哲 学 三 慧
Three Types of Philosophical Wisdom
Thomé H. Fang
Trans. Suncrates and Sandra A. Wawrytko
l3. Thus, combining altogether [as rich source and background] the Taoist awareness of the wondrous function of Tao, the Confucian realization of the originating power of Creativity, and the Mohist commitment to the Universal Love of all into a kind of philosophical confederacy, the Chinese people are supposed to be able to accomplish splendid deeds, to inspire great thoughts, to sustain its glorious heritage by virtue of genuineness and sincerity so as to perpetuate and enhance the splendor that is China—as a nation of culture! But as a careful examination shows, in her 4000 years of history the moments of enlightenment by wisdom are found to be extremely rare, far rarer than those of darkness, obscurity, obstinacy, and close-mindedness; consequently her culture has declined and her way of life degenerated into the mere existence of hustling and bustling for vainglory and material gains. Why? the reason, not far to seek, can be summarized in several points as follows:
l3.1 The ancient Chinese society was an aristocratic and feudal one. The collective national wisdom was contained in the Six Arts which were as whole but the art of ruling for the emperors and kings; hence, as such, they were monopolized by the literati-officers class, not to be shared in common with the mass of the people. For this reason, as we see, the intellectual and academic life was kept in the hands of the official government and the cultural ideal was left with only a few elites as minority. It follows as a result that though there was wisdom, it could hardly be spread; though there was creation, it could hardly be continued.
13.2 After the Eastern Chou period, the state education system disintegrated. Only then was it possible for the full blossoming of various schools of philosophers, of which each strived to create new styles of thinking and to present new doctrines in competition with others. It was the Golden Age of Chinese Philosophy. But unfortunately it was first thwarted by the strifes of the Warring State period; and then mutilated by the tight control of Emperor Chin, known in history as the policy of "committing all works into the flame!" Moreover, with the Chin regime taking over the China empire as the sole ruler, it aped the ancient institution by appointing officers in charge of education and academic affairs; owing particularly to the incompetency and unscrupulousness of those so called "Doctors," the academic was monopolized by them with the sole purpose in mind: to please the tyrant-rulers for the moment and to show off the "glamor and profit" thus obtained to their contemporaries; The essential principle of seeking knowledge for its own sake and abiding to truth for its own sake was deplorably lost and the new vitality of culture was thus fatally vitiated.
13.3 The Han rulers inherited the relics from the ruins of the previous Chin regime. Classics were then lost; the literati-officers had to count on the oral transmission for intellectual heritage. From generations to generations it is only those teachings of certain circles that they had adhered to in the name of "orthdodoxism," employing only fragmentary and piecemeal treatments for exegeses of the classics; thus great wisdom was destroyed with petty "truths" and ultimate truths were buried amidst the documents of antiquity. They knew nothing but conservatism for lack of the courage to create; even if they had anything creative, it was often mixed with the far-fetched arbitrary misinterpretation in terms of the pseudo-science of numerology and astrology [known as the art of ch’ien-wei]. Truth was thus hopelessly obscured.
13.4 All the dynasties in the Post-Han periods inhered the ancient institution of state education (even the State Examination System after the Sung period was still but the same institution in disguise), employed to corrupt the mind with profit and position and to control the truth with authority and threat. The so called "dedicating oneself to the service of the state and the world" remained mere rhetoric as lip-service whileas the practice of fame-fishing and profit exploiting had lingered on as the nasty climate in custom. In sum, the decline of the Chinese cultural and intellectual life (especially in philosophy) was due to the fact that it is typical of China throughout the ages that politics dominates culture by control of the freedom of thought, to such an extent that even in the case of certain devoted thinkers, they were subject either to the temptation of profit and position or to the subjugation by authority and power. The great trouble for China was that she has been lacking the purely motivated and wholehearted, devoted scholars. With only a few exceptions, as a rule they dared not to direct politics with the lofty cultural ideals! What had been handed down through ages in the history of China was mere real politics, ideal politics was deplorably rare! Fortunately, however, there came to be found occasionally, perhaps once in generations, certain hermit-type of scholars uninfluenced by power-politics who, as solitary souls yet with far-searching mind. had immersed themselves in studies. It is thanks to scholars of this category that eventually the Chinese intellectual life has been preserrved and continued down to the present day.
13.5 The enlightenment of philosophical wisdom is basically a matter of the individual genius. But as in the case of ancient China the intellectual treasures were in the keeping of the aristocrats; after the Chin and Han periods it was monopolized by the official "Doctors"; hence many a national geniuses were unable to devoted themselves to the pursuit of truth since they were either unenlightened for lack of education or made stupid for the sake of profits. Even when there happened to be certain outstanding scholars dedicated to the search of truth, they were most of them confined to conventionalities, becoming thereby the ‘smug-and satisfied,’ [as Chuangtzu calls them], adhered idolatrously to the teachings of certain one "great" master only, following the methods of scholasticism, piecemeal and pedantic, without intention to establish rigorous method on the basis of logical principles. Thus, groundless in advancing theories, difficult in verification, evasive and elusive in expression, they were caught in the impasse of intellectual blindness.
13.6 In China great philosophical wisdom often emerges from her great genius. As typical of the genius style, incredible and miraculous in performance, the moment that any new ideas turns up, the philosophers would often adopt the concise intuitive mode for linguistic expression, rather than follow the laborious, painstaking approach to establish theoretical knowledge and to deduce therefrom into theoretical consequences. Consequently posterity would be in no position to verify experientially with what was originally available as evidences and it would be extremely difficult, especially in case of doubts about the errors, to point out the weakness, clarify the puzzles, and turn all these into truth.
13.7 The Chinese philosophers, as a rule, have often placed their thoughts in artistic imagination and moral cultivation, intent upon the inward regard for an experience of their own spiritual enjoyment. At times, unavoidably, they are inclined to the wild tales of artistic fantasies and absurdities, or confined to the stubborn practices of ethical prejudice and bias. As a result, for lack of enlightenment and openmindedness, partiality and selfishness would ensue. For essentially both artististic imagination and moral compassion pertain to benevolence as the loving consciousness of humankind, par excelllence—hence, temperamentally tender-hearted rather than tough-minded. Adept as they often are at empathizing themselves into the world of visionary forms and invoking the sheer sense of beauty for a moment of aesthetic ecstasy, yet deficient nevertheless in such virtues of perseverance, rigor and constantcy as characteristical of the scientists, they are rather inapt to pursue and penetrate consistently into the rationalistic frameworks as theoretical constructions, by way of the thoroughgoing investigation and exhaustive examination, in order to bring about the logical systems of thought.