The relationship between Chinese traditional culture and the modern destiny of the nation

Before discussing traditional culture, let's discuss ethnicity first. Let’s first look at the concept of a nation: a nation refers to a stable community formed by long-term historical development, a group of groups that are differentiated from other groups based on history, culture, and language. According to the definition, it can be known that history, culture and language are the three important elements that distinguish the local people from other peoples. And these three elements are not independent of each other, on the contrary, they influence each other and blend with each other, and no one can do without the other. From a cultural point of view, the culture of a nation infiltrates its history, affects the thinking of the individual and even the whole of the nation, and then affects the decision that the nation makes in the face of the problems raised by history under specific historical conditions. Similarly, culture infiltrates language, and there are obvious cultural traces in the grammar, vocabulary, and expression of a nation's language. Therefore, culture greatly shapes the character of a nation and gives a nation its soul, which is an extremely important factor that distinguishes a nation from other nations. The same is true of traditional Chinese culture for the Chinese nation.

However, since modern times, Chinese traditional culture has gradually faded in the hearts of Chinese people, and even individual individuals have completely forgotten it. Recently, there have been various social incidents that violate morality, which is just a violation of morality on the surface. But to get to the root, it is the traditional culture of social morality, which is despised and forgotten by individual individuals of the nation, resulting in the decline of moral binding force. The traditional culture of this nation is not recognized in the heart of the individual, which will lead to a decline in the cohesion and sense of identity of the Chinese nation, which will be disastrous for the Chinese nation. Just like at the moment, in the face of Japanese and American culture, Chinese young people are keen to accept it; in the face of traditional culture, Chinese young people are at a loss. But why? What is Chinese traditional culture? Where will the future go?

In the understanding of modern Chinese people, traditional culture seems to restrict the development of society. It is true that in traditional culture, there are three constants and five cardinal guides, which are submissive, and the patriarchal hierarchy is indeed backward in the eyes of a modern person. In addition, it is also undesirable that the traditional culture lacks the attitude of thinking and justifying the assertion. Since there are such doubts about traditional culture. Then in the feudal period, the state of traditional culture is the first issue we should discuss.

The reason why Chinese traditional culture does not conform to the trend of social development in modern times is because traditional culture itself has been largely feudalized. The Ming and Qing Dynasties were the late period of feudal society in ancient China. This was the period when the centralized system of feudal autocracy was intensified, and it was also the period when China's feudal imperial power reached its peak. The emergence of Neo-Confucianism and the strengthening of Neo-Confucianism by the ruling class gradually bound the personality and thinking of our nation. Under the strong influence of the feudal autocratic system, traditional culture developed to a large extent in the direction of adapting to feudal rule. Why did the Chinese nation enter such a historical period? In fact, this is not the embodiment of the personal will of these emperors, but is created by the character and historical environment of the Chinese nation under the influence of traditional culture.
In fact, when China's feudal system reached the Song Dynasty, compared with the previous Tang Dynasty, it was obvious that the shackles of personality under the dual influence of culture and system became stronger and stronger. I think that this situation is showing that the feudal system has become less and less able to adapt to the needs of the emerging production relations and personal freedom that people naturally generate after the development of productive forces and ideas. In the face of emerging things, the traditional feudal ruling class, under the influence of backward world outlook and understanding of backward production relations, is powerless to accept, utilize and manage these emerging things. It is impossible to hastily incorporate these new things into their familiar system of governance, which does not have these genes in their system and their thinking. They have an instinctive fear of the things that confuse them and try to get society and people's minds back to what they think they are.

