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Human Rights & Social Issues

China’s debasement of moral values and ethical principles


Confucius

I refer to the Daily Telegraph UK 2011 article Material girls that appeared on the Malaysian paper, The Star, August 26th. I was completely shocked and appalled by the said piece. Though, said article was disgusting and truly sad, nonetheless it was sad but true!

The writing of Malcolm Moore was peppered by incontrovertible facts and armed by undeniable data which came from the government itself.

As a philosopher, an international observer and a social science lecturer, I was morally shocked by what is happening now in Chinese society. Imagine, before a man there could even propose a marriage to a prospective wife, he must have a house, a stable job which pays big salary, and of course part of the deal is the car.

To my mind, the China that I knew no longer exists. It is the China that is known all over the world for their close family ties, strong adherence to social values, and extreme love and respect to their love-ones.

That China is now dead! It’s gone!

Capitalism and globalization has killed that society, including its moral values and centuries of ethical principles which was given and handed to us by such moral teachers such as Confucius, Lau Tzu and Mencius.

Moral values and ethical principles attributed by Wikipedia to Confucius such as:

When the stables were burnt down, on returning from court, Confucius said, ‘Was anyone hurt?’ He did not ask about the horses.

The passage conveys the lesson that by not asking about the horses, Confucius demonstrated that a sage values human beings over property; readers of this lesson are led to reflect on whether their response would follow Confucius’s, and to pursue ethical self-improvement if it would not.

Confucius, an exemplar of human excellence, serves as the ultimate model, rather than a deity or a universally true set of abstract principles. For these reasons, according to many Eastern and Western commentators, Confucius’s teaching may be considered a Chinese example of humanism.

Today, due to the betrayal of the young generation to their own humanism and their hyper worship of money; instead of giving value to human relations; they focus more on material possessions, instead of family; they demand money; instead of faithfulness; they want investments.

Instead of a loving home; they prefer a lavish and big house; instead of the humble walk in the park, they aspire for the latest cars; instead of looking for love; they settle for material comfort and financial security; instead of genuine marriage, they settle for comfort and convenience.

Humanism was replaced by materialism; dignity by money, ethics by economics and love by prostitution!

Sad but true!

Consider the straight-forward opinion given by that 24-year contestant:

“I would choose a luxury house over a boyfriend that always makes me happy without hesitation”. So, to this girl, the important thing is the luxury house and not the boyfriend that makes her happy. That is her concept of happiness. Further, she added and demanded that: “And my boyfriend has to have a monthly salary of 200, 000 Yuan (RM 92, 560)”.

I am wondering now, what is the difference of this girl from a prostitute? You may say that I am harsh in my analogy; yet let me state for purposes of the record that I meant what I asked! I will argue that the said girl is a prostitute herself, though a high-class one! Why?

If a girl would marry a man not on the basis of her love or affection to him, but solely on account of his bank account, his high-paying job, his huge house, his money, cars and other material possessions; then that is not love, but rather the heights of financial opportunism, truly an economic exploitation and undeniably without an iota of doubt, an emotional prostitution of the lowest kind.

If these are the kinds of women available in society; then I would rather marry an ‘ugly duckling’ or a simple, yet genuinely pure woman, than give in to the caprice and virus of those so-called “material girls”, even though they are young and pretty; because this girl of mine, this love of mine would not demand so much beyond my means. She would not bother me with accounts and finances, because we perfectly knew and understand where we stand!

She wouldn’t mind even if I only have a small hovel, so long as I go home and be with her, she wouldn’t care if I only have a simple paying job, because she is well aware of my economic status and I am giving her my entire pay-slip, she would not demand that we buy a car, it would be enough and sufficient for her for us to walk together hand in hand in the community park, she would not demand something that which I cannot give, she will be happy and contented of want I can provide base on my humble means.

She will love me for what I am, me as me and I will love her for what she is, not for those material possessions which she does not have.

I am a sentimental fool, but a genuine, pure and true lover nonetheless! I am a lover in the tradition of Romeo!

In the immortal words of Pablo Neruda:

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.

The reader may accuse me of being a hopeless romantic freak, yes I am. Love is free, it is pure and virginal. It is immeasurable and can never ever be buy; nor can it be auction for sale. Love is not for sale. The market can never invade the domain of genuine affection nor could it ever conquer the realm of true love! It is in this indubitable sense that: love and prostitution are irreconcilable! Love is unquantifible. Incontestably and irrefutably true!

To the Chinese society of today, may I remind them of these proverbs that they themselves have given to the whole world:

Money can buy you a house, but not a home;
Clock but not time;
Bed but not a good night’s sleep;
Books, but not knowledge;
Doctor, but not good health;
Position but not respect;
Blood but not life;
Sex but not love.

In the end, love is still and all that matters!

Absolutely true!

Written by:
Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
Selangor, Malaysia
 
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About mariotheradical

THE PERMANENT REVOLUTIONARY! THE RADICAL!!!

Discussion

11 thoughts on “China’s debasement of moral values and ethical principles

  1. This is at best a superficial analysis of the materialist phenomenon in China. And the whole “holier-than-thou” attitude is disturbing. Why don’t you explore a little bit about what has led to the situation today? This blog is becoming a serious disappointment.

