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#16 MengTzu

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 05:00 PM

TO General Zhao Yun

In ancient China, history chronicles were the assets of the royal house.  Lao-zi and Kong-zi visited 'imperial' libraries for their writings.  Zhou Dynasty kings and relatively independent Chu-guo Principality kings often held discourse with scholars about ancient so-called SHANG SHU, i.e., remotely ancient history.  Zhou Kings and Chu-guo kings had specifically mentioned half a dozen ancient books in their discourse.

Kong-zi, Confucius, still had access to those books, and adopted passages in his writings.  Hence, some records survived due to the Hundred School Thought movements as well as the privitization of education in Spring & Autumn time period of Zhou Dynasty. 

Should you ask where the ancient textbooks went, they were all burnt down by 1) Qi Shihuangdi's book burning; and 2) Xiang Yu's arson of palace.

Qin Shihuangdi ordered that only one copy of books from Zhou court and vassal kingdoms be kept in imperial library.  They were lost when Xiang Yu burnt the palace.

Personally speaking, I believe in 95-98% of the things in ancient writings.  Ancient people were morally strong.  They did not know perjury.  Trust in your ancestors.

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Hey Ah Xiang,

Wow, the legendary and fabled author of UglyChinese.org is here!

Your site is good. I might not believe everything on it, but its vastness alone is very impressive.

One question along this line: on what grounds do you believe in ancient documents? I've been pondering on this issue for a while (Zhaoyun knows.) My main concern is the 24 histories: how do we know that 1) they were written in the times they were supposed to be (that is, how do we know Sima Qian wrote Shiji, how do we know Sungshi was written during the Yuan Dynasty, etc.), and 2) how do we know if they are accurate? And are most conventional Chinese history books written today based on the 24 histories?

Peace,

Michael

10-12-2004

#17 Kulong

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 11:08 AM

One question along this line: on what grounds do you believe in ancient documents?  I've been pondering on this issue for a while (Zhaoyun knows.)  My main concern is the 24 histories: how do we know that 1) they were written in the times they were supposed to be (that is, how do we know Sima Qian wrote Shiji, how do we know Sungshi was written during the Yuan Dynasty, etc.), and 2) how do we know if they are accurate?  And are most conventional Chinese history books written today based on the 24 histories?

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How do we know ANY country's recorded history is accurate?
生為中國人,死為中國魂。

"You can believe in any god, as long as it's our God."

#18 MengTzu

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 11:10 PM

How do we know ANY country's recorded history is accurate?

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Hey Kulong,

I don't know. How do you know? (Everytime I asked this question there's always a tangent about something like "how do we know anything is real." My question is a lot more simple than that, and I'm asking a sincere, not a rhetorical question -- it's driving me nuts and I really want some answers. Is there truly no one who knows the answer here?)

Peace,

Michael

10-13-2004

#19 Kulong

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Posted 14 October 2004 - 12:25 PM

Hey Kulong,

    I don't know.  How do you know?  (Everytime I asked this question there's always a tangent about something like "how do we know anything is real."  My question is a lot more simple than that, and I'm asking a sincere, not a rhetorical question -- it's driving me nuts and I really want some answers.  Is there truly no one who knows the answer here?)

Peace,

Michael

10-13-2004

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Actually I don't know. I was merely pointing out the fact that history of China isn't the only history that we can't be certain of. You were making it sound like Chinese history is the only questionable history in the world. <_<
生為中國人,死為中國魂。

"You can believe in any god, as long as it's our God."

#20 MengTzu

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Posted 14 October 2004 - 05:14 PM

Actually I don't know.  I was merely pointing out the fact that history of China isn't the only history that we can't be certain of.  You were making it sound like Chinese history is the only questionable history in the world.  <_<

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Aw man, sorry if that's what it sounds like. We gotta take one history at a time you know.

#21 Bao Pu

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Posted 16 October 2004 - 06:11 PM

Hello

I don't think anyone doubts that there were ancient communities in existence prior to the Shang Dynasty. Whether any one community or clan was understood to be the dominant "royal" one is the question that needs answering if we are to consider a "Xia Dynasty." In my opinion.

As to the question about the accuracy of the written histories, we can accept as true what has some corroboration from other sources of the time. Much of what the Shangshu/Shujing says seems obvious (to me) to be political rhetoric of the Zhou clan(s), specifically with regards to the Shang and Xia. They wanted to set up historical precendent for what they were doing: overthrowing the previous dominant clan, practicing Virtue, and obeying the Will of Heaven. It seems doubtful that Yao or Shun were real. Same goes for the Yellow Emperor and Fuxi. But I'm sure their were some notable men who were "virtuous" and excercized some influence.

If we find some writing from that time, that would fantastic. But alas, the materials they likely wrote on probably could not survive. Even the Shang oracle bone material display a very limited view of their culture.
May you enjoy good health, harmony and happiness.
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#22 Guest_ignorant_fool_*

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 07:12 AM

MengTzu: In my opinion, i think you need to understand this about history. History is dead. The people who knew about the truth about history are dead and became dust. The truths about/in history are dead. What we know is just a fraction and very much less is supported by verified/accepted proof. You questions, sadly, would not have answers unless with time travel,etc. Its like dinosaurs, bones serves as proof but how it look like, behave,etc are just speculations.

Kulong: I think you are too harsh on MengTzu (bordering rudeness). He is just simply confused and genuinely asking without the intention of putting down chinese history. I think he is still young.

