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《经济学人》:中国-天下之事,古已有之

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Banyan菩提

Nothing new under heaven
天下之事,古已有之

What philosophers thought when China was the world and how it can help China now
昔日中国一统天下之时,哲学家们的所思所想,及其对今日中国的裨益

WHEN Henry Kissinger was paying his pioneering visits to China in the early 1970s, the country was in the grip of a campaign to criticise both Lin Biao, a recently dead and disgraced Communist leader, and Confucius. As was later remarked, it was as if the American press were vilifying Richard Nixon and Aristotle. But China’s own past—the 5,000 years of history of which its leaders often like to remind foreign interlocutors—is a constant presence in its domestic politics and its view of the world.

当亨利•基辛格在1970年代初开启访华的破冰之旅的时候,这个国家尚沉浸在批林批孔运动之中(林彪是一位蒙羞的共产党领导人,刚辞世不久)。就像后来评论所指出的那样,这种情况就好像美国报刊在诽谤尼克松和亚里士多德。但是中国自己的历史——其领导人在谈话中总是喜欢向外国人提及的5000年历史——在中国国内政治和中国对世界的看法中,一直发挥着恒久不衰的影响。

Yet China’s recent rise has taken place in a world organised along principles devised elsewhere, by foreign parvenus. Many Chinese chafe at the common Western notion that multiparty democracy is the form of government towards which all other systems evolve. But some scholars also resent another European invention: the nation-state, the basis of modern diplomacy. For years they have struggled to develop a distinctively Chinese theory of international relations. This is almost a matter of national pride, even chauvinism: “As a rapidly rising major power, it is unacceptable that China does not have its own theory,” wrote Qiu Yanping, a senior Communist Party man, in an article in 2009.

而近些年来中国崛起所处的大背景却是一个遵循外国新贵所创设的原则而建构起来的世界。西方人通常认为,多党民主是所有其他制度最终要逐渐发展到的政体,而许多中国人却对这种观念颇为恼怒。但一些学者也对欧洲另一项创造深表不安,那就是民族国家——现代外交的基石。多年以来,他们一直殚精竭虑地阐发中国特色的国际关系理论,毕竟这几乎事关民族自豪感,甚至民族沙文主义:“中国作为一个快速崛起的大国,绝不能没有自己的理论”,2009年时一个名叫邱延平(音译)的共产党高官在一篇文章中如是写道。

So attempts to apply precepts devised by ancient Chinese philosophers to the modern world are in vogue. One popular revival is the notion of tianxia, or “all under heaven”. This dates back to the golden age of classical Chinese philosophy—of Confucius, Mencius, Laozi and the rest—in the “warring states” period before China’s unification in 221BC under the first Qin emperor. Tianxia is widely understood as a unified world dominated by one country (call it the “middle kingdom”, perhaps), to which neighbours and those beyond look for guidance and pay tribute.

因此将中国古代哲学家创设的原则应用于现代世界之风气蔚为一时。时下有个词正重新流行起来,它叫做“天下”,或者叫“普天之下”。这个词要回溯到公元前221年中国第一个皇帝——秦始皇统一中国之前的战国时期,在那一时期以孔子、孟子、老子以及其他诸子为代表中国古典哲学迎来黄金时代。“天下”被广泛理解为由一个国家(可能称之为“中央王国”)所主导的统一世界,在这一世界中,该国的邻国和远邦要向它寻求指导和进行朝贡。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
unlikely [ʌn'laikli]

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adj. 不太可能的

 
universal [.ju:ni'və:səl]

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adj. 普遍的,通用的,宇宙的,全体的,全世界的

 
pragmatic [præg'mætik]

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adj. 实际的,实用主义的

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appeal [ə'pi:l]

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n. 恳求,上诉,吸引力
n. 诉诸裁决

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guidance ['gaidəns]

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n. 引导,指导

 
epic ['epik]

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n. 史诗,叙事诗 adj. 史诗的,叙事诗的,宏大的,

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popular ['pɔpjulə]

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adj. 流行的,大众的,通俗的,受欢迎的

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predominant [pri'dɔminənt]

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adj. 主要的,占优势的,显著的

 
intent [in'tent]

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n. 意图,目的,意向,含义 adj. 专心的,决心的,

 
concept ['kɔnsept]

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n. 概念,观念

 


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