June 4, 2012

Chinese numerology and world history

The NYT reports:
The broad index of the Shanghai exchange fell 64.89 points on Monday, a figure that recalls the Tiananmen Square events on June 4, 1989. In another unusual development, the index opened on Monday at 2346.98 — a figure that, to some, looked like the date of the crackdown written backward, followed by the 23rd anniversary. 
In a country where numerology is taken very seriously, Chinese censors quickly began blocking searches for “stock market,” “Shanghai stock,” “Shanghai stock market,” “index” and other related terms. They also deleted large numbers of microblog postings about the numerical fluke. ...
Chinese culture puts a very strong, sometimes superstitious, emphasis on numbers and dates. The Beijing Olympics started at 8:08 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2008, a time and date chosen for the many eights, considered an auspicious number. 

In China in World History, the New Zealand historian S.A.M Adshead contrasted the world-historical implications during the last 2000 years of "the preference for theology and science in the West, for magic and technology in the East." Initially, magic and technology worked better than theology and science, propelling China ahead of Europe in the middle ages. Then, the latent powers of theology and science matured and Europe came to dominate.

Among the great questions of this millennium will be whether the Chinese come to accept theology and science as higher values than magic and technology. Or, after a good 600 year run, are theology (e.g., Christian egalitarian altruism) and science (e.g., the post-Copernican conception that we aren't the still point of the turning world and thus that our views and our welfare shouldn't be privileged) now undermining the West? And will the Chinese reject these fundamentals of the West, whether on pragmatic grounds or due to fundamental cultural aversion? Will we be able to talk the Chinese into, say, accepting a few hundred million African refugees to prove their modernity?

We talk a lot about the challenge to the West from Islam, but the Muslims are our cousins in Abrahamic theology: insistent, loud, aggressive in their assumption that if you become a believer you can't also remain an infidel. But Islam appears inseparable from mediocre human capital, and thus the challenge from Islam ought to be more of an annoyance. The Chinese, in contrast, are polite and agreeable, not seeing any problem with being both believer and infidel. They are, to us, inscrutable, but thus require more scrutiny.

54 comments:

Oriental Reactionary said...

Wise-sounding nonsense. Look beyond the lion dances, and you'll find that Chinese culture is dead. Confucianism in China has the same status as Christianity among Democrats: official-souding praise, zero impact on daily and official life. The Chinese want to get rich (realistically, they might have a chance of getting less-poor), and they believe in science as much as any Western imperialist. You'll find more "inscrutable Chinese culture" in the American state of Taiwan than in mainland China.

Anonymous said...

Islam is attractive to people who believe they are "getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop", and peoples of lesser intelligence are usually not so stupid as to not be able to realize that, yes, they are gertting the "fuzzy end".They just can't quite understand why, and Islam offers a solution.

Muslims are dangerous in close proximity, but if one keeps them away from themselves and ddeclines to be dependent on things they have or control, their hazard is mostly to themselves. The Chinese have never had the convenient ability to make trouble far from their homeland as they do now, so there is no telling what they will do. But it could be really bad.

Anonymous said...

Or, after a good 600 year run, are theology (e.g., Christian egalitarian altruism) and science (e.g., the post-Copernican conception that we aren't the still point of the turning world and thus that our views and our welfare shouldn't be privileged) now undermining the West?

Isn't the real question whether in 100 years, the West will still be on the "theology/science" side of that divide? I think the West is in the process of a slow shift to magic/technology, and that China and the East may be in the beginning stages of a transition to something different -- technology without magic, perhaps, or science wtihout theology.

Sheila said...

Oriental Reactionary is misleading at best, and deliberately lying at worst. Certainly, the Chinese want to get rich. Yes, they believe in science as well - up to a point. They, alone, drive the trade in bear paw and tiger bladder for male fertility and sexuality. It is Chinese culture (which is far from dead) that pressures a new mother to go into seclusion for weeks after the birth of a baby, and admonishes her not to bathe lest she contract rheumatism or arthritis. It is Chinese culture that has those "modern" Singaporeans inducing birth or scheduling caesarians to ensure their child's birth on an "auspicious" date or to ensure the proper zodiac sign, even to the extent of risking premature birth. It is Chinese culture, with its emphasis on "luck," that results in dozens of immigrants' homes sporting red doors, and all their cars sporting good luck charms hanging from their mirror. It is Chinese culture that causes them to set up their own churches in America (with lucky red-doors or roofs, of course). It is Chinese culture (and their vaunted belief in science and high IQ) which causes them to threaten their children with dire punishments unless they achieve according to expectations and raise "family honor" in school (although in this case, I believe the culprit was Vietnamese Confucian culture).

