China today would not miss the inquisitive recognition of an observative eye. Ranging from the political, economical and social, China has moved from some of its early concepts, thoughts, philosophies and forms of ruling. Today, much more influence from the outside world has had major impact on the outlook of the modern Chinese people and their culture. To talk about China without reflecting about their ancient culture and the dynasties would be to do a great injustice to the Chinese people.
Although, the concern of this essay is to look at individualism, thus it would be not possible not to generally mention the emperors ruling and the culture which has dominated China since 221 BCE. The Chinese society was largely an agricultural settled society that was propagated by the Confucius thought. Many of those who have written the history of China have at instances tried to compartmentalize it into culture, politics and society. This loses the value of their study since being a Chinese before the eighteenth and nineteenth century involved culturalism as opposed to nationalism.
These are a people who largely had a shared identity and collective rituals. Confucius ideas, self development, among others and negative attitude to profit making had an impact and an expression of individualism. Culturalism impeded the growth of the state because it emphasized on ones ties to the family, region or city. In other words China was fragile due to ethnic nationalism which made it a very unstable state especially under the poke of other countries.
The ethnic nationalism was responsible for the revolution of the 1911 because of anti Manchurian Han oriented ideas that they, Manchuria courts were not in a position to defend the Chinese people. It is at the twentieth century that China was faced by threats from Western and Japanese capitalism and imperialism. Therefore it had to define its position on the national stage and set itself a much a country to be consulted in matters of the world (Wang, pp ix & 211).
The importance of the individualistic view in the Confucianism tradition helped to set China in preparation of later developments and changing realities that could not allow it to retain the empire style. Thus, it is by the negation of Confucius ideas that led to the rise of new culture thus the birth of state nationalism. Closely following this era is the period of Chairman Mao who was an ardent socialist. During his time era, from 1949 it was considered behaving like a bourgeoisie when one showed interests in self.
China was a collectivist state that suppressed the individual desires advocating for the society’s plight. The changes in China today are as a result of the government outlook reforms of the 1980’s. Mostly the youth in China mirror more of the Western culture more than the older generation thus sometimes causing conflict between the two groups. The Western culture has brought individualistic thought and perspectives that even in education politics and all other parts of the society reflect an outlook of self.
In education as an example most the parents are urging the sons and daughters to pursue high paying courses for the sole purpose of personal better placement. Post Mao China has overcome the collective notions of the society to emphasis on individualism. No longer will you see workers donning the same color or style clothes (Robert, para 8, 9 & 10). The fact that the modern Chinese society was formed on the foundations of the West does not mean that the Confucius thought completely was exterminated.
The power of the community is still in force as Wei-ming Tu puts it, that there is group solidarity which is involved decision making through consensus can d conflict resolutions. There is no distinction between personal and public lives of the people. The classical outlook of the family by the Confucius thought still forms as the major connection of politics education capitalism and social lives. This has the implications of a sense of duty responsibility obligation relationship independence and autonomy.
Thus, in the wake of being the best person through self respect and dignity such a person does not fall short of having the role of taking care of his fellow neighbor family community state and the state. This is seen as the modern psychological approach to the new China in the fact that if one is found falling less of this, then you loose your place in the public hence a sense of personal guilt. It is therefore evident that the Chinese value collective individualistic aspects for the betterment of the society (Tu, pp 7, 8, 9 & 10). Bibliography: Robert L. , M.
Ethnology: Generation KU: individualism and China’s millennial youth, 22nd September 2005. Retrieved from <http://goliath. ecnext. com/coms2/gi_0199-5616321/Generation-KU-individualism-and-China. html#readmore> on 25th April 2009 Tu, W. Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity: Moral Education and Economic Culture in Japan and the Four Mini-Dragons. ISBN 0674160878, 9780674160873, Harvard University Press, 1996. Wang, K. Modern China: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Nationalism. ISBN 0815307209, 9780815307204, Published by Taylor & Francis, 1998.