The End of the West Comes From the East

Lao She Speaks to Us from China

In our present time of crises and contradictions we have to stop one moment and think as clearly as possible upon this following question: “Will we survive the present crisis, not as individuals, not as nations, but as humanity?” They all tell us about the ecological dangers in the present time: the warming up of our planet; the climate change on our planet; the carbon cycle that comes to a peak that will cause the eradication of some 80 to 90% of all species on our planet soon, even if it takes ten thousand years to be completed. And then you can add the various bubbles — debt, real estate, overproduction, financial speculation, and even the social bubble of unrefrained and uncontrolled migration and the explosion of refugees among these migrants — building up here and there in the economy and the craziness of some of the extremes of our political system who pretend that states do not have to mind their debts and that more money to the poor will bring economic growth. States can do what they want, provided they keep their national currency autonomy.

Let’s have a cup of tea

This last idea is the proof the world is sick and probably dying of insanity because there are so many examples in history and particularly over the last four or five centuries of crises in one country, in several countries, in many countries that prove a limited financial crisis can bring the world down and Keynes has not changed that. He has at best given us the illusion that we can live on credit, not as individuals who are always caught up by their debts, but as nations who can always do what they want with their currency, close their borders, introduce limitations on the circulation of money, foreign currencies and many other things of the sort like imports and exports.

Keynes could not know the globalized world we are just entering. And in this globalized world goods, money, currencies, everything is one and no country can survive alone, no country can even live alone, and unluckily no country can die alone. What happens in one country is at once propagated into the whole world like ripples or waves on the ocean. And some want to see everything is so connected that it is all some kind of predestination, some fate: all is in all and everything is everywhere at once.

Cat Country

North Korean Dystopia

Michael Barron in his Medium article “A Glimpse into North Korea through the Eyes of One of Its Writers, How a manuscript smuggled out of the Hermit Kingdom gave the world a unique peek inside of it” (https://medium.com/the-omnivore/a-glimpse-into-north-korea-through-the-eyes-of-one-of-its-writers-bd5054596590, accessed September 24, 2017) just follows this un-literary line and reads this book, The Accusation written by the pseudonymous Bandi from North Korea, as if it were a journalistic report on North Korea, an objective scientific description of life there and of course he compares this book to George Orwell’s 1984, and in that line I think he should have also quoted Animal Farm for the simple reason in a dictatorship humans are nothing but chattel, just maybe one crank hire than a cow but certainly not than a horse (like in medieval feudal inventory of a farming estate with serfs).

“The Accusation provides a real-life analogue to 1984, down to brazen examples of Newspeak and Forever War employed by the Party, but this extreme authoritarianism also plays to Bandi’s talent as a writer. He is a keen observer of how North Koreans suffer, and like a sleeper aware of his own nightmare commands an uncanny ability to frame the ludicrous situations that fester under its rule with arresting solemnity.”

And that is the negation of the difference between literature and journalism, between imaginary and scientific, between visionary and testimonial. In fact, V.I. Lenin was a lot more subtle when dealing with Tolstoy in his article “Leo Tolstoy as the Mirror of the Russian Revolution” (Proletary №35, September 11 (24), 1908. Available at https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1908/sep/11.htm, accessed September 24, 2017). He says for example:

Marooned on Mars

“The contradictions in Tolstoy’s works, views, doctrines, in his school, are indeed glaring. On the one hand, we have the great artist, the genius who has not only drawn incomparable pictures of Russian life but has made first-class contributions to world literature. On the other hand, we have the landlord obsessed with Christ. On the one hand, the remarkably powerful, forthright and sincere protest against social falsehood and hypocrisy; and on the other, the “Tolstoyan”, i.e., the jaded, hysterical sniveler called the Russian intellectual, who publicly beats his breast and wails: “I am a bad wicked man, but I am practicing moral self-perfection; I don’t eat meat anymore, I now eat rice cutlets.” On the one hand, merciless criticism of capitalist exploitation, exposure of government outrages, the farcical courts and the state administration, and unmasking of the profound contradictions between the growth of wealth and achievements of civilization and the growth of poverty, degradation, and misery among the working masses. On the other, the crackpot preaching of submission, “resist not evil” with violence. On the one hand, the soberest realism, the tearing away of all and sundry masks; on the other, the preaching of one of the most odious things on earth, namely, religion, the striving to replace officially appointed priests by priests who will serve from moral conviction, i. e., to cultivate the most refined and, therefore, particularly disgusting clericalism. Verily:

Thou art a pauper, yet thou art abundant,

Thou art mighty, yet thou art impotent —

— Mother Russia![ From the poem by N. A. Nekrasov “Who Can Be Happy and Free in Russia”.]

Lenin did use Tolstoy to support his point of view but he was clearly honest to show that this mirroring the first 1905 Russian Revolution was only one side of Tolstoy’s works and at times one side that Tolstoy may not even be aware of.

North Korea and 1984

But the parallel with 1984 is dangerous for quite different reasons. 1984 was also considered in its time (like Animal Farm) to be a vision of the real future of the western world entirely dominated by television as a tool for dictatorship and control, hence 1984 was considered as a real dystopia of the real future whereas Animal Farm was considered as the realistic description of what may happen if the lumpen-proletariat took over the way they did in the Soviet Union. We know that the entire domination of society and people by television was not possible and that there cannot be control through television and even through social media. There may be conditioning for some, but control certainly not. The “Russian” electoral “affair” between Putin and Trump is typical as for that. The result was not reached due to any Facebook ads but it was reached because of the deep level of frustration and dissatisfaction of the American lower middle class and deprived unemployed or poor people under the poverty threshold most of the time, or close to it (including Blacks, Latinos and women) not to speak of the anti-federal stance of someone who, once in power, is trying to control everything from Washington DC, and when I say everything, I mean everything including the press, even if he fails.

A book of literature is always a book of literature, otherwise, it is a pamphlet or a journalistic article, and even in such cases the author can fall into journalese language and thinking, into what becomes ranting and raving because not attached to real problems or representing the author’s real opinion like Lenin’s on religion which becomes a criticism of Tolstoy’s works, including with an external quotation from a poet, as if a quotation proved anything in literature. Utopian and dystopian literature is full of books that were not confirmed by the real future, even Jules Verne’s technical and scientific visions of the future because they were not journalistic reports, scientific studies or technological treatises, and yet you still have some who want Jules Verne to be a real vision of scientific progress even today. They yet have a problem with Journey to the Center of the Earth.

The divide between literature and pamphlet has to be clearly considered and NOT trespassed.

A Forest of reverie trees

The Intrusion of Trump

And that’s where I got a response from another unspecified Michael:

“I suggest you read articles such as https://www.libertarianism.org/media/free-thoughts/who-elected-donald-trump before repeating the now accepted ‘truths’ about why Trump won and who elected him. If we keep repeating that it was the uneducated, the uninformed, the racists and the lower-class we’ll simply give him the same path to a second term that allowed for a first term.” (https://medium.com/@michaels_85957/i-suggest-you-read-articles-such-as-https-www-libertarianism-org-media-free-thoughts-who-elected-cd2f1c081d3b, accessed September 24, 2017)

The article is, in fact, a podcast and its transcript. The person interviewed is Emily Ekins and she is interviewed by Trevor Burrus and Aaron Powell. We are interested here only in the first half of the podcast that deals with the question of who voted for Trump. The second half is about the technique and technology, the method as Emily Ekins says, of opinion polls and other surveys. This second part shows how treacherous and false such surveys can be because of the questions that only provide two possible answers: “Yes” or “No,” and at best some blank answer like “I don’t know.”

Lao She in the 1960s

Michael’s Emily Ekins’ Approach

But let’s go back to Trump’s voters. Emily Ekins identifies five groups that are in her order:

1-The American Preservationists (20%) defined by Emily Ekins as low in education and income, half of them on Medicare, skeptical of all immigration, legal or illegal, slightly less hostile on ethnic groups identified of course racial groups. They are keen on security, on fairness, on assimilation, and on nationalism. 50% of them believe that true Americans are of European descent, Christian, engaged in a “normal” family and born in the USA.