So in the Ming Dynasty, under the influence of the feudal culture and history of Zhu Yuanzhang, who came from the bottom peasants, he inevitably longed for the reconstruction of social order and morality, and established a unified feudal dynasty with autocratic monarchy. However, in his period, the emergence of new things and ideas made society complicated, and it was impossible for society to return to the Qin, Han and Sui and Tang Dynasties. This made him instinctively move towards tighter control over the people. Prospering Bagu, creating household registration, and clarifying the law, these are the measures he took. Purely the idea of filial piety to govern the world, but also hope that the subjects of the country can accept the rule under the strong restraint of ethics and morality. The imperial examination system for selecting national talents has also become a heavy shackle on the intellectuals. For these officials from intellectuals, their thoughts and actions are firmly locked in the category of the Five Classics of private schools. The abolition of the Prime Minister and the establishment of Jinyiwei and Dongchang further reflected the strengthening of the central imperial power, and the central imperial power's control over the society was more solid. Therefore, in the terrifying environment of the early Ming Dynasty, new things were completely powerless to fight against the fully-armed feudal order that had already dominated. It should be noted that the laws of ancient China have always been regarded by the people as severe punishments for serious violations of social moral norms and strict regulations on the behavior of subjects outside of morals. They are not laws that protect people's rights in the modern sense.

In terms of thought, the feudal Chinese traditional culture has gradually strengthened its "convergence" characteristics, and the spread of new things in this environment is inherently slow. With the gradual feudalization of traditional Confucian culture and classic culture, the minority who accepted these emerging ideas have been excluded from mainstream society, not only under the joint suppression of morality and feudal law, but also under the influence of the feudal world outlook. Growing up doubts about your own thoughts. Furthermore, under the ingrained understanding of the "world", "the imperial court" and "the emperor's father", the ancient Chinese would still naturally choose to go to another era when the dynasty was replaced and the control of the centralized feudal system was relatively weak. The rule of the new centralized feudal system.

Therefore, under the huge inertia of Confucianism transformed by the feudal landlord class, China has been operating under the enormous inertia of Confucianism. Two thousand years of transformation of the thinking of the Chinese nation and unilateral interpretation of Confucian culture have made the traditional culture with Confucianism as the main body become They are powerful tools for maintaining governance. Chinese traditional culture with Confucianism as the main body has gradually tilted towards its "convergence" and "order" in the process of two thousand years of feudal society, which is more and more unfavorable to the development of productive forces and new ideas, and society has entered a relative Stable period of stagnation. From the late Ming Dynasty to the Qianlong period, the emperor always had a playful attitude towards the unheard of science and technology from the West. In the continuous strengthening of monarchs, ministers, ministers, fathers and sons, China's feudal system has come to its end.

Since we have explained the reason why traditional culture cannot bring our Chinese nation into modern times, is there any difference between our traditional culture and Western culture?

There is absolutely no difference between Western culture and our traditional culture. The cultural production of the individualized contract of Western culture has its historical origin. The Germanic chiefs fought for it with their warriors, but not for free. Instead, the leader must regularly provide the warriors with the spoils they deserve. This is what the lord should do and must do. In this way, the relationship between the leader and the warrior is maintained by this simple contractual relationship. In this relationship, the warrior's personality itself is independent, and the leader has no right to directly interfere in the warrior's private life. In the Middle Ages, chiefs became lords and warriors became vassals, and the habit remained. Lords were assigned to vassals, and vassals had to fulfill their feudal obligations. A vassal of a vassal is not a vassal of a lord, because they have no contractual relationship between them. The relationship between peasants and feudal lords is probably like this. In this system of social operation, individuals have relative independence. The feudal system in the West did not form a relatively centralized central feudal power like China in the feudal era. The concept of contract and the great influence of Roman law have produced a law in the modern sense of the West, which better guarantees people's rights. The atmosphere of freedom was more obvious under the urban laws of Western Europe at the turn of the Middle Ages and modern times, which created favorable conditions for the emergence of new things and accelerated the modernization of the West. This is the trend that Mill, the author of "The Theory of Liberty", thinks is beneficial to the development of human society. The West entered modern times earlier than us, and it is not because the culture of the West is good, it should be used as our culture. Without the corresponding historical accumulation and precipitation, mechanical imitation is doomed to fail and cannot be adapted to the nature of our nation.

