Let’s Learn

By Stijn, BE

 China UNlimited___I invite you to take a walk with me through a Chinese park which we shall name ‘The blessed gate to eternal prosperity’.

The first thing we see after we cross the entrance is a group of people dancing, beautifully dressed in old Chinese clothing. In the plaza to the west we find several people dressed in Western clothing and practizing, amongst others, the charleston. We continue our walk and pass several red pavilions where Chinese from all ages engage in traditional Chinese ink painting and calligraphy while others are painting abstract with Western oil paint. We continue our walk and arrive at the square in the centre of the park. Here are many people singing together and even doing karaoke. The songs they sing, range from ethnic folk songs to contemporary Chinese pop songs to Michael Jackson and Britney Spears. We leave the square behind and in a corner of the park, beautifully hidden underneath pine trees, we see young and old doing psychophysical practices. They practise different styles of taijiquan, shaolin, wushu, qigong, aerobics, fitness, western boxing and jogging. Amidst all of these activities, scattered throughout the entire park, on their own or in group, people are practising their music instruments like the violin, the pipa, the guqin, the guitar, while others are quietly walking, sipping tea or cheering for the many players of Go, Chinese chess and Western chess.

At the end of our walk, we cannot but wonder about the ecclecticism we have just witnessed, this seemless blend of activities from other parts of the world, peacefully co-existing next to eachother.

It is exactly this feature that is of the utmost importance.

China’s rise to economic power has been studied in great length and depth. The studies devoted to China’s business environment and political and economic peculiarity number in the many thousands.

But what has been neglected is the role of culture. I believe that it is through culture that China has risen again. It is through the study and partial assimilation of other cultures that China has been able to broaden and deepen their understanding of their own culture, while also gaining a thorough understanding of the cultures of the rest of the world.

This stand in shrill contrast with Europeans. The shameful truth is that most Europeans barely know anything about China, except for their favourite menu number of their local Chinese take away restaurant.

It is clear to me that if Europe wants to play an important role on a global scale in the twenty first century, it will have to invest in the understanding of other cultures and reach out beyond its borders.

But how can this be done?

If we want change to endure, it has to start from the base on an educational level: Let us teach our children about China. For example, it is unthinkable that in our history lessons nothing is taught about an empire with a continued history of five thousand years. In comparison, the country I live in and where many European institutions reside, is a mere 184 years young. Also, there is no other country in the world that has such a vast and rich literary history. To sum up the incredible writers and poets that have sprung forth from China would take up several volumes. Shakespeare, Dante, Milton and Vergilius are widely read in China, while few in the West have heard of Li Bai, Dufu and Bai Juyi.

The same goes for philosophy and religion. Of course it is important to teach our children about Plato, Kant, Aquino and Descartes, but they also should know about Kongzi, Mengzi, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Wang Yangming and Mozi as well.

There are many more examples, like Chinese medicine, Chinese art and so on.

But there is hope.

There is already one tiny aspect of China’s cultural heritage that enjoys recognition, and that is the gentle art of Taijiquan. Once a tremendous effective martial art, now known for its transformative, therapeutic and meditative qualities. Since it is already quite known, it could be a great starting point to further explore Chinese culture.

I do not argue that Europeans should become Chinese. But through the study of Chinese culture, we can learn valuable lessons: We earn respect for other cultures and we learn to appreciate diversity. And we can look with new eyes upon our own culture and broaden our understanding of it. I firmly believe that is only through the study of culture that we can find common ground, the essence of what binds us together as humans, as a species.

It is only fitting I should conclude this essay with the words of the most famous cultural hero of China. His name is Kongzi, known in the West under his Latinised name Confucius. His words are now fifteen hundred years old, but are as relevant today as they were then:

‘Is it not pleasant to learn with perseverance and application? Is it not delightful having friends coming from far away places?’

