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从辩论看中国专制教育心态 China's Culture against Debate
从辩论看中国专制教育心态 China's Culture against Debatein 陈凯论坛 Kai Chen Forum 不自由，毋宁死! Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death! Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:30 pm
by fountainheadkc • 1.371 Posts
From the Principle of Freedom in Debate to See the Chinese Educational Culture
"Free Beings" vs. "Chinese" Series
陈凯一语 Kai Chen's Words:
An Individual is an Active Entity to Absorb and Create, Not a Passive Handicap to Only Receive and be Molded.
By Kai Chen 陈凯 (Written 5/10/2006, Reprint 9/22/2011)
I have been involved in many debates and discussions in America with other people. And never once did I take this free exchange of ideas and opinions for granted, for I had never had debates and discussions when I was in China. I had only self-criticisms, speech to read with authorities’ approval, and the ubiquitous daily confessions in the official meetings.
Debates, discussions, dialogues can only happen among equal individuals, equal in their own rights to express themselves. This is why in America, debates, discussion, dialogues, free exchange of ideas are daily phenomena most taken for granted. They don’t realize that this is uniquely American phenomenon. The fundamental underlying principle in the phenomenon is American society is founded on free individuals, equal in their rights to express themselves. Yet in these free exchanges there is a subtle but definite and deciding factor that the speaker first and foremost faces not just the dissenter or the opponent or the audience, but the logic, reason, rationality and moral motives in his own expression. The most important aspect and goal in such a debate is NOT to overwhelm or defeat the opponent, but to make one’s own speech more coherent and contradiction-free, in order to approach truth. The fact that the audience is only attracted by those with most coherent argument demonstrates that there is indeed a principle in the free expression – one has to make a point with premises and conclusion, and make it with the most efficient, eloquent, and articulate manner with easy-to-understand, common sense approach, with as less inner contradiction and conflict as possible. Most of all, one has to make the argument with a moral compass, a constructive, creative and productive humane purpose.
I often find that debate among English speaking Americans is much easier than debate among Chinese speaking colleagues. I have pondered on this curious phenomenon, and could not find the answer for a while, until one day when a Chinese speaking, Chinese American suddenly posed a question for me:
“When we debate and express our views and opinions, aren’t we both trying to persuade the other side to change their views? Aren’t we both trying to dominate the other side with our argument? Aren’t we both trying to please the audience and to sway them to our sides?”
Then I realized why I had never had any debate or discussion when I was in China, even among my friends: The Chinese have never believed that there is an objective truth expressed through debaters via the points they try to make. Everything in China is Man-Made, even TRUTH. They don’t discover the Truth; they manufacture it with their omnipotent power backed by the guns, and with their everlasting belief in power or emperors and authority. Based on this promise, of course the first thing in one’s mind when one is trying to express oneself is to defeat the opponent, NOT to reach the truth, is to please and sway the audience, not to arrive to a point on which everyone can advance. I realized when a Chinese expresses oneself, he only faces another person or a crowd, and he is not facing God, facing truth, facing the objectivity of reality. He has NO idea that one can be punished by not seeing reality and observing truth, he can only be punished if he fails to overwhelm the opponent or please and sway the audience. In his mind, there is simply no God, no presence of a truthful being to judge it. There are only authorities and crowds.
I also realized that in such a debate with a person controlled by Chinese traditional thinking pattern, there will be no truth or advancement toward truth coming out. There will only be bitter personal attacks, personal dislikes and likes. There is only Nothingness left. Subduing others, reforming others, changing others, defeating others, humiliating others, pleasing others, swaying others, are the only goals in a Chinese person’s mind when he engages in argument, debate and discussion. There is a complete absence, a vacuum so to speak, of an objective, truthful and fair being, namely God. From then on I have concluded that it is NOT that when there is God involved in debate, the debate will be stifled, as many American leftists and the Communists in China claim. It rather is the opposite: When there is no God, or objective, truthful and fair being present, there will be NO true debate, for there is a lack of true purpose. There will be no point of engagement. Everything expressed will be only a distraction from the truth that one is supposedly trying to arrive. The forum will be simply a place to vent someone’s venom about life, to curse, to call names, to manufacture facts to humiliate, to distort reality.
If one is NOT to face reality, truth and his own conscience in any debate, if one is not trying to make the most coherent argument with the least amount of contradiction present, then there is simply no point of having any debate. This is why there is no debate in China, from top down, there is only silence and propaganda, there is only force-feeders and receivers, there is only brain-washing… When you see the Chinese People’s Congress in session and wonder why there is NO debate and discussion in such a setting, there are only a thousand raised hands to approve the policy platforms, you will understand such a setting is not intended to arrive truth or best policies for the Chinese population. Its only purpose is to legitimize an illegitimate government controlled by the Communist Party.
With normal dialogue, debate and discussion, the speaker’s most important task is not for others to change their opinions, but for himself to fully, coherently and honestly express himself. He is not only to point out the opponents’ contradictions, but to be responsible and conscientious about his own statement being truthful, honest, and less contradictory. Only with such debate, dialogue and discussion, positive, constructive and creative ideas can emerge and human and humane policies can be conceptualized, and everyone in the society can benefit. If one happens to absorb something positive in one’s expression of ideas and opinions, one has to take a personal responsibility of absorbing the information, to judge its truthfulness and objectivity, to assess the usefulness and benefit toward oneself. Thus everyone in the debate is viewed and taken as a free being with his own active mind. Freedom and debate go hand in hand.
Dialogue and debate can only happen in a society of equality. A hierarchical society like China will never have any dialogue and debate, for who is right and wrong is preordained, determined by one’s rank in authority and officialdom. The entire Chinese educational system has been set up with the premise that individuals are not active particles and participants to absorb information and create new information, but rather passive receivers like empty bottles for others, often authorities, ancestors, traditional saints to fill them up. The Chinese character-based syllabic language is designed to only memorize by appearances and pictorial images. They are not designed for creation of new information and concepts. Forcing the toddler pupils to imitate ancient ancestors with their brushes in writing Chinese characters is only one, but effective means to materialize this premise.
So it is no wonder the Chinese pupils are the most obedient students who are good at memorizing existing information and materials. Yet, none in mainland China has ever achieved any creative status in the world academic history. All the prominent Chinese scholars with significant achievement have been educated overseas in the West, armed with alphabetic languages, and a concept of freedom, individuality and equality, immersed in a culture with a concept of God and objective truth. They never have to worry about authorities’ approval or crowds of audience with their insatiable nationalistic appetite. They have only to face God, reality, truth and moral principles such as honesty, fairness, freedom of expression…
You wonder why all the scholars educated in China are government-serving Eunuchs without personal characters, with their only function being to purify cultural narcotics for the authority to pacify and numb the mind of Chinese people, to confuse their moral judgment, to render them helpless slaves in the government schemes to maintain its power, and to dominate others.
A simple debate and discussion with those educated in the mainland China will prompt you to think what I am stating here is true, indeed.