Meeting Index

Eric Voegelin Society Meeting 2007

Westernization: concepts, discourses, and lifestyles

Copyright 2007 HUANG Kuan-Min


        It is a kind of magic word in popular Chinese language: the West. Yet the meaning is ambiguous. In the Taoist mythology, the symbol of the motherhood is called "Mother-King in the West (Hsi-Wang-Mu), which refers to a dominance of pure happiness, a gift of immortality. The term "returning to the West means then a returning to the serenity, i.e. the death. A similar symbol, which is "the Pure Land or "the world of Ultimate Happiness, synonym of paradise, refers to Buddhism imported from the West of the ancient China (i.e. India). Apart from the symbolic West in religion, the destiny of modern China is dominated by the geographical West. The split of the West and the East, of the Occidental and the Oriental also dominates the diverse forms of discourse and life. It is also thematic in a reflective analysis of this linguistic and conceptual discourse, as of the orientalism in the colonial discourse. Moreover the West means a historical dimension that endows the geographical distribution with an intensity of power. It is the power from the West of the world, from the world named the West, from a world full of economic, military, and cultural power. It is surely a problem of political power in general. Under the old symbol of the West, the modern consciousness about the vivid experience of this power is attractive as a road to happiness and also cruel as a painful confrontation with the death. 

        Ever since, the westernization is far from a transition or a shift from the original place of Chinese and Asian culture to another place, it means further more a new and different paradigm in political form, in cultural value, in thinking and belief, and in the search for identity, in short, it is a new way of life. In recurring to the historical process, this new life form is complicated with many trivial details and passions. For the Chinese, including the people living in Mainland China, in Formosa Taiwan, in other oversea Chinese communities, the traditional resources are generally threatened, due to the forcing transplantation brought by the westernization. To evaluate the impact of the West as to concern the discourse of westernization, it is not possible to isolate a political factor from other factors, neither is it an event historically finished in so far as we can review it as another event situated in a precise duration. The process is still ongoing, to reflect on this phenomenon of westernization means to activate a concrete consciousness of what is going on in the present time.

       To continue the questioning of the westernization can lead us to a matrix of two components: historical and geographical. Geographically and symbolically, the westernization presupposes a stable and fixed position named the West, in contrast to the position where the non-Westerns occupy. Additional to former presupposition, there is a historical factor which defines a "Western tradition, from ancient Greece, Rome, Europe to the descendants of this heritage (which make this definition vague in including Australia, New Zealand, and South America). Relatively to this tradition, the non-Western traditions including the Chinese one of which we are conscious are the subject under threat; they become a target to move or to protect in the idea of westernization. But these two presuppositions are dubious, since the frontiers are now fussier to distinguish. To make sense of the concept of the westernization runs the risk to reestablish the frontier between the East and the West. It is then the consciousness of the frontier that is to be questioned. Under these conditions, a reflective analysis is required in both sides: is the westernization an alternative in historical and geographical sense? Is the resistance to the westernization another trap to fall in?


1.  A historical dimension

        There is a slogan "the Chinese learning as principle, the Western Learning as application (or rendered more conceptually, "the Chinese Doctrine as principle, the Western Science as application) typically used to designate the combination of the two-world view in politics by a late Ching-Dynasty politician Chang Chih-tung in nineteen century. The conceptual pair principle/application (ti/yong, essence/function) is a Buddhist term adopted as a usual language correspondent to the old terminology root/leaf, origin/descendant (/). Even this slogan is cast for over one hundred years, it keeps to be convenient and effective in a vast realm of cultural encounter. The idea is quite simple: to take advantage of the Western knowledges (sciences, inventions) without losing the original identity of Chinese. In fact, a fundamental linguistic sense is immanent in the term of "Chinese learning, it is the centrality that was cared in the original meaning of "China (the Central country, the city of the center). The implied ideology refers to a privilege of the center over the other side, the West. But the paradox lies in a possible reversal: it is the power of the West invading in the center. Following the logic of this symbolism of principle/application, the slogan expresses an incredible reversal the illegal but actual power of the West over the center.

