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Dr. Qian and His View on Chinese Culture’s Contribution to the Future

yellow mountain china
Yellow Mountain, China (Huang Shan, 黄山). (Image: derwiki via Pixabay)

The last piece of work by the great Chinese historian Dr. Qian Mu, who passed away in 1990 at the age of 96, was The Contribution of the Chinese Culture to the Future of the World.  In his book, Dr. Qian states how the West would benefit from incorporating Chinese culture into their lives.

Here is an excerpt from his book:

“It is only recently that I have come to a complete understanding of the ‘oneness of heaven and humanity’ in the Chinese culture being the backbone of the whole traditional Chinese culture and philosophy. I am overwhelmed by the enlightenment. I truly believe the Chinese culture’s contribution to the further development of mankind lies within it.

“The greatest gift of the Chinese culture is its thorough studies on the relations between heaven and humanity. The two are integrated and complemented. The West, on the other hand, separates them as two individual entities. As science advances to this stage and time, its bad effects on humanity are prominent to see, exposing the wrong footing of the Western concept.

(Image: Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10232770)

The ‘oneness of heaven and humanity’ in Chinese culture is the backbone of traditional Chinese culture and philosophy. (Image: Wikipedia via Public Domain)

“In the Chinese culture, heaven and man have to be viewed together.  The order of heaven is considered as the reflection of one’s life.  Therefore, when one deviates from one’s path, there is no order of heaven at all. When the order of heaven is not with man, there is no way man can talk about his life.

“Ancient Chinese considered the greatest and most sublime thing was the integration of the two. All of humanity’s development arose from the order of heaven.  When this deviated, they could go nowhere. Personally, I would say the ‘oneness of heaven and humanity’ philosophy is the most ancient and profound contribution of the Chinese culture.

“Western culture separates the two as different levels and scenes, which leave man at a loss to figure out his origin, as well as his path in life.  That explains why Westerners need religious belief to stay in tune with the order of heaven and to explore questions about life.

“Europe has been the glory of humanity in the past century. However, the last 50 years has witnessed its decline. Where does the world go from here? It is the most pressing question that man should examine. An easy rise after a fall is hard to see in Western culture, whereas Chinese culture has experienced rising and falling over thousands of years. Its secret lies in its traditional philosophy of not going against heaven or nature, and ultimately becoming a part of it.

“I daresay this will become the one principle for all peoples to follow, the principle that will integrate all cultures and sustain humanity, while welcoming the blessings of nature.”

Translated research by Mona Song & Kathy McWilliams.

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