблем».

1 «Шэнжэнь» – одна из важнейших концепций китайской цивилизации, условно термин можно перевести как «мудрость», «благость». Соответственно, речь идет о мудрости китайской цивилизации в противовес иноземным «варварам».

2 «Цзюньцзы» – «благородный муж», концепция благочестивого поведения в конфуцианстве.

Торстен Паттберг – Автор книги «Шэнжэнь» и «Дихотомия Восток-Запад»

Хромает ли Троянский конь Пекина

Weibo, Baidu, Hai’er, Hualian, and Shanghai Tang need no Translation!


“If you think about Chinese company names and brands such as 微波 Weibo, 百度 Baidu, 海尔 Hai’er, the 以崚药业 Yiling Group, the 大商集团 Dashang Group, 华联集团 Hualian Group (it’s a supermarket chain), and 上海滩 Shanghai Tang, etc., these are all Chinese brand names. What they do is they opt for a ‘second’ -a [transliterated] English name…”

READ MORE Zero Translation – Dragons and Pandas – Big Think

RELATED War Against ‘The War On English’ – Dragons and Pandas – Big Think

Peking University Vs Tsinghua University – Two World Class Universities In Comparison

Beida vs Tsinghua – China’s world class universities and global players

BEIJING– Beida and Tsinghua are the two most prominent universities in China, a country of 1.35 billion people. (There are many other famous ones like Nanjing University, Renmin, or Fudan University, but for the scope of this article let us focus on these two.) Let’s make no mistake, although Beida and Tsinghua are (just) ranked no 46 and 52 in the world according the THE rankings 2013 (Hong Kong University ranks no 35, but is listed separately [it’s a British ranking, and HK was a former colony]), nevertheless these two are powerful global players.

RELATED To Each Nation Its Glory – Rearranging World University Rankings

The “Harvard of China”

Peking University(short: Beida, from “Beijing Daxue”) is the center of China’s humanities and often called “the Harvard of China” (or, from a Chinese point of view, Harvard is called “the Beida of America”), while Tsinghua is strongest in engineering and the sciences, and known as “the MIT of China.”

Tsinghua is wealthier and looks typical American, at least the main campus. Beida has its beautiful lake and is home to China’s greatest modern thinkers and philosophers like Gu Hongming, Lu Xun, Mao Zedong, Ji Xianlin, and Hu Shi. The list goes on.

Increasingly, the two are testing their prerogatives and are competing for China’s top spot and for attracting best and brightest students in all the fields. They established their own business schools, language schools for foreigners, etc.

RELATED Chinese Top Universities Plagued With Corruption

Tsinghua’s new leadership programme

Stephen A. Schwarzman, the US billionaire and chairman of Blackstone Group, believes that Tsinghua will take the lead in the future. He may be right. China’s new president, Xi Jinping , is a Tsinghua graduate (the Premier, Li Keqiang, is from Beida), so are many of the technocrats in the Communist Party that rules China.

Tsinghua has an edge in research and technology, and Schwarzman donates $300m into a new leadership programme that wants future global leaders from the US and elsewhere to come to Wu Daokou in Haidian district of Beijing in order to experience Chinese elite education and the ‘guanxi’ or “connections” it brings along. After all, this century is deemed by many as the Chinese one.

RELATED More Than A 1000 Philosophers

Haidian – Beijing’s university district

Beida will watch this new US investment carefully. Both universities float on cash and invite famous people from abroad. Political leaders like Tony Blair have a tough time choosing which one to visit and deliver their keynote speeches. (David Beckham recently visited Beida). Gigantic conference centers like Beida’s ‘New Global Village’ with dozens of apartment blocks were built; even a museum restaurant, and Beida’s new Lake View Hotel (which charges up to $500 a night).

Tsinghua parades its mighty TUS Park facing Chengfu Road, the High Street of Wu Daokou, a couple of glassy skyscrapers that house Google, Baidu, and Deutsche Bank, among others. Beida has its own metro station named after it. Each campus is as huge as entire districts in some European capitals.

Tsinghua lies just across the street from Beida, and towers prominently among 168 (!) other institutes of higher education in Haidian. Chinese universities are campus university (unlike, say, European universities) and are closed communities with their own hospitals, supermarkets, and village-sized dormitories. They are massively subsidized by the central government to keep the food and housing prices on-campus in check. It’s a cheap world as long as one does not leave the campuses.

RELATED Soldiers and Scholars

China’s universities aim to become world class universities

But the massive increase of students over the past 20 years, including hundreds of thousands of foreign students (there are 60.000 Koreans living in Wu Daokou), are pushing the people into the local surrounding communities like Zhongguancun, the Silicon Valley of China.