        In face with this contrast of the Chinese with the West, the slogan shows a strategic attitude for the combination of two different kinds of learning. It suits the pride of the people and retains the national identity in education and in almost everything. More importantly, it marks the frontier as a substantial division between the Central and the West, between the here/we and the there/outsider. The history after the establishment of modern republican China continues this road of combination. Democracy and Science are taken as two major achievements of Western civilization. They are imported as two institutional necessities to assure the new Republic. In the mean time, with these two ideological items, a kind of cultural revolution symbolized in the Movement of May Fourth (before the Cultural Revolution in the late sixties) swings to a claim of total westernization. Its result is the expansion of the oral Chinese to replace the old official Chinese used mainly for writing. In this stage, the imitations of the Western literature novels, poems, proses in the literary invention enter into the combat with the old-fashion writings. Together with the political practice, the Chinese learn a way to criticize the traditional belief and value. The imperial period is terminated by the democratic period, it is gone forever. This new stage signifies more than a replacement of the old order by a new order. For some Chinese, it means a catastrophe in value. For some other, it means a totally new possibility of order, a real order, an Order in itself. This later belief considered the imperial era as an irrational order, an order without a solid basis, on the contrary, a new order with a legal constitution is based on the rationality. In this sense, the westernization means rationalization. >From this division, there are many similar comparisons in attributing to the Western civilization rationality and to Chinese or Asian Civilization sensibility or intuitive knowledge. In whatever difference, there is an obsessive fixation: either we consent a higher value of rationality, then the westernization is necessary, or the sensible or irrational thinking is higher, then we must resist to the westernization. The price to pay is the deprivation of reason in the Chinese civilization.

        After World War II and the Chinese civil war between the communist and the nationalist, the westernization took another radical form in the new Communist China. Governing ideology found a new paradigm in Marxism which took over the two previous ideologies (science and democracy). The target is the traditional Chinese civilization, the most apparent of this hostility results in the Cultural Revolution. As a form of the political westernization, the communist government resists to the political form of democracy in the name of nationalism and keeps the socialist polity in the name of the authenticity of communism incarnated in China. These two extremes meet also the on-going combination of the socialist control and the free-market economy. On the other side of the Strait, Formosa shows solidarity with the liberalism, in order to assure the support of the free world, esp. of United States. But in form of mutual exclusion and inscribed in the Cold War period, the nationalist republican government shared at first with the communist government a common form of authoritative ruling. Only in the middle of eighties, the republican China ceased its martial law and began a real democracy. This short description aims just on the involuntary situation of the westernization. Politically speaking, early from the Ching-Dynasty, China was forced to encounter with the Western civilization, with which the war of opium leaves a profound memory. But the expansion of European imperialism pushed the Chinese to develop a new way of life diametrically different from its own tradition. The international politics engaged the Chinese politics in a tension composed by multiples factors: different economic profits triggering the conflicts of European, American and Japanese powers, counter-balance of each other to refrain from a monopoly of one country, an exploitation of rich sources in China and East Asia, etc. The inner politics in China (including the division into two governments after 1949) is intertwined with outer politics. In this sense, to think about the westernization means also to remember the big moments in modern Chinese history. But it is not to locate the sequential events according to the historiographic order. It reveals, according to the formulation of Eric Voegelin, some reflective experiences "culminating in a symbolism as responses to the encounter (Voegelin, 1990:13), to the encounter or involvement with the events. The ideas of Voegelin is to ground the history on the experience of an encounter with the transcendence. The logic of this kind of historical understanding is expressed in the following way:

"The remembrance of things past indeed presupposes a present of existence where man, involved with events, senses his passion and action as memorable. To this sphere where man is involved with events, to the disturbances in being where man becomes part of events and the events part of human existence, to the units of mutual participation where there is yet no subject or object, where a present is constituted as a past to be remembered in the future, we shall refer as the sphere of involvement or encounter. In this primary sphere of encounter originate the experiences that may pass through various phases of reflective clarification before they culminate in an act of historiography. (1990:10)

A writing of history, on history, and also in history, expresses a present attitude; it calls into play the "primary sphere of encounter. Further more, the encounter or involvement "is couched in the same language as the earlier description of an experience of transcendence (ibid.), related to "a disturbance in being.   

