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#1 Liang Jieming

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 02:55 AM

I'm currently reading a novel "Earth - The Legend that Was" by James P. Hogan.

The story is about an advanced Alien civilisation that has reached earth and has totally changed the way people look at science. Scientific theories are all thrown on their head and the western way of establishing theory first and then trying to fit observed or measured experimental results into the theory as validation, is the main hinderance to progress on Earth.

The Aliens are pictured as very "confucian" and practical, their ability to bridge the stars before Earth mainly because they didn't formulate theories and try and fit stuff to valid cherished pet theories. Instead, the approach is more like the ancient chinese system of making things work based on observed phenomena. Building on accepted norms, unquestioning the basis of their work and continuing forward.

The author argues that practical science should be an Engineering problem and not a scientific problem. If is works, use it, doesn't matter if there's no theory to understand it. It if doesn't work, then discard it. This was compared with the Earth norm of setting up elaborate theoretical models and then trying to intepret things to fit into the theory, making up stuff to explain things that don't fit. It went on to talk about the way we make up the yet unmeasurable Dark Matter etc. to show how we struggle to fit stuff even when it doesn't fit. This according to the book, led us to become blind to many things when we should have been practical and just accept things as they are and engineer things to work that way.

The more I read the book, the more I can't help but see the comparison (probably intentional by the author) with the ancient Chinese system of practical science, where science was used not as abstract theological concepts but as practical phenomena to improve society. Remember that China sped way ahead of the West for centuries just using this system. Only in the last few centuries has the west overtaken China, and in doing so expouse the superiority of their systems. (I'm not saying the western system is inferior but am just putting forth another argument that maybe it wasn't the failure of the Chinese scientific system that allowed China to fall behind but rather other factors like a superiority complex, decadent standards of the Qing etc. and given a decent chance, may be the way forward.)

The author has done a lot of research into what is known as Relativity Alternatives, citing his source on these alternate theories of the Big Bang, stella formation etc. and how because of pet theories, Earth scientists were unable to get out of a vicious cycle putting abstract formulations of the mind before observations.

The current scientific methology is to reason and work out a theory then test it with experimentation and observations of natural occurances. The more the results fit, the better the theory. If unknowns occur that don't fit the theory, refine the theory or assign constants or arbituary unknowns so that the theory can still work and continue with fitting the theory. This he argued was the opposite of the Alien method of science. The Aliens took observed fact and built things accordingly, solving problems as they encountered them. This allowed them to progress steadily, (sound like China?) and not rely on spurts of brilliance when a right theory is found, or get stuck in a dead end and spending years or whole generations of scientists chasing a wrong theoretical model. (remember how Einstein worked for years on the... what was it... the cosmological constant? and then discarded it saying it was a waste of his years, only for scientists today to pick it up again).

Let me quote 3 passages from the book.
"Hyadeans had never fallen into the Terran habit of creating false gods that would reveal the ultimate truths of the Universe. One of the most recent creations to be elevated to the status of infallible deity was mathematics. The Hyadeans took advantage of the fortuitous fact that some mathematical procedures approximated real-world processes sufficiently closely over a limted range to be useful, and looking no further than that, found an invaluable servant. Terrans turned things upside down by persuading themselves that their manipulations of formal systems of symbols defined 'laws' that reality was somehow obliged to imitate. In doing so they subjected themselves to a tyrannical master."

"The Hyadeans went out into space - which required, after all, solid engineering more than esoteric theories - and discovered that the sought-after medium was simply the locally dominant electromagnetic field. Since in the vicinity of Earth this traveled with the Earth around the Sun, the Terran physicists had, in effect, been trying to measure the airspeed of their plane with their instruments anchored solidly inside the cabin."

"It was strange that the theory Earth's scientific establishment finally put together for shaping the evolution of the cosmos should be based on gravity, when the elctromagnetic forces was ten thousand billion, billion, billion, billion times stronger, and 99 percent of observable matter existed in the form of electrically charged plasma that responded to it. More so when galaxies, certain binary stars, and other objects were found not to move in the ways that ourely gravitational models said they should, and various forms of 'dark matter' and other unobservables had to be invented to explain why."

What do you think? Of course this is just fiction but it throws up some interesting food for thought.

