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Trio of Tyranny in China
中国专制的三暴虐 - 文字，文化与政治
China's Despotism - From linguistic tyranny, to cultural tyranny, to governmental tyranny
"Free Beings" vs. "Chinese" Series
- The trio of tyrannies and its horrific effect on the formation of Chinese slave mindset – a treatise and indictment on the Chinese dehumanization process -
By Kai Chen 陈凯 （Written 4/10/2006, Reprint 8/29/2011)
As people puzzled over the persistence of the Chinese communist regime after the collapse of the communism as an ideology world wide, only a few saw the roots of the Chinese despotism. Many are not willing, some not able, others lacking courage to recognize the connection between the Chinese traditional culture and the current deplorable state of affairs in China. Almost all reject even the slightest suggestion that the Chinese character-based, syllabic language has something to do with the formation of Chinese mind-set which can only be properly coined “complete slavery and dehumanization of human beings”.
Some even suggest that preservation of a Confucian culture is paramount in reforming the Chinese society and curing the ills in the Chinese mind. To me this suggestion is tantamount to saying that solution to communist tyranny and dictatorship is the communist party, and the cure of AIDS is introducing more HIV virus. Some, with various motives and deep secret complex, come in a hurry to defend the indefensible cruel Chinese feudal culture. And they defend even with more vehemence than the despotic masters the origin of the Chinese tyranny – the character-based, syllabic Chinese language. The panic feels like as if someone is digging into their ancestors’ untouchable graves. It is as if someone is touching that “sacred cow” in their hearts. No matter how much they hate the Chinese communist party and its despotic regime, they are willing to defend the roots of it with their blood and lives. Sounds comically contradictory, doesn’t it? Some, even come with more hilarious accusation against those who point out the intrinsic and inseparable connection between the Chinese language and culture with the miserable human condition in China today, calling them “traitors of the Chinese race” and “harboring ulterior motives to demean the Chinese”, and “potential dictators in the future”….
Their entire defense not only fails to exonerate the evil culture that has been created to destroy individuals, humanity and freedom, their preposterous accusation against those who see the evil shows exactly how their mind-set of cultural, linguistic and governmental slavery has been formed. That mind-set is the living proof of the existence of evil.
The following is a treatise to detail the process of Chinese dehumanization of individuals through this “trio of tyrannies” and an indictment against this evil origin of the complete alienation and enslavement of Chinese mind over their own existence.
Chinese Linguistic Tyranny
(Since Chinese society is patriarchal in nature, I will use “man” and “he” in the composition of this essay. This is not to demean or ignore female human beings.)
From the moment a Chinese toddler starts to put sounds and symbols together, he is handed a brush with ink as his writing tool. (Nowadays a pen or pencil is usually the case) He is presented with a paper with lines and usually a series of rectangle boxes with four evenly divided quadrants in each box. In front of him is a text of writing samples dated maybe hundreds of years back to his ancestors. He is told that his task of learning to write is first and foremost to mimic the perfect symmetry and forms in those pictorial images his ancestors left for him. During this process of repetition, copy, mimic of his ancestors’ leftover in his initial contact with human knowledge, his own dehumanization against his own individuality has formally begun.
He learns that creativity and initiatives are not important; conformity is. He learns that his own mind is not important; his ancestors’ legacy is. He learns that he as an individual is not important; competing with others to see who comes closer to the original forms left by his ancestors is. He learns that meaning and substance of the word is not important; the appearance - the formation, the image and the shell is. He is further confounded, yet not knowing consciously, with the fact that language is not a tool to comprehend and analyze phenomena to reach to reality, rather it is an artistic endeavor to please the eye, and the others. However, in this supposed artistic endeavor, he is not allowed to create and produce. He is forced to copy, to memorize, to follow… His two hemispheres of the brain are inundated with conflicting input of symbols and images. (We now know that all humans have the same structure in their brains – one hemisphere in charge of language, analysis, abstract thinking, logic, rationality.., and the other art, music, concrete images, creative impulses…) His analytical hemisphere is being force-fed with pictorial images, instead of abstract symbols, while his artistic hemisphere is starved with a strict and deliberate stifling of his instinct and impulse to create. In learning to write the Chinese characters, he is weaving and knitting an elaborate and intricate mesh to smother his own brain, to restrict his own initiatives, to deny his individual uniqueness.