For many observes it does not really matters which university comes ahead in 2014. All competition is good for China, and for all those students who come here.

Cross-posted at Dragons and Pandas, Big Think.

Image credit: Beida vs Tsinghua/east-west-dichotomy.com

You can follow me on Twitter, my Website, or my other Blog.

East-Asia Draws The Knife – Killing Sprees And Mass Stabbings Rampant

A knife-sharpener in Harbin, Picture by RF Parsley, May 21, 2014. As guns are banned in East-Asia, killers turn to kitchen blades, cleavers, and jackknives.

TAIPEI/TOKYO – What is this East-Asian obsession with blades and stabbings that has perverted these otherwise harmonious quarters of Confucian legacy?

The knife seems to be the preferred device of killing frenzies in those countries that restrict or ban firearms. Shooting fall-outs are rare from Beijing to Hong Kong, from Shanghai to Seoul, from Hong Kong to Tokyo. So, the hoodlums go out instead with kitchen blades, cleavers, and jackknives.

The latest killings happened just today at around 4 pm in a Taipei subway station. A 21-years old man allegedly boarded a crowded section of the train and knifed down at least 25 passengers, four of whom died in their blood. A relative in law of your author was struck three times –in her defense arm, her back, and, when she escaped, her fleeting ankle. She is in hospital, in stable condition, but still under shock. So is the entire island of Taiwan. Such random eruptions of violence are relatively rare in orderly Taipei, they say. Now they know it can happen any time.

ALSO ON DRAGONS AND PANDAS Beware of ‘Universal Ethics’

China

Stabbings are far more common in mainland China, although not always as widely reported as the Henan school knife attack in 2012 that witnessed 23 (barely out of kindergarten) kids with severe stab wounds. You can watch the video here (warning: it’s gruesome!). The perpetrator was clinical insane, or so he confessed. Henan authorities promptly advised all schools to hire security guards, which is –as everyone familiar with China knows –a gargantuan task of impossible dimensions –Henan alone administers 100 million citizens.

There are many more stabbings to speak of, in fact, just toady there occurred another knife massacre in the city of Lushan of Henan province. Seven neighbors lost their lives to a lunatic. Small villages are in particular vulnerable. Cutlery is sold left and right in the streets.

And then there was the Kunming Mass Stabbing in March 2014. It was so brutal and violent in scope and execution –the state denounced it as terrorist attack. Over 130 people were slashed, hacked, and ended, leaving 29 dead. The stabbers, four of them shot on the scene, came from Xinjiang, a region where –because of ethnical and political tensions- stabbings occur frequently.

RELATED China has a Serial Killers Problem (Danwei.com)

Knives are often worn in public in Xinjiang and Tibetan, and are in fact among the most popular souvenirs. Yet, of course, stabbings are most media-effective if they occur in public places in the big cities. Just weeks after the Kunming massacre, for example, six people were gruesomely stabbed down at Guangzhou Railway Station in Guangdong.

Blades are typically the preferred fetish of death of serial killers, although the one or other shovel, hammer, or axe is frequently thrown in. Your author still recalls the time at Fudan University of Shanghai in summer 2003 when the killing spree of Yang Zhiya had kept the region in fear. He had early childhood dreams of murder and rape, his family concurred; and in 2000 the thug set out on his bike, smashing, chopping, and annihilating entire families on his trip. (He was executed in 2014, just three month after his arrest, a fast-track to ease the pain of the nation.)

Korea

Korea is constantly on knife-alert, too. True, stabbing rampages such as the 2008 Seoul incident are still uncommon. Yet, the country is under constant terror by frequent so-called rush-hour knifings (or crowd-stabbing, if you will).

ALSO ON DRAGONS AND PANDAS People with a death-wish

Japan

Tokyo, as well, had its unfair share of mayhem. The Japanese, stricken already by the highest suicide rate anywhere in this galaxy, and smitten by frequent earthquakes and tsunamis, are forever haunted by images of Tomohiro Kato, a 25-year-old ‘otaku’ (loosely translated as geek or nerd) drove a truck into a crowd at Tokyo’s busy Akihabara district (known as Electronic Town, popular with young people and tourists). After he steamrolled the pedestrians, he jumped out of the vehicle and stabbed some more. Seven people died. The list of knife crimes in Japan –even if the Yakuza is excluded- is wickedly long.

The imagery of knife-wielding “losers” –mostly young, male, underemployed, mentally ill- haunts East Asian citizens during their rush-hours, partly because there are potentially so many of them.

As one psychologist at Seoul National University once quipped it:

“Pent-up frustration and rage in a highly competitive society have caused the recent attacks against indiscriminate victims, and this was compounded by copy-cat behavior.”

