"Middle Kingdom" must come to an end. --- Kai Chen
Kai Chen Essay Reprint:
June 1, 2006
Having recently read many of the essays and articles by most Chinese writers, I realize there is a fatal flaw in their pattern of thinking and behaving: They are non-committal, middle roaders. Apparently, "中" - "middle ground", is at the center of their reasoning and value judgment.
Thus, mediocrity, not excellence, in anything the Chinese do, is a logical and necessary result. Taking a non-committal position - a middle ground, is safe with minimal risk-taking, according to this mindset. Yet it is often, if not always, the morally confused and intellectually lazy who take such an approach to life. Sadly it has long become the central part of the Chinese culture and intellectual tendency. Not only the ordinary people as well as the Chinese intellectuals don't realize the harmful effect of such a corrupt tendency, such as tolerance of evil, moral confusion, evasion of individual responsibility, pseudo-science, fatalism, etc.., they somehow treasure it and take pride in such a cultural legacy and intellectual identity.
They negate everything they say and do by taking the middle road: They want freedom without responsibility; they want individuality without independence and dignity; they want democracy without liberty; they want a gigantic parental government to take care of their own every needs and wants and also want to overthrow it... The list goes on and on. In the end, as I always state, you will find they actually want "Nothingness". This is where evil lurks. Where there is nothingness, "Power" - a slave and master relation between individuals becomes everything. In everywhere that moral values are relative, political power becomes absolute. This is a logical and necessary outcome of any society built upon nihilism (Nothingness)/despotism.
To combat this insidious cultural tradition and intellectual tendency, we must be vigilant. We must make sure the words we write and speak have value commitment and a moral direction. We must prepare to take personal responsibility for everything we say and do as free individuals. Only when we ourselves start to rid off this corrupt and pernicious cultural habit, China can start to see the light of hope.