It is not the fault of traditional culture itself that China lagged behind the West in modern times in the 19th century. The fundamental reason is the obstruction of the feudal social system and ideology. The emergence and development of emerging ideas can be seen in the middle and late Ming Dynasty when the ideological control of society was relatively weak. During this period, a large number of thinkers emerged, such as Li Zhi and Huang Zongxi. Li Zhi pointed his finger at feudal ethics and the whole orthodox thought, which to a certain extent reflected the requirements of the budding era of fundamentalism. Huang Zongxi, who advocated the theory of "the world is the master and the ruler is the guest", reflects the changes in the traditional social production relations caused by the development of productive forces. with anti-authoritarian characteristics. Through the above examples, we can see that the society in the late feudal era of China still irresistibly produced new social production relations, and correspondingly produced some ideas with humanistic characteristics. This big trend can only be slowed down by strengthening the authoritarian system and its ideological control, but it cannot be stopped. Without the influence of external forces, with the development of productive forces, the Chinese nation will also enter modern times in a slightly later historical period. Therefore, it is not the fault of traditional culture itself that China lags behind the West in modern times in the 19th century, but the fundamental reason is the hindrance of the feudal social system and ideology.

Therefore, the entire traditional Chinese culture cannot be regarded as an outdated culture that should be abandoned by the existence of these dregs left over from history. In the process of cultural evolution, the form of culture will change, but the core connotation of culture is difficult to change. It is true that the core of Confucian culture, as the main body of traditional culture, has some patriarchal characteristics, but it was inevitable in that era. It is precisely the connotation of culture that determines the characteristics of culture and thus shapes the character of a nation. Chinese traditional culture is dominated by Confucian culture. Therefore, it is necessary to solve the contradiction between the form of Confucian culture and modern society and transform it, find the fundamental connotation of Confucian culture, and take the most important of them to modern interpretation and then carry it forward. Only then can we grasp the revitalization of traditional Chinese culture. key.

After being vaccinated, the next question is, what is the core of our traditional culture? How to catch it?

