Friday, January 15, 2021

In China’s New Age Communes, Burned-Out Millennials Go Back to Nature — Wang Xuandi

The more things change, the more things remain the same. Surprised no one has figured out how to capitalize this yet. Oh, wait. Americans already did in the countercultural revolution, and they were followed by others around the world. I suspect the Chinese will figure it out, too. It's more difficult being a purist though, but some have managed it.

Sixth Tone
In China’s New Age Communes, Burned-Out Millennials Go Back to Nature
Wang Xuandi


Peter Pan said...

Fed up with capitalism?

Tom Hickey said...

Fed up with capitalism?

Yeah, that didn't take long. The Chinese are quick learners.

Actually, some entrepreneuring folks are working on capitalizing this, too. Some of the more scenic and remote villages are being developed as tourist spots where people can go and experience the local flavor that their parents or grandparents left.

It's probably an opportunity in the US, too. My s.o. grew up on a family farm in Iowa before agriculture was industrialized making the family farm obsolete. Actually, there is a bit of the heritage left in the Amish and Mennonite community, which are also tourist areas where one can see "the simple life" on display.

The Chinese have a similar tradition that emphasizes simplicity — Daoism (Taoism). Dao means road, or path or way. It's the way of being natural with the aim of cultivating being perfectly natural as being in tune with dao de, loosely translated the way of excellence. To know the actual meaning one has to cultivate oneself and the meaning is revealed gradually along the way as bud opens and the flower blooms.

These young people are on the right track, but one doesn't need to go anywhere but within one's own self, and guidance about pursuing this is abundant in perennial wisdom.

"Those who truly understand cultivation do the work right within their daily activities. Every act constitutes cultivation."

Master Hsuan Hua
Spring Sun, Lotus Flower: Quotes from the Teachings of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
Burlingame, CA: Buddhist Text Translation Society, 2004, p. 38

Master Hsuan Hua was a Buddhist, but Chinese Buddhism and Tao are very close when one leaves the superficial levels at which difference appears to predominate. This is the case with all wisdom traditions. They are all universal, since the underlying principle is unity.

The world is just beginning to awaken to this again en masse and it will be a driving force in the historical dialectic involving liberalism and traditionalism, materialism and spirituality, etc. China will play a big role in this through its heritage that combines Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism listed from earliest to latest. Marxism in China is Chinese Marxism and it will be absorbed into this mix since it is also based on universality at bottom.

Needless to say, capitalism will also change radically since it is based on self-interest. As collective consciousness becomes more universal, enlightened self-interest will replace narrow self-interest. See Alexis de Tocqueville on self-interest rightly understood, for example. The full concept is found in Maha Upanishad 6:72.

Only small men discriminate saying: One is a relative; the other is a stranger. For those who live magnanimously the entire world constitutes but a family.

All wisdom traditions have some form of the Golden Rule.

Peter Pan said...

I lived all my life in rural areas. I have no regrets.

Andrew Anderson said...

before agriculture was industrialized making the family farm obsolete. Tom Hickey

How can they be obsolete when family farms were stolen by:

1) Government privileges for private credit cartels
2) No limits to the concentration of land ownership?
Both of which are contrary to the Bible?

Besides, you might recall this from reading the Bible:

And He will judge between many peoples
And render decisions for mighty, distant nations.
Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they train for war.

Each of them will sit under his vine
And under his fig tree,

With no one to make them afraid,
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
Micah 4:3-4 [bold added]

Besides which, I thought you were into resilience not "efficiency?"

Ahmed Fares said...


A search on Wikipedia for Book of Micah gives this:

Some, but not all, scholars accept that only chapters 1–3 contain material from the late 8th century prophet Micah. The latest material comes from the post-Exilic period after the Temple was rebuilt in 515 BCE, so that the early 5th century BCE seems to be the period when the book was completed. The first stage was the collection and arrangement of some spoken sayings of the historical Micah (the material in chapters 1–3), in which the prophet attacks those who build estates through oppression and depicts the Assyrian invasion of Judah as Yahweh's punishment on the kingdom's corrupt rulers, including a prophecy that the Temple will be destroyed.

The prophecy was not fulfilled in Micah's time, but a hundred years later when Judah was facing a similar crisis with the Neo-Babylonian Empire, Micah's prophecies were reworked and expanded to reflect the new situation. Still later, after Jerusalem did fall to the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the book was revised and expanded further to reflect the circumstances of the late exilic and post-exilic community.

source: Book of Micah

As I said earlier, you need to take things with a grain of salt when reading scripture.

Which begs the question, who wrote those later verses?

Andrew Anderson said...

I went to a bookstore once (Barnes and Noble, iirc) and noted the number of books meant to refute the Christian Bible. There was a couple of dozen or so. Then I looked for books meant to refute Hinduism and Islam. There were very few if any, I recall.

Then it occurred to me that the Devil would not bother trying to refute error but only the TRUTH.

As for who wrote Micah, "All Scripture is inspired by God ..." 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and indeed some books of the Bible are deliberately anonymous to make that point.

But ultimately, I have read the entire Bible and find it consistent and comprehensive and not at all shy about stating easily verifiable facts in exquisite detail (e.g. how to make the Temple furnishings) so in that sense the Bible is self authenticating.

Ahmed Fares said...


"All Scripture is inspired by God ..."

How about the Gospel of Thomas, which the Church tried to bury, which we now have again? Or is the Church divinely guided when they say this scripture is valid and this one is not?

Then you have each branch of the Church saying that their interpretation of Scripture is the correct one because they are divinely guided and those other branches have been misled by the devil, or something like that.

As an aside, these disagreements about interpretation of scripture are in every religion, including Islam which is mine. But Islam considers these to be a mercy, because they keep people thinking about God.

Which incidentally is what is happening here in our conversation.