I expect a lot of arguments for the Western model here as practically everyone is brought up learning it's methods and no one questions it's validity, me included.

Jieming

#2 Kulong

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 10:53 AM

Very interesting. I've always thought that the main reason the West surpassed China is because they developed scientific methods. Well, that and China went into isolation and pretty much remained stagnant in the field of science.

Western scientific methods, in my eyes, is somewhat "superior" because it develops for the sake of development. By that I mean they don't just sit around and observe the nature, instead, they go and ask questions and then try to answer them.

Also, prior to the West discovering scientific methods, pretty much the whole world was using the "Chinese system" of observation. I believe the zodiacs of both China and the West, are good examples of this observation system. If you think about it, it's nothing more than simply statistics. People obsering personalities based on year or month they were born and pass these recordings down until some sort of conclusion can be made.
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#3 caocao74

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 11:01 AM

Much of current revisionist thinking on the issue of Western and Eastern development is a debate concerning the application of scientific thinking into other fields.
So whereas the countries of the East created an INDUSTRIOUS Revolution (making people work harder and more productively), the western nations (particurlarly those of northwestern Europe with smaller populations) created the INDUSTRIAL Revolution (making machines to increase productivity). It was then these nations with outstripped the rest of world (by means fair and foul) to exploit resources, build overseas empires, and subjugate other peoples.
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#4 Liang Jieming

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 09:48 PM

Actually the more I think about it, the more I think it's already happening especially in space exploration.

If you look at the way NASA does things, it's based firmly in some pretty solid Engineering ethics and not in theoretical pure sciences. If you want to know something, you just have to get out there and try doing it. That's what NASA has been doing the last 30-40 years. I find it really amazing the way they solve problems on the fly when something unexpected goes wrong with their craft hurtling through space. Darn good engineering is what it is.

Much of current revisionist thinking on the issue of Western and Eastern development is a debate concerning the application of scientific thinking into other fields.
So whereas the countries of the East created an INDUSTRIOUS Revolution (making people work harder and more productively), the western nations (particurlarly those of northwestern Europe with smaller populations) created the INDUSTRIAL Revolution (making machines to increase productivity). It was then these nations with outstripped the rest of world (by means fair and foul) to exploit resources, build overseas empires, and subjugate other peoples.

I agree. It was the lack of population that drove the mechanisation of many of western industries. That proved to be a blessing in disguise for Europe. The east had people. So it was always cheaper and easier to get more people to help then to think of a way to do things with less people. Read any book on European engineering systems or mechanical systems as more often than not, you'll find them extolling the benefits of reducing labour costs and how a labour saving device is superior. This is simply because this concept is deeply ingrained into the western mind. In China and most parts of Asia, the way to do things is still to get more people onto the job instead of perfecting yet another labour saving device. I've had discussions with a friend on engineering projects in China. Their way of doing things is just that. Save on material and machinery, splurge on manpower. In labour scarce Europe, that would have been inefficient. But in China, the situation is somewhat reversed. In labour rich China, bringing in expensive labour saving machinery would be inefficient!

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#5 Zuo Zongtang

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Posted 17 December 2004 - 01:52 PM

Much of current revisionist thinking on the issue of Western and Eastern development is a debate concerning the application of scientific thinking into other fields.
So whereas the countries of the East created an INDUSTRIOUS Revolution (making people work harder and more productively), the western nations (particurlarly those of northwestern Europe with smaller populations) created the INDUSTRIAL Revolution (making machines to increase productivity). It was then these nations with outstripped the rest of world (by means fair and foul) to exploit resources, build overseas empires, and subjugate other peoples.


From what I remember in history class last year, the Romans had more slaves then they needed. So if productivity needed to be increased, more slaves were brought in. This cause the Roman empire to lag behind in development and eventually caused their fall.
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#6 caocao74

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Posted 17 December 2004 - 02:11 PM

From what I remember in history class last year, the Romans had more slaves then they needed. So if productivity needed to be increased, more slaves were brought in. This cause the Roman empire to lag behind in development and eventually caused their fall.