2- The Free Marketeers (25%) are for legal immigration, politically conservative, for free trade, less Medicare and they hated Clinton in 2016 though not necessarily in 2012. They have become loyal Republicans though their main motivation in the election was to vote against Clinton. No real specification is given about the motivations of this hostility.

3- The Anti-Elite (19%) were positive for Clinton in 2012 and their main characteristic is they do not like elites, particularly apparently the Washington elite. It is not explored which and what elites they do not like. This attitude often goes against political and administrative elites as well as academic and economic elites, not to speak of business elites. But Emily Ekins is short on these qualifications. She just says they are less comfortable with the question of immigration and supported the idea of a temporary travel ban.

4- The Staunch Conservatives are loyal Republicans for a very long period of time. They are less hard on immigration than other groups though for them you have to be white to be a real American but, at the same time, they are for assimilation. They are for freedom from government, a little federal government as possible. These are discontented with the presence and action of the federal government they consider excessive.

Shanghai in the 1930s

She identifies economic anxiety and racism at varied and varying levels as a core element. She compares trump’s electorate with the Tea Party. She says the center of gravity of the Tea Party was limiting the role of the government in the economy, both spending and deficit, and they correspond best to the American Preservationists, though I must say some other groups do contain elements similar to the Tea Party’s program. On the other hand, she identifies the center of gravity of Trump’s electorate as being immigration and demographic change. Without any precision the last term means nothing or anything: it could be racial, social, cultural, educational, etc. Demography also covers gender, both sexual and orientational, thus questions like abortion, family planning, not to mention same-sex marriage.

Lao She’s Museum

What’s (the) left?

To come back to the unspecified Michael, I must say his strongly challenging response is more than strange because this podcast goes entirely my way as for the specification of Trump’s electorate. I responded to it of course, as follows.

Oh yes, of course, you must be right. Trump was elected by the maneuvers of some extraterrestrials! Let me laugh. Trump was elected by electors, voters, concrete people and they are just those you so nicely look down upon and that was a serious shift for many of them from Obama, twice at times, to Trump. Just the same we have in Europe. The best case is the shift from Communist voting to National Front voting in France, not to speak of Putin moving from communist KGB officer to populist Russian nationalist leader, or UKIP getting their votes from Labor Party constituencies, working class blue collars.

We must always have a little cat at home

So I find it funny to invoke any kind of manipulation and plotting in that kind of guano the world is falling into. The people who voted for Trump, or Marine Le Pen, or UKIP, or whoever you may think of are “the uneducated, the uninformed, the racists and the lower-class people” and if we want to avoid the next stage in that expansion we better try to understand WHY THESE categories of people DID VOTE for Trump, or Marine Le Pen, or UKIP, or whatever, whoever, wherever, and shifted quite often from the extreme left or the simple left to the extreme right, though since they are from the left how could they vote for the traditional or conservative right. But in the USA they did move from Obama to Trump because Trump appeared as not being a traditional Republican but an anti-establishment Republican.

More on the subject later on based on Lao She’s Cat People.

Enjoy your plotting and let me find it funny. Anyway, in four years, there will be no world and no election because the nuclear holocaust will have taken place. All that because some people consider “the uneducated, the uninformed, the racists and the lower-class people” are not the people who voted for Trump, but some outlandish illegal immigrants and Russian hackers, not to speak of the Chinese social dumpers and the North Korean spies.

A cat on top

Lao She’s Cat People

And to show what we can do with a dystopian work of literature from the past in today’s world I will consider a book that comes from the East, the Far East indeed, China itself. It is Lao She’s Cat People. I had read Teahouse (See the appendix at the end of this article) already and was advised to try Cat People. I must admit I had some difficulty finding it at a decent price. Even the Penguin classic edition could be at a tremendous collectible price. And then I was amazed by this dystopia, still valid since it starts with a Chinese spacecraft crashing on Mars. The book was written in 1932 and that’s why it is fascinating to look at it, since 1932 is a breaking point in Chinese history, after the walking out of the Communists leaving the Kuomintang alone confronted to the soon-to-be-real menace of an invasion from Japan.