By way of the conceptualization of history in Voegelin, we may treat the concept and discourse of the westernization as having double meaning: as a historical phenomenon, it is an event causing encounter (without using a physical causality), but as a concept, it refers to a historical consciousness, to "a disturbance in being. The westernization is less and less a pro-and-con issue, but rather requires a deeper reflection through the historical consciousness.

        Another mixture appears in the confusion of westernization with the modernization (Rozman, 1981:5). It follows the same usage of reason in the modernity. It is said that the Western civilization brings the modern culture to the oriental lands. The origin of modernity, be it origin in respect to science or to capitalism, is thought to be rooted in the Western culture. So it seems necessary to introduce the Western factor to welcome the modern life. The most evident consequence can be seen in the division of pre-modern, modern, and post-modern discourse. Sometimes there is a kind of discourses claiming that the Chinese cultural circle is staying in the pre-modern era, even if the form of democracy is transplanted in Taiwan but the political behaviors are quite pre-modern. According to this view, the modernity is still to come, and what is elliptical here is the pushing power of modernity from the West. Sometimes there is another critique of the postmodern culture which sees the over-dominance of the modern reason, to escape the trap of the modernity is to avoid the wave of Western style. According to this perspective, there is a resistance of westernization; but the logic and the condition of the post-modern also come from the Western modernization. The remedy for the evil of the West repeats the same model of the old slogan.

        It remains a topic to discuss in the now prevailing context of globalization. Economically and politically, the global phenomena are more and more evident. But if the globalization means only a tendency or a fashion, there is still space for interpretation. Underlying this phenomena, there are discourses and experiences about the world, esp. about Chinese civilization or Chinese culture in the world. They demand a position. For the topological effect, we will discuss it later. For the moment, we can see an avatar of issue focusing on the idea of westernization. To think it in a historical perspective, the diverse forms to confront the westernization may be seen as a response to an encounter with the West. This encounter in the term of Voegelin have its baseline in a "response to the encounter, for the Chinese, this encounter is more tragic, since the challenge of the West invokes a face-to-face encounter. Meanwhile it appears as an experience of the world: not only the West is as a part of the world of which the East partake, but also the West symbolizes a call of the world itself. An idea of westernization is assimilated to a response to the call of the world; to encounter the West sometimes signifies to confront the whole world. This is not as easy as to consider this attitude as a fallacy of taking the part as the whole. The old Chinese people regard themselves as people under the heaven (the term "under the heaven 天下designating also the world); as Voegelin distinguishes it clearly between theomorphic and anthropomorphic conception of man:

"Chinese society had never developed a polytheism of the Homeric type; on the contrary, the divine force ordering the ritual ecumene, which seems to have had a personal past, had at an early date assumed the impersonal form expressed by the symbol t'ien. (1990:28)

Voegelin explains the distance with the experience of transcendence in ancient China and its consequence :

"the lack of untrue' polytheism as an antagonist may have been one of the reasons why the true' of the transcendent personal divinity and, correspondingly, the existence of a theomorphic man under God has never sprung forth from the Chinese experience of transcendence. The Chinese experience () never culminated in an act of transcendence. (ibid.)

But the following judgment relating this lack of experience of transcendence to an acceptation of communism in modern China seems too hasty and dubious:

"To this day, the faith in an impersonal source of order has remained a determinant in the resistance of cultivated Chinese to religions with personal gods because of their inferior rationality, while the same faith seems to have affinities, if not with the ethos of communism, at least with its impersonal law of dialectics. (ibid.)

To this judgment of Voegelin, we may respond that even if we accept a historical origin of accepting the communism in the popular faith in the heaven (t'ien), the fate of the modern China under imperial invasion would be more determinant than that faith in the impersonal dialectics. Another doubt about Voegelin's idea is raised on the protection of political religion under transcendence against the communism, which we can't enter deeper discussion in this occasion.

