Tuesday, August 18, 2015


WILL EAST AND WEST CULTURE CLASH IN 21ST CENTURY BY FRANCIS C W FUNG, PH.D. In his book “Clash of Civilizations” Samuel Huntington predicted the clashes of civilizations between Muslim and West and between China and America in 21st century. However, Zhang Liwen in his treatise “The Philosophy of Coherence and Connectivity”(He-He Philosophy) predicted the reconciliation of the 5 conflicts of the 20th century, between men and men, between men and society, between men and nature and among religions and nations by the spirit of the Coherence and Connectivity Philosophy in 21st century as sure as the dynamic balance of Ying and Yang. He claimed that China’s assimilation of foreign cultures and religions through her 5000 years of continuous history is attributed to this “He-He force” at work at every major interruption. A country’s culture experiences strong and weak periods coincides with cycles of economic and political strength. Politics is an ever changing phenomenon according to circumstances. All cultures of the world progress with time as they develop in different regions. Cultures of the world are not better or worse, they belong to all mankind and all have strength and weakness. They are diverse, like a beautiful symphony in a colorful world garden. In times of political (confidence) and economic decline the worst part of a culture shows up in its extreme form. There is no perfect political system but whether the system produces public goods or has the confidence of the public. Often when a country is economically strong its political confidence rises and it has a tendency to gloat in glory and criticize other country. In doing so it totally disregards the Daoist wisdom that “The stronger you are the more humble you should be”. A country in decline when economy is in decline will question its past especially when challenged by foreign economic power. So for a declining culture to rejuvenate it must raise its economic and educational success level first. The proper perspective of relative importance of two cultures is best visualizes through the Taiji twin fish diagram. Both have head (strength) and tail (weakness) meshing together in a spinning (progressing) circle. And they also contain part of each other in both of them. It can be said that different culture complement each other and both contain each other and progressing together. Mankind can learn and benefit from each other’s culture. The interaction of diverse culture lays the progress of world culture as a whole. From this perspective there will never be clashes of civilization. So called civilization clashes are merely under the shadow of economic and political conflicts. Economics can be improved and political conflicts are but transient. China is now at the critical stage of rejuvenation after rising from the low of centuries of colonial invasion and humiliation. Its economics is in ascendency and citizen’s moral is high. It is great time to learn from outside and the past and move forward. It is not the time to feel inferior and shy from outside challenge and future vision. Throughout China’s 5000 years of history China has gone through cycles of strength and weakness. It took China over 400 years for Confucianism, after the decline of Tang Dynasty, to reconcile with Daoism and Buddhism. It did not happen by comparing which is more superior but accepting the He-He spirit to assimilate all three into one culture as a whole. During recent times China struggled for two hundred years to rejuvenate after the invasion and humiliation by Western powers. Today under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China is peacefully rising in the spirit of Coherence Culture (He Culture) for world mutual development and common destiny. Under President Xi Jinping’s vision of China dream, China will achieve her 2020 centennial goal of a well off society and her 2050 centennial goal of becoming fully modernized without clashing with America. By that time China would have fully assimilated East-West culture in a harmonized world under the spirit of Coherence Culture (He Culture). Francis C W Fung,Ph.D. Director General World Harmony Organization San Francisco, CA.

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