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I don't think the Roman Empire lagged behind anybody contemporaneously. By the late-5th Century AD, in Europe, no other state equalled Rome in terms of its Neo-Hellenic development.
Rome's decine and fall owed more to its reliance on foreign subordinate states to fill its legions and auxiliary cohorts, but these nations then became direct threats to the centre rather than its distant protectors. These Romanized-nations then supported the various claimants to the Imperial throne (later thrones), until the Empire fractured, and finally divided in the Western and Eastern Empires.
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Posted 17 January 2005 - 05:37 PM

history has proven that china has come up with some great innovations. gunpowder, paper, the kite etc. Why they fell behind so dramatically during the last century was because of their way of thinking. Many of the chinese people from the older generation are stubborn and are unwilling to open their minds to other peoples ideas.

chinas development is also hindered by a society which has been closed off to foreigners for several decades. the chinese are simply content with making money and building up their country to a more significant position in the world.
I myself am chinese but i am almost saddened to see that the chinese overall lack any sense of creativity whether it be art, music or films.

china has been hindered by a genre specific culture. All films have to be kung fu, triads or action films that defy logic. they simply do not have the ability to use their imaginations more like the west. The west has many different genres when it comes to films and have many ways to tell it.

take a look at chinese art, especially the comics. all the art work looks the same. Which is why there are hardly any famous chinese artists such as picasso, van gogh or da vinci.
these artists have made their mark in history and whose works costs millions because their work is unique. There will never be any other person like them whereas most chinese artists have similar styles. very very similar.

they say that china is improving and yes it is in terms of human rights, wealth and economy.
But when i go to places like hong kong, i look around and notice one thing. Everything that makes the place so modern and convinient are all western scientific inventions. Cars, trains, computers, mobile phones, radio, planes, light bulbs. All of this technology is a great contribution to the world which we cannot live without nowadays and it all comes from the west.

Look at fashion. we all wear jeans, t shirts, sweaters jumpers etc. This again is western fashion. we simply laugh at the clothes china or hong kong has to offer.
many chinese people boasts about china but look at how much influence the west has on us.
i was in topman and there were lots of chinese people admiring the clothes. None of them would even think about wearing the traditional chinese clothes. do they even realise that what they hold in their hand is a western piece of clothing and not chinese? most of the famous fashion designers are european.

everytime i watch the news, i only see western doctors striving to invent cures for fatal diseases. Chinese people do have their own style of medical pratice like acupuncture which is very effective but it still hasnt been accepted worldwide.

its essential that we maintain our culture and beliefs because we need some form of identity but chinese people need one thing if we are to ever influence the world like that of the west. we need INDIVIDUALITY. we must not be content with just the traditional way of painting a landscape and we must have different things on our minds other than making money (usually by avoiding tax and making pirate dvds).

#8 Kulong

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Posted 17 January 2005 - 05:46 PM

fbi, you're missing quite a lot.

China stopped progressing (relatively) toward late Ming dynasty and all the way through Qing dynasty. During early to mid Ming dynasty, China was quite "open" if the voyages of Admiral Zheng He is anything to go by. However, when the conservatives took over in late Ming dynasty, they also sealed China's fate.

For reasons unknown to me, Qing dynasty also adopted the self-imposed isolation which further hindered China's progress.

Later, British sold opium to China because they were upset that Chinese tea was so popular in England and they had nothing the Chinese wanted. In order to make money, the British made a large portion of the Chinese population become drug-addicts. It's quite disgusting what the British did really.

Then China was plagued by wars and conflicts, both foreign and domestic, for over 200 years. It wasn't until the 1980's did mainland China really experience relative peace. But as we all know, China's troubles aren't over yet. The U.S. is constantly harassing China because they don't wish us to surpass them. Then there is the Taiwan indepedence issue, among many others.

But compare to the past 200+ years, China has never been better. As long as there are no major natural disasters or U.S. "interventions", China should be getting even better.

everytime i watch the news, i only see western doctors striving to invent cures for fatal diseases. Chinese people do have their own style of medical pratice like acupuncture which is very effective but it still hasnt been accepted worldwide.

Where have you been hiding? Chinese medicine and acupuncture are gaining popularity and acceptance all over the world, or at least here in the U.S. Chinese medicine schools are popping up left and right and so are Chinese medicine clinics. Heck, my mother graduated last year from a local Chinese medicine school and now she has her own clinic. Surprisingly, majority (over 90%) of her patients are whites. About 3/4 of her patients came to her because Western medicine has failed them one way or another.

