CHAPTER IX COMPARATIVE STUDY
The Book of Changes employs the word fung a great many times. Its meaning may be defined as the true delight in profound study with the mind ever alert to fathom the depths of learning. Its opposite is the untenable possession of a shallow and limited observation, with a meagre acquaintance with fact.
To-day the New Learning has come into contact with the Old. Should the principles of these not mutually fung, the Old Learning will contemn the New whilst compelled, perforce, to make use of it; and the New will hold the other in contempt, being at the same time under the necessity of enduring it; for the Old cannot be altogether abrogated at once. But the two can never be completely harmonized. A proverb says,
” Suspicion defeats great ends.”
The principle of Western Natural Science is stated in the ” Doctrine of the Middle ” as follows: ” It is only he who is possessed of the most complete sincerity that can exist under heaven, who can give its full development to his nature. Able to give its full development to his own nature, he can do the same to the natures of other men. Able to give its full development to the natures of other men, he can give their full development to the natures of creatures and things. Able to give their full development to the natures of creatures and things, he can assist the transforming and nourishing powers of Heaven and Earth. Able to assist the transforming and nourishing powers of Heaven and Earth, he may with Heaven and Earth form a ternion.” The principle of what is now known as scientific agriculture lies in the Chow Ceremonial [[3,000 years ago] which discusses the methods of transforming soil, silk and cotton selection, the utilization of waste, etc.
The Ceremonial says: “A man is to be despised who deliberately throws aside precious materials; ” and the ” Doctrine of the Middle”: “Bring out the valuable things from the mighty mountains.” These sayings embody the principles of mining.
The ideas of Forestry, prevailing in Europe, inhere in the Chow Ceremonial which mentions the existence of officers who were specially appointed to look after the mountains and woods.
The “Doctrine of the Middle” says: “Encourage all classes of artisans by a system of awards for superior work, in order to enrich the nation.” In this saying lies the principle of Industrial Arts and the Exchange of native produce, and not in the encouragement to merchants. The Lun Yü says: ” A good workman sharpens his tools;” and the “Biblic”: “In doing good work, new instruments are necessary, not old.” In these we have the principle of the employment of newest patterns of machinery now followed by foreigners.
The Analects again say: “The artisans labor in the public workshops.” And why not work in their own native village? Because, as Kuan Tsz says, they must be supervised by officials. This is the principle of experimental Manufactories. The Chow Ceremonial speaks of the ‘Hsuin Fang Sse who instructed the people as to new implements of labor. Here we have the beginning of National Exhibits and Expositions. The ” Great Learning ” says: ” Let the producers be many, the consumers, few.” Here is the germ of Political Economy. Again: “There is a highway for the production of wealth, let there be activity in the production.” The Analects: “There is merit in despatch.” We therefore know that the business of the workman and merchant, the government of the officials, the operations of the soldier, ought to be carried on with swiftness and despatch and not with negligence and delay. Work demands machinery, transportation, the railway. The principle of the machine and the railway lies in this saying quoted above. The idea of the Mercantile, free export, sliding scale, etc., in the West lies in what the Chow Ceremonial says: “The superintendents of markets regulate the supply and eliminate what is hurtful, etc.”
The Analects say: “After seven years of instruction the people will be prepared for war. Not to instruct them thus is like casting them away.” Here we have the principle of military schools. Sze Ma’s method was to employ no troops, however young and strong, without previous instruction. And if soldiers were wounded in battle they received careful attention. This principle agrees with that of the Red Cross Society.
A book of the Han Dynasty says: ” The nine universal arts proceed from an official who directs and controls them.” Here we have the principle of employing men who are specially qualified. The Tso Chuan relates that Confucius received instruction from Tau Tsz [a barbarian]. Thus we have the warrant for sending Chinese abroad to be educated. The Ceremonial says: ” A youth of thirteen should practise dancing and gymnastics, and at sixteen learn archery and riding.” Also, ” He was brave and strong, therefore he entered the marriage relation.” These embody the principles of calisthenics. The ” Classic of Study ” says: ” If one has no taste for a pursuit, he will take no pleasure in learning.” Here we have the principles of Western schools and kindergartens. The ” Biblic ” says: “In arriving at a verdict, even in small cases, take the consensus communis of the people.” Another old book has it: ” Take public opinion in doubtful cases.” This is the principle underlying the foreign jury system. The Chow Ceremonial says: “The Sovereign should hear the popular voice in matters outside the court and the Biblic : ” The Sovereign should consult with both officials and common people; following this course, prosperity will ensue; disregarding it, calamity will befall.” This is the principle of mutual support in the Lords and Commons. An ancient record says: ” Cases should be examined whether the multitude approve or not.” This embodies the principle of proroguing Parliament. The Ceremonial says: ” The duty of the Censors is to apprise the Sovereign of the popular customs, as evidenced by their ballads, and discover what the people relish, as evidenced in the market prices.” The Tso Chuan: “The scholars inform the officials, the common people placard their complaints, the merchants discuss on the streets, the artisans present specimens of their work to their superiors.” Here lies the germ of the newspaper.
