chapter  2
17 Pages

National character (民族性格)

ByLiwei Jiao

Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, ‘The only thing that is constant is change’ (唯一不变的是变化). However, all things remain essentially the same despite all apparent changes (万变不离其宗). 9 Chinese scholar Dong Zhongshu (179 bce –104 bce ) said, ‘天不变, 道亦不变’ 10 (Heaven does not change, nor does Tao/Dao/way), with which he justified the rule of ‘three principles and five virtues.’ One of the Thirteen Classics of Confucianism, I Ching, or Book of Changes contains a different concept: 穷则变, 变则通, 通则久 11 (When it is exhausted, it mutates; by mutation it achieves continuity; by continuity it endures). The ordinary people have a saying: 树挪死, 人挪活 12 (literally ‘if trees are removed, they will die; if men move, they will survive.’) Therefore, you cannot stick to 老皇历 13 (anachronistic practices), which claims that a woman loyal to her husband to death (从一而终) 14 is virtuous.

#3 The battle of Chinese character forms: traditional, simplified or pinyin? (汉字之争); #37 Stress the past, not the present (厚古薄今); #39 Old or new (新与旧)