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|Yes of course, but discussion has to begin somewhere, does it not? Copy code
- Of course you know that you have vastly oversimplified things, correct?
I grew up at a time when any direct communication between ordinary citizens of the PRC and of the USA was unthinkable. Of course, during the Cold War, everything that was said about China in US media was bad bad bad.
Now the internet makes it possible for citizens of the USA and the PRC to talk to each other.
Of course everything we will say will be an oversimpliification, but it is a beginning.
When I was young, the idea that there could possibly be direct communication between ordinary Americans and ordinary Chinese was as remote as the idea that someday ordinary Americans could have conversations with ordinary people on Mars and Venus. I was aware that we were getting high filtered news about the Communist countries, and wished I could talk to people there. All through my life I have wished there were ways that ordinary people could communicate while their governments were having problems. The invention of the internet made that come true.
Meantime, I don't know the accuracy of the impressions I received then, from reading about China.
When I read about Mao and the Cultural Revolution, the impression that I got was that it was intended to replace the old Confucian attitudes and help the Chinese people to feel more rebellious against authorities. Was he successful? I encounter very different opinions on that question, among different commentators.
There is no question that the USA is a culture with rebelliousness against authority woven into its basic personality.
This puts USA culture, in its extreme forms, at the opposite pole of Confucianism. It would also make the American personality. which has no reverence for authority, into something threatening and bad.
I wondered what would happen if I put forth a picture that basically contrasts Confucian China with modern America. What I was curious to know -- and am still curious to know, because I think that this forum could be a good place to conduct experiments and research in cross-cultural communication -- is whether the Chinese who responded to my post would sound as though they thought rebelliousness was a negative or positive quality. If people responded as though rebelliousness was a positive quality, then that would mean that Mao had succeeded in changing the culture away from Confucianism. If people felt that rebelliousness was a negative quality, that would mean that Confucianism had ultimately prevailed.
I am still interested in this subject -- the cultural attitudes toward rebelliousness that the Chinese have. I am a retired teacher and have observed for years that rebelliousness and creativity go together. Modern China (according to writers like Yong Zhao, who lives in the United States and writes books comparing US and Chinese educational policy) has realized that its educational system has stifled creativity and that this is a cost to the PRC. USA education policy is moving closer and closer to Chinese education policy (more regimentation and teaching by scripts) which in my opinion is a mistake. In the long run, creativity will be important for the future, in all countries.
I am grateful for the existence of this forum, and for the fact that the PRC government has given us a way that ordinary citizens from any country can have discussions with ordinary Chinese people about their opinions, so that we can build a better future together. I believe that creating relationships among ordinary people of different countries is the best foundation for peace.