However, the change of attitude in the concept of "people under the heaven occurs in the above-mentioned "response to the challenge of the world. It is a new experience of the world, other than an experience of the world; the world may be modified to the multitude of the world, or shortly, of the worlds. At least, the Chinese world is not so actually symbolic of the world, if not in face with the Western world. What changes in this attitude is not just a serious attitude to regard another world out of China, because there are always other territories out of the Chinese community under the symbol of Han or Tang. The radical meaning immanent in the new consciousness resides on the self-identity going through the demand of westernization. This problem of identity implies a double meaning: on the one hand, it appears difficult for a Chinese to identify himself immediately as one that his ancestors would think to be in the particular tradition, for he is consciously modern carrying a sense of rupture with his tradition; on the other hand, he maybe radicalizes his Chinese identity in sensing the context of his situation even totally westernized, i.e, he is forced to be a Chinese in front of the perpetual label of the West. Now the experience of globalization runs the risk of repeating this process of double meaning.


       Through the short discussion of different attitudes in regard to the concept of westernization, I don't follow a chronological order of the discourses of westernization, corresponding exactly to the historical process in recent centuries. I only try to dissect the formation of diverse ideologies around the discourses of westernization that take place in history. This historical dimension is not in the sense of historiographic writing, but rather touching on the historical consciousness. The historical consciousness demarcates more on the up to date context of the discourse on the westernization. In fact, another word "modernization is nowadays more apparent in the discourse on the historical situation in Chinese circle. But this concept of the "modern or the "modernity is intertwined with a contemporary reflection on the crisis of modernity issued from the Western world. The modernity is seen almost as an imperative for any possible, present and future, development of Chinese civilization. Radically speaking, if there is a future China, it will be at first a modern China. The modernity is the common fate that China shares with the whole world, especially with the West in the global age. For a historical consciousness to reflect is this attitude of promising a future in modernity. It seems necessary for the Chinese to appropriate the modernity to survive their historical crisis. To keep contemporary with the Western world is determined to be a historical task. In this way, the position in history is pre-determined, but one should also pose the problem of position, of a position to take, to appropriate oneself.


2. A topological dimension


        In using the term "topological, I may firstly mean a geographic sense in contrast to the historical one. But to clarify my considerations of the problem of westernization, I would like to designate a "topological effect implicit in the experience of frontier and of rupture in the encounter of Chinese civilization with the Western civilization. This usage doesn't presuppose an objective distinction offered in the geography. Rather it is for me a reflective usage as "topological involved in the position of the West.

        In a first glance, a Chinese would have no difficulties in saying that the terms East and West are just relative, and they are nothing substantial. There can be a dialectic or relativistic reading of Lao-Tzu in response to the more or less fixed division in East/West usage. From this perspective, the difference may depend on where and how the enunciator takes his position to differentiate the orientations. In this stage, it is in a level of common sense. But if the orientation indicates the way of thinking, the case of westernization would mean often for the Chinese to go toward the West, to assimilate themselves to Westerners, to regard the Western civilization as the afterward paradigm of development. But where is exactly the West? The West will be Europe in the first sight, then the America, especially the United States in the past century. The nomination is itself a vague action, ignoring the diversity in European nations and the relatively short history of United States of America. Although trapped in the ambiguity, the topological effect occurs however in a centrifugal movement in China. The most apparent action is the wave of studying abroad (including the students sent by government), the institution of universities in place of the traditional way of selecting the intellectuals, and the various types of knowledge treating human life. The experience of learning abroad is important in modern China, since the students coming back from the area where they spent their youth usually try to copy or to transplant their own experiences into the father's land. Viewed from this angle, the modern Chinese history is an area of experimentation, combining various types of conflicts.

        The metaphor of transplantation is significant in that the local and traditional experiences are sometimes oppressed. The sense of homelessness and the sense of being uprooted are quite symptomatic in Chinese modern age. An expression of this "being uprooted (literally as "roaming expansion of flowers and fruits, Hwa-Guo-Piao-Ling) formulated by modern Confucian philosopher Tang Chun-I (1975:2) is a typical one. Tang also expresses his ideal of recovery of Chinese culture by defining a certain "self-planting of spiritual root (Ling-Gen-Tsi-Tze) (Tang Chun-I, 1975:28). Aside from the metaphorical thinking in this philosophical nationalism, we may follow the couple of root and earth in this expression. The anxiety demarcates explicitly the foreign territory and the original territory. The locality is considered as co-original as the historicity of the traditional Chinese culture, furthermore, this locality provides a foundation for the historicity. The attack upon the consequence as losing the root in confronting the Western culture reveals this feeling of oppression of locality. A topological effect goes further in Tang's idea of requiring the Chinese people as guardian of the tradition and the cultural territory. The same problem of cultural identity can be approached in this metaphor of root.