And if you really think about it, how many other countries have their own medicine and curing techniques like acupuncture so widely accepted with the exception of the West?

we must not be content with just the traditional way of painting a landscape and we must have different things on our minds other than making money (usually by avoiding tax and making pirate dvds).

Thanks to all the horrible events I mentioned above which occured in the past two centuries, majority of Chinese are still quite poor. Everyone have needs, some more important than others. If the more important needs aren't met (food, shelter... etc.) then you can forget about the less important ones. There are many Chinese who have done great things and made contributions not only to China but also to the world.

Keep in mind that the only reason why the West is on top of the world today is because their ancestors sailed across the world, raped & pillaged every foreign culture.
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#9 TMPikachu

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Posted 17 January 2005 - 07:23 PM

On isolationism... these are what I think the reasons were-
neo-confucian mandarins gained alot of power after Zheng He's voyages and similiar things were cancelled. It was a political move to be isolationist, as Eunichs seemed to have alot of control over exploration, and I *think* military.

There was also a neo-confucian belief that the foundation of a strong nation is agriculture. You need food, your people need food, so with food, you are strong. *USA's Jefferson believed the same as an interesting footnote.

Since China did not have to import food, trade and exploration was not important. Trade and exploration was also expensive; honestly as great the loot brought back by the voyage, they were not profitable (in the short term, at least)


Kulong is absolutely right about power- It's based on land/resources. Why is America so strong? Because they have the resources of an entire 'new' world. China is also stong because of the great, rich land it controls. That's why the resource low island nation of Japan needed to expand to become an Imperial power (Same with Great Britain).

I like western clothes. I don't think it's a very big deal that we've adopted them. You can have pride without being arrogant, or defensively ignorant. Our ancestors adopted pants from foreign barbarians, the Tang were also influenced by western (Arab world) fashion. Jeans and t-shirts are comfortable and convenient.
Japan probably doesn't consider kimono's, katanas, or brush painting Chinese, as it's now engrained into their culture. I see the same happening with 'western' clothes.
I'm sure the average westerner won't think of paper as foreign, or lament over why they don't use vellum/hides/papyrus, or whatever they had initially. Paper is a global 'thing' now. I see 'western clothes' as something global now. Hong Kong and Tokyo are known for their 'western' clothes, but now they're just clothes.
I have a bunch of Japanese and Thai T-shirts. I think of them as Thai and Japanese due to the style or images on them.



*On 'alternative' medicine, traditional medicine, herbs. etc. Those people that find it silly or unscientific are just ignorant. Do they think western medicine just magically appeared with cars and planes? Aspirin isn't just a pill, it comes from plants! Many western medicines are derived from plants. Using plants and herbs to treat illnesses just makes sense. It's like... proclaiming marmalade as better than oranges. What does that mean?!

There's still plenty of flaws with western medicines. Some have proven to be fatal, killed people, and been recalled. Others cause symptons nearly as bad as what they're treating. Western culture is as flawed as 'ours'.
The attitude shouldn't be to reguard such medicine as 'western' either. Even if it originated in the west, it can be adopted by other cultures, improved.

I want to look to the future without forgetting the past. I want to look to the past without living in it.



**
"take a look at chinese art, especially the comics. all the art work looks the same. Which is why there are hardly any famous chinese artists such as picasso, van gogh or da vinci.
these artists have made their mark in history and whose works costs millions because their work is unique. There will never be any other person like them whereas most chinese artists have similar styles. very very similar."

Da Vinci didn't have a unique style. He was just very skilled at what everyone else was doing. Interestingly, he only did like a half-dozen completed paintings in his career. Western art is also filled with boring photorealism. When it comes down to it, the Mona Lisa, as great a piece of work it is, it is not creative. It is a woman's profile. she's wearing black.
That's really dull.
It's a great painting, yeah. I just wouldn't call it creative. Or unique. I can paint a portrait too, you know. Da Vinci was very skilled and talented neverless.
Did you know Western art movements had been influenced by the East before? Art Nouveau was very strong in the late 1800's. It came from influence by Japanese woodblock prints, which in turn had been influenced by Chinese.
The only reason we know the names of such famous artists, and not Chinese, is because the west circulates those names.


