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Be Prudential to Gain Power
Time:2009-09-15 14:12:48   Clicks:

by Sheng Hong
Although there is still a long way to go for China to become the world superpower, the great success of Beijing Olympics made an impression on people that China has been the top nation already. Are the spirits of China able to afford the success? What is the appropriate attitude of a great nation’s citizen? Perhaps these are the most difficult questions for the Chinese.
More than two thousand and four hundred years before the Beijing Olympics took place, there was a man named Zhao Xiangzi. Recorded in Master Lü's Spring and Autumn Annals, someone asked why he seemed so anxious after captured two cities in a morning. Xiangzi replied: "We are at stake since the current virtue of Zhao does not deserve to capture two cities."
This problem may be used to question the Chinese today. We created a miracle of economics which amazed the world in thirty years; we won the most gold medals in less than thirty years since we returned to the Olympics. Comparing with these corporeal and physical achievements, how about the progresses in culture, morality and spirit? If they are dropping behind, shouldn't we be concerned as Zhao Xiangzi?
Zhao Xiangzi realized that the victory of war will not be able to consolidated and sustained without the power of morality that matches it. By the same token, a society may be carried away by the enormous wealth and unprecedented mundane success in the absence of profound cultural traditions. The society can be arrogant and contemptuous of neighboring countries so as to be abhorred. This will lead to the decline of this society eventually. In fact, China as a persistent civilization was keeping ahead for most of the time in human history which shows that the Chinese culture has the gene of resisting self-conceit from the plentiful material. Unfortunately, the Chinese in modern times abandoned this cultural excellence and embraced materialism as a criterion of decision-making. As a result, the Chinese lack the cultural power to control the enormous wealth.
If the Chinese are willing to continue the miracle of economics, it is necessary to follow and upgrade the tradition of Chinese culture. "Haughtiness invites losses while modesty brings profits" is a venerable apothegm recorded in Shang Shu. Said in the article Shen Da in Master Lü's Spring and Autumn Annals, "Consider about danger when you are safe; consider about poverty when you are rich; consider about loss when you gain." "Shen Da" means "be even more prudential while you gain power". Beijing Olympics made the majority of Chinese aware that China has been a big country already. If such sense does not result in arrogance but in cautiousness and soberly awareness of our shortcomings and gaps in system, culture and so on from many other countries, this consciousness will be a positive impetus to the formation of new Chinese culture.
Fortunately, our society has realized the importance of the culture's "soft power". The word "how happy we are, to meet friends from afar" inspired the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics. However, this extortionate performance is almost a splurge of wealth without the quotation of Confucian Analects and other traditional culture resources. The content of Olympic theme song lacks cultural influence and the form of performance is also greatly inferior to the elegance and grandeur in the ancient The Book of Songs. This phenomenon of cultural lag is worth our vigilance. Zhang Yi Mou's lack of cultural knowledge is a reflection of the cultural status among the majority of middle class in China. Their moral and cultural standards did not mount up as their wealth.

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