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CCCH 9003 Modernity and Traditional Chinese Thought 2011-2012 Semester 1 Term Essay Feasibility of Ti-Yong Background During

the reform era of 19th century, the Chinese started to take the unprecedented challenges from the West seriously. Philosophers and reformers discussed on the direction for future China, and one of the mainstream idea was Ti-yong (), which was put forth by Zhang Zhidong ( 1837-1909) in Quan Xue Pian ( 1898) as to describe the method of self-strengthening movement in 1861-1895. At that time there is recognition of the emergent need to change in China. External challenges revealed the weakness of the Chinese culture and people started losing faith on the traditional institution system. Zhang Zhidong, saw the situation as There are some who hold that the new learning will save us; others maintain that its acceptation will abrogate our old doctrines, and that we ought to hold fast the patrimony of our ages...The former do not understand what international intercourse means, the latter are ignorant of what is radical in Chinese affairs. The Conservatives fail to see the utility of modern military methods and the benefits of successful change, while the Progressionists, zealous without knowledge, look with contempt upon our widespread doctrines of Confucius. ( )1. Tended to advocated a relatively conservative way to save the country, came up with the idea of Ti-yong. he

Ti-yong could be literally translated as "Chinese learning should remain the essence, but Western learning be used for practical development". The old traditional Chinese culture should be kept while understanding the essence and logic. What was defined as Chinese essence here are Ren from Confucian tradition. The Western learning, better define as modern Western learning but not the Middle Age Western belief, was first defined exclusively as the technological advance, later expanded to the institutional structure and philosophy. It served as a mainstream idea for about thirty years. Though it later fall due to the lake of education and other factors, Ti-yong has a huge influence in history as it has till now. Is there a contradiction?
Z. Zhang & S. I. Woodbridge, Chinas Only Hope. (Edinburgh and London: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1901). Preface, p.20

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Ti-yong idea tends to separate the Chinese and the Western culture in terms of spiritual and practical culture. Could we demonstrate the Chinese spirits not within its corresponding practical culture, such as the institutional form of monarch or oligarchy? Confucianism, as the major believe of Chinese and as seen as the essence of Chinese tradition, had the ultimate goal of An . Personally it satisfied with ones present situation at ease with no worries. Nationally it established peaceful and rule in the state. The way of achieve the goal is through Ren . What we can see is that Chinese culture based on humanism. It is not to oppose religious believe and the belief in logic, which is the tool of working (practical). Humanism is not trying to reject other beliefs but respect and engage - The way of Master consists in doing ones best and in using oneself as a measure to gauge the likes and dislikes of others.2 At the same time modern Western idea represent humanism in human rights, and most, maybe not all, modern Western practices are based on the idea of universal, equal, and inalienable. While some may say Chinese works for others and while Western works for self-improvement, as proposed by Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the Master Confucius once said Men of antiquity studies to improve themselves; men today study to impress others 3 Both Chinese and Western believes practical yong is to have self-realization. Most importantly, flexibility has been put forth in Confucianism. It is to exercising discretion and the doctrines are not that rigid. It could be changed or even vilated when necessary. Tzu-hsia said, If one does not overstep the bounds in major matters, it is of no consequence if one is not meticulous in minor matters. 4 We could interpret that the major matters is the Chinese fundamental believe of Ren and An, minor matters as the way of carrying out and hence conclude that it is feasible in theory to have Chinese culture as the essence while carrying out modern Western practices. However, we should look into the overall environment as to understand the feasibility of TI-yong in different ages. In the 19th century Ti-yong idea was raised in 19th century when the Chinese had the first real contact with Western civilization. Chinese had a well-established existing practical culture as in institution, hierarchy in technology and doctrines, and the importance of agriculture over
2 3 4

D.C. Lau, The Analects (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1992). 4:15 D.C. Lau, The Analects (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1992). 14:24 D.C. Lau, The Analects (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1992). 19:11 p.2

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economic activities.

To change the habit of general public education plays an important

role. Hundred Days reform tried to replace the eight-legged essay by essays on current affairs but fail. Ke ju, the Imperial Chinese examination, was not abolition until 1905 by the Qing Dynasty. In terms of learning national defence, foreign languages and industrial production, the Capital Foreign Language House was not set up until 1862. Modern universities such as Peking Univeristy were only founded in late 19th century. The country was starting to introduce new thinking, but the speed was slow, and only elites would become aware of the importance of modern Western practices. To educate the general public media came into place. At that time the media was not advance enough to ensure most of the general public had the concept of Western practices, its advantage and why it was needed. It was in the Hundred Days reform that newspaper spread not only official documentaries but also current affairs. At the same time the country was facing huge danger and in search for immediate solution. Althgouh Ti-yong was a natural idea developed in the chaotic time and could provide a good long-term development direction, it was not meeting the general demand of public, and with the lake of general social support, instability in society (wars), slow and unsystematic development of general education and media, and the lake of financial support from the government and rulers, the idea was not feasible. In modern day 21th century As time passes Ti-yong then could use as a means to keep Chinese identity while living in this modern age of globalization. With internet and the literacy rate of 92.2%5, China has transformed and the Chinese understand and accept the modern Western advancement. With the support form elites who get to know Ti-yong in the 19th century now become government official, most of the economic, legal and cultural problem could be solved. The idea of Ti-yong is highly feasible in this time of age. Yet, China was now in a state where people tended to favour modern Western idea over the traditional Chinese ideas of Ren. People tended to forgot the proper way of Li in human relationships while spending their life chasing on material goods and fame. The education system has the tendency to neglect proper education of traditional Chinese essence, Ti, but focus mainly on techniques and sciences, Yong. As to promote the idea of Ti-yong we should bear in mind the proper understanding of the Chinese essence. We should also have the courage to continue and work in a Chinese

China, East & Southeast Asia, CIA World Factbook, CHAN YIK KA 2010161151 p.3

way and not following completely the Western practices, which now proved by the Wall Street Protest, as with systematic and institutional insufficiency. Reference: Z, Dong, Zhong Ti Xi Yong yu Zhong Guo de Jiao Yu Xian Dai Hua, Xin Zheng Zhi Xue, volume 2, 2010. p.35-58. R. Huang, Xin shi dai de li shi guan: Xi xue wei ti, Zhong xue wei yong. (Taibei Shi: Taiwan shang wu yin shu guan, 1998). D.C. Lau, The Analects (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 1992). J. D. Spence, The Search for Modern China. 2nd ed. (New York: Norton, 1999). Z. Zhang & S. I. Woodbridge, Chinas Only Hope. (Edinburgh and London: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1901).

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