Hollywood and American TV is KNOWN for producing lots of unimaginative c**p. Formula action movies, formula romances, formula sit-coms. Have some gangster italians, an indian cab driver, maybe a sassy black woman, and you've got yourself a movie. You're getting to hung up, almost an inferiority complex is developing. Kung Fu, triads. So? The west has big guns, big explosions, big breasts.
in comparison, lacking in creativity? I want to vomit.
If you don't like wuxia, say you don't like it. I don't see how defying logic fits in with this. Wouldn't it take *creativity* to write such fantasy stories?
Good American TV shows and movies still come out, there's also still tonns of c**p to sift through.

If you count writers, there ARE famous Chinese artists. Haven't you heard the tales of Monkey King in the Journey to the West? Are you not familiar with the heroes and villians of the Three Kingdoms?
If you count architects- Chinese architecture is beautiful, flowing, strong.
And artists-
Posted Image
I would rather have that than the Mona Lisa.

Chinese cinema is also just rising in popularity and strength It's also been influential. John Woo's fantastic action movies invented the 'hold-yer-gun-sideways' look. Famous American director Quentin Tarantino LOVES Shaw brothers films (which you have dismissed as uncreative and unnotable in your broad damning of Chinese cinema). The Matrix draws many influences from martial arts films. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a masterpiece of the genre. Hero is unconventionaly creative in its presentation. All are Chinese film (or influenced). Chinese have also been LEADING THE WORLD in fight choreography. When the big boys in Hollywood want a fight done right, they look to China. You ignore this and generalise it as trite kung fu action.

Like Chinese unity, western INDIVIDUALITY has its drawbacks too. Look at some independent western individuals, they yell at their mothers and abandon their parents to retirement homes. They're selfish, greedy, and work poorly in teams (I play online games, I know. Japanese (the closest thing to Chinese culturally) are much more cooperative in teams) That is the extreme of individuality, being a selfish bum.

Now, are you saying China has always been uncreative, or just in modern times?
"the way has more than one name, and wise men have more than one method. Knowledge is such that it may suit all countries, so that all creatures may be saved..."

#10 Liang Jieming

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 03:13 AM

I want to look to the future without forgetting the past. I want to look to the past without living in it.

I love this quote!

This is the essence of what many of us are talking about here and sometimes have trouble expressing.

The Chinese systems were not as bad as many of us have been brought up to believe. We live in an imperfect world filled with trends and imagery, all clamoring to proclaim their "truths". As thinking individuals, we must all learn to recognise that every coin has two sides, every story an alternate view. The western system is not always right nor is the chinese view. Don't be blind to what you are told but learn to question and quest for understanding. The balance I suspect lies somewhere in between.

As an engineer, I cannot but be drawn to study within the field of my practice. The more I explore the ancient Chinese engineering systems, the more I'm begining to realise that many of the principles we learn in western engineering schools are based on these very same systems... but more than that, other than the western penchant to declare everything to be their inventive firsts, many of the old Chinese systems were if not better, at least equal to the systems we use today.

Just based on empirical data, reflect on this if you will. China has always had the largest population and longest average life spans in most of the world's history. If TCM were as bad as many would believe, how then is that in our long 5000 years we have not been striken by diseases to extinction by now.

The Chinese as a people and China as a culture has held together for thousands of years. Everywhere else, large empires came and went, rotted from within or simply broke apart because it became too large to manage. But not us. Our borders expanded and held large swaths of land since time immemorial. If our bureocratic traditions, postal systems, money systems, administrative systems, social systems and transportation systems, all essential ingredients to a working, functioning country, were as simplistic as many would claim us to be, how then is it that no other country in the world up until modern times has held such a large administrative region together for so long a time?

China is a country of extremes from the tops of mountain plateaus, the bone dry deserts, the cold siberian forests, the hot subtropical plains, to the wet coastal areas. Squeezed into all these areas are a people who despite a long history of earthquake, typhoon and massive flooding, could rise above the basic need for survival to build, paint and write their way into monumental greatness. If our ancient mathematicians, our agriculturists, our geologists, our engineers, our artists, our mariners, our poets were really that backward, how then is it that today we still read poetry thousands of years old, see engineering works which were old when Rome first built it's coliseum, or appreciate in our paintings the beauty of Tang women long dead and crumbled to dust?