SFG said...

How is this any stupider than New Age Wicca, snake handling, or any other American silliness?

Anonymous said...

Islam and Muslims wouldn't be problem today if wasn't for two things:

1) 50 years of bad immigration policies in almost all Western countries.

2) The creation of the State of Israel.

Islamic pathologies would have stayed in their lands.

Anonymous said...

Re: Anonymous @ 2:32 pm

The Chinese have never had the convenient ability to make trouble far from their homeland as they do now, so there is no telling what they will do.

It is not strictly true that they have never had the convenient ability. The early Ming treasure fleets engaged in fairly aggressive gunboat diplomacy throughout the South East Asian seas and the Indian Ocean. It's just it was not particularly disruptive, and the bureaucracy decided armadas were too expensive.

I suppose part of the reason for this is that unlike almost every other people, the Chinese have been civilised for the whole of historical memory. When peasants and rebels and soldiers have lapsed into barbarity, they have been barbarians in the midst of civilisation: civilized Chinese cities have always presented a more attractive and immediate target than distant foreign lands (especially whent he nearby ones are so poor) so there has never been any incentive to go roaming vast distances for plunder.

The Chinese have never been the violent barbarians at the margin of a vast and civilised empire, as the Germans and the Huns were to Rome, as the Arab tribes were to Rome and Persia, or as the Mongols and the Manchus were to China. They have always been the Empire.

Chinese power projection has generally been undertaken not by rapacious horde but by organized Chinese states. And these have generally made trouble abroad by the expedient of "set barbarians to control barbarians": 以夷制夷 (yi yi zhi yi).

Anonymous said...

Oriental Reactionary is misleading at best, and deliberately lying at worst. Certainly, the Chinese want to get rich. Yes, they believe in science as well - up to a point.

Superstition can accompany science. There are scientists that are Christian or Catholic that sincerely believe a man rose from the dead 2,000 years ago, or that bread and wine can turn into body and blood.

Steve Sailer said...

"How is this any stupider than New Age Wicca, snake handling, or any other American silliness?"

Who can forget how the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City opened with a snake handling ceremony?

Anonymous said...

Oriental Reactionary is misleading at best, and deliberately lying at worst.

Many people still go to church on Christmas or Easter, have weddings at church, etc. But Christianity still has declined in the West. The persistence of certain cultural artifacts or customs doesn't mean that a certain ideology hasn't declined.

Anonymous said...

Who can forget how the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City opened with a snake handling ceremony?

The Olympics open with the Olympic Flame which is supposed to honor Zeus and his wife Hera.

Anonymous said...

Science, magic, technology, engineering are related. They all derive from the pagan perspective.

Science is the primacy of experimentation over argumentation.

Theology is argumentation over experimentation - science, magic, technology, engineering, etc.

Anonymous said...

Islam and Muslims wouldn't be problem today if wasn't for two things:

1) 50 years of bad immigration policies in almost all Western countries.

2) The creation of the State of Israel.



You forgot 3) the modern world's dependence on petroleum.

Until that has changed and as long as the Middle East has all that oil, Islam and Muslims will remain a thorn in everyone's side.

Anonymous said...

"fell 64.89 points on Monday, a figure that recalls the Tiananmen Square events on June 4, 1989."

do the chinese also use the mm/dd/yy format?

Anonymous said...

"Christian egalitarian altruism"? Don't make me chuckle.Ever heard of the curse of Ham, Paul's justification of slavery, or the countless genocides and crusades in the name of "theology"?

"When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the Land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible." - Jomo Kenyatta

Whiskey said...

