As a consequence from the horrible events last Friday, as we all know France has officially declared war on ISIS.
As a humanist and a German born and bred, I refer to the article one of the German law, which states that the dignity of man is inviolable, and therefore I find any military intervention, which puts a huge threat on innocent human beings quite hard to digest. Nevertheless in the hearts of my heart (forgetting about morality for a moment), it seems correct to me and I would openly say to Mr Hollande (including the political elite he is negotiating with): Please with the help and necessary agreement of any other nation do everything to wipe all Islamic terrorists of the face of this earth, no matter what it costs and how much effort it takes. I am by now a firm advocate of this war, the option to carry on as we are is no longer viable and it is the ultimate only way to prevent further human disaster.
I have tried to free myself up from any emotion caused by this never ending terrorist attacks in the recent past, which is not so difficult, as there was luckily no-one I know amongst the victims, and from the convictions of politicians like Obama, Putin or Cameron or any other trusted person in my close circle of friends. Instead I have consulted existing knowledge to form my own opinion. For that purpose I have investigated the Wiki of philosophy concretely an in-depth theory of value and its complexity, which has been published inside the Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Using this as a trustworthy and consistent source of information, I come to the following conclusions:
A. Regarding the current state of affairs on the philosophy of value itself:
It should be the ultimate reference for moral justification on a decision of the immensity like the ISIS threat and therefore the decision for this war can be documented as a moral cause. The decision making should create overall value above the consequences of the decision and I think, the year 2000 up to now has given evidence that our moral is at risk, if we do not defend it, apart from further lives that are at stake. The decision is also not self righteous, as it accepts lack of knowledge, gaps and weaknesses as a feature of the human organism, where Sharia law does not stand for this moral, but rather for one of subjugation. Nevertheless the victims are part of a human organism, which is living towards these moral standards and accepts them and therefore has a right to be treated in accordance.
B. Regarding the political situation, this is the current scenario, where a value of decision making can be applied:
One could argue that the west has thrown the first stone by invading Afghanistan and Irak, but has in the meantime undergone inquiry and is seeking redemption. Any chain of events needs to be closed after the decision maker, who is responsible for its consequences is no longer in power, otherwise a human society would carry over guilt from its past generations for forever. This would only take away any human dignity and value on both sides (victims and perpetrators) and is therefore counterproductive to eliminate racist prejudices and mindsets. In this sense the current terrorist attacks mostly stem from this form of radicalisation and must be stopped with means of escalation, as all efforts of diplomacy and ‘local’ negotiations take no effect. The root cause of the problem is the incommensurability of western and Islamic value and moral, which excludes any form of compromise, as opposite virtues and vices are the topic of negotiation, not some form of peaceful coexistence. In this way there is only left the right of the stronger, more powerful and this is what ultimately war is about.
C. Regarding the social situation in Europe:
Despite our preparedness to accept different value standards we do not enjoy a diverse society with mutual respect, but created something rather disjointed, partly hostile and non-trusting, where minor improvements like some sort of acceptance or respect in amongst the literate population has been achieved. Demands to acquire some basic skills of the native language and understanding of the culture and history for anybody living in a European or American country seem like a drop of water in a big sea and even these propositions are far away from being considered necessary or beneficial, as anybody has the right to import their values into a foreign land. It seems as though direct consequences have never been thoroughly scrutinised.
D. Regarding the position of Leaders in the Arab world (especially Saudi Arabia):
The Arab states do not protect their population and do not seem to be very interested in the situation in Syria, otherwise they would open their borders and take on refugees. I do not recognise any sign of commitment from their side, which would seem to be obvious, if human life has more value than cattle.
Time and patience have run out and our political leaders must feel and do feel accountable to protect our societies from further erosion and violence.
F. Strategy and Planning:
1. Certainly this war cannot guarantee avoidance of further collateral damage, but without accepting that risk Europe is permanently held to ransom.
2. It is time for a world society, that safeguards peace, solidarity and stability on this earth, and we have come quite far in countries, that can be called civilised.
3. As a clear consequence we need to accept intelligence services which must identify all people, which promote extremist narratives or are already part of an extremist network, such that manipulation and indoctrination of young people can be stopped once for all.
4. A common definition of human rights and values as the centre of a sacrosanct code of conduct must be agreed between political leaders on the world stage and be recognised as a better option to govern and sustain the health of any country in the world. Any form of belief and/or faith system could be considered or made compliant with the world’s act of human rights.