Of course, we could today read this novel as a direct description of China in 1932, more or less predicting the invasion of the country by the Japanese, not yet the Communists, really, since the Long March has to go west and not east, though the communist troops are present in the final defeat of the Cat people with the soldiers that wear a red string around their necks and they are said they have accepted all kinds of goodies from the invading foreigners provided they just fled away and accepted defeat. And the invasion from the west is clearly the invasion of China by western powers before the Japanese who will come from the east, and the conquest of China by the Commies from the West is not even conceivable at the time.

The real beast

But that reading would be treating this book not as literature but as a pamphlet and that would be very reductive. I want to consider it as a work of literature and thus of imagination that projects meaning onto the reality of life by imagining some conceptualized abstract reality that may have roots in the real present of the time but has branches growing wide and high into the sky of our human reality.

Then what does Lao She speaks of, what does he tell us about the reality and nature of humankind? A lot, my friends, a lot, but certainly not as a direct description. You have to use your imagination to transfer or translate the conceptualized abstract situation set up in the book to see how it could be similar to — or different from — the situations we can witness in today’s world.

Lao She’s Museum again

Let’s Take off and crash on Mars

As for flying to Mars, we are still far from that. As for finding humanoids there divided among various countries, we can say it is impossible since apparently, the soil of Mars is poisonous.

“The pervading carpet of perchlorate chemicals found on Mars may boost the chances that microbial life exists on the Red Planet — but perchlorates are also perilous to the health of future crews destined to explore that way-off world.

“Perchlorates are reactive chemicals first detected in arctic Martian soil by NASA’s Phoenix lander that plopped down on Mars over five years ago in May 2008. . .

“The high levels of perchlorate found on Mars would be toxic to humans, Smith said.

“Anybody who is saying they want to go live on the surface of Mars better think about the interaction of perchlorate with the human body,” he warned. “At one-half percent, that’s a huge amount. Very small amounts are considered toxic. So you’d better have a plan to deal with the poisons on the surface.” (“Toxic Mars: Astronauts Must Deal with Perchlorate on the Red Planet,” by Leonard David, Space.com’s Space Insider Columnist, June 13, 2013, 03:20 pm ET, https://www.space.com/21554-mars-toxic-perchlorate-chemicals.html, accessed September 23, 2017)

Lao She forever in his own walls

We are thus fully engaged in science fiction. Then we have to take this story as a utopian story, and if we look at it like that we have to say it is a dystopia more than a utopia. The future of a society that lets itself fall in the arms of consumer’s oblivion because what you consume becomes a drug that provides you with full comfort, full satiety as for hunger and thirst. But at the same time that is only valid for the top layer of this society, those who do not work at all, along with the soldiers directly under them to protect their power and property and these soldiers are granted some of the consumer’s drug which is called reverie leaves and these leaves grow on trees in forest of reverie trees. There are some allusions to farmers and workers but there is no specification of how and where they live and work. Anyway, the description of the society we are discovering here does not actually show us any farmer or worker and not even the servants of these elite people.

The nice side of the beast

From Réverie leaves to Opioids

But to reduce the reverie leaves to opium would be a very caricaturistic approach. Any human society has one drug, one consumer’s good, at time several, that is the very drug that brings “reverie” to their tired psyches, their tired and lazy psyches. It can be food like marihuana and magic mushrooms; drinks like wine and beer, rum and bourbon; or simply what makes life comfortable and enables people to just rest in peace, but the peace of survival before eternal peace, like beds, sofas, television, radio, hi-fis and in the modern world the Internet, cell and smartphones, and social networks. You end up living in a world of phantasms, fantasy, unreality, virtual reality. “Réverie” in one word, dreaming and dreams that never turn into nightmares.

