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Zhongwen

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« Thinking More about Haleigh Poutre | Main | Wishing you Fu for the New Year »

January 24, 2006

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I think you are right. Taoism is a contradiction to society as a whole. It emphasizes nature over the forced societal pressures. But I don't think Taoism excludes those with wealth - Taoism was practiced by the Chinese elite, after all. I think having sufficient wealth is pretty much a necessary prerequisite to being able to consider philosophy - otherwise, you are simply struggling to survive. Those who have made the *choice* to live without excess wealth are different from those who are simply poor.

Another point to be made concerns Chinese culture. You wrote, "We often assume that Confucianism and Taoism - and perhaps Legalism - and Buddhism, are the central elements of our definition of "Chinese culture.""

In my experience, most Americans could care less about Chinese culture and have formed no opinion on the subject whatsoever. I believe this is due, in large part, to the sad fact that the history and culture of the Far East isn't taught in our schools.

I know when I was in school (both public school and in college) history/culture is the bastion of Europe. What information I have learned about the Far East and Africa I have gained on my own initiative.

Simply put, far too many westerners are very ethnocentric.

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