2005/11/16

Western versus Chinese civilization



In Western eyes, the traditional model of societal development that has been teached for ages goes something like this. (The timeline goes from left towards right.)










We should be aware that this is somehow an Eurocentrist model and it should thus not be generalized to the rest of the world. But let's nevertheless see what its application returns from a comparison between the developments of Europe and China.











































From those images everyone will rapidly come to the same 3 conclusions:
- animism has decidedly been, at least in terms of its timespan, the overwhelming stage of the human theater of societal evolution and this stage of development was similar in Europe and in China.
- on the right side of the graph a stark differentiation appears between the European and Chinese societal developments.
- religion seems to have been a uniquely European reality.
Let's now zoom on the developments that are nearest to us.


Europe.


















China.




















For sure these visualizations are crude "impressionistic style" generalizations but they are nevertheless exact reflections of the reality of societal evolution and those images undoubtedly leave us with a very strong visual impression of the differences between the roads taken by Europe and China.

So let's examine what are the strongest differentiations.

1. In Europe the passage from Animism to Christianity seems to have been a rather gradual experience. But while Christianity borrowed some Animist traits it remains nevertheless that in the end it eradicated with a vengence the last vestiges of its competitor for the control of people's minds. Books were burnt, statues were destroyed, temples were demolished, public signs were eradicated and feasts and festivals were converted to the new creed. The natural consequence of such a barbarity has been the irremediable loss of the observations and knowledge that had been gathered by earlier generations along the preceding tens of thousands of years.
In contrast China kept that heritage intact.

2. European and by extension Western civilization finds thus its roots in Christianity. In contrast the Chinese civilization seems to have been built out of its Animist societal experience.


Graphs Copyright Laodan

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1 comment:

  1. interesting post. i especially love the diagrams. do you have any more from where they came from and at higher resolution?
    james

    ReplyDelete