    Like

    Posted by Leila | August 9, 2012, 7:44 pm
    • Dear Leila,

      This is a superficial analysis? Then, why don’t you write your own counter-thesis? You are criticizing this analysis as superficial, yet you are admitting in passing the materialist phenomenon in China!Your contention of “holier than thou”, where did it come from? What is the basis of this pronouncement? I criticized China’s moral decadence and ethical prostitution based on the very moral and ethical philosophers that they’ve produced, namely Confucious, Mencius and Lao-Tzu. So, where is the “holier than thou” here?

      You also asked: “why don’t you explore a little bit about what led to the situation today?”

      For the benefit of the citizens of the world: the author of this work principally written this piece to asked the very same question that you’ve posted! That is: WHY CHINA BETRAYED AND ABANDONED ITS GLORIOUS MORAL PAST?

      Lastly, if in your view this blog is becoming a serious disappointment; my humble suggestion is: why don’t you write all your views and position in a comprehensive manner and post it here?

      Allow me to leave you the immortal words of Voltaire:

      “I may not agree with the words you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!”

      Yours,

      Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

      Like

      Posted by mariotheradical | August 10, 2012, 12:41 am
      • Sure. I have a huge paper to write this weekend so I will answer all your questions and criticisms in a few days. In the meantime, I suggest you calm down and get ready for a rational discussion about materialism in China.

        Like

        Posted by Leila | August 10, 2012, 6:21 am
      • Editor’s Note: Hi Leila. Sorry you are disappointed with the blog. If you would like to make a reply as a feature article, please send me an email at contact@chinadailymail.com and we can arrange for it to happen.

        Like

        Posted by China Daily Mail | August 10, 2012, 11:36 am
      • I’m not sure because of the different dates but I think this (http://bit.ly/MYxJ3X) is the article you were referring to in the beginning. It took me a little bit of effort to find it. Next time please link your articles–it’s good blogging practice. I would also like to apologize because I should have known better than just leave some negative comment without explanation, for this is the surest way to annoy someone.

        Ok, so I read the Daily Telegraph article, and there are a few interesting things. One, obviously, is materialism, but as the matchmaker site person quoted in the article said himself, “Chinese people have always been materialistic, but today’s hot commodity is property.” This is nothing shocking. Historically speaking, it’s in both men and, more commonly, women’s best interests to marry “up” or marry “rich.” Marriage as something that constitutes love is a very modern concept. And honestly I don’t blame anyone, especially women, for wanting to do what has always been in practice. Perhaps what’s more interesting to talk about here is sexism. Why do women care more about potential suitor’s social status or material possessions more than men do? (In the past, rich men could have multiple wives; only the first wife has to be “proper” and the concubines can be from very low classes.) It’s because women were a culturally lower class, with little hopes of advancing their life, career, or wealth on their own because these opportunities were mostly closed to them. The fact that this very same phenomenon is still happening right now shows just how backward the Chinese culture still is and how much there is still to do about gender equality.

        Another interesting thing is the government’s attempt to use laws to discourage a behavior that’s actually socially acceptable. This materialist trend is simply not appealing to some, but not all, people’s moral standards. This is actually a very culturally conservative act because most of the other laws that regulate social behavior, like the One Child Policy, actually have legitimate utilitarian reasons behind it. I wonder if this is just a remnant of the old totalitarian state or that actually a sign that the legal system is going toward that worrisome direction.

        So, why did I say your analysis is superficial? That’s because you picked up on the most uninteresting element of the story that needs the least explanation. In a capitalist society, you’re going to have people who are in love with money, like our (in)famous Wall Street bankers. But think about it for a second, if that quote from the dating show can get exposure on some UK media, then it must have had its three seconds of fame in some Chinese media. And let me assure you, it did. Nobody reports on things that people take as everyday fact or common sense, and the fact that the materialist girl actually stirred a huge controversy in China (and the marriage property law) shows that Chinese people themselves are far less comfortable with the manifestations of materialism than I am. It means the Chinese society is not what you claim to be, which is to say, dead.

        You said, “as a philosopher, an international observer and a social science lecturer,” you were “morally shocked by what is happening now in Chinese society.” I think you probably just have to observe a little bit more internationally. As I said before, materialism has always been in China, in the U.S., in everywhere before, during, and after Confucius’ time. Confucianism has merchants on the bottom of the social ladders, and yet merchants have always been around. Thankfully, the materialism-haters in China don’t always quote Confucius from Wikipedia, because they are able to make claims about why materialism is bad without having to invoke the authority of Confucius, who’s a very controversial figure himself in China. I’m also glad that China only no longer exists in your mind, because as a Chinese American with extensive ties back in China, I can tell you all that family ties, social values, love, respect, blah blah blah are still there. So you can relax. I do appreciate the fact that you picked up on the point about how Confucius’s teachings “may be considered a Chinese example of humanism,” because recently I read too many essays by excellent American intellectuals who think the “East” has no philosophy or tradition of any kind comparable to the glorious Western tradition of Enlightenment.