While humans are endowed by our creator to have a unique human quality to create, change and reform our surroundings and environment to serve our own purposes, as a distinctive quality from other creatures, the cruel and inhumane process of Chinese systematic stripping of this unique human quality has effectively taken place with their young, in the form of indoctrination of a confusing and crippling linguistic system. The very possibility of human creative spark is effectively eliminated. One does not have to snip the bud. The bud has never appeared for it has died long before it can ever manifest itself. The very mind of each distinct individual is thus insidiously being forced into a tiny rectangle box from which he will never be allowed to escape to return to his nature of free being.
By the time he is taught to compose sentences, he is further stripped of concept of time by a lack of tense in the Chinese verbs. Though the adverbs are constantly put in to modify the verbs, he has been reduced to never have had a strong sense of sequential events according to time. As his study of Chinese language progresses, he has found that he lacks a distinction between individual and collective, for in Chinese verbs there is no such differentiation of plural and singular. “People” can be viewed as something like an inseparable entity while an individual’s uniqueness is severely diminished. Last time I checked, a fascist view of collective as a living entity has the same connotation. He further learns that in pronunciation of chinese third personnel, there is no distinction between genders and between humans and animals or between humans and a rock. The dehumanization process is deepening.
He finds that he cannot read and write to communicate till he is six or seven years old, with barely enough storage of Chinese characters laden with pictorial images, memorized through repetition in his analytical hemisphere of the brain. He is forever crippled in coming up with new abstract ideas.
As he goes further in his study of his ancestors’ leftovers/feces, he finds that he is strictly forbidden from creating any new Chinese character by himself. All 50,000 Chinese characters are all he can copy and use in his understanding of his world of reality, though only about 5,000 in normal usage. By definition, all human knowledge on earth has stopped within the confinement of these 50,000 some Chinese characters. He can only try to manipulate, combine the existing characters to describe what he sees, not to invent new concepts. Thus the primary function of Chinese language is to describe, not to prescribe, is to inherit, not to expand, is to please, not to pursue, is to control, not to discover, is to possess, not to enjoy. the alienation is thus thorough and complete – the tool has become the master to be served with total devotion of chinese human lives. The creators of the language have become the slaves of the same language.
With the rigid and stagnant Chinese language in place and in charge, humans are not here to create; they are only here to procreate. Humans are not individuals with indivisible integrity, dignity and uniqueness; humans are only an indistinguishable blob of flesh and blood of fleeting images, banded together by a tiny rectangle box to experience excruciating pain and suffering, much like a contortionist. Conclusion: The Chinese language is an inhuman and inhumane language which only facilitates a perverse dehumanization process among the Chinese masses/population.
In sharp contrast, English, as a multi-syllable, alphabetic language, takes the premise that humans are free and unique beings. Language is their tool to serve their lives’ purpose, not their master to dominate and control their existence. With English language, children as early as three years old can read and write and communicate effectively with their peers. The abstract, alphabetic symbols of the language – the letters can be easily and freely assembled and dissembled and resembled to create new words that represent new discoveries and new concepts. They are designed to be abstract to input information into human brain’s abstract hemisphere. and the meaning of the word and compositions, not calligraphy, is the most important aspect of learning such a language. With this language, humans are allowed to be humans – free, creative and exploratative. With the way human brain is hardwired, there is no doubt that English language (alphabetic and multi-syllable) is a human and humane language.