        Another topological effect resides in the experience of rupture in relation to the heritage. The tradition (traditio, berlieferung) refers to a tight connection of the present time with its past. But the Western way of studies and researches brings into the Chinese land some other contexts. The problem with one's own tradition and one's own land is the bastard mingling of tradition. The Christianity is one of the problem happening in the domain of belief, with which the event of Tai-Ping-Tien-Guo (Heavenly Country of Eternal Peace) remains a symbol in the cultural and political memory. Even tracing back to Sung-Dynasty, the main religious debate vividly irritating the cultural and philosophical circle was that between Confucianism and Buddhism, while the later was transmitted in China since over one thousand years. The feeling of rupture, of discontinuity prevailing in modern China reveals a stratum of cultural memory alien to the traditional one and being inserted in the formation of modern life. One best consequence of this rupture may be a nostalgia of things past, the worse of it is an abandon of one's own identity. But could there be a different version concering the metaphor of the root and its relation to the earth?

        To take a set of concepts used by Gilles Deleuze deterritorialization, reterritorialization , we may have another image of these experience of rupture and of being rootless. The problem of cultural frontier can be seen as a series of "creating territories, of "abandoning or leaving them, and of "re-creating territory(Deleuze, 1991:66; 1994:67). For Deleuze, these terms signify a movement and a becoming animated by the thinking, constituting an approach of Geophilosophy. The movement through and out of the territory involves also the concept of earth. Deleuze defines the relation as following:

       Movements of deterritorialization are inseparable from territories that open onto an elsewhere; and the process of reterritorialization in inseparable from the earth, which restores territories. Territory and earth are two components with two zones of indiscernibility deterritorialization (from territory to the earth) and reterritorialization (from earth to territory) (Deleuze, 1991:82; 1994:85-86).

Different from the negative meaning of frontier in the feeling of being rootless, there is an open area designated as "elsewhere. Leaving a territory is connected to an empty place, to an elsewhere carrying other possibilities. Deleuze classifies the state and the city in the domain of deterritorialization, because the former "juxtaposes and compares agricultural territories by relating them to a higher arithmetical Unity, and the latter "adapts the territory to a geometrical extensiveness that can be continued in commercial circuits (Deleuze, 1991:83; 1994:86). He distinguishes these two further by way of the a pair of transcendence/immanence :

In imperial states deterritorialization takes place through transcendence: it tends to develop vertically from on high, according to a celestial component of the earth. The territory has become desert earth, but a celestial Stranger arrives to reestablish the territory or reterritorialize the earth. In the city, by contrast, deterritorialization takes place through immanence: it frees an Autochthon, that is to say, a power of the earth that follows a maritime component that goes under the sea to reestablish the territory (the Euechtheum, temple of Athena and Poseidon) (Deleuze, 1991:83; 1994:86).