The problem with China's advance into technology is that they depend on the "honor" system -- that is advances are made to "honor" the oligarchs that corruptly and poorly rule China. How successful is that system? Name one massive technological advance that was made in China in the last 100 years.

Technology kills. And better, more advanced technology kills faster, and better. BUT and this is the BUT ...

Technology disrupts society. It brings massive changes. For example, the printing press, and gunpowder. Empowering professional armies, and men with ideas. Nations with well funded professional armies and navies, with well educated and literate workforces, overwhelmed those with mass levies of ignorant peasants. The first newspaper in Arabic printed in Cairo was in 1880 or so, and smashed up and not printed again until the early 1900's. The same happened in the Ottoman Empire itself.

ONLY the West, has been able to preserve the core of its culture under enormous cultural changes driven mostly if not exclusively by technology: steam power, the internal combustion engine, firearms, printing, radio, television, jet travel, private cars, the internet, etc. And it KEEPS transforming itself: the pill, the condom, DNA testing, etc.

The Chinese can copy, but that's all they can do, because almost no one there can own their own creations. Devoting one's self for the honor of the people can push you along for a while, but not for too long. The Chinese certainly can't use the internet for too much because of the risk to society, and changes that would overthrow the oligarchs. Throughout their history they have rejected technology (sailing ships, gunpowder, etc.) that have threatened the oligarchy and the West has mostly embraced it.

Anonymous said...

The Chinese seem to be an intelligent people. So WHY are they so superstitious?

Anonymous said...


The Chinese seem to be an intelligent people. So WHY are they so superstitious?


Caucasians seem to be so intelligent. Why are they so stupid about the IQ issue?

Daybreaker said...

The Chinese use ISO 8601: YYYY-MM-DD. The Americans are quirky.

Ron Woo said...

"Superstition can accompany science."

Yup - Isaac Newton spent so much of his life writing meticulous exegetical works on the Book of Revelations. And retrograde Savonarola castigated the forward-looking Renaissance humanists for their superstitious belief in astrology.


I'm sorry Steve - as much as I hold your knowledge of California and broader US society in high esteem, your understanding of Chinese society and culture is completely off the mark. These silly superstitions - such as numerology, Chinese astrology, feng shui, or traditional Chinese medicine, may attract a broad popular following, but I would in no way characterize them as fixed and inflexible parts of Chinese culture, or things which are taken very seriously by the intellectual elite.

Chinese culture, because of Confucianism, was always secular and humanist at its core, despite a history riddled with a rabble of superstitions and folk religions.

This is why the Chinese - unlike certain corners of the Islamic or Christian world - have never expressed a problem with evolutionary theory.

Nor is there any dichotomous relationship between a West characterized by theology and science and a superstitious East - advanced parts of the Western world are now largely secular - something which the Sinitic world has intrinsically always been.

I can't count the number of times (mainland) Chinese friends of mine have expressed amazement and disbelief at the fact that Christianity still retains any kind of a following amongst the West's intellectual elite.

Anonymous said...

Chinese gunboat diplomacy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ming%E2%80%93Kotte_War

Anonymous said...

No,it's not science/theology vs tech/magic.

Rather, West separated science and mysticism whereas China kept them together.

Anonymous said...

"Caucasians seem to be so intelligent. Why are they so stupid about the IQ issue?"

Most people are sheep, and intelligence bows before conscience.

Ron Woo said...

Whisky said:

"The Chinese certainly can't use the internet for too much because of the risk to society, and changes that would overthrow the oligarchs. Throughout their history they have rejected technology (sailing ships, gunpowder, etc.)"

Like the time they rejected paper and the printing press?

The Chinese are amongst the most avid and prolific internet-users on the planet right now - this is what gives the Chinese government so many headaches. I thought you would know better Whisky, given the depth of your insights into the opposite sex (despite obvious want of contact with them), as well as the five months you spent in the PRC back in the mid-1990's.

RKU said...

Hmmm... Isn't "Four" an especially unlucky number to the Chinese, because it sounds like death or something? I'll certainly be willing to laugh at the Chinese if lots of their buildings skip the 4th Floor...just like lots of American ones used to skip the 13th Floor...

Anonymous said...

