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  • Writer's pictureYiming Sun

EAS critical thinking

I always thought that a genealogist is to study the origin of a family's members and their relatives, tracing the history, but this is not the case through reading the book ‘Tradition, Memory, Hope’. Genealogists are actually anti-historical, not concerned with tracing the origins of identity but with dissipating it. They believe that the fundamental basis of self-knowledge is questionable and that external rights exert inescapable and ubiquitous control over individuals. They regard all languages and history as suppressing self-expression and lack the will and ability of the subject to act. This leads to a conclusion that people have been deluded and can't really know the truth. Western scholars started colonization using the excuse of bringing you the idea of liberty. But how do they distinguish the difference between a man who is truly deluded and brainwashed, and a man who understands history dialectically but still strives for it? The history of their own legitimacy is also flawed when they engage in saving other countries’ history. Another question is about Chinese traditional culture.

Has Chinese traditional culture changed completely before and after the May 4th Movement? In my opinion, it is a kind of renewal that takes the essence of Western culture and removes some of the original dross, but it is still the traditional Chinese culture that the Chinese people recognize. The so-called history is not only about the victors, but also includes etiquette, criminal law, art, astronomy, geography and other aspects of social life. Does it really matter, by contrast, whether the emperor came into power as a poor man or an ambitious one? History is not a single narrative in history books. The past has left a system of evidence in texts, artifacts and oral language.

But is history really all fake? I discussed with my classmates whether there are these possibilities: 1. The emperor didn’t need beautification on what he did because his ruling policy is so great. The defects or the truth appears can make them more real in success; 2. The emperor considered recording a clear history can prevent future generations from repeating it; 3. The emperor preferred to emphasize that the original intention was good: although the process was extreme, the result was good, so there is no need to hide it as future generations can understand; 4.Although there are mistakes but the emperor had changed for the better, illustrating the truth can help people see the effort through comparison; 5. The failure you see today was not a failure at all when history was written. Judges are subjective, even in their own time and place. In different time, space, and narrative methods we need to see the matter from different perspectives.


WangBan’sTradition, Memory, and Hope: Lu Xun and Critical Historical Consciousness (selection)

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