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A digest so far -- should we even feel proud?
I'm excited and glad to see that the Beijing Olympics preparations are going smoothly and the Opening Ceremony is at hand in less than a week. |
The discussions here, together with those on the Games, offer the best proof that China is truly the center of attention these days on topics new and old alike.
As usual, several detractors are here foolishly trying to prevent the wheel of world history from turning.
Their efforts are like those of a toddler trying to rein in an unshackled thoroughbred horse, or a mantis trying to stop a cart from rolling -- "bu zi lian li" or overestimating themselves.
Still, we shouldn't let the nation's present and past glories blind us to the gravity of the situation and the immensity of the tasks ahead of us after the Olympics --
As part of the lyrics of an old English song says:
Old boys new boys winning glory
We ourselves must write the story
Keep this challenge still before ye
Glory to our school (nation)
Most of the detractors here are trying to downplay the significance of Menzies' 1434 book without giving any evidence that they have studied the material.
That this is far from being a scientific approach to resolving disputes is self-evident.
In any event, one of the relevant questions at this time is this:
If Menzies is correct -- as the preponderance of evidence hitherto seems to indicate -- do you think China should even feel proud to have had Western Europe as the student or recipient of her largesse, namely the priceless trove of knowledge which sparked the European Renaissance in view of what this recipient subsequently did with that knowledge?
It really depends on what one means by true civilization. If it means "river crabs" -- a play on the term "he xie" or harmony in Chinese -- then it has been a disastrous failure in terms of human suffering in the last 500 years.
At this point, it should be noted that the so-called "Age of Discovery" was a misnomer -- it had followed the Renaissance period and directly led to the Eurocentric view of world history -- because strictly speaking Chinese seafarers in their pioneering cartographic work had already made the major discoveries or laid the necessary foundations for them, and should have been credited for having started the "Age of Discovery" ahead of West European seafarers such as Columbus, Magellan, and Vasco da Gama, if a non-Eurocentric view of world history is eventually adopted.
However, there are always two sides to the same coin.
The major negative aspect was that the predatory nature of a resource-deficient Western Europe activated by the Renaissance led to the longest period of human suffering outside of Western Europe characterized by the rise and fall of several nation-states that colonized foreign lands instead of trading with them equitably like the Chinese did in 1434.
And the major positive one was that it opened up vistas of structured scientific experimentation which led to great improvements in Mankind's material civilization, and these achievements led to the self-confidence of the broods of adventurous and restless Europeans that fanned out from Western Europe to the Americas, Asia and Africa.
To destroy this Eurocentric view of world history by unveiling the myths surrounding the origin of the Renaissance is therefore pure anathema to some Westerners -- just like they'd never admit to the FACT that the overwhelming majority of the Tbetans are now living a much better life as a result of the largesse of the Beijing government.
Their unreasonableness in their approaches on the issues of both Tbet and Menzies is due to their intrinsic need to continue to feel culturally and morally superior even as their social fabric is disintegrating and their economic indicators are nosediving, by flatly denying the mountain of contrariwise evidence about the origin of the Renaissance amassed before them.
In the case of Menzies, there is actually absolutely no need for these detractors to downplay the significance of his superior work if they could in fact afford to be less self-diffident. None of the arguments fielded so far here or elsewhere has negated any major aspect of his thesis.
I'm certain that in the foreseeable future, as deep-sea sonar and other oceanographic technologies improve further afield, some of the Chinese ships that had circumnavigated the globe and ended in the Americas will be recovered, helping to resolve some of the intriguing mysteries.