"The Olympics open with the Olympic Flame which is supposed to honor Zeus and his wife Hera."

LOL, Steve Sailer PAWN4D.

Not to mention all the government ceremonies in America that start with reading verses from the bible, a Jewish book from thousands of years ago based on pure mysthicism.

Or on American courts, where witnesses have to swear over said book of fairy tales to tell the truth and nothing but the truth.

Ron Woo said...

"No,it's not science/theology vs tech/magic.

Rather, West separated science and mysticism whereas China kept them together."

No - Chinese never developed empirical science or underwent an industrial revolution independently. It's that simple.

Someone like Isaac Newton combines groundbreaking mathematical and scientific insights with sedulous devotion to biblical truth.

Chinese essayists and men of letters from the country's lengthy dynastic area generally seem far more secular and rational than even Enlightenment-era philosophes. I would say this is true even of a lot of the Chan Buddhists.

Anonymous said...

If westerners truly understood Chinese and other east Asian peoples, they would be shocked by how belief in fate, superstition, magic etc pervades *all* members of society - even the richest and most powerful.
I would not be surprised if all major decisions were not take without recourse to an astrologer or an I-Ching practitioner.

Anonymous said...

This 18th century-style couplet about science and magic and theology is just bunk. Civilizations are complex systems that can't be encompassed in a phrase, and the fact is that "progress" insofar as it's a quantifiable term at all, has a random element. In the 2nd century AD the Roman empire was the most advanced civilization on earth; China was not in the same league. A millennium later the positions were reversed.

Then the biggest hammer in human history descended on the poor Han Chinese in the form of the Golden Horde. Chinese technological advances stopped in their tracks - because millions of them were killed by Mongols! - and this gave rise to the ponderous "Needham question" of how, possibly, China could have fallen behind the West in civilizational progress. Gee.

The fact that we got our first good look at China during the Yuan dynasty may be the excuse for this mystification: China was prosperous under the Mongols, and the fact that they had ceased advancing in any meaningful way was far from obvious at first glance. But as far as I know, every invention and discovery that China made before Europe was pre-Ghengis Khan, and I doubt that's a coincidence.

It seems to me that events - like the Mongol invasions, or the collapse of the Western Roman empire, or the Black Death, etc. - are a better source of historical explanations than epigrammatic encapsulations of entire societies in one clever phrase. I don't know Chinese history and I may be wrong about why, exactly, they didn't rule the world in the 19th century - but I'll be damned if the real answer has anything to do with "science and theology versus technology and magic."

Kai Carver said...

Saying China is about "magic and technology" vs. Western theology and science probably has validity in a specific context, but as an overall view of Chinese society and civilization it seems too much of a shorthand and possibly ignorant.

Anonymous said...

http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/The-limits-of-universalism-7397

Anonymous said...

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21876-was-humanity-born-in-the-mother-of-all-plagues.html

Anonymous said...

http://nymag.com/news/features/peter-beinart-2012-6

Peter Beinart thought his new book would rally liberal Zionists. Instead, it's been attacked by his peers and embraced by some whose views he finds terrifying.
By JASON ZENGERLE

Anonymous said...


If westerners truly understood Chinese and other east Asian peoples, they would be shocked by how belief in fate, superstition, magic etc pervades *all* members of society - even the richest and most powerful.
I would not be surprised if all major decisions were not take without recourse to an astrologer or an I-Ching practitioner


If the Chinese truly understood Westerners they would be shocked at their belief in so-called representative democracy and this mysterious thing called equality where women are said to be able to do every thing that men can and you can turn savages (from Detroit) into rocket scientists.

(Also, I suspect you do not know any real Chinese or east Asians at all, because I know a few and your characterization of Chinese and east Asians does not match some of those I know.)

Ron Woo said...

"If westerners truly understood Chinese and other east Asian peoples, they would be shocked by how belief in fate, superstition, magic etc pervades *all* members of society - even the richest and most powerful.
I would not be surprised if all major decisions were not take without recourse to an astrologer or an I-Ching practitioner."