Chinese Cultural Tyranny
From the moment a spark of consciousness start to flicker, a Chinese youth witnesses at first hand, how humans treat each other and how he is treated by these humans around him. Another dimension of Chinese dehumanization process is taking place in his perception of reality – a cultural tyranny starts to dominate his life.
When the infant starts to observe his surroundings and tries to make sense out of them, the first thing that enters his mind is the fearsome hierarchy everyone carefully follows and obeys. In this invisible hierarchy, everyone’s identity is predetermined by his birth and gender. He discovers that one cannot open his mouth unless he does so according to the echelon he occupies in this hierarchy. He has to find out how old he is, how much money he makes, what connections his family has in relations with this classification of superiority and inferiority. He has to know his gender stratification, male as always being on top of female. He has to know every title and name in the generation differentiation and address his peers by proper titles and names. He has to know exactly all of these before he can open his mouth.
He is conditioned to know that the highest echelon in the hierarchy is the ubiquitous officialdom in the government, and the highest judicial judge in morals and all affairs affecting him is the highest official in this government – the emperor, chairman, president. He now knows that the God in his life is China itself – a nation with a border, a population with the same racial and ethnic features, a way to behave and think – never disturbing the existing order. China is the combination of all the desirable values in his life. He will be dedicating his entire life to this invisible God.
As he continues to grow up and further immerses himself in the Chinese literature, cultural habits and order of things, he finds that he himself as a person gradually dissolved and disappeared in the cultural soup everyone is stirring to cook into a shapeless entity. Everyone starts to behave in the same manner according to this invisible hierarchy, and no one is distinct and unique by himself. For the first time, he tastes the fearsome power of his cultural environment. That faceless everyone is called Big Family which he is obligated to preserve and please. Everyone seems to want to please everyone else and no one however, wants to initiate anything. Passivity is the order of the day and fate is everyone’s master. Learning to patiently live with desperation and helplessness is a must if he wants to survive. And it even becomes an art. He starts to cheat, lie, manipulate, intimidate, pretend… Anything he does is alright so long as he is to preserve and please the big family. Saving face is the biggest concern for everyone, from top down. The Big Family and the government that represents it has become his overlord and his entire individual worth is to be judged by only it.
He practices hard to write beautiful calligraphy, for he knows without the beautiful and unobtrusive appearance, everything else is meaningless. One will have hard time climbing the social ladder if one’s calligraphy is no good. The more he self-effacing his own being, the more likely he will climb high. He learns to entertain himself by practicing Chinese violin, but finds that the bow is stuck between the strings and he can only play one string at a time. The music that comes out of the instrument always bears a sad, lonely, helpless tone he can never escape. He picks a brush to paint a picture, but finds that only water color is available. The painting comes out will always be smeared and blurred. The human image that comes out of the water color has no spirit, no deep feelings, no facial expressions, and no passion (not to mention there is no shades and no one know where the light comes from). Even this dubious representation of humans on paper cannot last long. The water color always fades over time. A blurred image of reality for others to guess and feel is the standard of art.
He is frustrated, trying to find and etch a permanent mark for himself in the history of China. He starts to read the Chinese classic literatures, for in there he can find all kinds of intrigues, plots, manipulation of emotions, pretentious grace.., widely applied in the chinese officialdom. He attends school to memorize and mimic all the tactics and tricks to use, abuse and manipulate others humans so he can climb over their corpses to advance in this hierarchy. He learns how to mesmerize his victims by pretending to be their savior, making them believe they are all victims of others. Like a king cobra, he wants to desensitize and distract his prey by letting them focus on his beautiful and symmetrical markings, the carefully planned, mesmerizing movements, the ingenious camouflage, and the speedy and powerful strikes. He does not want others to know his nature. He is doing everything to hide it. He has learned all these through the books he has read and observation he has made and he is well versed in all of them. None of the education process has focused on the nature, the essence, and the substance of things and phenomena. No moral judgment has ever been rendered. So he is not about to start to attract others’ attention on his deadliness and his poisonous-ness. He has become the master of all his ancestors’ teachings. His only goal: to acquire power as much as he can. The more power he has, the more he is close to the omnipotent and arbitrary head of the big family, and the more he approaches God/being God.