If this is a correct observation, and we have reason to think it is, then governments have to address the causes of this spreading social sickness, and do so quickly.

It is very wise of East Asian authorities to categorically outlaw the possession of guns and rifles. But how do they prevent dangerous men from visiting a kitchen.

Image credit: Glad he came in peace/(c) RF Parsley/@sanverde

This piece was first posted to Dragons and Pandas, Big Think. You can follow me on Twitter, my Website, or my other Blog. See you next time around!

ZERO TRANSLATION – When 10,000 of English Phrases, Words, And Jargons Enter The Chinese Language

“Most Western media refuse Chinese words, demand translations. [This is going to change.] ” -China: Lost in Translation I + II, Asia Times, by Pattberg

COPENHAGEN/TOKYO – Globus Kina’s Christina Boutrup hosts German linguist and end-translation advocate Thorsten Pattberg (D. Litt., Peking University) i. o. t. discuss the ‘Zero Translation’ phenomenon:

“This phenomenon, termed “zero translation”, has sparked a fierce debate – why is that so important for some people in China that everything has a Chinese word?” –Christina Boutrup, Globus Kina

A Notion In Favor Of Limiting Translation

First of all, it is a late spring early summer topic. We have similar discussions about ‘national languages’ –and the protection of thereof- in German and French media, too. Every year, in fact. The main concern is this: We have A LOT of English words coming in. What do we do about it?!

READ MORE The End of Translation (in Asia Times)

It is unfortunate that those Chinese intellectuals talks about ‘purity’ and ‘vitality’ of culture and language. That is so 20th-Century. Imagine they would also do the talking about race and ethnicity.

Here, the ideology is NOT multiculturalism –it is assimilation. And one way, the BEST WAY, is by translation; that’s because THEN our eyes and ears are met with the familiar and the convenient.

“The concept of “zero translation” is introduced both as a translation strategy for overcoming the unbridgeable differences between languages, and as a means of safeguarding the general validity of translatability as the theoretical cornerstone of translation.” –Qiu Maoru中国翻译》20011月第22卷第1期(P24-27

Liberating the World’s Vocabularies

Critics are right, they should PROTECT their cultures and languages (at least to a certain degree), because that’s apparently what everyone is doing. We are competing for our sovereignty over thought and definitions. Remember George Orwell’s Six Rules for Good Writing: Rule No. 5: “Never use a foreign phrase, word, or a jargon if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.”

READ MORE Language imperialism – ‘democracy’ in China (in The Japan Times)

ALL major Anglophone media apply those rules, be it The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or The Economist, and so on. They want to expand THEIR OWN culture, not surrender it. Nationalists in China have those worries, too.

Having said all this, however, most young people are not having any of it. They want to see all foreign words liberated. It’s a good thing.

“The current lack of Chinese translation for new English terms is due to an increasing interest in and respect for Western culture. More Chinese people can speak English now and they generally want to use English words where appropriate in normal conversation.” –Empowerlingua.com

Aesthetics of Multi-layered Scripts

The use of English words in Chinese writings looks strange at first. This is aggravated by the fact that Chinese uses pictographs, not letters. So, English words do really pop out and may irritate. That it works nevertheless is shown in Japan, where four scriptures form a highly sophisticated mish-mash: Hiragana for Japanese readings; Katakana for foreign loanwords; Kanji as pictographs introduced from China in the 5h century; and the Roman alphabet for adopted names.

I am in favor of ending or limiting translation.

ADDITIONAL READING: Relationship Between Translation And Culture Cultural Studies Essay, by Qiu Maoru

Thorsten Pattberg (D.Litt.) is the author of The East-West Dichotomy (China’s Foreign Language Press, 2013) and the forthcoming Knowledge is a Polyglot – The Future of Global Language (Hanban/Foreign Language Press, 2014). He can be reached at pattberg@pku.edu.cn. @worldethics

Add Long, Bixie, Longma, Pixiu, Ao, and the Qilin to the Global Language

At IAHS, Peking University, 2012

Idiosyncreatures – How Many More Of China’s Critters Can The English Language Swallow?

via Big Think

Should Chinese creatures be incorporated into Anglo-Saxon parlance, and if so, where to draw the line in number and color? This goes beyond linguistic pedantry and serves as nucleus for life-and-death questions about global language and –if not properly addressed- a potential source of academic conflict (e. g. How about nextcensoring YOUR beloved critters out of world history? Leprechauns, pixies -anyone? )

RELATED Language and Empire – Why We Shun Asian Words, For Now

It’s a simple but profoundly complex issue: How much pluralism and foreign knowledge should we permit to exist? China has greatly enriched the world of fairy tales and legends with fantastic concepts such as mogwai (you remember the film ‘Gremlins’?), but also less known characters such as the ao, the bixie, the longma, thepixiu, the fenghuang, and the qilin –to name but a few.