Oh utter garbage - I know so many Chinese business people and intellectuals who are scornful of Westerners for continuing to subscribe Christianity and astounded at the prevalence of creationism in certain segments of Judeo-Christian cultures.

Garbage like the Yi Jing, Feng Shui and TMC are little different from things like Western astrology and naturopathy in my opinion - persistent, yet not definitive.

Scrutineer said...

"The Olympics open with the Olympic Flame which is supposed to honor Zeus and his wife Hera." LOL, Steve Sailer PAWN4D.

Well done comparing bananas and peanuts. When the number of Westerners who believe in the Prometheus myth rises above zero, you will have a point.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this thread really brought out the teenage athiests trying to show how 'edgy' they are.

Hacienda said...

"I'll be damned if the real answer has anything to do with "science and theology versus technology and magic."

Genghis Kahn and the Mongol Empire. It's a key to unlocking so much of Eurasian history. Yet, somehow the world has such a hard time remembering this time period. It was too painful, I guess.

Anonymous said...

The fact that we got our first good look at China during the Yuan dynasty may be the excuse for this mystification: China was prosperous under the Mongols, and the fact that they had ceased advancing in any meaningful way was far from obvious at first glance. But as far as I know, every invention and discovery that China made before Europe was pre-Ghengis Khan, and I doubt that's a coincidence.

Except for Western Christendom and Japan, all the major old-world civilizations (Eastern Christendom, Islam, India, China) were overrun by steppe nomads between 1000 and 1500 AD, and none of them ever recovered their pre-invasion vigour. So the rise of the West was no huge surprise.

Cennbeorc

Hacienda said...

"Oh utter garbage - I know so many Chinese business people and intellectuals who are scornful of Westerners for continuing to subscribe Christianity and astounded at the prevalence of creationism in certain segments of Judeo-Christian cultures. "

I've known since I could think (age 4) that Christianity is superstition.

When I came to the US at 6 and had to attend a Christian nursery, I'm proud to say I gave the caretakers "hell".

Catholic education is in free-fall in the US because of kids like me (when I was a kid).

Ron Woo said...

"Except for Western Christendom and Japan, all the major old-world civilizations (Eastern Christendom, Islam, India, China) were overrun by steppe nomads between 1000 and 1500 AD, and none of them ever recovered their pre-invasion vigour. So the rise of the West was no huge surprise."

The Ottomans, the Qing Dynasty and the Mughals are vigorous for a while.

I'm suspicious of steppe invasion as a grand theory of disparities in development between civilizations - the West (formerly Latin Christendom) developed empirical science, strong legal and fiscal institutions, and proceeded from there. Other places didn't - history is unpredictable and arbitrary like that.

Anonymous said...


If the Chinese truly understood Westerners they would be shocked at their belief in so-called representative democracy and this mysterious thing called equality where women are said to be able to do every thing that men can and you can turn savages (from Detroit) into rocket scientists.


Heh. Yeah, those Chinese movies with the flying swordsmen are the equivalent of the butt-kicking babes in Western movies.

Of course, the Chinese were doing the butt-kicking babes stuff first. Hua Mulan is the original butt-kicking babe.

It reminds me of a story a Chinese guy told me.

Mulan was in a battle and was knocked off her horse. She was having her period at the time. They got her to a medic (or equivalent) and when they took off her trousers, the medic said: "Holy sh*t. He was so badly injured his d*ck was chopped off!"

So, even Chinese guys know it is sh*t.

Anonymous said...