However, he is very unhappy and insecure, for every step up he climbs, he is losing something - something he could not describe and may never recover. But he somehow senses that something is essential for his fulfillment and happiness. He becomes more and more drained and emptied, but the urge to climb even higher is so great that he cannot stop. It is just like, no, it is exactly like a narcotic addiction. The more you have, the more you want to have, even knowing it is killing your organs, killing your humanity. He now is in the deep grip of a powerful, enticing presence he can never escape without help from outside/divine forces.
But the outside help never comes. All the cultural narcotic addicts never admit they are addicts. He is no exception. His mental health starts to deteriorate. He can not distinguish right from wrong, illusions from reality, truth from falsehood, what is good for him from what is harmful…. Yet he continues the path of climbing toward that illusive peak in the officialdom, knocking down adversaries ruthlessly with no mercy. He never feels safe, for everyone else is doing just the same. He is exhausted but he dares not to stop or relax. Momentary reflection of himself scares the hell out of him, for he does not have guts to admit how deep and how far he has embarked on this road of self-destruction. And he knows it is all his making. and relentlessly, the atrocious/miserable/meaningless end is coming.
One day, a more ruthless and poisonous adversary knocks him off the ladder of officialdom. He falls and ready to give up and die. Before he dies, he curses the enemy; he curses back luck; he curses fate; he curses all others. He even curses the system for failing him, not knowing or admitting he is exactly the essential part of it, the foundation of it. His only lesson from all this is: (and he will tell all his children about it) next time, if there is ever going to be one, I will be more ruthless, poisonous and deadly. In the process of victimizing each other, everyone becomes inescapably victimized. The cycle of men-eating-men is thus completed.
Such is a soulless life’s story. Such is a loveless life. Such is a joyless existence. Such is a zombie’s journey. Such is a definition of evil and corruption. Such is the portrait of a Chinese cultural slave - a Eunuslawhore (eunuch, slave, prostitute).
Contrast distinctly from this cycle of dehumanization, Christian ethics stresses exactly the opposite of this men-eating. It preaches that every individual human being is an entirely unique universe, a beginning and end in himself. He is not to be used, abused and abandoned as some used-up tools by others, no matter how many they are in quantity. In short, he is not to be a mean to an end, but an end in itself. Because of such an inalienable and inseparable nature of the entity, he is endowed by god to have rights and freedom; therefore, he has the possibility to be happy and joyful. No one, no matter how powerful he is as in the case of a government, should be morally justified to define such a being. He is indeed a sacred creation and only god can design him and make possible for him to discover that sacred design. Bias, prejudice, power for the sake of control and self-degradation are detested in such an ethics and culture. Dignity and respect are coined to depict such a being as unique and irreplaceable. Nothing can be ever justified without his own individual consent, for only he knows his own values and worth. Group and government oppression is viewed as the embodiment of evil. Servitude and slavery is as insidiously detrimental to human mental and spiritual health as viruses and narcotic addiction. Equality among humans is a natural extension in the very fact that each and every one of individuals must ultimately face god and himself, not others and governments. Conscience and spiritual integrity is established in such a cultural environment. Self-direction rather than others-direction becomes the orientation of such moral being. Creativity and productivity, Not robbing, begging, cheating and stealing, flows like fountainhead, nourishing a new generation of such free beings. Values are constantly produced and nothingness inevitably sneered and discarded.
Such is a human ethics. Such is a human culture. Such will be the humanity's future.
