Lee senior thinks Chinese culture is superior. So does a2ed.Is Chinese Culture superior to Indian Culture? Well, according to Lee Senior, it is.
And I have to agree to some extent. Yes. Chinese culture is superior. To some extent, or in some respects.
It does seem superior, compared to Indian culture, when it comes to producing minds that aren’t well-adept in what i would term multi-angular thinking - looking at things from different angles. I suppose that is to be expected since Confucianism-cum-Legalism tends to emphasise tradition, conformity and subservience - which together i would term ‘kow-towism’. Whether one applies such a system within a nation or a single family, one cannot argue with the fact that a combination of the above cannot but produce relatively docile minds unless it is applied for the purpose of undoing itself. For instance, emphasising a tradition of independent inquiry; conformity to a popular spirit of continuous doubt and revision; and subservience to the notion that the precondition of humanity is infallibility and which thus requires constant second guessing, favours popularly-led perspectival and intellectual progress. However, tradition, conformity, and subservience - or TCS for short - fetishised for its own sake does little to advance popular intellectual individualism.
Secondly, Chinese culture is also superior in producing a greater degree of apathy. Given that the depoliticisation of the citizenry is one of the means via which ‘harmony’ and ‘stability’ is delivered, and given that top-down opportunism is perceived to be an evil only if the masses are not given the opportunity to do unto each other that which is done unto them from above - for the purpose of softening the negative consequences of said top-down opportunism - apathy inevitably results. Together, the empathetic instinct is either severely curtailed, or confined within boundaries that bodes well for the continued enrichment and empowerment of the elite. i.e. self-help initiatives, charities, etc. (that’s one of the reasons why when i’m approached for donations in public in singapore, i reply with an, ‘I already gave, it’s called GST/ERP/COE/etc’).
Thirdly, Chinese culture seems to be quite superior in enhancing tendencies toward bigotry. The combination of both TCS and apathy produces minds that aren’t capable of appreciating the detail in phenomena and prone to being generally susceptible to the salient. Both TCS and apathy relies on one’s thus-socialised ability to discount detail and difference for it to survive. Hence, whilst facing one direction in tradition, conformity and subservience, and whilst minding one’s own business in order to survive, and not concerning oneself with the political milieu - which compromises one’s training in attention to detail and ‘joining the dots’ in a broader context - one is required not only to discount all variables that compromises the above, but one can indeed become quite reflexive in not appreciating that which does not cater to one’s interests or conforms to one’s tradition induced beliefs/biases.
Given these, amongst other superiorities of Chinese culture, one will have to ask if this bodes well for the perspectival, empathetic and intellectual advance of humanity should it be universally applied. I have to agree that Chinese culture can indeed deliver economic affluence far quicker than Indian/Western culture. There are many conflicting interests to contend with if we embrace the Indian or Western way. All these troublesome unions, human rights nonsense, workers’ rights, etc, etc. But I suppose that the Indian or Western way attempts to preserve as much of our humanity in our quest for mammon whilst the Chinese way allows mammon to define our humanity till we want not more than shopping, eating and gambling.
The Chinese way can come across as superior to the Indian or Western way because it most certainly delivers economic affluence quicker. After all, when everyone shuts up in the face of a state-wielded bludgeon and allows the elite to gather wealth from the population and other elites without question, they can enjoy the pennies that fall from the table far quicker. But that is only because the people cannot gather them directly from other elites themselves - capitalism doesn’t facilitate that. And another thing we have to be cognizant of is that those who abide by Chinese culture (one doesn’t have to be Chinese to abide by it, and not all Chinese abide by Chinese culture - it’s a cultural thing, not a racial one) will have to produce after-the-fact. In other words, technological, amongst other advances, requires copy-cattery. After all, as popular intellectual individualism is already compromised by TCS and apathy, we cannot expect the kind of logical minds required to think up a space shuttle or serve as a viable pioneering force in empathetic or logic-based industries - one of the reasons why it is the Indian, and not the Chinese, whom are colonising the IT industry or are disproportionately represented in the legal profession. As I said to a couple of Chinese friends in the aftermath of Lee senior’s statement with regards to Indian culture, if Chinese culture had been the staple of the world from the start, we’d still be worshipping the moon, not planting a flag on it. If you allow the popular imagination to run riot, than the elite is not going to enjoy its stability. A vibrant mind is always teetering on the edge of empathy, creativity and becoming political.
But that said, to say that this is 'Chinese culture' is not entirely accurate. This detracts one from 'what was' and 'what could be'. In other words, the Chinese culture of today is a product of post-Qin culture, and a product of ignoring difference post-Qin style with the directions of the elite after the Chinese diaspora. This serves to protect the elite's agenda via the cultural pride that is induced amongst the Chinese people. Then there is the Chinese culture that could have been if the Chou era (which facilitated the period known as '100 schools of philosophy') continued without the interjection of the Qin. There is also another Chinese culture. That is, a Chinese culture that evolves in appreciation of difference in the course of and after the diaspora. The Chinese and all others ought to be mindful of this in critique and appreciation of 'Chinese culture'.