Idiosyncreatures

Translation often doesn’t do foreign ideas justice. How boring and unimaginative when a bixie becomes a chimera; an ao a turtle; a pixiu a winged lion; a fenghuang a phoenix, and a qilin just another unicorn? while in fact they are often very different, not only apparently but also historically. Imagine a world without Brother Grimm’s Fairy Tales (its richness of Germanic vocabularies and terms). That’s right, Chinese folkloric idiosyncreatures are as fascinating, and its family tree no less gorgeous and impressive, than European beasts of fur and claws.

Continue reading Add Long, Bixie, Longma, Pixiu, Ao, and the Qilin to the Global Language

Selection and adaptation of invalid methods to prove Chinese theorems

The following is a list of invalid but surprisingly effective proof techniques that your author has encountered in Chinese texts. They are obviously not exclusive to China, but rampant:

1. Proof by sheer numbers: How could 1,393,649,829 Chinese be wrong?

2. Proof by induction: Heaven and all under heaven are one!

3. Proof by annexation: Take any already known theory from the West and add:“…with Chinese characteristics.”

4. Proof by subsidy: How could so many government agencies be wrong?

5. Proof by deferral: We’ll prove it once we have achieved socialism (technically in 100 years from the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which will be October 1, 2049.)

6. Proof by powerful imagery: “The United States and Britain are paper-tigers.” –Mao Zedong

7. Proof by persistence: You know this is true!

8. Proof by sentiment: You feel this is true!

9. Proof by wishful thinking: The West is in decline, what is there for us to prove anymore?

10. Proof by guanxi: The more people you know, the higher the probability someone is going to help with your proof.

11. Proof by hukou: You usually got it right if you are a first class citizen (from Beijing, the capital), second class citizen (Shanghai, Guangzhou, etc.), and wrong if you happened to come from the parasitic countryside.

12. Proof by repetition: “And so on, over and over again in an endless spiral, with the ideas becoming more correct, more vital and richer each time.” –Mao Zedong

13. Proof by backward/forward reference: Reference is usually to a past or forthcoming paper of the author.

14. Proof by compensation: The average Chinese skyscraper erected must be no less than 10 stories taller than the average European one.

15. Proof by eminent authority: When I met Hu Jintao at the Diaoyutai State House, he said: “It’s the ‘harmonious society’, stupid.”

16. Proof by pomp: Although China has 829 Million peasants living in poverty and only 1/11 of the GDP (per capita) that of Europe; nevertheless it held the world’s most costly and ostentatious Olympic Games -ever.

17. Proof by reference to inaccessible literature: The Chinese civilization is at least 6000 years old! (Written records go no further than 3000 years –Ouch!)

18. Proof by no-reference whatsoever: There is no reference list in this damn 526-pages textbook!

19. Proof by pre-eminence: The Germans may have invented the automobile, but the Chinese invented the paper for its blueprint.

20. Proof by patriotism: You’re seriously offending the feelings of 1,393,649,828 Chinese compatriots.

21. Proof by yin and yang: We tanked the humiliations during the Boxer Rebellion, the Opium Wars, the Nanjing Massacre, the unequal treaties; soon the imbalance will be restored in our favor!

22. Proof by piety: “I am not inventing something new; I just recite the sages of old.” –Confucius

23. Proof by cultural revolution: Is your culture hopeless? Just crush and shatter it; and write yourself a new one.

24. Proof by production: “The massive population of China is our greatest good. Even a further increase of several times the population is entirely possible, possible through productivity.” –Mao Zedong

25. Proof by walking: “As more people are walking all the time, in the same spot, a path appears.” –Lu Xun

26. Proof by sufficient misery: The starvation of 30 million citizens and the total annihilation of opposition, critics and traditional culture during the Cultural Revolution have finally convinced the Chinese people that it was the necessary thing to do to revive this nation.

27. Proof by demonizing: “The Dalai-lama is a devil in sheep-clothes!” –CCTV

28. Proof by ethnicity: You ‘prove’ it by showing your opponent is not Chinese. A classic: “Mr. Smith does not understand China because he is not Chinese.”

29. Proof by exclusion: Before the defendant airs his dirty opinions in public, he will be censored/defamed/incarcerated/executed to prove his irrelevance.

30. Proof by meekness: Usually employed by showing three or more of the following virtues: kindness, courtesy, amiability, ingratiation, graciousness, hospitableness, sagacity, modesty. Hence Confucius: the true gentleman knows what is right.