If we were even a fraction as backward and our systems as lousy as many would make us out to be, we would be long lost like the Olmecs of central America or the long dead legends of Ur and Kish. That we endured is testiment to fundamentals that were sound and stood the test of time. That we have recently forgotten them does not do justice to the ancients who came before us, building, working, inventing, discovering, exploring and engineering the legacy that stands unrecognised before us today.

It is important that we learn to stop and think, to open our minds and hearts to learn and understand what was, what is and what is to come. We are not a culture of mystical archaic traditions, conformist art and backward sciences but one that lasted thousands of years, steeped in civilised thought with a long tradition of science and practical engineering, coupled with bursts of brilliance from which flowered all forms of artistic expression.

Jieming

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 12:59 PM

thnak u for ur comments kulong. my knowledge of chinas history is resonably good but maybe not as good as yours so i take ur word for it when it comes down to chinas past.
i know that china has had many of its glory days during its 3000-5000 year history.
i love the 3 kingdoms era, kuan yu, chang fei and hung ming were all fantastically skilled commanders of the battlefield.
I have read sun tsu art of war. A great book.
someone mentioned the explorer in the ming dynasty who sailed around the world who discoverd america, australia etc. i know this book. "1421, the year china discoverd the world". i hope i've got the year right.
i have been meaning to buy this book for ages but havent got down to it.

someone mentioned something about the only reason why the west surpassed the east is because they invaded and raped and pillaged. Britain did create and empire in the 19th century but i dont think rape and pillage is the way to describe it.

The Hong kong police force during the early 1960's and 1970's was under huge controversey because of its corruption. It took a british guy to form the anti corruption scheme known today as "the ICAC". there have also been enough tvb series based on it. The icac is verey successful today.
My Dad is very patriotic but even he admits that chinese cops are probably the most disloyal and corrupt.

China during the last century has experienced appalling poverty and its not because of wars and foreign domination. Hong kong was british owned and look how wealthy it is today. The heart of the orient.
China was poor because of Chairman maos communism regime. this is very well documented. Take a look today. Which Communist country is rich?

All the citizens of communists countries want to flee and come to europe, america australia etc. these people accept the risks of their lives in order to come here and make a better living rather than stay in poor areas of china.

true, there are a lot of english businessmen and women in the far east. but doing business abroad is different to actually fleeing your country in desperation.

when it comes down to human rights, the far east is known for its lack of it. only recently when china has gained a more significant position has it only started to improve.

when you look at chinese singers today, who are they trying to emulate?
western boybands, girlbands and black r'n'b singers. Our determination to try and equal the wests style in music is only increasing.
yes, no doubt that hollywood has churned out some really c**p films but do not forget that 70% of the films we watch are from hollywood. we are bound to see a lot of c**p ones aswell.
Honestly though, at the moment, can we honestly say that we would rather watch hong kong films all year or hollywood films? i choose hollywood.

matrix films are no doubt heavily influenced by chinese martial arts films and therefore, hk cinema has acheived more worldwide recognition. Tarintinos films obviously far eastern influenced.
I actually love hk films during the eighties and early ninties but during the last 6-7 years, it has declined rapidly. you would have expected that since hk cinema is getting more popular, it couild only improve. but why the hell is it going backwards? even DONNIE YEN acknowledged this when he accepted his best choreography award last year.
he actually made a brief speech to the audience that hk cinema should look to improve itself as it has not made many quality films for such a long time with the exception of infernal affairs, shaolin soccer etc.

i wish hk would bring back the old days. what happend to films like God of gamblers, a moment of romance (Teen yerk yowe ching) with andy lau and all the classic ghosts story films? these films are what i would like to see.

the subject of conquest and domination. we orientals have also tried to expand our power. Ghengis khans armies marched all the way to poland, attila the hun rmapaged through europe during the 5th century. and lets not forget world war 2. look at how agressive japan was to the far east. They were allies with hitler and they then made an unprovoked attack on pearl harbour.

#12 somechineseperson

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 06:25 PM

I'm currently reading a novel "Earth - The Legend that Was" by James P. Hogan.

The story is about an advanced Alien civilisation that has reached earth and has totally changed the way people look at science.  Scientific theories are all thrown on their head and the western way of establishing theory first and then trying to fit observed or measured experimental results into the theory as validation, is the main hinderance to progress on Earth.

