Language Imperialism – The Battle for China’s Names
Lodproductions90: Language Imperialism
One of the greatest cases of Language Imperialism: The battle for China’s names! Aphorisms from: Pattberg, Thorsten (08/2011), Shengren, LoD Press, New York
See also: Language imperialism – ‘democracy’ in China
JAPAN TIMES: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20111117a2.html
ASIA Times: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/MJ18Ad02.html
The shengren is the single most important concept in Chinese history.
Since the Europeans had not anything like it, but refused to hold the candle to China; instead they withheld the shengren and talked about some lesser versions of Greek “philosophers” or Christian “holy men”.
The English soon found a slightly better translation; they called the shengren “sages”.
The Germans however, the descendants of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation, never had a concept for sages or sagehood.
In their effort to christen China, the Germans called the shengren “saints”.
Few people realize how the fate of the shengren was inextri-cably linked to the German obsession with Holiness.
The European imperialists soon engaged in a fierce battle over China’s most valuable possessions: its names.
Calling the shengren philosophers, saints, or any other fa-miliar name is the greatest historical blunder since Christopher Columbus’s discovery of “the Indians”.
Because of the many confusing translations, Confucius is said to be a paradox. He is not, he is a shengren.
All vocabularies in the world add up; they don’t overlap. Translation is something else.
Suddenly, there are philosophers and saints all over Asia; yet evidently not a single Buddha, bodhisattva, or shengren in Europe. Think. What is that probability?
The original shengren and hundreds of thousands of Eastern names and concepts are still out there – buried in the Chi-nese texts, beneath all Western deceit and convenience.
The shengren is above philosophy and beyond religion. He is decisively not European.
This will be read in a thousand years.