The wild side of the beast

And there is always a party pooper somewhere who will tell you virtual reality does not exist since virtual and real are antagonistic words and virtual reality is an oxymoron that cannot be natural since nature dislikes oxymoronic entities, at least so they say. Just the same way as Artificial Intelligence does not exist since intelligence is human, and all machines are nothing but programmed organisms that can only do what they are programmed for. They cannot invent, have emotions, conceptualize, write poetry, or even, engage in onanism. These people think that everything is either A or B and no other choice is possible and certainly not AB or BA. As the English would say when I tell them “This is a small little book that. . .” “Is this book small or little?” Imagine their caustic smile if I said: “This man is a little big man.” And yet a film is titled that way. Is Dustin Hoffman, little or big?

But beyond the party pooper there will always be some visionary doctor or surgeon, some imaginative guru of some ranting nature or raving dimension who will tell you they have the solution to all your stress and pain, a little pill of ecstasy or something like that, a blue pill that can make your entertaining pleasure erect for hours. And for pain and stress here is the solution; the Opioid of the suffering people, as the Great Grand Uncle Karl would say, according to Lao She.

Exquisitely human

The world of Opioids

Then think of the crazy extreme of a country whose population is the victim of a self-inflicted medical epidemic if not pandemic like the USA who are in the arms of opioids, those relaxing drugs derived from opium and giving you the ability to stand stress and even worse than stress as if it were a breeze in the warm summer. Just imagine what it is first from the following description:

“Opium and opioids: a brief history,” Danilo Freire Duarte, TSA, M.D.

SUMMARY

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: In addition to their major influence on human behavior, opium and opioids have been used for a long time as sedative and analgesic drugs. As from the 19th century, with the isolation of opium alkaloids and easy parenteral administration of these substances, there has been increased interest in the judicious medical use of opioids and in the analysis of social consequences of their abuse, which has justified a historical review of opium and opioids.

CONTENTS: Further understanding of opium, a natural product extracted from Papaver somniferum, and of opioids, natural opium-extracted semi-synthetic and synthetic substances, as well as major references to these substances since ancient times are evaluated. Breakthroughs after Setürner’s studies, which have resulted in morphine isolation, are emphasized. Reference is made to other authors’ investigations in the search for synthetic substances with advantages over natural products. The importance the discovery of opioid receptors and their endogenous binders is highlighted.

CONCLUSIONS: In the dawning of the third millennium, regardless of studies with analgesic drugs of different pharmacological groups, opioids are still the most potent analgesics, although their efficacy has been questioned for some types of pain. Current Clinical Pharmacology knowledge allows for the selection of the opioid-based on patient’s disease and conditions, in the search for the best cost-benefit ratio.

Keywords: ANALGESICS: opioids; ANESTHESIOLOGY, History. (http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-70942005000100015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en, accessed September 23, 2017)

Teahouse on stage

And with the regular use of these drugs, you become insensitive to heat and cold, to pressure and abandon or neglect, and with a little bit of a stronger dose totally euphoric. And that makes the USA the first consumer on the opium market in the world, opium that is mostly coming from Afghanistan where the Talibans had banned it and the Americans have re-established it as a standard and tolerated agricultural crop after their invasion. It is true that opium makes opioids a lot cheaper than if they had to produce the molecule through some synthetic procedure (especially when produced by hardly properly nourished Afghan farmers who live in primitive mud holes) and I guess railroaded by air directly to the USA’s pharmaceutical firms. And natural opioids are more ecological than synthetic molecules, aren’t they?

How good war is at times to provide you with the drug that will make you forget war is the ugliest invention of human beings.

Teahouse for men

The end of a country or a world

That’s what the book is all about and not China in 1932 — at least not ONLY. And a people, a country that has let itself fall in the arms of such a soft and sweet illusion, delusion, is ready to die and the book shows us the final destruction of this cat society by foreigners arriving from the west. And this will apply marvelously to Trump’s USA. Cutting all connections with the world: TPP out; NAFTA out; Iran Deal out; North Korea destroyed entirely; China on their knees; Russia banned from the civilized world; and even Europe and their Paris accord out too. A wall all around and an army that is supposed to be all-powerful though 36 out of 60 tomahawk missiles were hijacked into the sea by the Russians when one night, Trump decided to totally destroy one air base of Syrian President Assad’s, an air base that was of course not destroyed since the majority of the missiles did not even reach Syria.

