18. China’s Systematic Culture
Since the Confucius period, systematic culture has influenced Chinese, which are profoundly affected, because Chinese grow up in the system, is restricted by the system, and benefits from the system their whole lives.
The influence of systematic culture on people is the same as the effect of other cultures. Culture has strong impact on people.
The influence of culture on people is involved in every matter, every product, every eye contact, and every movement. The way that culture influences people is through changing or remodelling people’s subconsciousness, thus influencing people’s behaviours. The culture would not intervene in people’s actions on specific things, but it can change people’s dimension of consciousness and subconsciousness. It transforms people’s inner attitude to change their behaviours.
Why do we say that culture changes people’s dimension of consciousness?
For example, in ancient China, according to the traditional culture, it is improper for men and women to touch each other’s hand in passing objects, women are beautiful in a reserved manner, women should smile without showing teeth. Under these feudal cultural backgrounds, unmarried women would not study on how to talk with strange men about the weather or have lunch together when they only stayed in boudoir. They have no expectation on studying on how to associate with men, because there is no sense. In their consciousness, it is forbidden to associate with the opposite sex for unmarried women.
In a similar way, between the Chinese girls who are influenced by traditional ideology and the girls who are relatively open, their dimensions of consciousness on communicating with people of the opposite sex is different. In our daily lives, this discrepancy is expressed in a way that the relatively traditional party has no experience or the other party has more experience or is more experienced. Judging from the way of consciousness and subconsciousness, this is different size of dimensions of consciousness or blankness of consciousness dimension.
There is another concept, which is Chinese always call people just entering the society is a blank paper, which is also vacancy, which means that newcomers into society has vacant consciousness about social experience. They have no detailed information about the concept of society.
Due to the influence of systematic culture on subconsciousness of Chinese, in Chinese’s dimension of consciousness, there is a natural concept of system. Chinese instinctively know how to apply the system to benefit them, or how to obey or escape from the restrictions of the system on themselves to avoid penalty on themselves from the system. These are all influences of systematic culture on Chinese’s dimension of consciousness. In contrast, Western people live in an environment different from the Chinese’s so that they have no concept of system.
In China’s systematic culture, the family system is the system that Chinese would have the earliest contact and is the system the Chinese are mostly fond of and best apply.
In addition to applying the existing consanguineous relationship to make out the system, the Chinese also create their own systems through establishing sworn relation with friends, teachers, adopted father, adopted mother, which are all typical Chinese styles.
To be honest, the author of this paper has no deep study on foreign culture, but has read many books and foreign TV series for several decades. In those books and TV series, there is no one example presenting the phenomenon of establishing sworn relations with friends, adopted father, or adopted mother. Even the author of this paper never heard the words of sworn brothers, adopted father, and adopted mother in foreign works.
Certainly, sworn brother is just a small role in current Chinese culture, but the systematic culture having greater influence on Chinese is family culture in which the most representative is the relation between parents and children. This relation is a core relation in family systematic culture, and it is a leading relation in family as well as the main contact between members in the family.
Almost every Chinese has heard such ancient sayings, which are, ‘All his friends and relations get there with him’, ‘It is the custom for a son to pay his father’s debts’, ‘The son should avenge his father’, which are interpreted again and again in literary works like movies, TVs, and books, etc. They almost become eternity themes.
Due to the influence of systematic culture, the Chinese have a different thinking mode between that of foreigners.
Confucius developed the systematic culture in China, or to say, Confucius transforms systematic culture into a systematic cultural product that is specific and is able to be implemented.
The ideology of Confucius and Mencius and feudal ethical code are specific to individuals.
Certainly, Confucius was the first to propose this system, just like Windows system is firstly launched by Microsoft and is widely applied into computers. Windows is used for computer specially, but the social management system of Confucius ideology is rooted in every Chinese and is the operation system of every Chinese dynasty.