31. Proof by saying No: Publish a book entitled China can say No.

32. Proof by corruption: You have to pay if you have to pay.

33. Proof by suspension: “China’s rise will be peaceful.” –Wen Jiabao

34. Proof by English translation: If the West can read it, you exist!

35. Proof by having-nothing-to-prove-at-all: Forget proof and all – Be RICH. Be TALL. Be EDUCATED. (The so-called “3G” [san gao] will get you anywhere in China!)

36. Proof by Confucius: Just say Confucius said it, e. g. “Girl who do back spring on bedspring have offspring next spring.” etc. –Unknown author

Note: This has been cross-posted at bigthink.com.

World Community Agog Over China Overtaking US Economy In 2014

“We, The US And Our Allies…” –Wait A Minute, What Allies?

NEWS just spread through the international media that China may be overtaking the United States on GDP terms by the end of this year, making it the World’s Biggest Economy –much earlier than economists had expected.

IT IS a clever rhetorical device to employ the conniving “We” as in “We, the international community…” when it is supposed to feign global unity, say, against a “pariah” state like Russia, when it really is all about US geopolitical interests and how to maintain its global hegemony. It feels cozy and warm –“We.” Alas, we can’t be so sure that the US has any true allies; for all we know they might be looking out for their own interests from now on:

Living With America As #2

For starters, no one loves the American government, letting alone trust it -not even its own people. The US is highly corrupt (e. g. not much better than everyone else), a notorious aggressor (over 176 military operations on foreign lands in 200 years), a bully that threatens, sanctions, tortures, and terrorizes (says Noam Chomsky, the US philosopher and dissident) other states in a way that makes the British in their heydays look like fair and gentle men. The US sports over 700 military bases in more than 80 countries and regions. Deep down, are those nations really happy with this over-the-top form of cultural imperialism, letting alone this physical occupation?

RELATED Is Western Media Biased Against China And Russia?

World historians like Helmut Schmidt, the former German chancellor, or Kishore Mahbubani, the Singaporean diplomat and scholar, would have us to believe that the US Empire is likely to collapse or retreat back to its pre-20th Century’s significance, but not without a clash or two. It is constantly wagering the use of military strike capabilities against whatever steps into its light, since it assumes the world can’t be run without Washington policing it. That said, every conflict in Asia, or between Asia and Europe, may prolong America’s quick demise just a little bit longer. Alas, the law that empires must fall pulls this heavyweight down like gravity.

The Obama administration, and its successors, will likely do everything to destabilize or contain China, Russia, Japan, India, or the Middle East, to patronize the European states, or to belittle the lands of South America. Not a week passes without a new threat, a new demand, a new warning to some government that doesn’t play by US rules. Needless to say, the grace and easiness of America has gradually disappeared. People don’t respect it anymore unconditionally as they used to.

US analysts will have the unenviable task of searching someone to blame. It must be the Muslim world and its tens of thousands of terrorists. It must be the evil Russians. The Persians (Iran) are to blame –they hate us. Ah, and those torpid Europeans -they can’t put their stuff together. China is manipulating its currency. Japan is re-militarizing even if we told them not to do it. The whole word is conspiring toward America’s downfall.

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Whom to punish first? Sanctions against the Kremlin for stalling NATO expansionists’ dreams over Ukraine? Supporting separation movements in China’s Xinjiang and Xizang (Tibet)? More US troops to Okinawa just to agitate Tokyo? Instigating fear and terror in Pakistan, or across the Straits of Taiwan? Forcing regime change in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Russia, or even Japan? By the way, do the French behave? If not, reward the Germans!

The New World Order, American exceptionalism, God’s favorite nation, the Dictatorship of Western Universalism, Fox News, the American dream, the End of History –all our pomp and agitprop of yesterday –gone!

China as #1

Some commentators will be curious: “How on earth could that happen?” You made the rules, you exploited the system, you controlled the world’s currency and the financial system –you still do. You spied on the human race, you surveilled their leaders and their citizenry, you control space, time, and the internet, and you have all potential troublemakers and dissidents either incarcerated or on our payroll. “What else could you have done to prevent this “global conspiracy” against you?”

The answer is, you could have done everything better and twice over, but it would still be the total end of your supreme reign by mid century. All imperialism, no matter how well meant, must come to an end eventually, and there is no reason why the US should dominate the human race.