Chinese traditional culture takes Confucianism as the main body, studies the core meaning of Confucianism, and solves various problems between Confucianism and modern social culture, in order to fundamentally solve the problem of inheritance of Chinese traditional culture. The core of Confucianism is benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, faith, forgiveness, loyalty, filial piety, and ti. Among them, benevolence and righteousness are the core of Confucianism. Loyalty, filial piety and propriety are the major parts of the core that contradict and conflict with modern cultural concepts. So first of all, what are "benevolence" and "righteousness"? In the Analects of Confucius and other documents, Confucius interprets "benevolence" as follows:
1. Self-denial and rites are benevolence. One day of self-denial and rites, the world will return to benevolence. Is benevolence up to oneself rather than others? \u2028
2. Going out is like seeing a great guest, making the people feel like taking a great sacrifice; do not do to others what you don’t want to do to others; no grudges in the state, no grudges at home. \u2028
3. A benevolent person first finds difficulty and then gains, which can be called benevolence. \u2028
4. Respect in residence, respect for deacons, and loyalty to people. Although it is barbarian, it cannot be abandoned. \u2028
5. Lover\u2028
6. Gong, Kwan, Xin, Min, Hui\u2028
7. A benevolent person, his words are also bullshit. \u2028
From the above Confucius' explanation of benevolence, we can summarize it into the following three points:
1. Ren represents good virtue\u2028
2. Ren represents the observance of social order\u2028
3. Jen represents love for other members of society\u2028
It should be noted that the love in the third point is not indiscriminate love. According to Confucius' original thought, this kind of love is divided into three levels, the first is the parents, which corresponds to "filial piety"; the second is the other members of the family; the last is the other people who are not related by blood. Combining the second and third points, the Confucian thought of benevolence reveals a hope: in an environment of gentle, noble and friendly love, everyone consciously abides by social order and consciously maintains rank. Putting the first and third points together, the maintenance of social order and hierarchy can be educated and promoted in society through virtues such as respect, leniency, trustworthiness, sensitivity, kindness, and loyalty, so that people can identify in their hearts and even consciously maintain them. . Confucius and later Confucians not only advocated the use of morality and fashion to make people consciously move closer to benevolence, they also advocated the role of "li" as a moral norm. Analysing from these three points, the soul of "benevolence" lies in people's observance of the social order and hierarchy, and in the harmony and fraternity of the society. Logically speaking, "benevolence", the starting point of logic is blood love in the patriarchal hierarchy, the expansion of logic is "loving people", the criterion of logic is ritual, and the final result of logic is the practice of self-knowledge and language of self-personality, in order to achieve knowledge The perfect state of destiny, obedient ears, and following your heart's wishes without breaking the rules.
What is "righteousness"? In the pre-Qin period, "righteousness" mainly had the following meanings:
1. Righteousness is ceremonial. "Shuowen": "Righteousness is one's own majesty." "Shangshu Dazhuan" "The righteousness of the imperial family is still examined, and the Tang Dynasty is a Yubin", Zheng Xuan commented: "Righteousness should be ceremonial; ceremonies are also etiquette. " \u2028
2. Appropriate, appropriate. "Interpretation of Names, Interpretation of Words": "Righteousness is appropriate. It is also appropriate to make things appropriate." \u2028
3. The general term for moral principles. "Mencius Gongsun Chou Shang": "It is qi, and it matches righteousness and Tao." Zhao Qi noted: "Yi is benevolence and righteousness, so it is the foundation of morality." \u2028
4. Benefit, benefit. "Mozi: Jing Shuo Xia": "Righteousness is also beneficial." It can be seen from this that "righteousness" has been extended from the original meaning of the majesty of sacrificial rituals to the meaning of ethics and morality such as appropriateness and benefit. \u2028
The "righteousness" mentioned by Confucius is actually to restrain one's own behavior through individual self-consciousness, so that it conforms to the ritual system. "Righteousness" has become a code of conduct and a principle and standard of morality and value. In the core, wisdom, trust, forgiveness, and loyalty can be expressed by "righteousness".
From this point of view, the combination of "benevolence" and "righteousness" established the basic style of Confucianism. "Order under moderation" seems to me to be a brief summary of Confucian thought. The "ritual" acts as the moral restraint of this "social order" and regulates people's behavior. Compared with the external cruelty and rigidity of "law", the Confucian "li" is soft on the inside but not sharp, because the focus of "li" is the human mind. The education of "ritual", and the social morality it represents, has a lifelong impact on a person. Therefore, "benevolence and righteousness" and "propriety" played a huge role in maintaining social stability in ancient ideological and moral aspects. This is the secret that ancient China's unified multi-ethnic feudal state was able to maintain under the relatively backward traffic conditions and the lack of modern state and national concepts. The key to maintaining a state of relative unity.

Under the culture formed under Confucianism and its influence, Chinese traditional culture has distinctive tolerance and mildness. Chinese culture itself also incorporates many other cultural ideas. The Chinese have always valued harmony, and "harmony" has received this influence to a large extent. This allows traditional Chinese culture to continuously absorb other cultural connotations and enrich its own connotations. Compared with the long-term mutual expedition between the Muslims in Western Europe and the East, the harmonious atmosphere on the land of China and the integration of ethnic groups have always been the mainstream.

When we face traditional culture, how should we treat it in modern times? How to get it out of the feudal era and get modern life?

