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« Confucianism in Hard Times | Main | Confucius on Youtube »

November 25, 2008


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The Bread and Circus is the defining feature of ALL the EMPIRES. It is only fitting for the fashion of the CENTER to spread to the peripheral China. In the final analysis, it is the least corrupted culture that will stand and survive and maybe, recover ...

But what does "corruption" mean here? In what ways is China "corrupted?" When did such "corruption" begin? 1898? 1919? 1949? 1978? Personally, I gave up on the idea of an uncorrupted, authentic culture - American, Chinese, whatever - long ago. It's not about "corruption," it's about change.
But if you want to insist on a notion of "corruption," then a question arises: who did more to corrupt Chinese culture: Qinshi Huangdi, Mao Zedong, or The Ramones?

I guess I am a kind of primitive in believing that there ARE some kind of relatively healthy, wholesome culture, like Bach's music and yes they don’t have to have a nationality. I do suspect there might be some kind of connections between the rise of the rock and roll (the decline of classical music in the west) and the turning of U.S. from a productive society to a consumer society (republic to empire).

Hamilton and Jefferson’s time is the purest form of American culture. I am referring to their writings and instructions to their children.

Looking at the Chinese punk in the first Youtube, he looks like a monkey, sounds like a monkey and walks like a monkey and the so-called “music” just turn the audience in a mob vie passion provoking noises. It is the demeaning of humanity that I regard as corruption, not the origin of the form.

Yes, " Change" is the word of the day, but there are two directions for the Changing: Change for the good and change for the bad, or worse.

I know what you mean. I don't really like punk rock as music; I see it more as a sociological phenomenon, which tells us something about social change. But I am too much of a Taoist to have faith in the possibility of high culture. We can only really watch as Way unfolds....

I think there was something to Punk. It was part of the youth rebellion against the consumption society in the 80s, and a looked at life through the crude lenses of simple foul language, violence, and brutal realities. It was a dull instrument, like a blunt hammer that smashed bone, rather than the scalpel that Frank Zappa used to lead us into crude ironies and decadence. No less effective, just another form. Remember, punk was a form of rebellion that used appearance as much as it used music, to shock American sensibilities.

It’s a holiday in Cambodia. It’s tough kid but it’s life!

PC: Punk might be part of “youth rebellion against the consumption society", but it might also be “part of the consumption society." The very audience in the punk performance might very be the same group who charge their credit cards to their limits in the shopping malls, especially in the coming X'mss season...Both activities, listening a Punk performance and shopping aimlessly, don't need much effort and discipline, unlike classic music. I don't want to get into the drug and sex "sub-culture" related to Punk.

Fortunately for China, Punk could only exist on the fringe of the Chinese society but Lang Lang is a folk hero, both in China and in South Korea.

Whoever is less corrupt will survive this coming mess ...

Why do you believe that "whoever is less corrupt will survive this coming mess..."? What is your reasoning here?

The very unsustainability of the current system is very obvious since it is counter-Taoism. Each and every word of 5,000 characters of the Tao Te Ching advise against the current reigning culture ...


As to the suvivability I have a very personal observation:

Mexican labors ( 90% are in the category of " illegal aliens" ) working ten hours a day on a salary of $ 7.50 cash are always laughing and singing and are genuinely happy. They usually produce a big family.

The downtown financial elites who live in million dollar houses in the suburb ( on borrowed money ) will not survive the humiliation of living in a apartment and work as day labors for a chance ( they don't have the necessary skills and physical strength, neither ). They live a much stressed life as a group to keep up the appearances. They usually are not producing (both in terms of value and in terms of family members.

The Meek Should Inherit the Earth. (I guess the meek usually don't consumer Punk music)


I guess this guy, Mr. Gao, concurring with me on the unsustainability of the current system even though he is very much a insiders.

But why does the unsustainability of the current system necessitate the emergence of some sort of "uncorrupted" alternative? The current system could fall and another, equally "corrupted," system take its place. After all, the Tao Te Ching also held that the system of its own time was corrupt and unnatural. Why assume either progress or return?


I do agree with you on the tendency of the system to corrupt. I also agree with you that Tao Te Ching held the system of its own time as corrupted and unnatural. But I would like to add that system might not be "equally" corrupt.

Zhou dynasty, at its very beginning, is a healthy, productive and cultured system. That is partly the reason why it lasted for 800 years and one of the longest reigning dynasties in the world history. Confucius certainly had great admiration for the Count of Zhou, the founding father of the Zhou. But after the pasting of the times, the principles of the system (the ritual of Zhou) were compromised and culture corrupted. ( Are there any parallels here with the compromising of the American republic principles designed by the U.S. founding fathers?...See, they invented a republic and you are having an empire, on the model of Augusta of Roman Empire).

In terms of financial models, Bretton Woods I was a masterpiece, it certainly served U.S. interest but it also performed a public function internationally. But the floating currency system founded on 1971 is a purely parasitical and speculative. It turned the productive U.S. system into a parasitical financier controlled system and it brought destruction to the U.S. manufacturing sector. Wall Street parasites reign supreme now and they are really running the U.S. political system. There is no chance in the world to export this system. It couldn't even save itself.

That is what I call corruption of the current system and any system coming out of the ashes might be better than the current one ... of course, they will, too be corrupted in its own time but that would be another story.

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