It's wrong to tag China with magic/technology. Though there was magic-stuff in China, Chinese cosmology was a kind of science. Take I Ching. When we think of magic, we think of simple chants and trickery, the voodoo stuff we see in Haiti. Chinese took a very intellectual and systematic approach to their mysticism, writing big books on the subject. It was heavy in theory and speculation and analysis. The yin and yang stuff has a whole 'scientific' explanation behind it. THAT was the problem. Chinese exerted tremendous theoretical brain power in the service of mysticism to the point where matter merged with spirit. Same thing happened in India where spiritualism became an all-encompassing 'science' to explain phenomena. So godliness and spirit was everything and in endless forms. Indian spiritualism may have influenced Taoism.
In contrast, Jews invented a religion where there was one God and He was up there in Heaven. He created the world, but His essence was not of this world. Thus, even as Jews worshiped God in Heaven, they didn't see the world around them as mystical. God was spirit, and matter was matter. Granted, Jews didn't become the masters of Western science until much later, but their division of reality into spirit-in-form-of-one-God and matter-of-stuff-around-you made it possible for man to not confuse spiritualism with materialism. God ruled Heaven while man's world was made of solid stuff. (This is why it was problematic when Western science veered into astronomy. It began to tinker with the realm of God. It began to apply rules of matter on Earth to stuff up above. Even Jews and Christians had fused spirit and matter up there in Heaven. Sky was God's realm. But science advanced to such a degree on Earth that it eventually reshaped Western man's theories about heaven as well. Btw, Buddha did separate spirit and matter, and focused on the spirit. Problem is he said all matter was illusion, and that meant there was no need to study any of it.)
According to Hindus and Chinese, not only the realm of heaven but the world of man was surrounded and permeated by all sorts of spirits and mystical essences. If China and India had been simple cultures, they would have kept their notions on the level of magic. But as they were high civilizations, they elaborated their mysticism into spiritual sciences of mind-boggling complexity that came to influence medicine, construction(feng shui), politics, family life, etc. Thus, spiritualism became science, and science became spiritualism. Hindu Brahmins weren't merely magic-peddlers like voodoo women with chicken in Africa. They saw themselves as cosmic scientists who understood the workings of the cosmos through elaborate theory and literature.
Chinese 'superstition' was grounded in exacting theories of what must be done, what must go where, and etc, etc according to a vast web of theories. It served as an psycho-architectural blueprint for how to live, how to heal, how to solve problems, etc.

Anonymous said...

One time I went to get some acupuncture for aches, the Chinese guy had all sorts of graphs and diagrams on the wall showing how yin mixed with yang and whatever. It was just hocus-pocus mumbo-jumbo stuff to me, but for him, it was a genuine medicinal system.

Jews didn't have this problem cuz they separate man/world from God/spirit. Though God's spirit could enter man, man could never be Godly. Though God created the world, things of the world stood separate from God--and thus could be understood on their own terms.

Greeks had many gods, but they had a rationalist advantage over Chinese and Hindus because, more than most pagan cultures, they separated man and nature. Though there is much natural stuff in Greek mythology, all the gods are human, and man has a special place in Greek myths. Man stands atop and apart from nature. In contrast, Hindus saw man and nature as part of one whole, which is why they worship Ganesh the baby elephant god. And Chinese idea of Tao and other stuff saw a mystical union between man and nature. It didn't prevent Chinese from doing nasty things to animals, but Chinese didn't develop a strong sense of Man as separate from nature.

As for 'technology', it too is wrong when it comes to China. Technology(as opposed to science) connotes pragmatism over theory. This was not the problem of China. After all, US favored technology/pragmatism over science in the late 19th century and became a great power. Thomas Edison, Graham Bell, and Wright Brothers may not have been Einsteins but they sure created new transform-ative technologies.
The problem with Chinese is they tended to be anti-technological because of their 'science' and traditionalist philosophy. Chinese spiritual philosophy was hostile to disharmony. New technology brought about disharmony, rapid change, and upheaval. And so the Chinese emperor ordered an inventor of a flying machine to be killed--at least according to Ray Bradbury's fiction. In the 19th century, many Chinese objected to Westernism because they hated the technology of the West. Chinese saw big ships, big trains, big guns, and etc. and found them all barbaric, ugly, and chaos-producing and headache-inducing. They would overturn the tranquil way of Middle Kingdom Chinese. They would upset the way of feng shui. Thus, Chinese adherence to their spirit-science halted the development of technology.

Another brake against technology was Chinese mania of work-ethics that might even be called toil-ethics. If Western man thought work was good, Chinese thought toiling like a madman was good. Thus, Chinese became suspicious of technology as a lazy way to do things, a way of shirking one's duty to toil in life.

Maybe Chinese did have a point in a way. Modern technology has allowed blacks and yobs to take it easy and live on welfare and enjoy lots of free time. And what do they do? Blacks and British working class had more dignity when they toiled on the fields.

