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.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

Can India reduce deaths on one hazardous road to zero? This group is trying

COVID-19 tracing apps: MEPs stress the need to preserve citizens’ privacy

Politics still matter in the US but not in Europe

MEPs list conditions for new EU-Azerbaijan deal

South Korea once recycled 2% of its food waste. Now it recycles 95%

The unique role of business in building social good

Will the French let Macron destroy their party political system?

Yemen: ‘Living hell’ for all children, says UNICEF; Angelia Jolie calls for ‘lasting ceasefire’

Brexit: UK business fear of a no-deal scenario preparing for the worst

How to build long-term resilience in vulnerable communities

EU-UK relations: solutions found to help implementation of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland

This woman changed the world of work – and you’ve probably never heard of her

The Eurogroup offered a cold reception to IMF’s director for Europe

Trump stumbles badly on his Russian openings; Europeans wary of Putin

COVID-19: EU helps to deliver vaccines to Moldova and medical items to Montenegro and North Macedonia

Boosting the EU’s Green Recovery: EU invests over €2 billion in 140 key transport projects to jump-start the economy

4 ways to improve the lives of older people

Antitrust: Commission imposes binding obligations on Gazprom to enable free flow of gas at competitive prices in Central and Eastern European gas markets

EU4Health: 9.4 billion EUR budget needed for new EU health programme

A Sting Exclusive: “One year on from the VW scandal and EU consumers are still in the dark”, BEUC’s Head highlights from Brussels

European Semester 2018 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to achieve sustainable, inclusive and long-term growth

The French army is enlisting sci-fi writers to predict the future

What meat consumption has brought to the environment and how herbal diets can help human health

Here’s the secret to financing a greener future

Anti-vaccination: a private choice leading to collective outcomes

Consumer product quality: MEPs take aim at dual standards

This is how we can save millions of people from extreme poverty after COVID-19

Yemen: Security Council backs new mission in support of key port city truce

Scientists have created the world’s ‘first psychopath AI’

UN refugee agency presses States to aid 49 refugees stranded on Mediterranean

Take medical use of cannabis seriously, say MEPs

First-ever EU defence industry fund to finance joint development of capabilities

Parliament toughens its position on banking union

West Darfur tensions could see 30,000 flee across Sudanese border to Chad: UN refugee agency

China dazzles the world with her Silk Road plan to connect, Asia, Europe and Africa

Budgetary Control Committee asks for stronger measures to protect EU spending

Europe plans to send satellites into space to monitor CO2 emissions

Euro-Mediterranean Assembly fixes its permanent seat in Rome

EU to lead one more fight against climate change at G7 summit

New EU visa rules – Questions and Answers

4 ways leaders are driving innovation in the public sector and revolutionising governance

Electronic Cigarettes: A booster or alternative to Smoking?

Fostering intergenerational solidarity and cooperation through age-friendly environments: the right answer to Europe’s demographic challenge

‘Virtual Biopsy’ device detects skin tumours in 15 minutes

Where EU air pollution is deadliest

Eurogroup: IMF proposes Germany disposes

Where do Americans stand on immigration? They’re not as divided as you might think

“Scalpel, please”. For how long hearing this from a woman will be a surprise?

These are the skills young people will need for the green jobs of the future

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over INWIT by Telecom Italia and Vodafone, subject to conditions

Why infrastructure is the only way to fight a COVID-19 recession in the US

MEPs want ambitious funding for cross-border projects to connect people

A Europe that Protects: Commission calls for more efforts to ensure adoption of security proposals

Nigeria floods: Guterres ‘deeply saddened’ by loss of life and rising need

EU young translators’ contest kicks off!

How trade wars pose a threat to the global economy

Why precision medicine won’t transform healthcare – but governance could

Fairer, simpler, more flexible EU farm policy: MEPs vote on post-2020 reform

#WorldBicycleDay: 5 benefits of cycling

Investing in rural women and girls, ‘essential’ for everyone’s future: UN chief

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

%d bloggers like this: