By Wahaha (cross posted from anti-cnn)
If you check the definition of 阴阳 in Wikipedia, you will see the following :
“In Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin yang (simplified Chinese: 阴阳; traditional Chinese: 陰陽; pinyin: yīnyáng) is normally referred to in the West as “yin and yang” and is used to describe how polar or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn.”
And “Yin yang are complementary opposites that interact within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system.”
Is this the way how Chinese understand 阴阳 ? I beg to differ.
Westers consider 阴阳 as TWO opposite forces and can not be compromised, as you can see the words “polar” and “contrary” are used to describe 阴阳. I don’t think that is the way how chinese interpret 阴阳, Chinese consider 阴阳 as complementary to each other as you can see from the circular symbol of 阴阳, or ONE subject with two sides.
If we apply western understanding to human society, it is either 0 vs 1, right vs wrong, authoritarian vs democracy. If we apply chinese understanding to human society, there is no clear right or wrong, and most importantly, it means that IF YOU WANT THE GOOD PART, YOU MUST ACCEPT THE BAD PART, as they are complementary to each other, they are together, you simply cant separate them.
For example, if you own an apartment, you want to sell it and buy a new house, which one do you want, good housing market or bad housing market ? The answer is : bad housing market, because the house price is usually more expensive than apartment. So to get cheaper price for new house, you have to accept that your apartment will not be sold at the price you like. These two deals come together.
What I was amazed is that If we apply the Chinese understanding to our human society, especially the political system, lot of things become so obvious,
First the authoritarian system:
The Yang part is obvious (though west media refuses to accept it) : having a look of industrial process of Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia and now China). In my opinion, in such system, IF government’s priority is improving people’s lives, such system allows government to make plan scientifically and carry out the plans with little distraction, which is usually good for the country and vast majority of people.
The Ying part, COMING WITH THE YANG PART, is that (1) once government have great power, there is no guarantee that the government will work for people, even now Chinese government has worked for people for 30 years, that still doesn’t guarantee that in the future, it will work for people. (2) In my opinion, as government manages everything, it suppresses innovations, Bill Gates would not be Bill Gates, Michael Jackson would not be Michael Jackson, if they were in China. (3) The issue of legitimacy.
Now the democracy, I will consider “democracy, human right and freedom” as one theory to see its Yin and Yang.
The Yang part is very clear, once you see the Ying part of authoritarian system. Let me talk about the Ying part, as I don’t think any westerners ever seriously think of it :
(1)The coexistence of absolute democracy and absolute human right is a paradox.
Democracy, simply speaking, is major rule, minority must respect the decisions of majority. Human right means that minority don’t have to be submissive to majority. They contradict to each other. So for them to coexist, there must be compromises, that is almost impossible unless the people are worry-free and government is rich. If there is no compromise, government will fail to “deliver”.
So this paradox explain to phenomena : one, democracy usually carry out much better in developed countries than in developing country; two, democracy (and human right) doesn’t deliver.
Therefore ABSOLUTE democracy and ABSOLUTE human right are NOT universal, as they need certain condition to coexist.
(2)We, human being are the most intelligent livings on earth, but the understanding of democracy and human right oversimplify human society, it basically describe human society with only 3 variables : people, government and power. That is ridiculous, you cant even clearly describe a society of chimpanzees with only 3 variables.
The big problem for this is that it completely dismisses the difference among people : the rich vs the poor, the hard working people vs lazy bones, the good citizens and criminals, etc. With such understanding, “Power to the people” is utterly misleading.
If we divide power into 4 categories : Controlling nature resource, controlling capital, controlling information, controlling individuals ; and we divide people into the following categories : government, the rich, the media and journalists, the hard working people, the criminals, the parasites who want to live on others.
I don’t think I have to say much, you can see that with the oversimplified understanding, the slogan “Power to the people” is in the vicinity of nonsense.
(3)Absolute democracy and absolute human right are against science.
In a country with limited resources, scientific management is crucial. But, science is in the hands of very few people, otherwise most people would becomes scientists. So absolute democracy almost surely will prevent government making plan scientifically; even government does make plans scientifically, the principle of human right will prevent the plans carried out as planed.
The most significant example is that almost all the democratic countries are in debt, and this is after 2 decades of development. Were the policy-makes in democratic countries more stupid than those in China ? obviously not
In India, people complain that government has no long term plans, Are Indian more stupid than Chinese ? I don’t think so. Nearly 10% of NASA engineers are Indians, and their success in US is obvious. But when every “activist” has a say on planning, scientifically planning is impossible.
(4) Absolute freedom is against humanity.
In a society, usually, the more help a group of people need, the less power they have; the less help a group of people need, the more power they have.
Absolute freedom, in real world, means that people can get as much as they want, with their power. The result is terrible, as it means that the more you need help, the later you will get help, and the the people who need help most are the last ones who get help.
At the end, let me repeat my major point : there is no perfect understanding of human being, there is no perfect political system, we have to admit it. For each theory, for each system, we MUST ACCEPT ITS FLAWS to move forward.
IT IS THE BALANCE WE NEED TO FOCUS ON, NOT THE PERFECTNESS.