For 2,500 years and taught by Aristotle they believe humans are a mind-body thing. So they began searching for the ‘Self’ wherein, it is taught and said, resides mind and body. Most of the time they found… nothing. Utter emptiness. Other times they found only Assholes (think of the Mufti of Pahang.)
Now, wait a minute, said one Harvard professor named Michael Puett. He had suddenly woken up, turned to the Analects by Confucius, only to discover 2,500 years late: Maybe, just maybe, there is no Self!
This, to gweilos, is revolutionary thought. It meant, for one thing, they can throw out their bibles, and along with it all the self-help books that Border bookshops stock in Malaysia for Malaysian Anglophiles (think Najib Razak or Helen Aku Cina Ang).
To Chinese, however, that there is no individual, innate, indivisible Self is plainly obvious. It was a bodoh idea from the West. Our masters and our fathers and their mothers before them have been saying the same thing countless times: We are endlessly, from Day One to Death, making and remaking out lives, our being, so that every preceding moment is forever different from the one that follows it.
It is call ‘cultivation’ la. There is no Constant; the Dao is here today, gone tomorrow, resurfaces, maybe, in another thought. Here, below, is how it begins, a classic in Chinese primary schools, scorned by those motherfucking Anglophiles (think of the Satu Sekolah types), and it is untranslatable:
Here’s another from the daodejing in English translation:
Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.
Those lines seem incredibly natural and obvious. Yet it took gweilos (and Malays and Anglophiles) 2,500 years to figure them out. And they still can’t do it well. How is it that they don’t get it?
Answer: Aristotle and Plato. Both of them in combination had remodeled the early Greek notions of substance and origins of things then saying that, in a person, those things have ‘Forms’ (God as ultimate form), and ‘Purpose’ (Save Malaysia?), and ‘Duality’ (good and evil).
Those ideas in the hands Augustine of Hippo (circa 350 CE) became ‘Faith’ and he is today regarded as the philosophical, intellectual buttress of the Christian faith. Even idiot American reporters today — this one named Ian Johnson of NYT for example — still regurgitate and make Faith synonymous with religion. (So, if gweilos have Faith, the Chinese must also have Faith aah?) That stupid gweilo Johnson…. And he gets paid to write such horseshit. People like Johnson don’t get it: the way of the Chinese, 道, the Dao, isn’t a matter of Faith because no Self presides over a religion or religious practices. There simply is no god, big G or small g.
That, of course, is a mystery to which the Mat Sallehs will die ignorant of.
Never mind them, Master. They know not what they do. Or shit.