5. It is clear that this is long-term and cannot be finished in our life-time, but what better strategy is available? Trident and complete re-build of our civilisation/anarchy?
At the end I want to say thanks to Janus and reiterate the value of his blog.
34 thoughts on “Thank you R.I.P”
FoE, that is quite a thesis! I’m not entirely sure I can follow all your reasoning but will keep trying.
Do I support France and the UN? If they come together with clear strategies to deal with IS, yes. Otherwise it’s all creating more heat than light.
Jazz, do you have any moral principles?
Like Janus, I’m not entirely sure that I can follow all your reasoning.
I am, as is well known here, a pacifist by inclination. I am sure that the West has upset the stability of the Middle East by trying to impose our notions of democracy, etc on places like Iraq and Afghanistan – the cynic in me says that the reasons for invading those countries had little to do with altruism and far more to do with the West’s economic needs. We should have stuck to the 19th C maxim of not interfering in the internal matters of other countries.
Nonetheless. as much of a pacifist as I am, I’m not one for turning the other cheek. As far as I’m concerned ISIS has declared war on the West and it needs no moral justification to destroy them as quickly as possible.
I don’t believe in appeasement – it’s never worked before and it isn’t going to work now. Nor do I believe in fighting with one hand tied behind one’s back. In the long term it is, in my opinion, necessary to accept that many innocent people will die – and just get on with the job. As far as I can see, ISIS is killing many innocents in the Middle East – and it is, unfortunately a matter of choice as to whether we allow them to continue to kill us as well.
You are quite wrong about Saudi Arabia – they offered to build a huge number of mosques in Europe to accommodate the influx of refugees! But, no Muslim country accepts refugees.
The West has a long tradition of accepting refugees – but the understanding has always been that they accept and integrate into the culture of the country that has given them refuge. The whole idea that large groups of people can reject the laws and customs of the country in which they live is utter and complete nonsense. As is the idea that all and sundry can rock up to the door, knock and be admitted with open arms.
We may have brought some of this upon ourselves, but ISIS’ response is way, way too far over the top and they need to be stopped.
Lots of luck with your attributed values of the philosophy of humanity!
Considering humans are merely the current climacteric production of biological evolution on this planet and its most successful species so far because of their ruthless exploitation of their environment, I think you are far too generous in your views of their higher attributes.
I prefer to think of them as related somewhat distantly to the raptor dinosaurs with marginally more brains. Most rend and tear to achieve whatever their hearts desire of the moment.
Rather than moral philosophising I would prefer to look at the history of humanity, both in their development over the last two million years and the actual history we know of the last 7000 years.
Being of a somewhat practical bent, I would prefer to see what worked in the past and the likelihood of it working again. Time and time again the muslims have only been defeated from their goals of world domination (The known world of the time) by sheer eradicating violence.
I wonder how many of the Crusaders went through such agonising philosophical convolutions before they soaked the sand of Jerusalem with the blood of their enemies?
It rather looks like we need to tool up again. The real fun starts when we decide finally to remove the Trojan horse from our own lands. The civil wars will get real interesting. What about the Siege of Bradford, circa 2020.? Of course Enoch Powell was right, they were going to be trouble from the start, but the bleeding heart liberals were in there like knives dripping honey, venom and self satisfaction like premature orgasms!
You may not have realised but your conclusion reads like a re-run of Revelations or the plot of ‘Left Behind’ by La Haye and Jenkins. Unfortunately Isis has the same tale in their early writings. So there is a splendid consensus between the Evangelical Christians, the extreme death cult muslims and now the humanists such as yourself. It only need the rest of us to sign up to all out war with them too for the world to have recreated the absolutely optimal conditions for the prophesy to be self fulfilling!
It would be splendidly ironic were the Good Book to be true and to find out the hard way!
Frankly I would piss myself laughing!
If so, so be it, the world is grievously overpopulated and needs a good clear out.
My only regret will be that I am too old to enjoy it. Never did like the ragheads.
I read the whole series of “Left Behind” Total tripe, but I like to know what others, especially nutters, are thinking. Nutters have got this world into rather a lot of trouble in the past and it looks as if they are right on form for a re-enactment.
