Saturday, June 04, 2011

How to kill idealism

June 4th has been a remarkable date of China since 1989.

During the past two decades, in China we have witnessed the death of idealism nationwide among more than a billion people. The substitution is the extreme materialism. One must not have genuine thoughts other than making money. Even the idealistic communism is dead. The remaining is the materialistic communism, which is closer to capitalism than the idealistic communism. The value of many idealistic accomplishments such as morality and self-discipline thus decreases rapidly. A representative example is the rapid prevalence of the cat theory by Deng Xiaoping (the primary architect of China's economic reform) that declares "do not care if the cat is black or white, what matters is it catches mice". In the other words, the only factor that matters in our life is which brings the material outcome.

The people of a nation needs to be materialistic in order to execute the daily business. The people of a nation, however, must also have be idealistic so that they know the real value for which they work. Someone says that nobody eats morality. Without the value of morality, however, there is no healthy human society. Idealism is mankind's self-motivation to foster the glue of healthy human society. While it is materialism that motivates people higher rate of production, it is idealism that keeps humans be a coherent society rather than many self-interest groups.

In 1989, Chinese people promoted a greater demand of idealism that threatened the leadership of the mean-time government. In order to get rid of this threat, the Chinese leadership board took the worst action by unlimited exaggerating the value of material in every aspect of human society. Therefore, the correctness of any action becomes no longer judged by the truth (which is an idealistic concept) but by the its material consequence (which is a materialistic concept). We have to say that the Chinese leadership board were very smart because they immediately figured out the best way of solving the problem. Such a knowledge is probably the worst heritage in China's multi-thousand-year history. But it works. It killed, again, the idealism in China among at least a generation of people.

After twenty years, it is hard to blame too much on either the students' or the government's decisions in the spring of 1989 in China. Both sides have their arguments and both sides had made a few bad decisions. The worst of all, however, is the government's promotion of the extreme materialism after the tragedy because it hurts and will continue hurt China for many generations. Probably in the sense of truth, June 4th, 1989 was indeed a battle between the idealism and the materialism more than any other contrasts.

Something ended in June 4th, 1989. Something began in June 4th, 1989. I felt sad about all people who were killed or suffered by that tragedy, no matter they belonged to the side of students or the side of government. They should not die for just few person's ambition.

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