Watching the Civilisaiton Youtube, what a fantastic topic and description of western civilisation! This is quite interesting especially with the backdrop of Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, which I found it godly convincing as I was first introduced to think about the history of human civilisation through his documentary. However, the two views of what gave birth and energy to the rise and fall of a civilisation are quite, different, though both are intriguing and far beyond my scope of knowledge and even imagination. Nonetheless, there is one thing suddenly came to me, and I think it's a topic worth writing about.
What is it?
In all the videos, literature, thinking, and theory of the indisputable advance of the western civilisation, there are plenty episodes and text devoted to the dark side of the western history — slavery, the conquest of South America, war with the native Indians... there were pure cruelty, absolutely inhumane deeds, against animal, against nature, against another human being. It makes your heart shaken; if there were God, he must have been on vacation then.
So even though the conclusion and the way to state those years are one-sided (as I have not seen a black host in the program), the sheer act to illustrate what happened, to ask why that was so, to question what impact it made to the advance of society and the deterrence of progress, to feel shamed about the horror winners imposed upon the losers, to caution that history isn't just a mirror of ourselves, it is a prophecy, is encouraging.
On the contrast, I asked myself, what literature or anything I have been taught in school or heard in today's forum touches upon the same theme of China's own history!? I could think of none.
Yes, there are programs on history, and I have quite enjoyed some of them. But even in those which I really liked, I hardly sensed an eye of scrutiny that not only picked up all the romance and wonder, but also the human cost lay behind those pride. Yes, I know there is censorship that made authors and hosts no choice but to turn their head to one side, only. But that doesn't explain it. Really, among nearly all talks and shows, I haven't heard a single voice who digs into the vast, pride history of boasted 5,000 years of this enormous oriental civilisation, and ask, "How did other races living in China these days lose the race to the dominant汉?"
You know, these days one thing that constantly makes me mad is the popular opinion that all population except those of the middle earth were backwards, and were only saved by China's advanced philosophy, culture, and technology. They paid contribute out of a pure admiration and respect; no bully, no trickery, no fuss.
How could that be!!!? No way. If we truly believe the length of our history, then think about it, 5000 years! That's an unimaginable length of time that no one has ever experienced (cause we all die < 100, most of us). Stop cheery picking a few moments in the history and say "Look! See how wonderful we have treated them!" Excuse me? The country could only have gained this mass of land through force. Period. Even for the US, it bought land from France and Mexico because, well, they showed enough force to take them whether the seller was willing to sell or not. So if you still believe in a tale of angel stroke a deal for the two parties in which one party traded an abstract called culture (or arts, poems, philosophy, anything that is paperware) while the other trades land, then you live in the world of the Matrix. Neil, wake up.
So this lack of self-reflection, the constant finger pointing to invaders who caused ALL the misery for any setbacks, is perfectly consistent with what I witnessed in today's China — irresponsible from top government all the way to the street vendor. Of course, how could one do anything bad, if his ancestor has been kind to everyone come to his path for 5000 years!? We always showered them with kindness and wisdom, but look at what they brought in return?
This, is just utterly absurd!
To learn, we know review is a must; to do better next time, no professor can beat your own mistakes and errors. Apply to a person, apply to a country, apply to a society, apply to a civilisation. So next time when someone brags about the rise the new China, let's not use GDP or the 13 billion people for index. How about the number of documentaries and books, like this one, for a change (of mindset)?
— by Feng Xia