Tyranny of Chinese Political Institutions
When a crippled Chinese adult, mentally and spiritually ill-equipped, enters into the political arena characterized by the omnipresent Chinese officialdom, he painfully discovers that he is further trapped and demeaned by the very institutions his ancestors left to control him. He is viewed as nothing more than a cog on an enormous grinder aimed to mix truth with falsehood, right with wrong, black with white, existence with nothingness. Every ounce of everyone’s individual energy is absorbed and usurped to contribute to the speed of the spinning machine. In the cultural soup it produces, nothing is distinct and unique and nothing can be used as values, particles and concrete foundation to build anything. The only function of such a political machine is to drown everyone with this toxic cultural soup and make him a part of its ingredient to kill still many others.
Fostered and boosted by the linguistic tyranny and cultural tyranny, the political machine his ancestors created and left for him is a ferocious and insatiable beast of destruction.
As his maturing consciousness starts to question his own being in his political surroundings, he finds that no one is in charge and henceforth no one is able to change this political environment. Everyone is only operating in it, much like everyone is using the same Chinese characters to write. No one is able to create anything in this political environment, much like no one is able or supposed to create any Chinese character by himself. He is trapped. He further finds that in this political culture, government precedes people. Government is viewed to have existed even before humans appear on earth. Government authority comes from the mysterious “heaven” and it has nothing to do with human beings. So the emperors have all been called “sons of heaven” and everyone who dares to question this order and authority is doomed to “hell” and eternal ostracism.
Thus, the government has always been viewed as parents, and the masses under it have always been viewed as some infantile children in need of care. Government officials are endowed with titles such as “parental officials” and the people “children people”. A person is born not free, but underneath this parental government and the power it wields. Any limited freedom is freedom in a cage, and freedom to obey and conform, for he is reared and raised by the government and the emperors. He has been taught that when the big river has water, the small creeks will flow. Even God in heaven is with a title “jade emperor”. It is the emperor that gives people their clothes and food. It is the nation and government that give people their livelihood and meaning of life.
He has read from all the literature that his ancestors have left that all heroes in Chinese history are “nation loving” heroes. All immortals he ever worships are ancestral officials in the emperors’ court. Everything that has any values in China is tied with officialdom. Government and officialdom is not only he depends on for his livelihood, but he depends on for his meaning of life. All the educational institutions have one aim – to produce “nation loving” and “emperor loving” officials in the echelon of governmental hierarchy. The higher he climbs in the official ladder, the more power he acquires and hence the more meaning in life he has. Thus, he stops/kills all his other interests and endeavors and focuses only on one thing – joining officialdom to climb the ladder.
In the process of climbing the ladder, he learns further from his ancestors and the knowledge they have left via those rectangle boxes written in those thread-bond books all the official tricks, plots, deceits, maneuvers, manipulations. He is well versed in the spirit all these books and the ultimate message they espouse – “the end always justify the means”. So long as he is for others and for the helpless masses, all his excessive tactics and murderous methods are thoroughly justified. His only slogans in his heart are “loyal to the emperors, loyal to the nation/party-dynasty, loyal to the ancestors and all the language, institutions, culture they have left to him.”
He has learned that the most effective method of controlling the masses with their infantile and meaningless existence is to hold their loved ones, their family, and anything including their own profession they love, hostage. If one offends the order of the court, the entire family suffers, the generations related to the person in anyway suffers. No one is responsible for himself anyway, so everyone else around him must be responsible. Here is the most effective weapon in his arsenal, among others like confusion, fatalism, superstition, jealousy, denial, blindness to truth… Though he himself is subjected to the same control mechanism, he is nonetheless enthusiastically enforcing the order using these means, for the illusion is the higher one climbs, the freer one becomes.
Not only family is used to be the hostage in this scheme of things, family is used as the very control mechanism to subdue everyone in it. Family has become the very basic unit of the government, to serve the government. The very word “nation” (Guo, Jia 国家) in Chinese is simply composed with two characters – nation and family. The saint of all Chinese – Confucius has long deemed the Chinese moral order to be inviolable – “emperor to subordinates, father to sons”. The bigger the government, the better, and since family has become the basic unit of the government, the entire society does not only belong to the government, it is indeed the government itself. Separation of government and society has never existed in China. Any political order in China is only the extension of personal order of the individual and his identity. An ingenious design it is indeed, by the ancestral saint-the Confucius.
