SEVEN CENTURIES IN ASIA
Manchuria, there is henceforth little more than such geographical progress to record of it in this history for a thousand years.
- The reason for the stationariness of China goes, we think, deeper than a script. China has formed a social-economic system which (1) cannot be transplanted, and (2) cannot be changed without tremendous effort. She lives by agriculture—rice-growing. (There is some tea among the foot hills, but it has to grow with rice to support the population.) Towns exist—on the edge of the rice-fields, for their needs. The town is dependent on the country, not, as elsewhere, country on town. There are small properties; all the hands are wanted, and can be absorbed, in old ancestral agricultural jobs. A state of small peasants, tilling, tilling, tilling, has no source of initiative towards change. If coal is to be mined in the future, and China industrialized, then a society that has not fundamentally changed for thousands of years may be changed. China is like an Egypt or Sumeria, so big that the nomads—those terrible agents of change—beat on its mass in vain. What the nomads have not done, modern industrialism may do.—J. L. M. and
Both Mr. Chen and Mr. Fu lay considerable stress upon the institution of the patriarchal Chinese family clan, which retains its sons at home, marrying them at an early age before they achieve economic independence, as a retarding influence upon Chinese progress. Mr. Chen and Mr. Duyvendak are also inclined to lay stress upon the paralyzing effect of the classical examinations upon the Chinese mind. These examinations have subdued or rejected all innovating intelligences. Mr. Duyvendak also points out that J. L. M. and E. B. have overlooked the fact that rice is grown only in South China.
L. C. B. disagrees with J. L. M. and E. B. in his analysis of the Chinese problem. His sympathies are with the south; with the philosophy of Lao Tse. He writes as follows:—
"In order to answer the question—why China achieved so much under the T'ang, Sung, and Ming dynasties, and thereafter failed to achieve more, it is necessary to consider what were the principal factors of culture and progress under these dynasties, and how they came to be extinguished.
"From the earliest times there have always been two widely differing types of Chinese mind—the Northern or Confucian, and the Southern or Taoist. As Mr. Okakura has pointed out, the Yangtse-Kiang and the Hwang-Ho rivers are respectively, from the point of view of thought and culture, the Mediterranean and the Baltic of China. Taoism was the idealism of the south, Confucianism the practice of the north. Both stood for adjustment; but the adjustment of Confucius was the adjustment of the individual in his social and ceremonial relations to others, while that of Lao Tse was the adjustment of the individual soul in its relation to the Infinite. The history of China is bound up with the struggle of those two forces, culminating in the practically complete defeat of Taoism after centuries of ebb and flow. Chu Hsi, A.D. 1130-1200, was the later St. Paul of modern Confucianism. During the T'ang, Sung, and Ming dynasties China was temporarily united, and free play was allowed to the thought of both schools. Each played its part and each reacted upon the other, to the great benefit of the Empire. Yet both systems carried within them the seeds of decay. Taoism, divorced from the affairs of everyday life and the education of the people, lost itself in art, literature, and mythology. Confucianism added layer after layer of hard shell about the inert organism of social life. The end was finally reached in