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“No, wait a minute!” some will say: “We can fix this! It’s all but a misunderstanding. It was all Bush’s fault, that warmonger and his clique. And president Obama was an accident; a socialist, but wait for the next president! We will re-invent ourselves, grow again, we will innovate ourselves out of this defeat…”

To this we reply that world historians make quite good psychotherapists: “It’s all right,” they’ll tell you. The US isn’t going to slide into penury. It will still be #2 for many years. It will still shine, in 50 years, like Britain shines today. It will have a superb story to tell -like the Germans, the Japanese, the Han, the Mongols, the Persians before them. America had its glory days. Look at it like our division of labor. Finally, US culture will become wiser and more mature. You will always be a great country. Be content with what you have achieved.

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Meanwhile, humanity has got to go on. History must repeat itself –the eternal return. The US had a blast at our planet in the 20th Century when everyone else in Eurasia was looking down the gutter. Now, everyone has recovered, and a new champ has arrived who will bring all the new theories. The world spirit is now in Asia. And that’s a good thing.

Image credits: Sam the Eagle, The Muppet Show/Parody

You can follow me on Twitter, Big Think, or my other Blog.

PATTBERG: Beware of ‘Universal Ethics’

Pattberg: Beware of Universal Ethics

“Moralities and religions are the principal means by which one can make whatever one wishes out of man, provided one possesses a superfluity of creative forces and can assert one’s will over long periods of time — in the form of legislation and customs.” –F. Nietzsche
***
All Corruption Is Human

If focused enough, the study of ethics soon reveals itself as the futile attempt to rationalize things we didn’t do (or couldn’t do). So we think others shouldn’t do them either. Only the weak, the ones that do little to nothing with their lives, have tinsel ethics that they then put on others. That’s why corruption is mostly exposed by resentful, hurt and ultimately less successful people –journalists, freelance investigators, dissidents, anarchist, or other non-notable elements of the public. No great man in history has ever called another great man corrupt; and no gentleman has made great noise about another gentleman’s transgressions. Only petty people seem to do that.

So why does the public still believe that there is one ‘universal ethics’ for everyone? Clearly, all attempts in history failed utterly: The ‘Ten Commandments’ of the Bible is one of the most devious listicles ever conceived; it’s bordering on cult experience: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” – Really? “Thou shalt not commit adultery” – That practically never happens, why even mentioning it? The so-called ‘Golden Rule’, too, is ludicrous, defying everyday’s life experiences among Homo sapiens. As to the much celebrated formula ‘trust’, well, if a businessman overtly comes on with ‘trust’ he is about to bribe you, because that’s the only way to establish “trust” in business. In fact, it is the incorruptibleperson that causes stress and distrust.

As to politicians: they must bend the ‘truth’; this is not a secret but the mendacity of their profession, which is not as irresponsible as it may sound because it reveals the complexity of political life that goes beyond the limited horizon of our school textbooks: morals change with number, aspect, and over time, and to make matters worse, ethics come in hierarchies. It’s a bit like Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’: Only after people climbed up the ranks to the top will they experience more complex layers of morality. In other words, the starving will steal, the insecure will cheat, and the rich will bribe, and if they don’t, they risk penalties such as existential demise, few or no offspring, and corporate failure respectively.

Ethics Come In Hierarchies

Since most human beings are in no position to ever reach their highest potential and feel what it is like to have a blast at life, to enjoy patriarchy, nepotism, and the benefits of the highest connections; we might as well tell them that it would be all bad for them anyway. Hence the breathtaking moral discrepancy between the masters of humanity and their sheepish followers; which Friedrich Nietzsche so accurately described as the “the master- and the slave morality.” Every religion on this planet dichotomizes human beings into two (spiritual) classes –the nobles and the rest- with clearly different ethical outlooks. In a nutshell, the nobles see good and evil as the two sides of the same coin and make good use of it; while the idiots of this world have moral calms, reservations, and sentiments.

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As to more complex human interactions, no matter what the hapless man on the street considers ‘morally good’, it is impossible to him to even fathom the greater universe of relations in which even his annihilation may become a moral necessity (say, sacrificing him in a war), even an obligation to others, or just the termination of his employment, the ruin of his family, all for serving the greater good of society imagined by someone else. What we consider good or evil –let us make no mistake- can be interpreted to anyone’s liking, in anyone’s favor, tailored to anyone’s circumstances. That’s why any prescribed set of ethics is largely a fiction.

Corruptions Should Be Liberalized

Corruption should be liberalized in all its forms, and never be morally condemned. Let’s punish people for breaking the law, not for being bad people. If we had total transparency of society, most would be amazed at that our ideas of morality were mostly garbage talks. That’s because every action, big or small, has inevitably disruptive consequences for our fellow human beings and the environment, and, metaphorically speaking, the bigger footprints we leave, the more insects get squashed.