The only way to let traditional culture get modern life is to let traditional culture get its modern interpretation. The way to get a modern interpretation of traditional culture is to study the core essence of traditional culture, explore the part of the essence that is compatible with modern Chinese society, and re-interpret and develop it. For the feudalization and some backward elements of traditional culture, we should downplay its influence. When re-interpreting, we must grasp the core of our traditional culture, so that the interpretation will not deviate from the root of traditional culture, and can fundamentally adapt to the soul and character of our nation. Among the core values of traditional culture that can still be adapted and reinterpreted in modern times, I think there are two basic viewpoints, the restraint of etiquette and morality and the love between members of society.

The restraint of etiquette and morality still has an irreplaceable role in the construction of a modern society under the rule of law. In the eyes of the Chinese people, etiquette is a spiritual habit that can unite different ethnic groups and regions, and it is the norm for all behaviors in social life. Therefore, the traditional Chinese etiquette with etiquette as the core contains special significance, involving various aspects such as politics, morality and society. As the most fundamental state system of the Zhou Dynasty, the Zhou Gong system of rituals played an important role in political stability. In particular, the appearance of books such as "Zhou Li" and "Book of Rites" gave ritual and etiquette a systematic textual form, which was then used to educate the people. In addition, Chinese traditional etiquette is also a kind of moral culture. Learning and observing etiquette is an important way to achieve a good personality. Compared with the law, ritual is relatively sensitive and quick. Furthermore, the education of etiquette and morality can penetrate deep into the bottom of the society. Compared with the cold and hard-to-learn laws, the masses also hope to use warm etiquette and morality to deal with others in their daily life. In the face of some events in society, the masses first judge them from the perspective of social morality. Ritual and morality have a deep foundation in Chinese society and are the orientation of mainstream public opinion in society. Therefore, advocating etiquette and morality today, especially in the stage of human growth, has practical significance for cultivating a sound citizen. To advocate etiquette and morality, we must first establish correct values in people's minds, so as to resonate with the current morality. The new morality and new etiquette of modern society should be combined with our "eight honors and eight shames" and "socialist core values" to absorb the elements of equality, openness and individuality of modern society. The education of new etiquette and etiquette runs through the subtleties of life, and the habit of teaching etiquette is cultivated. Only by being immersed in the eyes and ears, can the heart truly receive the education of etiquette. The interaction of new etiquette, new morality and new correct values can truly make people form a good personality and be a sound citizen. This is different from the pure "loyalty" in traditional culture. Ritual and morality are like laws, which are not dependent on personal will. They are also like laws, maintaining the dignity of everyone. Combined with the specific situation of the Chinese nation, this plays an important role in maintaining the relationship between a person and society, forming a good social atmosphere, and maintaining social and political stability.

Mutual love among members of society is also very important. In modern times, this differentiated love should be interpreted as love for parents, love for wives and children, and love for other members. For the indifference and deception in modern society, on the one hand, we need legal and moral norms and constraints, and on the other hand, the advocacy of love among social members will form a warm and harmonious social atmosphere to influence such darkness. This has great practical significance for the construction of a harmonious society that we are advocating now. Under the education of friendship, the first reaction among social members will be friendly, and under the first impression of friendliness, it is difficult to produce great hatred. Furthermore, do not do to others what you do not want to do to yourself. Comparing hearts to hearts will better resolve conflicts among the people. The respect and love for parents is different from the traditional pure "filial piety". It is not a top-down feudal obligation to speak with elders, but the most sincere love between parents and children in modern society. For the love of wives and children, of course, it will not be "the husband guides the wife" and "the father guides the son". This dear is articulated by the equality and harmony of modern society, and its form is freedom. These new elaborations not only abandon the dregs of feudalism, but also allow traditional culture to better adapt to and serve the construction of modern society.

Giving full play to these two roles of traditional culture and adapting to the characteristics of our society plays an irreplaceable role in the positive and healthy development of society and in enhancing cultural soft power. Chinese traditional culture is not static, it is not bound to a specific political economy, it needs to constantly adapt to the development of productive forces and society, and will always accompany the Chinese nation.