And Trump does not understand.

The stake is simple: the USA, any modern dominant power has to understand that “the times they are a-changing,” as Bob Dylan used to sing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7qQ6_RV4VQ, accessed September 24, 2017), and that he who is number one today will be number two in two years and number three in four years. You have to accept this reality and that leads to wondering if you are ready for collective government in this world; if the others are ready to accept you in that collective government of the world; and in the end, if you have any power to influence what is going to happen in the world. The French oil company TOTAL has signed a full agreement with Iran. Are the USA if they decide to step out of the Iran deal going to impose sanctions on this oil company, hence on France, hence on Europe, leaving Iran in the hands of Russian oil companies delivering the oil to China as a direct consequence of such a move?

Teahouse in colors, still for men

That’s what the book is all about: what happens when a country and its people have reached the point when they are living in a total delusion that they are happy and the best and most powerful in the world, a world that is growing all around while this country and its people is little by little going down. Even if this country could have a sustainable growth rate of 3%, it will eventually be overtaken by China, for one example and instance, who can have a sustainable growth rate of 6%, except of course if this delusional country could start a war that would severely maim China, directly or via North Korea.

Is anyone dumb enough, as dumb as my thumb really as I used to be told in North Carolina in the days of Woodstock, to get into a war when all such wars have been lost since 1945? Lost in Indochina by the French. Lost in Korea by the USA and other UN nations. Lost in China itself by the Kuomintang supported by the USA and other western countries. Lost in Algeria by the French. Lost in Suez by the French and the Brits. Lost in Vietnam by the USA. Lost in Afghanistan by the Soviets. Lost in Afghanistan by the USA (still in progress). Lost in Iraq by the USA and a few other western countries (still in progress). Even, mark my word, lost in Syria by the USA and the West (still in progress). Who will be the winner in the still-in-progress cases? You name them and you have them: Iran, the Kurds, Turkey, Syria itself (Assad), Russia, China and the question is: will the USA and other western powers have any possibility to keep a couple of their dirty fingers in the mess they have created?

A last cup of tea before the run

Conclusion

If we follow Lao She, the answer is no. The Cat people will be killed to the very last one by these foreigners, even if they accept to kneel down and change their allegiances and submit themselves to the foreigners. The foreigners do not want completely-rotten-to-the-core cat people who are even able to go flat on their stomachs to save their lives — eventually, maybe, and at best as slaves.

All big empires have ended in decay. The Roman Empire, west or east, Rome or Constantinople, have ended up as the soil of people coming from outside, the Germanic tribes or the Ottomans and Muslims, and there was no rebirth. The Chinese Empire ended up in total disarray with the opium wars, the colonization by the French and the English mostly, then by the Japanese and an attempt of the USA via the Kuomintang. And the rebirth was hard. Closer to us the Nazi conquest ended up with 55 or more million dead and of course, complete destruction and the rebirth came from other European countries led by de Gaulle and Aldo Moro that decided to work with West-Germany and Adenauer. Even the Soviet empire went down and the rebirth of Russia is not exactly easy after the looting Yeltsin authorized to the political or financial profit of the USA and the west. And look at the ex-colonial empires for final examples!!!

With our best wishes

Time has come for the American empire to step back. Will they do it more or less gracefully like Great Britain in India, or drowning in blood and torture like the Brits in Kenya or the French in Algeria?

Lao She is the voice of reason in a world that may fall into disarray and folly and destruction, self-destruction I mean. So 1932 China is very far away from any open-minded literary reading. This is a dystopia of all consumer’s societies and a utopia of all those who work hard and together to build the future for everyone and not for a class of privileged people. The road to Mars is still long

It is now a global classic

Appendix

LAO SHE — TEAHOUSE — JOHN HOWARD-GIBBON — 1957–2013

One of the strangest plays we can imagine because it deals with China and for us, westerners, China is the other end of the universe. It has three acts, one in 1898. The second ten years later hence in 1908 or so, and the third one after 1945 but under the Kuomintang government. The scene is in the Teahouse in Beijing all the time. At first, we are at the end of the Imperial China with the Empire going out, meaning down, and the Emperor being pushed aside out of power. The reformist party takes over and in the second act, we have the Republican power. This will not change much in the end after the Japanese occupation and defeat when Beijing is under the control of the Kuomintang and the quasi-occupation of the country by Americans. The hope everyone is waiting for (either as a frightful future for Kuomintang officials, or some hope of decency among simple people) is coming from the western provinces and mountains and will take four years to arrive, but they will arrive indeed, the Communists.