Civilisation in the Middle East and North Africa collapsed starting in the 8th century and has never really fully recovered since. Most “indigenous” residents of the Gulf States are utterly, fully and absolutely useless. Oil and natural gas wealth has allowed Gulf monarchies to secure their position by buying-off their populations. Many Kuwaitis, Qataris, Saudis, etc. only work if they wish to and their quality of life is supported by governments. In fact, the Saudi state supports young Saudis studying abroad and their families support this further in order to buy face. They’re generally crude, vulgar, disgusting imbeciles with little-to-no sense of decorum or decency. Not only that, but they’re generally cut-off from all others. The men, of course, make exceptions. When I lived in Minnesota I observed Saudi men loitering around hallways and corridors drooling over and cat-calling non-Muslim women in hopes of getting into bed with them. They didn’t dare do this with Muslim women, but anyone else was fair game. There were some truly nice Saudis, but I didn’t in general care for any of the students from the Gulf. At home they have a tendency to abuse migrant workers. Some, such as Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, have at least some respite from this abuse because they are Muslims. They’re treated harshly, but not as harshly as Hindu-Buddhist Nepalis (lovely people, I always enjoyed spending time with them) and Catholic Filipinos.
Syrians are in general a better sort and I’ve often found them intelligent, engaging companions. But it’s a thoroughly corrupt country, so corrupt, in fact, that anyone can get an official government identification saying that they’re anything and anyone. That’s the reality of this region and we can’t pretend that our ways of seeing and doing things, the sum-total of millennia of Judeo-Christian thought, has any relevance to this region. We cannot pretend that these states which, other than the ancient Iran, have any sort of real civil society left. No Western government should have pretend that things were any other way because they couldn’t be any way. The Americans might well have intended to “plant the seeds of democracy” in the region, but the soil is harsh and climate unforgiving. It would never grow with societies there being what they are.
CO: I’ve given up on Western philosophy. Most of it is tripe at best, a dangerous delusion at worst! I’m a Confucian at heart an am thoroughly steeped in the works of Confucius, Mencius, Xun Zi and Zhu Xi. The philosophical interpretations of Korean and Japanese philosophers/officials such as Toegye, Yulgok and Hayashi Razan offer their own enlightenment. In all cases, they were more concerned about practical matters and establishing the philosophical bases of states that would work rather than spend endless hours discussing fuzzy notions of equality, humanism, etc. In short, the most functional philosophy is one which concerns itself with managing inherent inequalities rather than attempting to force a catastrophic “equality”. Pity that I managed to get stuck in the middle of petty squabbles in China — I rather enjoyed being with the eminently sensible Chinese.
Oh dear Christopher I am afraid the Eastern philosophers are a closed book to me! Never got past the Western ones who all seemed to have their own problems. All that agonising seems to belong inside the walls of a mental institute in my book!
Maybe I would rather like the Chinese, much against the grain of course!!!
I am so utterly practical that I really cannot be bothered with all this agonising, strikes me as an indulgence for those who haven’t got enough to do! I’ll just bet most philosophers either had private means or slaves, or both or had some rich wife etc etc. They obviously never had to work for a living!
I would have thought that if was patently obvious to the meanest intelligence that the world is not a fair , level playing field, you do the best you can with the hand you are dealt and try to help out those lower down the food chain as best as you can. Some go up and some go down, the wicked generally prosper from observation. Surely it is what you think of yourself as to how wicked you choose to be to further your own interests? One doesn’t need somebody rabbiting in the ear with fuzzy clap trap! And if you cannot work it out for yourself you are obviously intellectually stunted so its best to go outside and milk a cow or plant something. At least you get to eat.
It is when some s.o.b. tries to steal what you sowed, (metaphorically) that you pick up your cudgel and defend your fields.
War is as simple as that mostly.
This time round they seem to want our lives, not our sustenance.
CO: there is little agony involved in respect to most East Asian philosophers! Most of it is based on precedent — even 2,500 years ago there was nothing new under the sun. I think you’d quite like Han Feizi, actually. He was the father of Legalism. In essence, a school of thought which is predicated on the notion that people need to attend to their own affairs. If people do well and behave properly, they ought to be rewarded. If they cause problems they must be penalised — and penalised severely. I also think you’d appreciate Zhu Xi’s view that people ought to cultivate themselves and always strive to learn something new. The point isn’t to be “special”, hardly anyone actually is, but there is no reason not diligently strive to improve oneself. He also famously argued that people ought to focus on what they can achieve and worry about the rest later. No need to bash one’s head against a wall in frustration! Except for the lazy, weak-minded and, frankly, hedonistic Taoists there was broad consensus that people have no choice but to make the most of what they have and not whinge about “fairness” as that really doesn’t exist. The farming bit is dealt with through the notion of “the rectification of names”. If you’re a farmer, worry about farming — don’t pretend to be an expert on pottery making. If you’re an artisan, don’t pretend to have something important to say about law or politics. If you really did have something worth saying you’d have been able to pass civil service examinations. Officials had no right to abuse anyone and all penalties meted out were subject to imperial review. Emperors were known to wipe out thousands of officials and their families for engaging in widespread abuse.