This distinction responds to a condition of philosophy within the plane of immanence. Ancient Greek state offers three conditions of philosophy: a pure sociability as milieu of immanence, a certain pleasure in forming association (friendship), and a taste for opinion, for conversation (Deleuze, 1991:84-85; 1994:87-88). On the contrary, the imperial type of deterritorialization is assimilated to "a projection of the transcendent on the plane of immanence, this element of transcendence only produces the figures, in stead of concepts. For Deleuze, the distinction is philosophical: since the philosophy consists in thinking through concepts, the transcendent manner is therefore not philosophical. The following judgment is critical: "Chinese hexagrams, Hindu mandalas, Jewish sephiroth, Islamic imaginals', and Christian icons can be considered together: thinking through figures (Deleuze, 1991:86; 1994, 89). The traits of the figure are, according to Deleuze, paradigmatic, projective, hierarchical, and referential, while that of the concept are syntagmatic, connective, linking (vicinal), and consistent (Deleuze, 1991:87; 1994:91). What is essential to philosophy is the creation and the usage of concepts, but the emergence of philosophy is just contingent (encounter and conjunction); Deleuze contends himself only with the contingent conditions, but not necessity. Still, the difference between concept and figure is essential; thinking through the figures as the yin/yang (diagrammatic movements on the plane) and the hexagrams (sections of the plane) implies an ineffaceable frontier between philosophy and non-philosophy. The explanation of the Chinese thinking as non-philosophical or pre-philosophical by Deleuze rests on the transcendence of the figure "figures are projections on the plane, which implies something vertical or transcendent (Deleuze, 1991:88; 1994:91). For Deleuze, the contingent emergence of philosophy in Greek cities finds its modern version in the coincidence of capitalism, of democracy, and of Europe. Even in the interior of Europe, there is still a differentiation according to the possession of concepts (Germany, France, and England) "The present form is expressed thus: we have concepts! The Greeks, however, did not yet have' them and contemplated them from afar, or senses them ()(Deleuze, 1991:99; 1994:103). This discourse on the difference of philosophy and non-philosophy is topological in our understanding. The status of Chinese thinking is used as a mark of differentiation. The territory of philosophy assigned to those who possess the concepts refuses the Chinese way of philosophizing; it is of significance if we take into consideration the political consequence of this topological differentiation. In a creative sense, this territory awaits for the Chinese to enter as a land of stranger. A problem of alterity is to be considered in a reciprocal way between the foreigner and the territory, between the native and the stranger.


        Together with this metaphor of root and the sense of rupture, one thing to compare is the critique of eurocentrism. To take it in parallel, a type of sinocentrism is also under attack, especially in the political conflict between free China and Communist China. One of the examples that we borrow is the critique of Jacques Derrida concerning the concepts and discourses of Europe.

Using the French word cap in an ambiguity, Derrida introduces a semantic multiplicity: "the word cap' (caput, captis) refers () to the head or the extremity of the extreme, the aim and the end, the ultimate, the last, the final moment or last legs, the eschaton in general. It here assigns to navigation the pole, the end, the telos of an oriented, calculated, deliberate, voluntary, ordered movement: ordered most often by the man in charge (quelqu'un). (italics in the original text; Derrida, 1991: 19-20; 1992:13-14) Besides this semantic multiplicity, he opens his question of "the other heading of Europe with an alternative on the role of the other: "beyond our heading, it is necessary to recall ourselves not only to the other heading, and especially to the heading of the other, but also perhaps to the other of the heading (). (Derrida, 1991: 21; 1992:15) The status of the other requires a philosophical reflection on the political and economic constitution of Europe, in its orientation, command, etc. Thus Derrida's formulation on this other/heading is as following:

"I will deduce the form of all my propositions from a grammar and syntax of the heading, of the cap, from a difference in kind and gender [genre], that is, from capital (du capital) and capitale (de la capitale). How can a European cultural identity' respond, and in a responsible wayresponsible for itself, for the other, and before the other--to the double question of le capital, and of la capitale, of the capital? (Derrida, 1991: 21; 1992:16)

To connect Europe to the problem of the capital/capitale means to take responsibility of exploiting the other in the colonial history and of commanding the other of the world in a capitalist system. To our question of the westernization, Derrida shows his consciousness of the formation of European identity. By gathering the monetary and intellectual capital, Europe becomes a geographical and political capital of the world. It is situated in the West, but commands nevertheless the other of the world. The consciousness in question is expressed thus:

"It is always in the figure of the Western heading and of the final headland or point that Europe determines and cultivates itself; it is in this figure that Europe identifies itself, identifies with itself, and thus identifies its own cultural identity, in the being-for-itself of what is most proper to it, in its own difference as difference with itself, difference to itself that remains with itself, close to itself. (Derrida, 1991: 30; 1992:25)