As for the historical change from 1898 to 1945, the play is not that original. But it is fascinating because it is tremendously Brechtian in the fact it concentrates on simple people and how they feel, react and simply suffer in front of change. Yet they have to endorse it because life is change. The main character is typical. Hardly 20 in 1898, taking over the Teahouse from his dead father he follows the trend and changes and he will change all along because nothing can be successful if it does not change.

Wisdom is in the tea leaves and the basket

His point of view, his vision of successive periods of change and what they mean, including the shift from the older generation to the younger generation, at times twice removed, is sad, very sad. Change most of the time meant takeover, from the old proprietors, the old people, to the newcomers. In 1898 it meant getting rid of the Empire and its systematic selling and buying of girls and boys as anything at all and a plain banal practice, for the rich and the powerful who could buy a wife, even when the man was a eunuch, and even buy a son. What an absurd world where a eunuch can buy himself a family, since he can’t make it himself, or shouldn’t I say “it”-self. In 1908 it meant industrialization and the enthusiasm it may bring to the younger generation then who are able to sell all their property that brought no real enterprising benefits to open a factory. But that change did not go beyond this limited evolution and it required a lot of corruption and under the table or under the cover dealings.

In 1945 the picture has changed. The Japanese had taken over and occupied the country for many years. They had purely seized all property that could produce anything and had integrated these requisitioned properties into their industrial endeavor whose only objective was the war with the USA. The Japanese were defeated and the Americans took over under the semblance of the Kuomintang. That meant transforming the Teahouse into a brothel more than anything else, with charming names on the ladies and the place, for the sole entertaining of the powerful people of the Kuomintang and the occupying Americans and their puppets. All those opposed were either sent to prison or beaten up. A teachers’ strike is declared a rebellion and repressed in blood and violence. The ringleaders, as they are called are simply killed on the spot when captured, in the most effective and rapid way possible.

Puppet have a go at it

All those who are against this evolution which is no reform but the continuation of the Japanese endeavor under the star-spangled banner and their local lackeys, their hope is the communists in the western mountains. And to symbolize how dead this old new world is, the younger man who was taking over the Teahouse after the death of his father in 1898 just hang himself before his Teahouse is seized by the Kuomintang and he himself is reduced to being a doorman in his own Teahouse. He can hang himself because all the members of his family have left and are on the way to the Western Mountains, hence to the communists.

That’s probably what people like Trump and his supporters who voted for him, as well as those who voted not for Clinton but against Trump, will never understand. China is not about the first or the second amendment of the US Constitution, but it is about millennia (not centuries) of exploitation in China itself by various political systems and success in global commerce represented by the famous Silk Roads finally discovered by Marco Polo (1271–1368), which meant that the western world limited to Europe at the time finally came to realizing China was the real global power Europe and then the West tried to become after the discovery of the Americas (1492) and the re-invention of slavery by the Portuguese around 1450 in Africa from Western Africa to Congo, Angola, Mozambique and eastern Africa, plus India on the other side of the Indian Ocean. And China was already a very wide empire long before even Homer and Aeschylus were even born, not to mention Plato and Aristotle, the fanatic supporters of slave societies in the name of democracy for the free elite.

The opera can also go to the Teahouse

Unluckily this play will not be understood by Westerners, especially narrow-minded people like those I have just mentioned, because they think they are hot hamburgers and hotdogs all over and that anyone and everything that is not in their direct mental and geographical territory is nothing but swampy water and rotting mud. Waking up will be difficult and I just hope they do not start throwing their atomic bonbons and little boys on us before dying out.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

Lao She with Buddhist Serendipity