Chinese views of war have traditionally been to avoid direct conflict — it’s better, far better, to pick a malleable ally and have them do it for you. It costs far less money and causes infinitely less damage to one’s own country and society. In the case of the Middle East, support Assad and the Peshmerga against ISIS and al-Qaeda without worrying about their domestic politics. They don’t hurt us, best not to toss them out and replace them with those who would.
They sound extremely practical and rather up my street. I shall check it out, presumably available online?
Sounds exactly as I think from a practical point of view.
CO: Yes, they are usually available online although I’d recommend getting an annotated introductory work to help understand the references more easily. There was one “great” Chinese philosopher who had fuzzy and cuddly ideas, Mo Zi, but he and his followers were “dealt with” thousands of years ago and never returned. Even Lao Zi, often seen as a lazy and foolish man, argued that most things are not worth worrying about and that it was best to let things take care of themselves as micro-managing matters never turns out well.
This is the book that I used in university:
The Chinese are really not so bad once you get to know them. They’re similar to Americans in many ways, save that the Chinese usually are only likeable after you get to know them whereas Americans become less and less likeable with time — in general.
Interesting exchange. The philosophy I studied was of course western, from the first Greeks to the 20th C epistemologists. Most of my generation were weaned on the Sermon on the Mount which still strikes me as a solid moral foundation, both morally and socially. Western democracy relies on its tenets. And a good dose of Stoicism helps one through the day!
Janus: the two philosophical traditions reflect very different social and historical realities. Chinese philosophy is based on the desire to establish order and avoid chaos at all costs. It matured in a region in which all relationships were fixed with a single, superior figure standing above all others. Thus, there was no sense of negotiating individual needs or wants — or, for that matter, much competition between rival courts to prove their intellectual vigour. There was one court that mattered — China’s and orthodox Chinese philosophy was based on managing a hierarchy in a just manner. Still, it was a hierarchy and everyone had a position in it — one which, while flexible and fluid from the 10th century, was expected to be accepted. The individual was not supreme, merely part of a series of greater hierarchies — a subject of the emperor, a father or a mother, a husband or a wife, a son or a daughter, a friend and a friend. The only “equal” relationship possible was between friends and even that was somewhat impacted by the hierarchies of societies. On an individual basis they might be equals, but if any other concerns became involved — be it a clash between one friend and the other’s family or between the expectations of one’s society with the other’s, inequality would quickly become visible. That became very clear when a so-called “friend” sided against me twice simply because it became a Chinese/European dispute.
All this stuff about philosophers !!!
I prefer to do my own thinking.
Jazz, as my tennis teacher used to say, self-taught is fine as long as you are self-critical.
Christopher, the clash between the individual and the state (or society/tribe/interest group) remains a moot point in western democracy. The social contract which individuals and rulers ‘agree’ to creates conflict which the judicial system endeavours to sort out, frequently unsuccessfully.
Well, ‘self taught’ is not the same as doing your own thinking.
However I’ve earned my living in a practical way where faulty reasoning can lead to expensive and noisy mistakes. I’ve never had the luxury of time to waste on intellectual hairsplitting, and yes one does have to be self critical.
I wonder if your teacher took his own advice.
My own experience of teachers is that they don’t like you doing too much ‘self thinking’.
Thank you Christina and Christopher for your very interesting and informative comments. As regards the Trojan Horse, I think we could start now, Christina, and maybe never have to reach the Siege of Bradford. The French police and army are doing an excellent job of spring-cleaning under the current state of emergency, as I have already commented. Cancelling all the concessions that the pc contingent have made to muslims would be a good start, as would cancelling the pc contingent of course. It is obvious that while we have a forest of muslims – however warm and wonderful they all proclaim themselves – we provide splendid cover for the terrorists. France is also removing French citizenship from all those with dual nationality and the slightest suspicion of involvement with terrorism.
Jazz, you’ve met a bad selection of teachers. It’s strange that so many people harbour uncomplimentary feelings about them. Most in my book don’t do it out of desperation but a genuine desire to help.