        Why did I accuse you of being holier-than-thou? That’s because of your “hopeless romantic freak” soliloquy. You’re speaking as if everyone in China doesn’t care about anything but money but YOU care about TRUE LOVE, so very, very much. Ask yourself, is this even possible? Everyone craves love, and romance of all kinds (movies, novels, music, etc.) is still what sells the best everywhere. Even if we go back to that dating show, you would hear a lot of guests say “I’m here to find someone I’d really love to be with,” or, you’d be surprised, “I’m here to find someone who wouldn’t mind to take care of my mother with me.” So I absolutely do not know what made you want to go on rambling for about four paragraphs about how you are so pure with love other than your arrogant assumption that you are morally superior to the young generation in China based on some British news article. I think what’s more important here is why, if love were such a universal human instinct, would anyone give up love for something else? Well, one obvious reason is that it’s hard to find your prince charming, so you just have to deal with the second, third, or the 100th best, and what determines best is often something other than “oh we spiritually go along so well.” Another factor, I believe, is that it’s really difficult to survive in the Chinese society today. It’s fiercely competitive, and yet people are grossly underpaid. There’s very little chance that this “younger generation” is going to get some kind of liveable social safety net, so anyone with the slightest foresight knows their hope lies in money, otherwise they’d be screwed in the long run.

        So I guess just a little bit more empathy and reflection are what I’d like to see in a post like yours, and let me give you some words from your beloved Confucius to conclude:
        “Now the man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged himself, he seeks also to enlarge others. To be able to judge of others by what is nigh in ourselves; — this may be called the art of virtue.” – Analects 6:28

        Like

        Posted by Leila | August 14, 2012, 1:44 pm
    • I agree. I would have liked to see more exploration.

      Like

      Posted by Naked Lola | August 10, 2012, 12:43 am
  2. Reblogged this on OyiaBrown.

    Like

    Posted by OyiaBrown | August 9, 2012, 10:43 pm
  3. I like this essay. Jose Mario Dolor De Vega always shares worthwhile thoughts about China.