In the later years of China's modern history, Mao only further inherited/enhanced this very Chinese tradition of building the entire China into a giant prison, in which everyone can be potential a spy to report on others to the authority, particular within the family. So why build prisons to hold those unruly scoundrels like in the USSR under Stalin? Instead, the chinese under mao have followed our ancestors under emperors and confucius: They make the entire society governmental, and make the entire population prisoners of their own family, or their own relations with others. Yes indeed this is exactly what has happened during the notorious cultural revolution. The poison has seeped through every pore of the society and the corruption via total surrender by the individuals is thorough and complete.
America represents the exact opposite of the Chinese experience: It is based on individual freedom with a solid foundation in Christian faith; therefore each and every individual is fully aware of his or her responsibility to his own conscience and action. Its political institutions are established on the premise of human fallibility and subsequent potential abuse by government and majority. Separation of power, checks and balances within the political power structure, a constitutional base to limit government and guaranty individual rights, federalism to ensure a bottom-up direction from individual sovereignty to local autonomy to limited federal government.., all are the healthy and necessary institutions aimed at expanding individual freedom. Government is contracted to serve people’s purposes, not the other way around – people are subdued to serve the government. Legitimacy, transparency and openness are understood to be the concern of all the individual citizens in their eternal vigilance to guard their liberty and rights against tyranny. American political institutions are human institutions for human interests, freedom and happiness.
Over two thousand years ago on this land that humans inhabited, a divergence of humanity began to emerge. In the East over the vast land of Asia, a process of dehumanization started with the unification by an emperor with his swords, bloodshed, and oppressive force over the population on his domain. Through the intrinsic defects of its own language, the facilitation of eunuch official intellectuals, and the state power, human beings had become the subjects and slaves of their own creation. They have been terrorized by the very alienation they created ever since and become deformed humans with twisted mind-set. A stagnant and vicious circular course of history has been the order even today.
About the same period over on the other side of the planet, a quiet and powerful revolution to recognize and confirm humanity also began to take shape, championed not by someone with swords, but by a mild-mannered man dressed in rags who never held any official position. A new kind of values was being preached upon the population and into the very soul of humans – truth, liberty, equality, individuality, fraternity, tolerance, creativity… Through the sparks he has ignited, a torch has been lit to light up the course of human history. History would never be a circle to trap humans with their corpses and misery. History started to advance toward life, freedom and joy. Humans are no longer the slaves of their own creations. They have become their own masters over their own language, their own culture and their own political institutions. A liberation of the human souls has enables them to advance through darkness toward better and better future. America is the epitome of this very advancement.
In the West, human beings continue to advance along the line of liberty for humanity. in the East, human beings continue to be trapped by the tyranny of their own culture and government. They are nothing but slaves of their own cultural conditioning and tools of the despotic state they have created and passively obeyed. The gap is gigantic.
In view and analysis of what has impeded Chinese society from entering modern history and join the community of free nations, I am confident that these three mountains – the three tyrannies that have oppressed the Chinese people without them knowing the nature of the tyrannies, must be removed before any healthy human institutions can be developed. The dehumanization process via these three tyrannies must be stopped and destroyed. Human beings must be returned to their original form intended by their creator – free, full of life, joyful and creative, the masters of their own environment, their own language, their own culture, their own political institutions, their own fate, their own future. The thorough and complete alienation of individual human beings to their creations must be reversed. The vicious dynastic cycles must be reviled, condemned and eliminated. a society of individual human beings, by individual human beings, for individual human beings must be finally realized. China must join the post-historical America by emulating its examples to release the tremendous energy of human creativity and productivity of its own citizens. Let’s start to remove the three mountains and the tyranny they have imposed on the Chinese people for thousands of years. Let's start this process from ourselves as free and responsible individuals.