The Aliens are pictured as very "confucian" and practical, their ability to bridge the stars before Earth mainly because they didn't formulate theories and try and fit stuff to valid cherished pet theories.  Instead, the approach is more like the ancient chinese system of making things work based on observed phenomena.  Building on accepted norms, unquestioning the basis of their work and continuing forward.

The author argues that practical science should be an Engineering problem and not a scientific problem.  If is works, use it, doesn't matter if there's no theory to understand it.  It if doesn't work, then discard it.  This was compared with the Earth norm of setting up elaborate theoretical models and then trying to intepret things to fit into the theory, making up stuff to explain things that don't fit.  It went on to talk about the way we make up the yet unmeasurable Dark Matter etc. to show how we struggle to fit stuff even when it doesn't fit.  This according to the book, led us to become blind to many things when we should have been practical and just accept things as they are and engineer things to work that way.

The more I read the book, the more I can't help but see the comparison (probably intentional by the author) with the ancient Chinese system of practical science, where science was used not as abstract theological concepts but as practical phenomena to improve society.  Remember that China sped way ahead of the West for centuries just using this system.  Only in the last few centuries has the west overtaken China, and in doing so expouse the superiority of their systems.  (I'm not saying the western system is inferior but am just putting forth another argument that maybe it wasn't the failure of the Chinese scientific system that allowed China to fall behind but rather other factors like a superiority complex, decadent standards of the Qing etc. and given a decent chance, may be the way forward.)

The author has done a lot of research into what is known as Relativity Alternatives, citing his source on these alternate theories of the Big Bang, stella formation etc. and how because of pet theories, Earth scientists were unable to get out of a vicious cycle putting abstract formulations of the mind before observations.

The current scientific methology is to reason and work out a theory then test it with experimentation and observations of natural occurances.  The more the results fit, the better the theory.  If unknowns occur that don't fit the theory, refine the theory or assign constants or arbituary unknowns so that the theory can still work and continue with fitting the theory.  This he argued was the opposite of the Alien method of science.  The Aliens took observed fact and built things accordingly, solving problems as they encountered them.  This allowed them to progress steadily, (sound like China?) and not rely on spurts of brilliance when a right theory is found, or get stuck in a dead end and spending years or whole generations of scientists chasing a wrong theoretical model.  (remember how Einstein worked for years on the... what was it... the cosmological constant? and then discarded it saying it was a waste of his years, only for scientists today to pick it up again).

Let me quote 3 passages from the book.
"Hyadeans had never fallen into the Terran habit of creating false gods that would reveal the ultimate truths of the Universe.  One of the most recent creations to be elevated to the status of infallible deity was mathematics.  The Hyadeans took advantage of the fortuitous fact that some mathematical procedures approximated real-world processes sufficiently closely over a limted range to be useful, and looking no further than that, found an invaluable servant.  Terrans turned things upside down by persuading themselves that their manipulations of formal systems of symbols defined 'laws' that reality was somehow obliged to imitate.  In doing so they subjected themselves to a tyrannical master."

"The Hyadeans went out into space - which required, after all, solid engineering more than esoteric theories - and discovered that the sought-after medium was simply the locally dominant electromagnetic field.  Since in the vicinity of Earth this traveled with the Earth around the Sun, the Terran physicists had, in effect, been trying to measure the airspeed of their plane with their instruments anchored solidly inside the cabin."

"It was strange that the theory Earth's scientific establishment finally put together for shaping the evolution of the cosmos should be based on gravity, when the elctromagnetic forces was ten thousand billion, billion, billion, billion times stronger, and 99 percent of observable matter existed in the form of electrically charged plasma that responded to it.  More so when galaxies, certain binary stars, and other objects were found not to move in the ways that ourely gravitational models said they should, and various forms of 'dark matter' and other unobservables had to be invented to explain why."

What do you think?  Of course this is just fiction but it throws up some interesting food for thought.

I expect a lot of arguments for the Western model here as practically everyone is brought up learning it's methods and no one questions it's validity, me included.

Jieming

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


The story is about an advanced Alien civilisation that has reached earth and has totally changed the way people look at science. Scientific theories are all thrown on their head and the western way of establishing theory first and then trying to fit observed or measured experimental results into the theory as validation, is the main hinderance to progress on Earth.

