Sunday, May 22, 2016

450 Most Readers are from Europe in the Week May 16-22, 2016

My readers may be curious about who read this blog. To meet this curiosity I check the readers report and found that it is very interesting. Readers are from Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and North America, Therefore it is fairly to say that this blog's readers are from all over the world.

Readers might be surprised to find the fact that Russia is number one in the readers list by country.

Among the ten countries, there are five countries are from Europe, accounted for 50%. Two countries are from Americas, and two from Asia. Interestingly enough, there are more readers from Taiwan than the mainland of China. One will find that there are almost three times in Taiwan than that in the mainland in terms of readers in this week. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

449. Two Poets' Opinions on East Thoughts and the West

There are two different opinions on the relations between the East thoughts and the West. One was represented by German poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832),  According to him, "He who knows himself and other, Will also recognize that East and West cannot be separated."  More than fifty years after Goethe left the world behind, an English poet, Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) in his poem expressed, "Oh, East is East, and West is West, and Never the twain shall meet, Till Earth and sky stand presently, at God's great Judgement Seat."

In the eyes of some Westerners, China "has been a source of inspiration, fount of an ancient wisdom, a culturally rich civilization which is fat superior to , and can be used to reflect on the inadequacies of", the West. In the meantime, for some other Westerners, China is an "alien region of looming threat and impenetrable mystery, long locked in its stagnant past until rudely awakened by the modernising impact of the West." For Voltaire, the East is the civilization "to which the West owes everything. According to J. J. Clarke, C. S. Peirre spoke contemptuously of the monstrous mysticism of the East.
Below I want to show you an lecture given by Dr. Dave Wang, when he taught graduate course at St. Johns University.  In his lecture, Dr. Dave Wang examined Confucian influence on the United States.

(J.J. Clarke, Oriental Enlightenment: The Encounter Between Asian and Western Thought, Routledge, London, 1997)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

448. The Beginning of American Interest in Chinese Thought

In his widely circulated book (first published by Columbia University Press in New York, 1932, and it was republished in 1960, 1969 and 1972.), The Orient in American transcendentalism; a study of Emerson, Thoreau, and Alcott, Arthur Christy, told his readers that his book "is a study of the beginning of American interest in Oriental thought." He pointed out that American traffic with China started when the Empress of China "entered the China trade, but for decades the traffic was almost alone in economic values. It was not until about Emerson time that the Oriental was more than a heathen and his religious literature more than foolishness. " 

Readers, who are familiar with Dr. Dave Wang's research on American founding fathers' fondness of Confucian moral thoughts, know that Christy's conclusion was not correct. American interest in Chinese thought started long before Emerson was born. During the the founding era of the United States, the founders sought to use some Confucius moral principles to help start new virtue for the new nation.  

With this link one can read a brief bio of Dr. Arthur Christy.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

447. China in the Eyes of the Founders

In Search for a New Humanity: A Dialogue Between Josef Derbolav and Daisaku Ikeda (ed. and tr. by Richard L. Gage (New York and Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1992), the authors tell his readers that there are two courses for the European intellectual regarding Chinese civilization, the first one is that " He may reject his own tradition and attempt to assimilate with the alien culture. " And the second one is "he may reject the alien culture and close himself up in the traditions of the West." According to the book, it is the one of the major tasks facing the contemporary Western intellectual to find "a middle road among these complexities is ."

Clearly when they fabricated the book the authors didn't read Dr. Dave Wang's papers on the founders efforts to borrow from Chinese civilization in order to build a new civilization in North America. Some argue that American civilization is the extensions of European civilization. In a sense, yes. However, for Professor Frederic Jackson Turner, American civilization was a new civilization remade by the western movement.  Turner argued that "the moving western frontier shaped American democracy and the American character from the colonial era until 1890."

