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Filial Piety is Anti-Human
"Free Beings" vs. "Chinese" Series
价值一语： Words of Value:
Some men are born old, and some never seem so. If we keep well and cheerful we are always yong, and at last die in youth, even when years would count us old. --- Tyron Edwards
有些人生下来的时候就老了，有些人到死都不觉得老。 如果我们保持自身的健康与欢愉我们就会一直年轻，即使我们度过百年。 --- Tyron Edwards
By Kai Chen 陈凯 （Reprint 6/10/2011)
“孝”，Filial Piety, is a central element in Confucian ethics. The very phenomenon of Chinese society as "Old Men Society" is entirely based on such a dubious and reactionary concept. Yet if you use your common sense and simple logic to analyze it, the fallacy and ridiculousness of such a fake moral is obvious:
"孝“，Filial Piety, assumes that children owe everything they have to their parents, and their parents owe everything to their own parents.... The logic of humanity goes backward, regressing toward ancient time. No wonder Chinese society is "ancestors oriented society", not "future oriented society". No wonder the Chinese themselves lack vision and are blind toward future, have no interest in improving themselves as individuals, and constantly live in a state of silent desperation. No individuals in China owe their own achievements to their own talent, will, courage and effort. Everything in China is relative. "So why bother?" a normal person would ask. But Chinese mentality is just as such.
I have just read a message that the Chinese National Basketball Team just lost to Spain by 47 points in a tournament. I can see why regardless what others say, "Why bother" attitude is so prevalent in Chinese society, since every achievement will not be recorded under any individual's name. It is their parents', their family's, their collective's, their nation's, their skin color's, their ethnicity's, their ancestors' achievement anyway.
Children in China bear heavy burden even before they are born. Yesterday I saw a program depicting the Chinese children in a vocational (Chinese opera) school: All of them say they want to make their parents and family proud, and they cannot fail, and they have to be Number One, and they have to repay their parents' for their sacrifices... All of them are in tears. What a heavy heart for someone so young!
Do we owe our parents anything? Or it is the opposite, that our parents owe us before we are adults? Do you have children just to have some security and support when you are old? Or do you have children because you love children and you want them to be individuals, strong and successful in what they do, joyful and happy in life? Do you want your children to feel guilty toward you, as if they would never repay what you did for them? Of do you want your children to feel free to explore and venture into their own lives, finding their own lives' value and meaning?
Simple logic and common sense tell us that our children never chose to have us. It is we who chose to have children, unless we don't think we are free beings with free will, unless even when we give birth to a child it is NOT our choice, but some obligation to our parents, or family, or society... We must reverse this irrational and vicious cycle by making ourselves free beings. The moment you think you have free wills and are responsible for that free will, you ARE a free being.
Simple logic and common sense tell us that it is the parents that choose to have children. Therefore, parents owe everything to their children , and their children, NOT their parents, are their primary responsibility and concern in their lives. Responsibility comes with choices, and since we choose to have children, we are gladly bearing that responsibility.
I have two daughters. And from the day they were born, my wife and I took all the responsibility in taking care of them. I have to say, with tremendous pleasure: "I owe my children so much for the joy and happiness they have given me by simply having been born." I enjoy so much to see them grow into young adults, much like when I take care of what I plant into the ground, see the plants grow, flower and bear fruit. The plant does not owe me anything, and it has its own patten of growth and sense of purpose, designated by none other than God. If I fulfill my responsibility in taking care of them, I certainly will enjoy the fruit they will bear. But they don't owe me anything. They owe themselves everything, for if I raise my children to be self-sufficient, independent, free and happy beings, nothing will please me more. If they want to thank me for it, I can only say this to them:
"The best way you can ever thank me is to make your children feel the same way toward you."
When my children eventually have their own children and family, their primary concern and responsibility is not my wife and me, it is their children and families. This is the right logic, not the perverse way of Confucian ”孝“. Children are born helpless, yet free. It is our responsibility to make them independent individuals, not depending on us, or anyone else for that matter. But we will become corrupt and perverse if we take away their own freedom by claiming their primary duty and obligation if not to their own family and children, but to us the parents.
The degrading and vicious cycle of Chinese family which extends to Chinese society must be broken by our denouncing resolutely the Confucian fake morals and anti-human ethics. Logic and common sense, based on the value of free will and responsibility, must prevail.
Let's start from ourselves.