To my point of view, the acceptance points and advanced things of this operation system have the following advantages:
1. This system defines everyone in the society specifically.
There is clear affiliation and social definition in either administration or daily life, enabling everyone knowing what powers and obligations they have. This could help to avoid social contradictions to the greatest extent and help everyone know what should be done and what should not be done. In normal operation of the system, there would not occur social disruption.
2. This system was equipped with ‘endowment insurance’ and ‘free compulsory education’ since the Chinese feudal society two thousand years ago.
Chinese have the culture of bringing up sons to support parents in their old age. It is necessary to be filial to parents in feudal system. It is illegal if the sons do not provide for their parents, and in severe cases, the sons can be judged to death in the charge of ‘disobedience’. Therefore, in the feudal system, the sons must be filial to parents and provide for parents. The family transfers the heritages to the son, when the daughter belongs to her husband’s family after she is married and has no right to inherit the heritage. This is called ‘a woman follows her husband no matter what his lot is’. After the son inherits the heritage, he must support his parents and worship their ancestors. This is called ‘inheriting the lineage’. When the son and his wife have no children, it is called ‘the last of family line’ and is the most unfilially behaviour. It is a very severe thing in feudal values. Having children is to have the function of endowment insurance. This is to ensure that the elderly will be looked after properly and make a stable and harmonious society.
Since the son has the function of ‘endowment insurance’, skills and talents of the son are the most promising that his parents can have rich and better lives. Therefore, the parents would educate children from morality, talent, and knowledge since the children’s childhood. The parents would prefer suffering hardships for their whole life just for creating a good study environment for the children and for making the children become nation pillars. ‘A child is better unborn than untaught.’ This is equal to the function of ‘free compulsory education’. Not only in ancient China, but also the modern Chinese are never bored with it.
The above are the greatest benefits to ordinary Chinese from this system. In addition, this set of functions of endowment insurance and free compulsory education is very successful and plays great effect until today when influencing daily actions and thinking mode of the Chinese. For this reason, the author of this paper does admire Confucius’s works and contributions.
This system is undoubtedly the most advanced and practical social management system in natural economy condition where men do farm work and women engage in spinning and weaving. Chinese creates Chinese ancient culture and far surpasses Western culture by such advanced system. This success is entirely owed to systematic culture and the Chinese’s understanding of the system and life.
Certainly, systematic culture was not created by Confucius, but is an integrated concept and systematic ideology that is handed down from the ancient times.
The works that Lao-Tzu did for systematic culture is overall and conceptual description and exposition, when Confucius is a worker dedicating in practical application of systematic culture.
Therefore, Lao-Tzu’s influence on and contribution to the Chinese systematic culture is ineffaceable and decisive. In short, Lao-Tzu is the one who studies on basic theories of the system, when Confucius is the one who works on practical application of systematic culture. From the point of technology, basic theories would never be out of date, but practical application would have to be improved constantly along with development of productivity and variations of contradiction nature.
Although systematic culture is very advanced, there is obvious deficiencies in Confucius’s social management system for current society due to changes in the times and environment. China’s economy and technology as well as productivity are hampered in development and are surpassed and invaded by Western countries, just because the Chinese are restricted by this systematic culture.
Actually, this is not a fault of systematic culture, but China needs to update the application program of systematic culture, like Window system, which would be always updated in a few years, from 95 to 98, 2000, XP, and Win10. Since the hardware facilities are changing, and hard disk is expanded, and CPU is accelerated, even though the old system is in good condition, it has to be rectified to adapt to development needs of new hardware.
The reason is same for the social management system. Due to changes and increases of market economy, industrial reforms, and internet, today cannot be compared with the era two thousand years ago when men do farm work and women engage in spinning and weaving. However, the Chinese still continues to use to operation system that was designed by the ancients two thousand years ago. It is definite that China would be backward and has obstacle in development of economy and productivity.
However, with proper rectification, social management system would play its enormous social effects and functions.