The founders created the third road already during the founding era of the United States. It was to incorporate positive elements from Chinese civilization to create a new nation in North America. It is clear now the United States would be different without the founders efforts to learn from Chinese civilization. In the eyes of Benjamin Franklin, China was resources for various industrial technologies that badly needed in North American colonies. For Thomas Jefferson, Confucian classics provided him an ideal example of how to be a great leader to be remembered by the people. For Thomas Paine, Confucius was a great moral teacher in the same rank of Jesus.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

446. Philadelphia and China

Philadelphia, US founder, Benjamin Franklin's adopted hometown, is famously, a city of first. It established the first library, first zoo, first university, first fire department and so on. It is also the first city that published Confucius works. It was in 1737 that Franklin published some chapters of Confucius moral works in his widely circulated Pennsylvania Gazette in North American colonies.

About 100 years before the founding of the United States, Philadelphia merchants had strong ties with China. According to some resources, in its heydays, Philadelphia controlled about one-third of the United States trade with China. The profits from China trade provided substantial capital for industry and public institutions.

(The photo of Benjamin Franklin statue on the Campus of University of Pennsylvania was taken in 2014)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

445. ‧Educated American Colonials and Founders

In the following I provide you with paragraph from National Taiwan University Professor Kirll O. Thompson's convincing article, in which he elaborated Dr. Dave Wang's pioneer research on American founding fathers' borrowing from Chinese civilization in the process of the American founding.

Professor Thompson has realized that , "Many Western intellectual historians of the 17th and 18th centuries only register classical Western sources and discount East Asian sources as too far afield." However in this academic milieu, Dr. Dave Wang opened the new field in the study of the founding of the United States and the founder's efforts to use positive elements from Chinese civilization to build a new nation in North America.

"In several studies, Dave Wang has shown that 18th century American colonials and founders admired Confucius and consciously adopted Confucian values and virtues.[3] The positive reception of Confucius' ideas can be observed vividly in the house of James Madison (1751-1836), where hangs an honored portrait of Confucius. Thomas Paine (1737-1809) saw Confucius as of the same caliber and stature as Jesus and Socrates. Interestingly, Madison and Paine represented two poles in early American politics. To Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Confucius' ethics was valuable to the human being in general. And, Thomas Jefferson promoted Confucius' moral principles in his inaugural speech in 1801. In his personal notebook, Jefferson included a poem about an ideal Chinese prince that was selected by Confucius (Great Learning; Daxue 大學, ch. 3). John Adams (1735-1826) and Benjamin Rush (1746-1813) also honored Confucius in their making a blueprint for the new nation.
  Certainly, the founders were concerned about such bottom line issues as taxation without representation, civil liberties, and economic freedom, but they also focused on concerns of public and private morality. For them, the Revolutionary War was as much a fight against the corruption of British high society as it was for politico-economic reasons. The founders wanted new virtues for the new nation to unfold as a healthy democracy, and drew on moral resources from around the world in devising new virtues, including notably Confucian ideals, virtues, and ethical precepts."

Sunday, April 24, 2016

444. Confucius, Thomas Paine and the Three Wise Monkeys

Several weeks ago, Mr. Jeffrey Bingham Mead, the President of History Education Council of Hawaii State, mentioned to me that he found a statue of three wise monkeys at a store in Manhattan. I was interested in it. I know that Dr. Dave Wang has mentioned the three moral principles of Confucius symbolized by the statue in his paper, Confucius in American Founding. According to Dr. Wang, Thomas Paine, the author of Common Sense, quoted the three moral principles in his argument with the federalists. Today, Jeffrey sent me the photo he took yesterday when he had a business lunch with some friends. Thank you Jeffrey, for the great picture. Please enjoy the photo.

In the meantime, I feel I should also show you the translation of the Confucius moral principles below:

 非禮 勿 視, 非禮 勿 聽, 非禮 勿 言, 非禮 勿 動.」

論 語

Confucian Analects


Book XII: Yen Yûan

Chapter 1

How to attain to perfect virtue:-- a conversation with Yen Yüan.
1. Yen Yüan asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "To subdue one's self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue. If a man can for one day subdue himself and return to propriety, all under heaven will ascribe perfect virtue to him. Is the practice of perfect virtue from a man himself, or is it from others?"
2. Yen Yüan said, "I beg to ask the steps of that process." The Master replied, "Look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety." Yen Yüan then said, "Though I am deficient in intelligence and vigor, I will make it my business to practice this lesson."