Certain forms of moral corruption that were once considered despicably evil are now acceptable behavior already; we don’t even think about them as moral failings at all. In the US, lobbying for congress is normal, which is essentially buying politicians, posts, and lucrative contracts. And while taking bribes is still punishable, giving bribes is mostly not. Homosexuality was long thought of as the breakdown of public morality; now it’s perfectly fine; so are promiscuity, divorces, abortions, and kids born out of wedlock. Pedophilia, polygamy, and sodomy are common aberrations of human behavior, with (possibly) biological components. We arbitrarily lock such people up, this may well continue, but who are we to call them “immoral?”

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Law Should Be De-Moralized

The ‘law’, although based in the past on some archaic religious notions, clearly tries to distance itself from ethics in this century, as most lawyers would confirm. The accused, too, have relinquished the idea of fixed ethics, just like philosophers and physicists long relinquished the idea of ‘free will’ or ‘free agents’; instead the pilloried of today more than ever are perfectly satisfied with the simple fact that their having circumstantially broken the laws of the land may have caused their punishment. If only we spared them with our moral hypocrisy.

In world history, the most ruthless, rapacious, fearless and corrupt personalities were also the most successful –conquerors, emperors, dictators, and spiritual leaders, and, recently, the CEOs and bankers. Weak people suck the tittynope. The greatest works of literature are tales about unusually cruel things human beings did to each other, but (and that’s were great literature begins) without the moral judgment you would so commonly find in less prodigious works. Scholars, too, have adopted writing styles that eliminate moralization; first because “Who are we to tell?” and, second, any judgment about “good and evil” is necessarily non-objective, gratuitous, quite cheap, and utterly pointless.

Ethical Imperialism

Hedonism, promiscuity, obscenity, egoism, and all money crimes are no longer immoral in America; on the contrary, the excesses of humanity are celebrated and hero-worshiped. Stars are expected to live in a style 99% of other human beings cannot afford. Abuse of officialdom, inequality, and dictatorship of the elites is openly encouraged in China for thousands of years –it’s in fact taught by Confucianism. Cronyism is a given in all nation-building, patriarchies, dictatorships, as well as is in all organizations that have fierce ‘competition’ written all over their banners. Society may want to limit their ways, but calling their actions “evil” or “amoral” seems prejudiced and outmoded. Of course, the abused and mistreated call for universal ‘human rights’ to protect their skin from the worst. What they need is more laws. Because as long as ‘universal rights’ drift in the spiritual realms they may appear very different to us than to our masters to whom such condition may serve splendidly as justification to invade other countries in the name of a universal ghost.

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Beware Of ‘Universal Ethics’

In fact, ‘human rights’ were invented by accident in Europe (and nowhere else in the world); they are man-made and culture-based: That’s why it’s so hard to force other civilizations to comply. Any dominant civilization needs imperialism, indoctrination, laws, institutions, and armies to beat its ‘universal ethics’ into others –another indication that moral norms are essentially arbitrary.

To be safe, if any group, cooperation, or self-proclaimed humanist approaches us with ‘universal laws’, bad things are about to happen to people and you may want to run for your life. There has yet to be found a single moral teacher who practiced what he preached. More often spiritual leaders are frauds, charlatans, and masters of their own cause.

Science is inherently non-ethical –there is neither good nor bad, or so they say. Nature certainly has no morality. Laws are human fabrications; let’s not pretend they are God-given. All ethical prescriptions are but pretensions, designed to create dependency among human beings, and in universally condemning things we didn’t do (or couldn’t do) as sure signs of the “corruption” of others we are but staging a self-righteous show portraying our limitations and parading our weaknesses.

This article was first published on Big Think/Dragon and Pandas on March 3, 2014

You can follow me on Twitter, Big Think, or my other Blog.

Knowledge is a Polyglot (The Future of Global Language)

Capitalism compels us to compete for natural resources, for market share, and for human capital. We also compete on the level of language, points out Thorsten Pattberg, a German writer, linguist, and cultural critic who writes for Big Think.

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?

“Whoever owns the language, owns knowledge,” Pattberg says. “If you think back in history, when St. Jerome translated the Hebrew bible into Latin, he basically ended the Hebrew world order.” Similarly, Pattberg argues, Martin Luther’s translation of the Latin bible into German opened the way for the German Empire.

Today, think of the global power that is evinced by words such as ‘Coca-Cola’ or ‘Microsoft,’ which Pattberg says “enjoy greater legal protection that the entire output of, say, the Indian and Chinese civilizations.”

Sure, European languages have incorporated some Hindu words like dharma, karma, yoga and guru, Japanese words like tsunami, sushi and sashimi, and even a few Chinese words such as kung fu and yin and yang.And yet, Pattberg points out that Chinese words are largely underrepresented in the English language. There are a number of reasons for this, which Pattberg explores in the video below.