    Like

    Posted by Prof. Olsen | August 10, 2012, 5:51 am
  4. The Bastardization of Affection and the Prostitution of Love: A Retort
    Dear Leila,
    It’s an honor for me to receive a reply from you; though I cannot understand the centrality of your thesis; I did read your articles thoroughly.
    Let me now respond to your not-superficial reply point per point.
    You stated and I quote:
    “I’m not sure because of the different dates but I think this (http://bit.ly/MYxJ3X) is the article you were referring to in the beginning. It took me a little bit of effort to find it. Next time please link your articles–it’s good blogging practice. I would also like to apologize because I should have known better than just leave some negative comment without explanation, for this is the surest way to annoy someone.”
    Reply:
    I’ll try the next time to link the article(s) that I am referring to for the benefit of those people who doesn’t want “a little bit of effort to find it”. Thank you for your advice concerning the “good blogging practice”. Yet, if I may ask, did you also learnt in your so-called “good blogging practice” to use cursory words [deleted by editor] if you are angry? Many times, I want to tell you that your comments are the same, yet I did not; that is even if I am not practicing your so-called “good blogging practice”.
    On the second paragraph, you also stated and I quote:
    “Ok, so I read the Daily Telegraph article, and there are a few interesting things. One, obviously, is materialism, but as the matchmaker site person quoted in the article said himself, “Chinese people have always been materialistic, but today’s hot commodity is property.” This is nothing shocking. Historically speaking, it’s in both men and, more commonly, women’s best interests to marry “up” or marry “rich.” Marriage as something that constitutes love is a very modern concept. And honestly I don’t blame anyone, especially women, for wanting to do what has always been in practice. Perhaps what’s more interesting to talk about here is sexism. Why do women care more about potential suitor’s social status or material possessions more than men do? (In the past, rich men could have multiple wives; only the first wife has to be “proper” and the concubines can be from very low classes.) It’s because women were a culturally lower class, with little hopes of advancing their life, career, or wealth on their own because these opportunities were mostly closed to them. The fact that this very same phenomenon is still happening right now shows just how backward the Chinese culture still is and how much there is still to do about gender equality.”
    Reply:
    You asserted that “Chinese people have always been materialistic, but today’s hot commodity is property”. Wow! Thank you for enlightening me on that matter! Now, to my horror, you stated that: “This is nothing shocking”.
    So, you are saying that being materialistic is a natural state of the mind and well-ingrained in the veins and character of the Chinese people? Is that it? So, you and your people are materialist-oriented people? Is that it?
    Historically, you claimed that, “it’s in both men and, more commonly, women’s best interests to marry “up” or marry “rich.”” Historically, is it? Could you please give us the historical data, some anthropological findings and sociological facts that will support your contention?
    May I know, why “it is to the best interest of the women to marry “up” or marry “rich”? Are you telling me and the whole world that, it is against the woman’s interests or it is detrimental to the girl’s benefits, if she will marry “down” or marry “poor”? Why ha?
    Are also telling to the entire men of the globe that, if you are poor or penniless or not “up” (whatever the hell you mean by that!), that they have no chance whatsoever to hook up or marry a Chinese girl? Personally, I, as a starving philosopher have no chance or no standing at all to marry a Chinese girl?
    May I also ask, what is the basis of that union? What kind of marriage is that? Is that a union based on money and hot commodity of property? Do you think that kind of ‘marriage’ will last the test of time?
    Lastly, still, on this specific issue; I would like to inquire: is your boyfriend a
    “rich” American boy? Is he also working in the Wall Street? Is he “up” too? How “rich” is he ah? Do you love him? What do you love in him? Him as him or his money, position, economic status, financial means? What?
    You also said categorically that: “Marriage as something that constitutes love is a very modern concept. And honestly I don’t blame anyone, especially women, for wanting to do what has always been in practice.”
    Wow! What a contention! What a claim! May I know; what is the basis of your assertion: that love which constitutes marriage is a very modern concept?
    Are you saying to us that in old-China, people marry just for the sake of marrying and money and societal obligation, filial duty, economic necessity etc. and not because of love? How about the reason of love, of sex, of companionship, a lifetime partner, having children and living together, are they not part of the equation too?
    Further, you also said that, you don’t honestly blame anyone, especially women, for wanting to do “what has always been in practice”.
    What practice are you talking about? Are you referring to the “practice” that women marry men who are “up and men who are “rich”?
    Question:
    Does it mean that because it is a practice, does it makes it moral? Does it make it ethical? Ha?
    On the third paragraph, you said and I quote:
    “Another interesting thing is the government’s attempt to use laws to discourage a behavior that’s actually socially acceptable. This materialist trend is simply not appealing to some, but not all, people’s moral standards. This is actually a very culturally conservative act because most of the other laws that regulate social behavior, like the One Child Policy, actually have legitimate utilitarian reasons behind it. I wonder if this is just a remnant of the old totalitarian state or that actually a sign that the legal system is going toward that worrisome direction.”
    Reply:
    I condemn not only the Chinese government, but all governments, for that matter, whatever the hell is their type or form, if they “use laws” that discourage behaviors that is socially acceptable. I consider that as inhumane, an act of dehumanization and an illegitimate act of using governmental powers as against the rights of the people and the citizens.
    On the issue of the One Child Policy
    Assuming arguendo, that there is a utilitarian reason behind the said law or program; it is my passionate view that the same is immoral, unethical and patently illegal. The state has no right whatsoever to tell to the people and the citizens, how the hell they intend to live their lives.
    The government has no right neither has it the authority to tell me or dictate to me how am I going to live my life and conduct myself. I am/we are the government; the government is just the servant of the people!
    As the Americans would say and shout it out: “Don’t tread on me”!
    On the fourth paragraph and this is my “favorite” portion of your ‘article’, you said and I quote:
    “So, why did I say your analysis is superficial? That’s because you picked up on the most uninteresting element of the story that needs the least explanation. In a capitalist society, you’re going to have people who are in love with money, like our (in)famous Wall Street bankers. But think about it for a second, if that quote from the dating show can get exposure on some UK media, then it must have had its three seconds of fame in some Chinese media. And let me assure you, it did. Nobody reports on things that people take as everyday fact or common sense, and the fact that the materialist girl actually stirred a huge controversy in China (and the marriage property law) shows that Chinese people themselves are far less comfortable with the manifestations of materialism than I am. It means the Chinese society is not what you claim to be, which is to say, dead.”
    Reply:
    So, you are saying that my analysis is superficial because I picked on the most uninteresting element of the story that needs the least explanation. I beg to differ, sweet heart!
    In my view, in contradistinction to your view, that so-called “most uninteresting element of the story” is the very heart of this whole issue and controversy. And that is the issue of LOVE IN HUMAN RELATIONS. I understand now, perfectly, why you are hurt and why to you, my analysis is superficial, that the element of the story that I have chosen is uninteresting and that my whole analysis is superficial; because you yourself is a pure-bloodied materialist girl. Can you deny it? This is straight from the horses’ mouth! Well, as you yourself said: that is your common practice and marriage is not about love or affection, but merely interest and benefits.
    There is an extreme difference between us: I am a hopeless romantic freak and you are a materialist girl interested only with interest and benefits.
    I believe in love in marriage, while you believe in economic opportunity in a financial union.
    I believe in passion and the affection of human relations, while you only believe in ‘marriage’ based on economic and financial benefits.
