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Posts Tagged ‘Mao Tse Tung’

Tsekung, a disciple asked Confucius,”Do the dead have consciousness?”
“Why don’t you wait till you are dead? Then you are bound to know.”
2.
Confucius told the following story: Once I was walking in the mountains and saw a woman weeping by a grave that was fresh. I asked her what was her grief, and she dried her tears and replied,” We are a family of hunters. My father was eaten by a tiger. My husband was bitten by a tiger and died. And now my son.”
“Why don’t you move away from this place then?”
“No,” replied the woman.
“Why not?”
And the woman replied,”Because there are no tax-gatherers here.” (Family tradition of Confucius.)
3.
Chiwentse said to Confucius,”I always think thrice before I act.”
Confucius replied,”To think twice is enough.”
4.
Confucius said,”If a man does not say to himself, ‘What shall I do? What shall I do?’ Indeed I do not know what shall I do with such a person.”
Confucius said,”If a man discovers his mistake and does not correct it he is committing his second mistake.” (The Analects)
Tailpiece(being half of the wit of Confucius):
Mao Tse Tung on spotting Confucius went to him and introduced himself. ” Greetings. I am Chairman Mao. I have heard so much about you. Aren’t you pleased?”
The shade of Confucius politely, “I haven’t heard anything about you. Ahem, Am I not pleased?”
benny

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Continuing from the previous post in order to make history one must have a correct sense of timing. Man follows certain trends  and would know how to exploit them. Man makes history by his understanding of his world and to his time and place in particular. The latter is crucial. Mao Tse Tung in China fashioned a strategy ‘as fishes in the sea’ which adapted IRA commander Michael Collin’s idea of ‘safe houses.’ Mao  took urban guerrilla warfare  to fit the Chinese context. Thus man hitches his fortunes to events already unfolding by adapting strategies already tried before. Man is thus only a bridge for changes of very short duration. Beyond which how his vision and mission undergoes changes no one can foretell. Mao’s polices were replaced by Deng Xioping. Having survived the Cultural Revolution and other mass political movements of the Mao era he was instrumental in introducing a new brand of socialist thinking, socialist market economy and partially opened China to the global market.
3.
Man’s control over history is partial.
A man who makes history is relevant only for a narrow period of time for the simple reason his active period is too short. His span of life may be four score or more. But by the time he comes to take the center stage about half of it is over. Thus a world leader struts and throws his weight around for a certain period while  events that have had their origin long before would have entered into several other areas in order to change the social and cultural landscape. Like the mythical Hydra, upon cutting off each of its heads Herakles found that two grew back. No man quite control each development before it moves into other areas as well. The Cluster principle gives no man a complete hold over all the events that cannon into any one of the chain of events. These collision will create new issues that need to be addressed.
In the case of Tien Wang who led the Taiping rebellion, he succeeded partly because of  the Ming regime that had entrenched itself into the national life. He could convert those who had benefited under their rule but the Ming dynasty itself came to power by supplanting another dynasty. How these  cross currents work out no one can tell. For example we need to rely once again turn to Taiping Revolt.  Tien Wang began the revolt in concert with the Triads who were for bringing back the Ming regime. Tien Wang’s aim was more of a theocratic rule himself as a brother of Jesus Christ. (In his concept of Trinity god, the Father, Christ the son, and himself was the other brother.) The man who would ultimately bring him down Tseng Kuo-fan had no Tartar blood as the Manchu masters. He was not a supporter of the Manchu regime. But he was believer in Confucianism and had no use for Christian Taipings. In a welter of cause and effect man who makes history has a walk on part in terms of posterity.
benny

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Hung Hsui-Chuan January 1, 1814 – June 1, 1864)
He was the son of a village headman of the Hung clan of the Hakka tribe. As a child he was precocious( he was able to recite the Four Classics after five or six years) but with no means to advance himself. He became a tutor to other children in his village and continued to study privately. He took the local preliminary examinations and came first, but at the age of 22 in 1836, he realized his further progress to enter the government service was blocked. Success in examinations required a bribe to the examiners. Thwarted in his ambition he fell ill. In a delirious state he saw visions that he was taken to the ‘Thirty-Third Heaven and the Venerable-in-Years gave him a mission to destroy the demon worshippers on the earth. When Hung had recovered from his fever he was altogether a new man. A chance encounter in Canton with Christian missionaries from London Missionary Society,  gave him new direction.  While reading the book of Genesis his earlier vision took on new significance. The Venerable –in Years of his dream had become the Creator of heaven and the earth. His curious theology was a mixture calculated to win over most supporters. (Do we not see similar mix and match of doctrines in many of the cults around us?
As luck would have it the Opium War (1839-1842) broke out around this time and it showed the hated Manchu regime was almost on its last legs. Manchus were Manchurian Tartars, foreigners while south of the Yangtse there were many who yearned for bringing back the defunct Ming rule.
The Taiping Rebellion was spearheaded by a school teacher who saw visions and who knew his time and place. By any standard this episode was as extraordinary as it was disastrous for the land where Hung intended to usher in Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace or ‘Taiping Tien-Kuo’ .
As a consequence of acting on his vision, more people are said to have perished than in the WWI, either by death in action or massacre or by starvation resulting from the foraging armies of one who called himself Tien Wang or Heavenly King. Heavenly visions unfortunately can only be attempted on the earth by wading knee deep in violence as his life amply demonstrates.

Where there is no vision people perish; so would they if they conceal theirs in someone else’s vision. I have a vision myself to live my life reasonably well, neither too rich nor poor. Well my vision is still keeping me. I trust not another to take care of my vision as I would. Another may turn out to be a crook or downright cuckoo.
benny

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