The Aliens are pictured as very "confucian" and practical, their ability to bridge the stars before Earth mainly because they didn't formulate theories and try and fit stuff to valid cherished pet theories. Instead, the approach is more like the ancient chinese system of making things work based on observed phenomena. Building on accepted norms, unquestioning the basis of their work and continuing forward.


Your pre-supposition that ancient Chinese science was non-theoretical is flawed. Ancient China was not only more advanced in technology, but also in many areas of theory. The current tendency by many people to totally ignore ancient Chinese scientific theory is due to an excessively pragmatic approach in the interpretation of history, it does not, however, necessarily reflect actual history itself.

Many theoretical areas of ancient Chinese science were very advanced and sophisticated. For example, the theoretical framework behind Traditional Chinese Medicine, based on Yin-Yang and the Five Elements, and ancient Chinese astronomical models.

In any case, if you look at the history of scientific development you will find that there is no distinct boundary between theory and observational data, but rather they merge into one another. Observational data is not just sitting out there completely objectively to be picked up by people without any theoretical premises, instead, certain theoretical assumptions must already be present for people to be able to observe the data in the first place. Without a certain theoretical paradigm, there cannot be observation of data. Absolute objectivity of data does not exist.

#13 ih8eurocentrix

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 02:52 AM

Whenever it comes to history these one liners as i like to call them are all wrong,like greece invented democracy,or before columbus everyone thought the world was flat,mongols revoultionized warfare etc .I read somewere that there was a democratic government in india in ancient times too.The problem is western because it has been in the postion to do so in the past has done alot of resaerch on its own history,if it did as much on every culture of the world it would realise that different cultures come up with universal ideas like democracy after all isnt it happiness and freedom what all living creatures desire.

#14 MengTzu

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 03:05 AM

I agree.  It was the lack of population that drove the mechanisation of many of western industries.


A more important reason is why they need such production in the first place. Were Europe simply a agricultural society, with a lack of population also comes a smaller need for food, so it appears there is no need for a massive rate of production. The true reason is that capitalism and industrialization requires mass production. It is not the technology gives birth to industrialization -- rather, it is industrialization that demands the technology.

#15 Alexander39

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 09:58 AM

The quistion that could also be asked is were are the Chinese(And Japanese) . Da Vinci's, Nikola' Tesla's, Michelangelos, Pythagoras. Pascal, among many.
It is not only that these geniouses have made inventions and formulars in use today and in some cases not quite understood as yet (Tesla's Electrofuge). but that they are remembert. And people have ben able to learn and see what they have done and learn from that.
It is no in dispute that the formular for various geometric princibles have been in use before, but why is it Pythagoras that is mostly remembert?.
The fact is that knowledge as such has always have a fairly free flow in western societies, help along by never ending conflikts for sure, but that cannot be the only reason. Why fks did the Egytians not leave behind some of their more advanced mathematical and enginering knowlegde, which were second to NONE in the time it was used?
It must have been a cultural thing since we know that literacy was far more whitespread in Egytian society than most others up until the age of Napoleon. And they wrote about virtualy anything in their everyday life, from toilet porn to dreary ledgers about how many bruchels of of corn their was harvestet from warious very small plots of land.
My conclusion is that it have to be a cultural influence as much as evrything else that coursed this discrenbensy in the relative speed of advancedment in the various cultures around the world.

Pikachu is it true that you would rather have a statue value at maybe 10000$ compare to Lisa'a 700 million$ ?? :P

Edited by Alexander39, 14 August 2005 - 10:02 AM.

My motto would be 'Truth will out, but no truth is absolute'.
We all should look for the truth, no matter how painful or obnoxious it might be. but we always have to keep in mind that any truth we find will be coloured by both our self as well as those that createt it. an absolute truth is always impossible to reach since we as species by nature is falible. the greatest danger is when we convinces our self that the truth we know is the only truth that counts.

Worth remembering that truth is not the same as law of reality. IE the law of gravity no matter how it is describet is always as law that counts, likewise all other natural laws, it is only our incomplete grasp of them that can make them seem inconsistent or untruthfull.

40K - where the genocidal, xenocidal, fascist, ultraconservative zealots with a morbid fear of technology and an unhealthy fondness for burning things... are the good guys.




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