What Pattberg has us consider, first and foremost, is “how much more beautiful and authentic and sophisticated and accurate” our world would become if we could appreciate the key terminologies of all cultures.

So what does that mean?

Pattberg advocates for a global language, and by that he has something very specific in mind. We need to continue to translate, of course, in order to communicate. But when it comes to the key terminologies of a culture, “we should not translate them but rather we should adopt them,” Pattberg says. “The only way, as I see it, to create the global language is really to find a scientific way to adopt as many key terminologies as possible and to unite all the languages’ vocabularies into one.”

Confucianism And The Future Of The Chinese Language

Dr. Pattberg explains on BIG THINK why certain Chinese words are mandatory for global citizenship: “A lot of people search endlessly for the secret key or a magic formula that would enable them to understand China. Naturally, at some point, they want to know how the Chinese are educated. There are many prestigious schools in China, but let us talk a little bit about Peking University, the mother lode of Chinese education. [...]“

People With A Death-Wish

ONE of my childhood buddies died unexpectedly at the age of eighteen. That was many years ago, in Hamm, Germany. While alive, he was a known brawler, a brutish drunk, and a pot-head. His parents divorced, he dropped out of high school, had a lady who supported him, collected music on vinyl, did shoplifting for a while, and he always had this excruciating wish to die gloriously: “I won’t turn 30!” he once bragged, and: “I enlist in the army, if I have to!” His boldness, his fearlessness, and the unbending commitment toward his own ruin left a deep impression on me.

Lots of young men I knew quit. A Chinese MA candidate, barely twenty-two years of age, at the University of Edinburgh, once had dinner with us, then, two weeks later on the second day of Christmas, we heard news that he jumped off his 8-story dormitory building. “Tade yunqi bu hao,” they would say –his luck left him. His fate was cut and sealed in China already, where his overbearing parents had him prepared for a career in law, a decision that evidently crushed his soul. He probably didn’t even comprehend how he, the only-child of Chinese farmers, a burned-out, hopelessly damaged adolescent, could end up lying on the cold pavement of Richmond Place, in the capital of Scotland. His life made little sense to him -it was kaput.

Another fellow, a sturdy Scotsman, frequently got so boozed up, we thought his self-destruction had a rather cunning plot to it. He was intelligent, yet cared little about his safety, letting alone his health of which he seemed to have stashed away plenty. During a trip to Australia, however, he got himself the worst for a drink. Canned and wasted, he fell into a comatose state and refused to wake up when the fire alarm begged him to do so. “And if this hadn’t happened,” rumors said, “he would still be doing dangerous things.”

The list goes on. At Peking University, a doctoral candidate in his decisive, final year panicked over his flawed thesis and committed zisha. His desk in his tiny dorm room was allegedly plastered with those yellow motivational self-stickers –with quotes fromsuccessful people like US rapper 50 Cents’ “Get Rich or Die Tryin.” People say the candidate spent eight years in solitary, had no hygiene, no friends, and no reason to go on living. Other graduates attain more posthumous fame – like Hai Zi. He destroyed himself at the age of twenty-five; only to become one of Beijing’s most celebrated dead poets.

Literature, to be sure, is full with people dominated by self-destructive behavior. And it is certainly true that we admire people who died for a cause like, say, Socrates, Jesus, or Hannibal; we even worship this class of artists who single-mindedly minister to their doom, either by way of overwork and exhaustion, or from carrying soul-devouring, shameful secrets –Vincent Van Gogh, Novalis, and Nietzsche come to mind. And, yes, we also delight in building legends around performers and musicians who were evidently haunted by mania, depression, and severe addiction – James Dean, Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Leslie Cheung, Marilyn Monroe, Yukio Mishima, or the late Philip Seymour Hoffman- to name but a few.

Death can be seen as climax or as the final act; alas, it all boils down to this: Do we want, metaphorically speaking, to die in battle when we were strongest, or do we prefer to run and wait for the Reaper to drive by our nursing home when we are at our weakest? Both are legitimate ends to Man.

All those people above, famous or not, often entertained unrealistic goals, had low self-esteem, severe mental problems, or they simply got lost in life. Most others hang on to it, though, as long as they still see an iota of hope, another gig they could achieve, another moment of bliss that will extend their welcome; they keep going on with life which Buddhist know is mostly about suffering. Arthur Schopenhauer, the German philosopher of existentialism, rather pessimistically interpreted all this as the unbound Will to Live; but the truth is, some people are just procrastinating a feverishly diabolical and incurable wish to die.

This was first posted on BIG THINK on Feb 22, 2014. Please follow me on TwitterRSS, or my other Blog.