Ah Xiang: erfanggong palace library is comparable or maybe better than(qin emperor was insistent on book collecting/burning) the famed great library of Alexandria. The great library of Alexandria was burnt during the age of paroahs (act of nature - fire, not arson). Unlike erfanggong palace library which burnt by a historical idiot of epic proportion. Since then, all the knowlegde collected by qin emperor in that librabry was lost forever.
The ancient people may not be lying but they might not be correct. Ancient people when they cant explain logically/scientifically, they explain with legends (or propaganda). Thats why many cultures have ancient myths and legends. Dragons, kirins, phoenixes are beautiful/interesting aspects of chinese culture but without any proof of existance (very very very possibly none unless they mistook the dinosaurs.).

#23 MengTzu

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Posted 21 October 2004 - 03:22 PM

Hey ignorant fool,

Why do you think I'm young? I would say though that I'm a beginner in terms of historical studies. I had previously taken conventional historical text books for granted, but after reading a controversial book I began to rethink history. So I don't think my questioning here is typical of a young person but is a rather mature, reflective question. In any case it's bugging me to no end. (I suppose letting it bug me can be quite immature =) )

Peace,

Michael

10-21-2004

#24 Guest_ignorant_fool_*

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 10:39 AM

Hi mengtzu,
pardon me if i am wrong:). maybe your term beginner is a better term. but i think you are right in reading the controversial book, it made you rethink. in my opinion, i am glad i "rethought" my perception of history back then, though at some point, it makes me lose interest in history. i dun know if what i am reading is "c**p" :P. like i know of 3 versions of how prime minister lubuwei died, which one is true or none is true? i totally have no idea.

#25 shaman_on_the_hill

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 10:43 AM

I am sure that in my studies I've come across references and even pictures of pottery roughly from the Xia period (erlitou culture probably) but I believe they have not been recognized as writing by scholars, but are regardes as glyphs or marks ... these might be the Xia dynasty writing mentioned by Yihesan and thirdgumi ...

and yes it did bear certain similarities to Shang oracle bone script ...

as for the accuracy of chinese historical sources like Sima Qian ... I have a lot to say, maybe too much, I'll hold my peace for now ...

ignorant_fool ... yes you are right, they are dead, but even when alive, most people's testimonies are very questionable so the science of history in a sense is an excersise in futility, but I guess we all love it anyway ... : )
paranoia is a state of awareness ...

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#26 shaman_on_the_hill

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Posted 28 December 2004 - 02:10 AM

maybe this sheds some light on the Xia writing question ...

http://www.cctv.com/...903/100827.html
paranoia is a state of awareness ...

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#27 shaman_on_the_hill

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Posted 28 December 2004 - 03:01 AM

The 大汶口 culture (Shandong peninsula 3500 - 2500 bec, so pre-hsia dynasty) had pottery markings who somewhat resemble and may be precursors of Shang oracle bone script ... nothing definate though.

Sarah Allan in 'The Shape of the Turtle' has an intersting hypothesis about the mythic nature of the Xia dynasty. She does not however claim the Xia didn't exist, only that the Shang portray them as their own antitype - Shang phoenix as opposed to Xia dragon ... if you look into this you'll see how it makes perfect sense. It does not prove or disprove the existance of the Xia, but says something about how the ancients viewed reality and 'wrote' history ... :g:
paranoia is a state of awareness ...

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#28 shaman_on_the_hill

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Posted 28 December 2004 - 03:48 AM

[attachment=76:attachment]here is a pic ...
paranoia is a state of awareness ...

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#29 Guest_ignorant_fool_*

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Posted 30 December 2004 - 10:59 AM

ignorant_fool ... yes you are right, they are dead, but even when alive, most people's testimonies are very questionable so the science of history in a sense is an excersise in futility, but I guess we all love it anyway ...  : )

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"science of history in a sense is an excersise in futility" - have you ever wondered if what you "know" may not be true? does it dampen your enthusiasm?

A big gap of ancient china history and knowledge is lost and irrecoverable through: qin emperor burying scholars and burning books. And then his only collection of ancient china knowlegde in erfanggong palace library was burned down by the "historical idiot/m****/imbecile of epical proportion", xiangyu of chu. (my personal opinion.)

Else we would know much more than shang, xia, even to the "more accurate/detailed version" of ancient origin chinese civilisation. Or even ancient cures, ancient technologies which are beneficial throughout historical china till now. Xia dynasty, right now, if i am not wrong, still seems to be argueable and lacking in solid archeological proof.

#30 shaman_on_the_hill

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 01:08 PM

ignorant_fool, thanx for the feedback ...

sure, i have wondered, and as for doubting what i 'feel' i 'know' ... all the time man, it doesn't get me down so much anymore, it is still basically noble and sound to seek the truth ... the past may be gone, forever, and history and archeology can probably never really tell us everything, but it is in a way what defines us as individuals and groups so lets continue this exercise in futility ... and i wouldn't judge Hsiang Yv and/or Ch'in Shih Huang to harsly :ranting: .. at the time i'm sure they had different things to worry about ... and the details of those you probably know better than me ... :lol:

seems we are sailing close to the even more treacherous waters of philosophy ... i'm not saying it isn't appropriate ...

what we know of the past, limited as it is, is enough for the time being ... philosophically speaking one of the 'greatest' purposes of the discipline of history is for us in the present to draw our conclusions and learn some lessons from, and we do not need a complete picture for that ...

good talking to you, it would please me to hear more from you

sincerely ... :g:
paranoia is a state of awareness ...

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