    Lastly, I am a citizen of the world, while you are a Chinese-American that has ties with your China. (Question: it is the old or the present China?)
    On the issue of the “material girls”
    Question:
    Are the Chinese people comfortable or not with them? What is the general reaction of the whole Chinese society to this phenomenon?
    If Chinese society is not dead, then what happened to those precepts and principles and words of wisdom that you bequeathed to the world? As the Black Eye Peas asked in a wonderful song: Where’s the love yoh?
    On the fifth paragraph, you also stated and quote:
    “You said, “as a philosopher, an international observer and a social science lecturer,” you were “morally shocked by what is happening now in Chinese society.” I think you probably just have to observe a little bit more internationally. As I said before, materialism has always been in China, in the U.S., in everywhere before, during, and after Confucius’ time. Confucianism has merchants on the bottom of the social ladders, and yet merchants have always been around. Thankfully, the materialism-haters in China don’t always quote Confucius from Wikipedia, because they are able to make claims about why materialism is bad without having to invoke the authority of Confucius, who’s a very controversial figure himself in China. I’m also glad that China only no longer exists in your mind, because as a Chinese American with extensive ties back in China, I can tell you all that family ties, social values, love, respect, blah blah blah are still there. So you can relax.”
    Reply:
    Assuming for the sake of the ‘argument’ that “materialism has always been in China, in the U. S., in everywhere before, during, and after Confucius’ time” and because the merchants are always around does it makes materialism — moral, ethical, appropriate and noble? Ha? I do not think so!
    On Confucius
    “China don’t always quote Confucius from Wikipedia”; does it follows that once in a while they also quoted him? Is it also not “a good blogging practice” to quote Confucius in Wikipedia?
    I am glad that the Chinese people are able to make claims or create arguments showing why materialism is bad without having to invoke the authority of Confucius. That shows that they are also thinking and that they are well aware of the problems and the badness and evil of materialism. However, may other issue is: what’s wrong if the Chinese people will quote Confucius’ words and ‘authority’ in criticizing and condemning materialism? Is he still banned in China? Are you telling us that up to this day, Chairman Mao’s pronouncement against this philosopher still holds? Wow!
    Why Confucius is a very controversial figure in China? Is it because of his philosophy? Is it because of his character? Why? This confuses me tremendously!
    The good China of the old will always live in my mind; yet I will always attack and criticize and condemn to the utmost the materialist, capitalist and imperialist China of today! That, you can bet on it!
    I am glad that you said that: “family ties, social values, love, respect, blah blah blah are still there”.
    I said this makes me glad, yet it also concerns me and plunged me into doubts. May I asked: Your family ties, social values, love respect, blah blah blah that are still there; what are the basis or foundation of these virtues and values? Are they founded based on practice on materialism, economic benefit and capitalism? Are you a product of love or a financial arrangement? Is Papa “rich” and “up” that is why Mama married him? Did Mama marry him because that is for the good interest of Mama’s financial status? When you say love and respect and social values, in what sense are you using those words? Are they in reference to old China? Are you alluding to the present day China? Or, are you speaking as a Chinese-American which has extensive ties with China? Which China are you speaking to: The dead one or the contemporary one?
    How am I going to relax? How about you? Are you relaxed?
    Somewhere at the bottom of your article, you also stated the following remarkable words:
    “I do appreciate the fact that you picked up on the point about how Confucius’s teachings “may be considered a Chinese example of humanism,” because recently I read too many essays by excellent American intellectuals who think the “East” has no philosophy or tradition of any kind comparable to the glorious Western tradition of Enlightenment.”
    Reply:
    Leila, finally to hit something utterly important in my view wherein we are in complete agreement! That is with regard to Confucius’ philosophy which “may be considered a Chinese example of humanism”. I am in the opinion that such indeed is the case. However, with regard to those “many essays by excellent American intellectuals who think the ‘East’ has no philosophy or tradition of any kind comparable to the glorious Western tradition of Enlightenment” — let me state that I heavily doubt those American’s contention and undeniably question their intellectuality.
    Your last paragraph is amusing, to say the least:
    “Why did I accuse you of being holier-than-thou? That’s because of your “hopeless romantic freak” soliloquy. You’re speaking as if everyone in China doesn’t care about anything but money but YOU care about TRUE LOVE, so very, very much. Ask yourself, is this even possible? Everyone craves love, and romance of all kinds (movies, novels, music, etc.) is still what sells the best everywhere. Even if we go back to that dating show, you would hear a lot of guests say “I’m here to find someone I’d really love to be with,” or, you’d be surprised, “I’m here to find someone who wouldn’t mind to take care of my mother with me.” So I absolutely do not know what made you want to go on rambling for about four paragraphs about how you are so pure with love other than your arrogant assumption that you are morally superior to the young generation in China based on some British news article. I think what’s more important here is why, if love were such a universal human instinct, would anyone give up love for something else? Well, one obvious reason is that it’s hard to find your prince charming, so you just have to deal with the second, third, or the 100th best, and what determines best is often something other than “oh we spiritually go along so well.” Another factor, I believe, is that it’s really difficult to survive in the Chinese society today. It’s fiercely competitive, and yet people are grossly underpaid. There’s very little chance that this “younger generation” is going to get some kind of livable social safety net, so anyone with the slightest foresight knows their hope lies in money, otherwise they’d be screwed in the long run.”
    Reply:
    For the record: did I say that all people in China are materialist or money lovers like you? Again, I am ordering you to reread again my article. You are accusing me of something which I did not do or say!
    Why are you so hurt of my article? Am I not telling a living, prevailing fact or speaking the truth with regard to the hyper-materialism now happening in China?
    Point two:
    Did I say that I am morally superior as against the young generation of China? I cannot understand why you love money so much? Ha?
    I wrote my article as a humanist and as a philosopher! I love all humanity and all mankind!
    You are accusing me of arrogant assumption, the pertinent question is: where is the assumption and where is the arrogance?
    I wrote my article based on verifiable facts and empirical data; thereupon I made my analysis and drew my conclusion.
    You want to attack my work! Fine, yet do so in a reasonable and logical manner. You accused and charged me of a lot of things, yet I cannot see either the basis or the logical foundations of your criticism. It is in this grave and irrefutable sense that you are the one guilty of arrogant assumption, worst an assumption which is baseless, puerile and preposterous!
    Finally, your last words are a bit melodramatic, to say the least:
    “So I guess just a little bit more empathy and reflection are what I’d like to see in a post like yours, and let me give you some words from your beloved Confucius to conclude:
    “Now the man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged himself, he seeks also to enlarge others. To be able to judge of others by what is nigh in ourselves; — this may be called the art of virtue.” – Analects 6:28”
    Reply:
    First, I want to thank you for giving me a quotation from my beloved Confucius. Is he not beloved to you too? Or, is he also a controversial figure to your view?
    Furthermore, as a philosopher, I love all kinds of thinkers and fellow philosophers; and I do not care whether they are controversial or not, so long as they professed knowledge and wisdom. I will undeniably love, respect and cherish them!
    Lastly, I do not understand what do you mean by “a little bit of empathy and reflection” in my posts. In seeking of the truth, the just and the beautiful, we are trained to pursue the argument, wherever it may lead and see where it may go.
    We will not leave any stone left unturned, all pages will be flipped and all dimensions will be explored!
    Let me leave you a central quotation from the Holy Bible:
    For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36
    In my conclusion, allow me to leave you a quotation of pure and true love from a fellow hopeless romantic freak:

