lịch sử việt nam
The Equilibrium Of Vietnamese Culture
IV. New Cultural Equilibrium Harmonizing Different Cultures Based On Spirituality. _
So we can say Vietnamese are not inferior to Japanese in achieving harmony of contradictory cultures while maintaining their existence as a nation. However, during the century of our contact with the West, compared to the Japanese people, we have been left behind because we have not yet found cultural equilibrium in the harmonization of East and West. This is the reason for the present disequilibrium of Vietnamese culture. As in China, the leaders in Vietnamese society, recognizing the strength of Western industrial culture and at the same time the weakness of the Vietnamese, thought that this strength derived from machine and the scientific mind. So, they began to abandon the traditional education, thinking that therein lay the cause of our failure. They were wrong. They thought that the spirit of traditional morality had declined in both Vietnam and China during the last few centuries. The true education is now gone. We have neglected the basic human spirituality for the appearance, as noted by Phan-Tây-Hồ, a Vietnamese nationalist leader half a century ago in his advice to the country:
"People prefer to study literature
They honour academic diplomas
Pass their time learning to write different forms of poetry
They study with the sole aim of succeeding in their examinations.
And imitate slavishly the Chinese in their literary works.
Most of them are interested in honour and wealth;
Real scholar is few.
This situation is not peculiar to a minority who strive for honour and wealth for themselves and their families.
But thousands of other wealthy people are engaged in the same disastrous pursuits". _( Lương-Ngọc-Tất _ Danh-San )
We have lost our education base, the education of self betterment, and approved an education that emphasized pure intellectual education. Even if we adopt the technology of science, it might cause us to fight against one another. In abandoning our traditional education, we thought we had adopted a true education, and we believed that true education and science could not go together. So, in order to become civilized as Westerners, we must deny all that is left to us from our old culture. Among all Asian countries, Japan is the only country that has rapidly assimilated Western scientific civilization without damaging its own philosophy of life. It is surprising that Japan was the only country that has responded to the philosophy of self-betterment of Wang-Yang-Ming, while it was rejected in China and in Vietnam. This shows that the less we change our traditional education, the better we can assimilate the new Western 13
scientific civilization to make a rich new culture. The cause of the painful difficulties of assimilation of Western ideas in Vietnam and in China is not the fact that "East is East and West is West", as it has been said, but simply that we have abandoned our own traditional basis of philosophy and education. We have not tried to find a basis for that assimilation, but only to imitate the appearance because the true basis lay in the common essence of human nature, in West and in East.
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