We should heed these words and learn from each other. We should broaden our perspective and welcome our friends from afar. We will all become the richer from it.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Saudi woman seeking asylum in Thailand ‘now in a secure place’ says UNHCR

States with power and influence to end suffering of Yemenis must take action ‘immediately’ – UN rights chief

How to test if Kiev’s ‘Maidan’ was an authentic revolt or a well-planned operation

MEPs reject making EU regional funding dependent on economic targets

China Unlimited: an exclusive interview with the former Ambassador of Hungary to China

EU citizens disenchanted with Economic and Monetary Union over rising poverty and high unemployment

7 ways the ‘biological century’ will transform healthcare

A Sting Exclusive: “Sustainable development goals: what role for business?” Commissioner Mimica asks live from European Business Summit 2015

We have a space debris problem. Here’s how to solve it

The secret weapon in the fight for sustainability? The humble barcode

The Chinese film boom luring Hollywood’s stars

Is a deal over EU budget possible today?

Militias force nearly 2,000 to leave Libyan capital’s largest shelter for internally-displaced: UNHCR

90% of plastic polluting our oceans comes from just 10 rivers

As human caravan moves through Mexico, ‘full respect’ needed for national control of borders: UN chief

Parmesan cheese on shelves in Italy (Copyright: European Union, 2014 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Daniela Giusti)

CETA at risk again: Italy says it won’t ratify EU-Canada trade deal over product protection fears

Europe’s top court hears Intel and sends € 1.06 bn antitrust fine to review

GSMA announces new keynote speakers for 2018 Mobile World Congress

A comprehensive strategy for Eurozone’s long term growth gains momentum

China’s Ambassador to the EU Zhang Ming wishes to Brussels a Happy 2019 Year of the Pig

INTERVIEW: Advancing human rights, a ‘never ending process’ says new UN rights chief

Why European manufacturing SMEs in the South face fatal dangers

Prisons are failing. It’s time to find an alternative

How China raised the stakes for electric vehicles

GSMA Mobile 360 Series – Latin America, in association with The European Sting

EU shapes its ambitious strategy on India

The link between migration and technology is not what you think

Refugee crisis: Commission proposes a new plan urging EU countries to help Italy

ECB guarantees the liquidity of the Atlantic financial volume

Some Prevailing Arguments and Perceptions over the South China Sea Issue Are Simply Wrong

The European brain drain and the deteriorating medical workforce

Christine Lagarde: the three priorities for the global economy

Is Erdogan ready to tear down the bridges with Europe and the West?

‘Collective amnesia’ over causes of global financial crash – human rights expert

European Union: More taxes out of less income

Who and why want the EU-US trade agreement here and now

The COP22 is under full deployment while Donald Trump threatens openly to withdraw the US from the Paris agreement

From drought to floods in Somalia; displacement and hunger worsen, says UN

COP21 Business update: Companies urge now for carbon pricing as coal is still a big issue

EU free-trade agreements with Canada and US: imagine the fallout if put to national referendums

More women than ever before are running for political office in the US

This is the state of the world’s health, in numbers

ECB readies itself for extraordinary monetary measures defying Germany

Trump ‘used’ G20 to side with Putin and split climate and trade packs

Technology is delivering better access to financial services. Here’s how

Press conference by EC Vice-Presidents Valdis Dombrovskis (left) and Jyrki Katainen, on the Commission's proposals in the framework of the financial union (Source: EC Audiovisual Services / Copyright: EU, 2018 / Photo by Georges Boulougouris)

EU Finance ministers agree on new banking capital rules and move closer to Banking Union

Fail fast, fail better: 3 ways companies can master innovation

Only the Americans are unhappy with the ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine

Palestinian children’s education deeply impacted by ‘interference’ around West Bank schools, UN warns

Does the West play the Syrian game in Egypt?

Pakistan: UN strongly condemns terrorist attack that leaves scores dead and wounded at election rally

Connectivity and collaboration in the ICT industry: the key to socio-economic development

Dangers of poor quality health care revealed ‘in all countries’: WHO report

World’s human rights watchdog spotlights Afghanistan, Yemen and 12 others: Here’s the scoop

Quality Internships: Towards a Toolkit for Employers

New report says better metrics could have prompted stronger response to the crisis

Eurozone hasn’t escaped the deflation danger

Chatterbox Rome Declaration cannot save the EU; Germany has to pay more to do that

Any doubt?

EU-China trade: closer ties as US-China trade battle brews

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s