    i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
    my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
    i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
    by only me is your doing,my darling)

    i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
    no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
    and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
    and whatever a sun will always sing is you
    here is the deepest secret nobody knows
    (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
    and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
    higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
    and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
    i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
    – e. e. cummings

    Yours,
    Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

    AB Political Science (1999)
    Masters in Philosophy (2004)
    LlB (2007)

    August 15, 2012
    Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

    Like

    Posted by mariotheradical | August 15, 2012, 12:38 am
  5. Interesting…the way you “argue” that is. Anyway, I’d just like to address a few of your less petty claims.
    One, please don’t “your people” me just based on my ethnic identity and background which I only used in that particular argument to establish a little bit of credentials. My ideological alignment may or may not have anything to do with my physical identity; it is indeed very shallow of you to assume that first, I think of Chinese people as “my people” and second, that I was hurt by your accusation of them being materialist…which is unnecessary because Chinese people often accuse themselves of being too materialistic. If I were to speak for the Iranian government, for example, do I suddenly become an Iranian or an Iranian bureaucrat? I, in fact, think my people are all the people on this earth, and sometimes I consider all children of nature, that is to include both living and non-living things, as “my beings.” …I digress.

    I think what you don’t seem to get is I can have a set of moral values for myself, and I’d apply these values to only myself and perhaps exercise my right to vote for representatives whose values are closer to mine. I do not, however, go around pointing my fingers at people who don’t have the same set of moral values as I do…which is to say, if you really think everyone should think the same way as you do, then we really can’t carry on this discussion any further.

    Lastly, I may not have phrased my argument about why I think your original post was superficial properly. Your point was, 1) Chinese people are materialist; 2) materialism deviates from the ancient sage’s teaching; 3) that’s bad. Ok, yes, true to 1, 2, and 3. My point is, so would most people agree with you. What you are arguing is that materialism is a problem. Yes, it’s a recognized problem in China as well. The only time an argument about something being a problem is meaningful is when the “something” isn’t commonly perceived as a problem. That’s why, for a post on some cultural value that is commonly recognized as a problem, I was hoping to see more new perspectives and in-depth analysis of the potential causes and consequences of materialism—as opposed to the argument that materialism is a problem because people are too materialistic and that’s hypocritical because they deviate from the great humanist tradition of Confucianism.
    I hope that clarifies things. So instead of seeing my comments as an attack on your intellectual efforts, please see them as my wish to hear more insights from you about the less obvious implications of materialism.