The context of this analysis is based on the definition of "the crisis of spirit as the crisis of Europe by Paul Valry, with the similar judgment of the "crisis of European sciences or the "crisis of European humanity by Husserl or the "Entmachtung of spirit by Heidegger (Derrida, 1991: 36-37; 1992:33-34). It is a crisis in the sense of "a moment of decision touching "the ends and confines, the finitude of Europe (Derrida, 1991: 35; 1992:32). What is in danger is the double sense of the cap--"the capital point [pointe] of advanced democracies and "the cutting edge of progress (Derrida, 1991: 36; 1992:33). Anyone who responds to the crisis of Europe in this type will be itself inscribed in the same "crisis--the critical moment, the moment of decision. Derrida offers a further consideration on the problem of responsibility in regard to the center (the capital), be it symbolic or geographical.

With a double injunction : "neither monopoly nor dispersion, Derrida remarks on the double bind of the European cultural identity: "if it is necessary to make sure that a centralizing hegemony (the capital) not be reconstituted, it is also necessary, for all that, not to multiply the borders, i.e. the movement and margins (Derrida, 1991: 45; 1992:44). And if there is a responsibility (of Europe), it will consist "in responding to two contradictory injunctions (ibid.). He recognizes this responsibility to be the "experience and experiment of the impossible and relates it to an "other topology, to "the question of the place for a capital of European culture (Derrida, 1991: 47; 1992:46). Europe is to be seen as a symbolic place: a place "neither strictly political () nor the center of economic or administrative decision making, nor a city chosen for its geographical location(Derrida, 1991: 47-48; 1992:46). In fact, this is a kind of eurocentrism taking responsibility of the progress and occupying the position of avant-garde. To take the responsibility assigned, for example, by Husserl, is to guide the world, to make progress the humanity. Why should there be such a responsibility? Derrida explains it ironically: "what is proper to Europe would be to advance itself as a heading for the universal essence of humanity (Derrida, 1991: 49; 1992:48). The idiom of "progress is not just a residue of the Enlightenemnt, it expresses rather a self-determination of Europe. Influenced in this context of sharing the similar destiny or determination, we find that, in the discourse of Chinese modernization, the same metaphor of "advance and "progress is very often used to push the Chinese culture to go closer to the West (to advance itself to the West).

Following Derrida's analysis of the "crisis of Europe, we find his emphasis on the effect of the "capitalizing ("the logic of this capitalistic' rendered by Derrida) in this expression "to advance oneself, under the metaphor of the heading (cap). A form of the eurocentrism consists in the paradoxical combination of nationalism and cosmopolitanism. The capitalistic view of Europe is then a responsibility to universalize the European culture, to take charge of the representative function. Derrida proposes by his analysis an duty "to open itself (Europe) onto the other shore of another heading (Derrida, 1991: 74; 1992:76). Attentive to exempt from the arrogance, a real responsibility is to respond to this critique of the eurocentrism, to a call from the future, from the other heading. It is more urgent to assume a duty to respond, to "respond to the call of European memory, to "re-identify Europe(Derrida, 1991: 75; 1992:76). He considers this duty as "opening Europe--"opening it onto that which is not, never was, and never will be Europe (Derrida, 1991: 75; 1992:77). Here is a different concept of hospitality (that he develops later as a major term in his ethico-political reflections)--a hospitality other than integration, but akin to opening, in order to "recognize and accept their (the foreigners) alterity.   