I also reject your idea that the ability to make practical decisions is somehow in conflict with intellectual skills. It sounds to me like military thinking – ‘ you’re not my platoon to think, lad, just do it!’
First of all thanks for all of your comments so far, I am really happy that I seem to have made a sensible contribution on this site.
Boadicea – I think you have expressed in more consumable words and come more or less to trhe same result as I do. Regarding this one point about Saudi Arabia:
– ou are quite wrong about Saudi Arabia – they offered to build a huge number of mosques in Europe to accommodate the influx of refugees! But, no Muslim country accepts refugees.- ==>
I might have not expressed myself clearly enough. I meant Saudi Arabia has not taken on any refugees in their own land. Clear that they help financially, this is their tactics to get more muslims into Europe and they do not care if this might in the long-term destabilise societies in Europe.
CO – Considering humans are merely the current climacteric production of biological evolution on this planet
==> yes this is my belief as well, but nevertheless, look around and see all the good things that we developed starting from there. I still try not only focus on conflicts, but as well on the nice things, therefore I have started enjoying what I have now, without waiting for the dispensation of the ‘humans who are nutters (non-compatible with world)’. But thank you for the pragmatic approach, I understand you are more tending towards history and SciFi than to continue to rack your brain about philosophy and trying to understand the difference between the crusaders and what is happening now. In my mind we have moved on and due to the higher complexity, you are right a lessons learnt is very vital, but this unfortunately is difficult as it includes every field of human activity. Thanks for the Info about ‘Leftbehind’, I need to get hold of that.
Cristopher – really inetresting, the asian philosphical approach, it seems to be consistent with the political stance. I do not know if I fully agree with your last sentence –
In the case of the Middle East, support Assad and the Peshmerga against ISIS and al-Qaeda without worrying about their domestic politics. They don’t hurt us, best not to toss them out and replace them with those who would.==> in my mind this again mixes two different political problems, one is what Assad is doing to his people, which we consider as crime against humanity and on the other hand ISIS killing innocent lifes on our territory. The current political debate and stance of the brithis government is to keep that as two separate topics and I totally agree, otherwise we further muddy the waters. But by the way, Most of the Labour Party members see it more like you.
Janus – you might really want look up on the source I have used to write this blog, it really follows on and from the greek and the epistemologists writings….
Christopher – I find this highly interesting, what you say about the difference of western and chinese philosophy. What comes immediately into my mind when reading that, is that the chinese have very much tried to simplify the evaluation of equality by using a hierarchical system, experience of human behaviour nevertheless has proven, that this goes wrong and therefore equlity cannot be achieved by all means. I rather prefer deep thoughts and simplification only for the purpose of portraying the truth to everyone in a readbale manner, but not in order to make people believe they are treated equally, but in reality they aren’t. This sounds like a corrupt and lying dictatorship with reference to a ‘thought through philosophical basis.
Sheona – there was a very similar sentiment on question time last thursday and I think most british people feel in a similar way, that immigration controls are absolutely mandatory to prevent further crime.
Jazz – I think you make your life a bit easy, we are not dealing with a simple need and the topic is not about supply and demand, with regards to that, you are right, I just did nothing else at work for 30 years , I did not need teachers after my master in mathematics, but in order to police on an internal, inter-cultural level, it is frankly on a different scale and a totally different ball game.
“In the case of the Middle East, support Assad and the Peshmerga against ISIS and al-Qaeda without worrying about their domestic politics. They don’t hurt us, best not to toss them out and replace them with those who would.”
Well at least if Assad kills them in situ, they are never going to attend the Siege of Bradford!
I’m all in favour of ‘crimes against humanity’, (elsewhere!) I regard them as just reparation for the crimes humanity commit against the environment, farm animals and wildlife. Seems highly reasonable to me that if you are going to dish it out you had better be prepared to get it back!
There is a philosophy of equality for you.
Yes, gnädige Frau, immigration controls are required but emigration must be encouraged.
Janus, thank you for your kind words about teachers. My method was always to play the devil’s advocate to stir up the thinking.
Again it comes down to what you think of as “intellectual skills”. Is it the ability to present a finely balanced argument, express an original thought ? Or is it the ability to make sensible decisions. I don’t think these things are conflicting but they’re not always found in the same person.
in my mind in order to be a good leader, two very different skills need to come together at least at a certain level:
1. some level of creativity, in order to be able to judge how the Outputs of experts (= creative thinkers) can be used as valuable Inputs to the decision making
2. some rathe rhigh level of management, organisational and structural competence, in order to be able to make qualified decisions.