    Like

    Posted by Leila | August 15, 2012, 10:26 pm
    • Part II:
      Dear Leila,
      Again, I want to thank you for your reply. At the on-set, if this is the way you crafted and written your initial comment in reference to my “superficial” analysis of the prevailing hypermaterialism and consumerist culture now in China, then I am telling you that perhaps my counter-thesis would be less brutal in its tenor and more emphatic. In fact, I would not even bother to reply. Yet, I was irritated by your bad words and preposterous claims.
      Be that as it may, let me also reply to your latest commentaries.
      First paragraph, you stated and I quote:
      “Interesting…the way you “argue” that is. Anyway, I’d just like to address a few of your less petty claims.”
      Reply:
      Thank you that you are interested by the way I “argue”. I am just wondering, are they still “superficial” analysis in your view?
      You also stated that you like to address a few of my petty claims. That is good! The problem is: what are those “petty claims” that are you alluding to?
      On the second paragraph, you also said and I quote:
      “One, please don’t “your people” me just based on my ethnic identity and background which I only used in that particular argument to establish a little bit of credentials. My ideological alignment may or may not have anything to do with my physical identity; it is indeed very shallow of you to assume that first, I think of Chinese people as “my people” and second, that I was hurt by your accusation of them being materialist…which is unnecessary because Chinese people often accuse themselves of being too materialistic. If I were to speak for the Iranian government, for example, do I suddenly become an Iranian or an Iranian bureaucrat? I, in fact, think my people are all the people on this earth, and sometimes I consider all children of nature, that is to include both living and non-living things, as “my beings.” …I digress.”
      Reply:
      For purposes of the record, I don’t give a damn with regard to your race, ethnicity, religion, sex and other historical accidental qualities. I am a genuine humanist and a radical philosopher. Those accidental labels do not exist in my view, only in a certain extent for purposes of information and social background.
      In one of Gandhi’s immortal words:
      “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
      I am not the one you label you as “your people”. For your benefit, allow me to quote your own very words with regard to this specific issue:
      “I’m also glad that China only no longer exists in your mind, because as a Chinese American with extensive ties back in China, I can tell you all that family ties, social values, love, respect, blah blah blah are still there. So you can relax.”
      This is the verbatim words that you said on the last portion of the fifth paragraph of your comment. Do you still remember these words?
      Comment:
      You categorically stated that you are “a Chinese American with extensive ties back in China”. Now, what do you mean by that? Are you denying now that you are a Chinese? Or, are you telling me that you are now an American but with Chinese ancestry? What are you? If you are a Chinese American with extensive ties back in China, does it not imply that the Chinese people are your own people too? If they are not “your people”, then, why did you highlight your ethnicity? What is the ultimate purpose of telling us of your cultural and racial heritage?
      Now, you are telling us that:
      “One, please don’t “your people” me just based on my ethnic identity and background which I only used in that particular argument to establish a little bit of credentials. My ideological alignment may or may not have anything to do with my physical identity; it is indeed very shallow of you to assume that first, I think of Chinese people as “my people”…
      Comment:
      Your contention is confusing! You are claiming that you have a Chinese background, but now you are saying “please don’t ‘your people’ me just based on my ethnic identity and background”.
      You are the one who told us that you are Chinese, now you are saying that: “don’t people me”. What do you mean? You meant that even if you are a Chinese American with extensive ties back to China, the Chinese people are not your people? Hmmmmmmm???
      Then, when pressed to explain, you defended your position by saying that: “I only used in that particular argument to establish a little bit of credentials”.
      Comment:
      Are you saying to us that, you are a Chinese American with extensive ties back to China, but it does not mean that the Chinese people are “your people”, because you only want to established a fact of that “little bit of credentials”?
      What did you established?
      That even, if you are a Chinese American with extensive ties back to China — the Chinese people are not “your people”?
      Is that your credentials?
      Question:
      May I know, if the Chinese people are not “your people”, then what kind of Chinese are you? Further, what kind of human being are you?
      If my assumption is shallow to assume or to presume that the Chinese people are your people, when in fact they are not “your people”, then to whose people you belong?
      You stated that you belong to the whole people of this earth; that is so good of you and that is utterly noble!
      So, am I!
      Yet, if you are what you claimed to be, why highlight the “established fact” that you are a Chinese American? Why brag about your “little bit of credentials”? Are you telling us that you belong to all the people of the earth, but you are a Chinese American, and by virtue of that, the Chinese people are not “your people”?
      Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!
      You also said and I quote:
      “…that I was hurt by your accusation of them being materialist…which is unnecessary because Chinese people often accuse themselves of being too materialistic.”
      Reply:
      So, you are saying that you are not hurt in my criticism of the materialism of China? Well, that is encouraging to know, yet why include …”which is unnecessary because Chinese people often accuse themselves of being too materialistic”?
      Question:
      Why it is unnecessary? Does it logically follows that because the Chinese people often accuse themselves of being too materialistic, it is already unnecessary to criticize them?
      Why?
      What is the problem or your issue if a person or an independent observer will further criticize the Chinese people with regard to their materialism? Why would it be unnecessary?
      You also stated that and I quote:
      “If I were to speak for the Iranian government, for example, do I suddenly become an Iranian or an Iranian bureaucrat? I, in fact, think my people are all the people on this earth, and sometimes I consider all children of nature, that is to include both living and non-living things, as “my beings.” …I digress.”
      Reply:
      This argument, if ever this could be construed as one is so sloppy; worst a totally misplaced one!
      I accepted you as a Chinese American with extensive ties back to China, because those “credentials” came directly from your mouth. I only quoted your assertion. The problem is: now, you are also denying the Chinese people as “your people”, because you belong to the people of the earth. However, your “credentials” that you’ve highlighted is depressing and contradicting!