We can compare this critical view of Europe in regard to the position of China. As we have said in the beginning, the direction to the West is mystic and imaginative. But it indicates a topological contrast: as referring to the West, the Chinese count themselves as oriental, together with the Japanese, classified in the geographical category as East Asian. Although the contrast between the East and the West is quite reasonable, it does not fit into the original imagination of the Chinese as the people in the middle country. The magic word for the Chinese identity is neither Han nor Tang, still far away from Ch'in (the word China/Chinese come from this phonetic stem), but rather the middle, the center (chung). What we designate as sinocentrism is somewhat redundant if expressed in Chinese language: a self-centered attitude of the center, of the middle country. The position of center can be bestowed an importance, aligning with an axial experience connected to the heaven, which is, to use the term of Voegelin, an experience of the transcendence. In contrast to the European identity as an example of the West, the Chinese take themselves as people under the heaven, while the Chinese emperor having a synonym as Son of Heaven. The excellence of Chinese culture as occupying the center comes from the typical "harmony between Heaven and humanity (unification of t'ien and ren, of heaven and man). This self-understanding of the national position, a position imposed by the name the Chinese call themselves, resides at least on an unconscious level. The "harmony (ho) is closely related to the center in the term chung-ho (harmony in keeping the middle way), seen in the a fundamental Confucian text Chung-yung ("ordinary usage of the middle, of the center). The idea of westernization would then a movement away from the center, and away from harmony. To advance to the West would then not be a natural process such as the Sun moves from the East to the West, or as Hegel put it, a development of consciousness toward maturity. For the Chinese, it is unnatural in the sense that the shift of center from the East to the West does not just mean a geographical shift of the economic capital; it means even a loss of center, a deprivation of the axial position, and an annihilation of existential milieu.

The example that we encounter in the image of being uprooted expresses a fundamental anxiety of this annihilation. It is symptomatic in the alienation of losing one's self-identity, in the pure deterritorialization without giving any earth. In the idea of Deleuze, a deterritorialization is accompanied with a reterritorialization, at least an elsewhere is opened; but for many generations of modern Chinese intellectuals, the anxiety of abandoning territories overwhelms the hope for regaining territory. The proper of Chinese identity in encountering the West is more an expropriation than a reappropriation. An elsewhere would be just reduced to nostalgia for the lost land. Viewed from this angle, the conflict between communist China and liberal Taiwan is distributed along this surface of discourse. Both in a nationalistic way, the two regimes claim themselves to be a kind of center for their own people, and try to alienate the other side as out of the center. For the identity of CHINA if there is One, the two forces are opposite to each other, but contribute to the same decentralizing orientation. If there is a crisis of China in modern times, since than two centuries or more, it will be a shivering of the dominance of the center, at least of the imaginary center.


Conclusion: order with multiplicity


        >From the two dimensions considered above, I will advance to give some concluding remarks on this idea of westernization inscribed in a complicated context.

        The historical dimension and the topological dimension are just two components for me to consider the discursive constitution of the westernization. The position or place (topos) is to be understood in the historical context. But the historical consciousness incarnated in the historiography finds it often important to take a position to write, to review things past. Anamnesis and topology are mutually implied. But there is not just one discourse of the westernization in the historical context in China (facing on the division of the identity, of dominion, and of heritage). Analogously, there is more than one sole position to take in urging the westernization or in resisting to it. One will also likely say that the future of China, if it is promising, will be irreducible to one future.

        Among the sentiments or the requisites for survival, the anxiety of the modern Chinese minds is still salient. However, either positive or negative, the West is already there. The westernization has taken place and has changed the economic, political, and cultural conditions, in so far as the modern Chinese can live no more a way of life as Lao-Tzu or Confucius. The exchange in different languages and in a foreign country can attest a need up to date, which will force the Chinese to admit the position of the other, of the stranger: they are in a sense stranger to their heritage, to their ancestors, and to their lands; they are accepting the strangers from other lands.

        Adopting the idea of Deleuze, one can assume a positive meaning in the expropriation of the native land as deterritorialization, which may justify the encounter and confrontation of the Chinese culture with the other culture. But this experience happens without a lamentation for the loss of the center. At the same time, the reterritorialization will not regain a territory to colonize it, to appropriate it, and to exploit it; one should turn the nowhere into the now-here (Erewhon used by Samuel Butler, cited by Deleuze, 1991:96; 1994:100). There is an elsewhere to be reterritorialized. In the conflict between the communist China and Taiwan, both sides are conscious of a shift from the tradition. A now-here which surpasses the status quo in the political authority makes the Chinese in Formosa more attentive to the decentralization; a significant power could be nevertheless immanent in this marginal position of. Today a Chinese should be sensitive to the delicate cultural discrepancy leading to delimit any frontier in form of political and economical capital. Strategically speaking, a marginal position can be liable to create the differential sensitivity toward the otherness that the westernization brings about. It would be a future to be remembered, a position on the other side of ideology.    




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