Anonymous said...

But all said and done, China has too many Four-Fingered Wu's.

Conatus said...

Stanley Jaki, a mute monk from Seton Hall, Christian apologist, wrote a book, 'Science and Creation,' where he tags China with the crippling world view of circularity. Thus their Newborn Science was aborted in a pool of Yin and Yang.
Christianity, however was linear, things always improved you see. There was a goal, humanity or Christendom always got better. Also the Christian God had just the right amount of omniscience(not too much like the Arabs)so Science and material progress bloomed in the West and now we are so successful and we feel so guilty we are giving it all away which,in the end, seems kind of circular.

Anonymous said...

"Throughout their history they have rejected technology (sailing ships, gunpowder, etc.) that have threatened the oligarchy and the West has mostly embraced it"

Wasn't it the Japanese who rejected gunpowder, because it devalued the Samurai? With the result that Commander Perry could order them about when he arrived?

Anonymous said...

"Wasn't it the Japanese who rejected gunpowder, because it devalued the Samurai? With the result that Commander Perry could order them about when he arrived?"

I think you saw too many bogus ninja movies. Japanese adopted western firearms long before unification, and many crucial battles among top samurai clans were actually decided by guns than swords. (Also, in actual close combat, arrows and spears more crucial than swords in many cases.) Thus, even before the unification of Japan, the sword had become more a symbol than the central weapon in combat.

Otoh, maybe 250 yrs of peace under the Tokugawa made the Japanese less dependent on the gun since a united Japan was at peace. But then, they didn't have much use for swords either for combat since there weren't many of those either. But the sword lived on for its sacred symbolic value.
Japan did use guns and cannons against Western encroachment in the 19th century but soon realized their small guns were no match for big guns of the West.

I wonder if Japan chose to modernize because it was a relatively small island nation and felt all alone. Surrounded by Western ships, they really had no choice.
China, on the other hand, was huge, and so Chinese maybe thought they could withstand the Western assault for much longer--that Westerns were like mosquitos that would eventually tire from sucking blood out of an elephant. And nations attached to China maybe thought they could rely on big brother China to save them from West and Japan. Not so.

Anonymous said...

Sacredness carries with it taboos, and taboos are obstacles to close observation and clear thinking.
Judeo-Christianity, by decoupling the material world from spirituality that came to be concentrated in the abstract form of an invisible Heaven-centered Deity, de-spiritualized the world(especially in the context of Eden's fall), and that may have opened up a closer examination of the material world without the warning signs of taboos.

Anonymous said...

"In contrast, Hindus saw man and nature as part of one whole, which is why they worship Ganesh the baby elephant god. "

Ganesh is not a baby elephant, he is the son of Shiva(the destroyer in the Hindu trinity), who got his head hacked off by his father for insolence. And then got an elephant head after his mother pleaded for her son.

Use cow next time.

Anonymous said...

"When I came to the US at 6 and had to attend a Christian nursery, I'm proud to say I gave the caretakers "hell". "

I'm sure they celebrate the day you arrived. How does your 'tude benefit your adopted country?

Hacienda said...

"When I came to the US at 6 and had to attend a Christian nursery, I'm proud to say I gave the caretakers "hell". "

I'm sure they celebrate the day you arrived. How does your 'tude benefit your adopted country?

------------

Veritas!

Aubrey said...

Nothing strange if one knows that 23 is the number of judgment in the Bible, 46 = 23×2, 1998 = 3×666, and also numbers with digits in differrent sequence all have the same NUMERICAL ROOTS. For example numbers 1998, 1989, 8991, 1899, 9981, 9819, etc all shares the same root, which is the fish number, 153. 64 is the theomatic value for “truth” in Greek.

pyro webworld said...

P. Khurrana made more than 1000 accurate predictions which appeared in leading newspaper including Interviewed by Star News, Aaj Tak, Sahara Samey, now regularly host the show on Live India , Zee Punjabi & Big 92.7 FM Often Contact by Bollywood for muhurat of Films. Author of 30 books on astrology, numerology, vaastu, black magic, mantra, yantra, moles, dreams colours, gems.