      Moving on to the third paragraph, first statement of your comment, you said and I quote:
      “I think what you don’t seem to get is I can have a set of moral values for myself, and I’d apply these values to only myself and perhaps exercise my right to vote for representatives whose values are closer to mine.”
      Reply:
      I concur to your position with regard to this matter. Only a moron, or worst an idiot would vote to someone or to a party which policies and program is contrary to the principles and beliefs of the said voter.
      While, on the second statement of your third paragraph, you also said and I quote:
      “I do not, however, go around pointing my fingers at people who don’t have the same set of moral values as I do…which is to say, if you really think everyone should think the same way as you do, then we really can’t carry on this discussion any further.”
      Reply:
      I completely agree with you on this. Yet, I do not like and I totally dislike the undercurrent of your words pertaining to this specific provision. Let me go directly to the point. What is wrong for us, reasonable human beings and intellectual creatures to hammer and criticize each other? If the criticism is just, fair, beautiful and reasonable; do you have a problem with that? So long as a person will not plunge to the domain of moralizing and forcing another human beings to subscribe to his or her beliefs, viewpoints, ideas and principles; then I don’t see any issue or problem with regard to that. I support unlimited discussion, free speech to the maximum, high level social and international discourse, etc. so long as these conversation and exchanges are sound, valid, logical and reasonable. Why? I hold the view that all of these discourses are means and method, utterly necessary that will ultimately lead us to the truth! Let it be! Let us agree to disagree. Let a thousand flower blooms! And may the best school of thought win!
      The fourth paragraph, you stated the following remarkable words and I quote:
      “Lastly, I may not have phrased my argument about why I think your original post was superficial properly. Your point was, 1) Chinese people are materialist; 2) materialism deviates from the ancient sage’s teaching; 3) that’s bad. Ok, yes, true to 1, 2, and 3. My point is, so would most people agree with you. What you are arguing is that materialism is a problem. Yes, it’s a recognized problem in China as well. The only time an argument about something being a problem is meaningful is when the “something” isn’t commonly perceived as a problem. That’s why, for a post on some cultural value that is commonly recognized as a problem, I was hoping to see more new perspectives and in-depth analysis of the potential causes and consequences of materialism—as opposed to the argument that materialism is a problem because people are too materialistic and that’s hypocritical because they deviate from the great humanist tradition of Confucianism.”
      Reply:
      Thank you very much for accepting the truthfulness and validity of my three (3) theses. By the way, I thought, you said they are “superficial” analysis? Are they now no longer superficial to your view? Hmmmmm? Whatever it is, you also raised some issues which I would like to answer and confront head-on.
      First point:
      What do you mean when you say that: “The only time an argument about something being a problem is meaningful is when the “something” isn’t commonly perceived as a problem”?
      This is contradicting to your admission. You already accepted the fact, which you, yourself had admitted that: “What you are arguing is that materialism is a problem. Yes, it’s a recognized problem in China as well.”
      Hence, what the hell is that “something” which is meaningful that is not commonly perceived as a problem? We already knew of the problem: materialism.
      We already agreed that the materialism in China today is a problem and a grave concern! What more “something” are you talking about? Why are you contradicting yourself?
      I agree with you on the last portion of your paragraph, when you said:
      “That’s why, for a post on some cultural value that is commonly recognized as a problem, I was hoping to see more new perspectives and in-depth analysis of the potential causes and consequences of materialism—as opposed to the argument that materialism is a problem because people are too materialistic and that’s hypocritical because they deviate from the great humanist tradition of Confucianism.”
      Reply:
      Again, you highlighted the heart of my thesis with regard to the “commonly recognized problem”. Thank you for that!
      Your hope of seeing more new perspectives and in-depth analysis of the potential causes and consequences of materialism is laudable and utterly welcome, yet one cannot deny that the opposing argument that materialism is a problem because people are too materialistic due to their abandonment and deviation from the great humanist tradition of Confucianism is utterly and unmistakably connected to discourse of this whole problem. We cannot divorce the two elements in discussing the moral decadence and China’s debasement of moral values.
      To get at the root cause of the problem, we have to go back to the roots, to the past, in relation to the present in preparation to the future. We are who we are, in a certain extent base on our past and social background. Though, I passionately hold to the idea that the ultimate decisive element is still the individual, living in a particular society, in a specific social condition, in a given historical epoch.
      In brief, let me state that one of the reason, besides the moral sphere, of China’s materialism is the political order and economic domain.
      The Chinese government is a complicated mixture. It claims to be communist, yet it is now the number two capitalist country in the whole world. That is the irony of all ironies!
      I will write more with regard to this matter in another time.
      While your last paragraph is:
      “I hope that clarifies things. So instead of seeing my comments as an attack on your intellectual efforts, please see them as my wish to hear more insights from you about the less obvious implications of materialism.”
      Reply:
      Thank you, Leila, yet still I cannot understand what you mean by “the less obvious implications of materialism”.
      Question:
      Is it now obvious to you that due to China’s materialism, a great number of people there now value more money rather than values and virtues such as family, love, respect, honor, etc?
      Is it not obvious to you the divorce rate?
      Is it not obvious to you that, a great number of the people there now marry not because of love but because of money, interest, and financial opportunity?
      I am not an American Chinese, yet as a citizen of the word, a humanist and a philosopher, all of these social and human problems are so obvious to me!
      My moral duty and epistemic obligation is to discuss them, write about them and bring to the attention of all humanity and mankind these obvious problems.
      To paraphrase Karl Marx: my duty through my writings and ideas is not merely to interpret the world, but rather to change it!

      Yours,

      Jose Mario

      August 16, 2012
      Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

      Like

      Posted by mariotheradical | August 16, 2012, 3:23 am

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