Saturday, January 30, 2010

178. Why Does Dr. Wang Study the Founding Fathers and China

I started this blog on March 16, 2007. It is almost three years. I think that it is the time for me to answer the question, "Why do you study the topic, the founding fathers and China? "

The purpose of my study of the topic is not that I want to demonstrate that Chinese culture is superior to western culture. I don't believe that one civilization is superior to others. It may be true in certain period of time, such as China's strong dynasties and Europe during its age of the industrial revolution. I want to find out the reasons why the United States has developed into a superpower from the thirteen small colonies in such a short period of time in world history.

If we dig deep in our history we will find the significant role played by the founding father's great wisdom of drawing nourishment from Chinese civilization. I firmly believe that the tradition of drawing nourishment from other cultures, including Chinese culture, laid by the founding fathers with the wisdom and the foresight of learning from valuable recorded human experiences, contributed greatly to this. It is my purpose to study the topic. I maintain that the founding fathers wisdom still a valuable legacy which all peoples in the world today should carry down.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

177. President Obama Cites Mencius

In his speech on July 29, 2009 President Barack Obama cited Mencius, one of the main contributors to Confucianism. Please enjoy the paragraph from his speech in the following;

"Thousands of years ago, the great philosopher Mencius said: "A trail through the mountains, if used, becomes a path in a short time, but, if unused, becomes blocked by grass in an equally short time." Our task is to forge a path to the future that we seek for our children -- to prevent mistrust or the inevitable differences of the moment from allowing that trail to be blocked by grass; to always be mindful of the journey that we are undertaking together."

176. Ronald Reagan and Laozi Philosophy

I have found that the presidents, from Richard Nixon, who normalized the relationship between China and the United States in 1972, to current President Barrack Obama, have paid attention to draw positive elements from traditional Chinese civilization. They quoted the Chinese sages in their speeches. For example,
his 1988 State of the Union Address, Ronald Reagan quoted Laozi’s advice. In the following please read the paragraph from his speech on January 25, 1988:

"And as an ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao-tzu, said: 'Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish; do not overdo it.'Well, these ideas were part of a larger notion, a vision, if you will, of America herself--an America not only rich in opportunity for the individual but an America, too, of strong families and vibrant neighborhoods; an America whose divergent but harmonizing communities were a reflection of a deeper community of values: the value of work, of family, of religion, and of the love of freedom that God places in each of us and whose defense He has entrusted in a special way to this nation."

175. Early American Borderlands

It is my great pleasure to tell you that Dr. Wang is going to talk about the Influences from the East at the conference "Early American Borderlands," which will take place in St. Augustine, FL, 12-15 May 2010. In the following please find the main content of his speech.

During formative era of American culture, founding fathers of United States, including Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, borrowed with the wisdom of learning from foreign cultures, positive elements from Chinese civilization. Franklin regarded Confucius moral philosophy as his guideline in his efforts to cultivate his virtue. Jefferson borrowed certain Chinese architectural designs, such as the railings below the dome and surrounding the walkways.

The virtual consensus among the founding generation of American statesmen was to "pursue a political destiny separate from Europe." Jefferson, who believed a building was not merely a walled structure, but a metaphor for American ideology, and the process of construction was equal to the task of building a nation, incorporated Chinese architectural style in his creation of a new style-Jeffersonian Style, which is still popular today. The founding fathers' endeavor attested the American desire to build a new culture.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

174. Benjamin Franklin and Confucius Moral Philosophy

New Year has started. It is to my delight that I have found my study of the U.S. Founding Fathers and China is gaining momentum. I often receive emails from unknown people, asking how they can get my papers. Interestingly enough, my study of Benjamin Franklin and China has become so popular that a professor has used the phrase as his talking title somewhere.

However, I think that his talking should be titled differently, for I have found the content of his talk is about how Benjamin Franklin was treated in China. It sounds better, if called Benjamin Franklin in China. It seems that Benjamin Franklin and China has become a phrase as popular as the United States and China. It serves as an indicator that my study is getting more and more popular.

Today I browsed on the web and found the poster of my Rome Presentation. It is very funny that I couldn't find it when I posted my talk, Benjamin Franklin and Confucius Moral Philosophy. Here it is. You can enjoy it in Italian style. Thank the Italian National Center for American Studies at Rome, and several other professors from various Italian prestigious universities, who sponsored my talk there.