Diffcult to find people who are really good at both, because creative skills take time, but decisions require not to dwell on things too long and to prioritise well.
Janus: the relationship of the individual to the state in traditional China is contingent on the “state” fulfilling its obligations to its citizenry. The state could not behave in a cruel and arbitrary manner. The emperor was a pater patria and had to treat his subjects like his children. If he failed, “Heaven” — the great cosmic unexplainable — could, and would, withdraw its mandate and a dynasty could collapse or be overthrown. This, in contrast, to Japan where the mandate to hold the Japanese throne can only belong to the Yamato clan. They have held this position for the entirety of the history of “Japan” — over 2,200 year making them the oldest royal family in the world, whatever the Danes might think!
FoE: you cannot hold the Middle East to any standard of human rights because, with the exception of Israel with its Western political structure and being part of Western civilisation, they have no concept of human rights. In fact, they see our obsession as a weakness to be exploited. The Chinese have no sense of equality — they have always been entirely honest about this fact. People have their positions and their role to play and that is that. The Maoist experiment in equality was short-lived and has been abandoned in its entirety. People are people and the Chinese accept that they must look out for themselves and they leave people to their own devices so long as they don’t cause trouble for others. We’re not really equal in the West, either, we are just better at lying to each other and believing our own lies.
FoE: I should add that Chinese philosophy also tends to be extremely succinct. There is no point in making long-winded explanations on methodology. A point is posited, precedent is given and it moves on from there. If an idea has to be explained in depth over-and-over again it is seen as worthless and if people can’t figure a point out they’re seen as incapable of reaching logical conclusions and, thus, incapable of being taught.
Very sensible. Equality is a concept which works in maths and science but has no place with reference to human beings. We’re just not equal and that’s all about it.
Jazz, it’s true that we are not born with equally promising talents, opportunities or conditions. But so many people, like Jihadis, wish to classify others as less than equal as human beings, who deserve to be victimised. So dangerous, labels like ‘equal’!
Janus: what the Chinese have and Jihadis lack is a sense of benevolence. People are not equal, but they are never-the-less people and people have their place and should not be brutalised or victimised. Even if they don’t call it such, the Chinese generally have a strong humane streak that we in the West could well learn from. “We must mind our own affairs and we will always make our mistakes. Let’s respect this fact and accept that we are all merely trying to survive”. This doesn’t mean the Chinese are weak or push-overs, they’re not in the least, but they actually practise much of what we preach without the same self-deluded hypocrisy.
Christopher – interesting what you say about Chinese philosophy and the Chinese, the problem only comes, when somebody states a new idea, that is understood but not wanted. What would have the Chinese done with for example Galileo or Kopernikus?
Janus – I cannot agree more, I think I migth not have explained it clearly, but this is exactly what our western philosophers want to express about human values, they are complicated, not comparable but all of them are valid, we can only fight around the degree of the value under certain circumstances and there is where all our internal battles go on and on and on. But nevertheless I prefer this to perhaps a rather simplistic view of the Chinese.
Christopher – what you describe of the chinese ‘way of working’ is perhaps the reason that they let you go in the first place, you might have known or understood too much and they might not like that 😉
Christopher – most human beings and especially the Chinese seem to me very ambitious and therefore always want to be the best, whereas us in the West rather suffer from not invented here symndrome.
FoE: Galileo and Copernicus would not have been persecuted. If anything, they’d have been brought to the capital and given a place of honour. The Chinese were not terrified of innovation. What ruined China starting in the 18th century was its inability to come to terms with a rapidly changing world and a superiority complex that simply no longer had any relevance in the Industrial Age. The Chinese can be extremely vicious, petty and nasty. To paraphrase PG Wodehouse, “a Chinese with a grudge isn’t easily confused with a ray of sunshine”. It wasn’t even about me — I was simply the easiest target and forcing me to transfer would allow the head teacher to score points against a man he couldn’t stand. They thought that they could simply transfer me to another school with a minimum amount of pain for me and it would all be forgotten. They did not anticipate that I would simply refuse to transfer and refuse to be pushed around and return to Europe.
The Chinese became very ambitious because they had to be. After the 10th century China did not have an aristocracy and most positions with real power and responsibility could not be inherited. Not only that, but there was a constant change in the position of families — especially if younger generations could not maintain the standards of the parents and grandparents.
INteresting, how the culture and history influences the daily lives of people, I think most are not aware and rather look on the most obvious daily things happening to them.