I had never read a book that told the history of China from very ancient times to today. I ordered “A History of China” by John Keay. He begins his story at approximately 1050 B.C. I am now near the end and reading about the times of China around 1800 A.D. It has been a fascinating read. I have done this on many different countries and many different regions as well. It is not much different from reading a novel, except this is real life. You might say in all the different histories the story is similar, only the names change.
As we read through histories of different countries we learn about new, in the terms of China, dynasties that come to power and then lose power. We see these cycles in every history. The cycles differ somewhat in time frames, but the patterns are similar. Generally, we see a time of building and prosperity early, and then we began to see a decline until the dynasty or power is overthrown. The overthrow is almost always the result of immorality, corruption, and acceptance, even encouragement, of hatred of groups against others. Those in charge become more and more autocratic, demanding more and more conformity, becoming totally intolerant of anybody who would challenge those in power in any way.
What we learn is that in the early stages of a new dynasty or government, individuals are encouraged to strive to be their best in whatever their endeavor is. That could be outstanding military minds who rise from the ranks of the troops, it could be engineers designing new innovative ways of progressing, it could be aspiring bureaucrats who bring about more efficient means in government, and of course entrepreneurs who find new and more efficient ways of producing food or other necessary goods. These people are celebrated for their achievements.
As the government matures, we find it becoming more and more guarded of its power. It begins to question those who would achieve, determining their achievements to be a threat to the power of government. Individual achievement and innovation, which is the result of non-conformity, is not only discouraged but punished. We find corruption and encouragement of corruption by conformists, to become the rule as lawlessness becomes commonplace and accepted behavior.
During the years where the principles of individualism are practiced, the society is building and prospering. There is peace and harmony as individuals are responsible for their own behavior and the consequences of that behavior. As the government becomes more and more controlling we see the principles of collectivism being adopted. All must conform to one train of thought, different rules apply to different people, society is considered to be responsible for the actions of individuals. This causes a decline in the economic and social aspects of the society. Disharmony, immorality, lawlessness, and a break down in all aspects of the society are the result.
These patterns are pretty much universal. Sometimes a society can correct itself, but the only way it does is when the demands of conformity and collectivism are reversed, and the freedom of individualism is adopted.
We in the United States of American are at a crossroads. We have been at a crossroads before. That was before the American Revolution. At that time Samuel Adams stated, “It is now high time for the people of this country to explicitly declared whether they will be free men or slaves.” Free men must be responsible for their own actions, adhering to the principles of morality, thinking for themselves, being law abiding citizens, and respecting the life, liberty, and property of all. Slaves on the other hand, blame society for their situations, and thus they practice immorality, they conform to the dictates of others, they are lawless, and have no respect for the life, liberty, or property of others.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.