We therefore discover that all the mysterious principles of our Holy Canons lie embedded in Western methods, and need not discuss the similarity of well-known objects, documents, and hieroglyphics. The truth is, that foreign principles, laws, etc., have their origin in our Classics, but it is not true to say that these Classics contain a complete knowledge of Western methods and Western skill.
Confucius said: ” I have heard that the Sovereign has dismissed his officers, and therefore literature has departed to the barbarians on the four sides. I believe this.” This saying was in existence long before the time of Confucius.
The Lieh Tsz [a historical Thesaurus] says: ” The Magician took King Muh on a long journey to foreign countries.” Western countries have gradually come into relations with China. Chieu Yen said: ” The country is only one district on the Eastern Sea,” meaning that there were other countries. He heard about these from merchant vessels. Old Egyptian hieroglyphics are of the same kind as Chinese ” Greater Seal ” Characters [said to have been invented 800 B.C.]. The old tablets found in South America were cut by Chinese.
From these facts it is evident that Chinese learning, arts, government, and religion gradually spread over the earth, beginning in the San Tai [1900 B.C.], then in the Chow Dynasty, and afterwards when Lao Tsz went to the West. In the Western Han Dynasty, Kan Yin travelled through the Western Sea. In the Eastern Han, T’sai An and Tsing King were sent by the Emperor to India. Mo T’eng and others came to the East, and Fah Hsien went with his party to the West. The country of Ta Ts’in possessed the Ang bamboo staff, and the Ssz country, the white-knobbed fan. The Chinese and Western priests and the merchants by sea and land kept up an extensive intercourse, and the Chinese doctrines permeated the West, first transforming the country of Buddha, then overspreading the European continent in sure succession.
Western people, however, improved the literature, arts, and government of the Chinese until they became unlike their original form. This is not surprising, for by diligence men will surpass their inactive competitors even though these may have had the start. There are some purely foreign methods, again, which are superior to those of our ancients. Chinese skill in arts, mathematics, astronomy, arranging the calendar, crockery, silk weaving, etc., is better than in the ancient times.
If it is said that what the sages originated is excellent, we agree; but if it is said that the workmanship of to-day does not surpass that of the T’ang, Yu, and San Tai, we demur. The wisdom of the world was not confined to the sages who could not foreknow what would come to pass. Western government and literature, therefore, will be beneficial to China and will not supersede the Holy Religion. Although they have no connection with the hoary past, if we study them no harm can befall us, for their principles agree with what the old Classics teach, as we have shown.
There is a class of Chinese who despise foreign methods, and without examining their excellences, contemptuously fling them aside with the remark that they are not specially mentioned in the Six Classics and the Histories of China. But what old method will suit the present day emergency? We challenge all these cavillers to produce an Ever Victorious Army from the ancient drill, or protect our coast with old Chinese gunboats instead of with armored cruisers. By not adopting foreign methods we block our own way; that is, we render ourselves proud and bigoted obstructionists, who sooner or later will perish through our own stupidity.
There is a second class who partly understand foreign methods and attempt to reconcile every discrepancy by saying that our Classics already contain all Western learning. Who boast, for instance, that algebra is an original product of China [called Tsie Ken Fang] and hence are unwilling to study mathematics. They also brag that modern firearms are handed down from the Yuen Dynasty [a.d. 1200] and that their models were copied by foreign countries when they were forcibly pacified by the Chinese; and will not, in consequence, examine the merits of foreign arsenals, etc. This drivel is pure self-deception. What do we mean by self-deception? That which causes men to be overcome without even seeking the truth.
Still another class is drowned in Western methods. They combine Chinese and ” Western ” into one, and say there is no appreciable distinction between the two. They state that the ” Spring and Autumn Classic ” of Confucius is International Law, and that the Confucian Religion agrees with the Religion of Jesus. This is being self-bound. What is being self-bound? Becoming deceived, deranged, and losing what has already been attained.
These three classes are all deceived because they do not comprehend the meaning of t’ung. The evil of non-intercourse expresses itself in ignorant, blustering talk without deeds.
To sum up : Chinese learning is moral. Western learning is practical. Chinese learning concerns itself with moral conduct. Western learning, with the affairs of the world. What matters it, then, whether Western learning is mentioned in the Classics or not, if it teaches nothing repugnant, or antagonistic, to the genius of our books? If the Chinese heart throbs in unison with the heart of the sages, expressing the truth in irreprovable conduct, in filial piety, brotherly love, honesty, integrity, virtue; if government is loyalty and protection, then let government make use of foreign machinery and the railway from morning to night, and nothing untoward will befall the disciples of Confucius.
But if the ruling classes conclude to remain befuddled, indolent, aimless, braggart, useless, ignorant, and not fung; if they elect to continue hopelessly proud, overbearing, sitting complacently in their places whilst the country is going to pieces and the Holy Religion is being eradicated ; although they may adorn themselves in all the regalia of Confucius and quote long and elegantly from the Classics; although they may compose extended essays on ancient subjects and talk learnedly about Moral Philosophy, the whole world will forever reproach and revile them, saying, ” Behold the scapegraces of Mencius and Confucius ! “