Thursday, 6 August 2009

Conceptual Domination: the Chinese way to viral expansion

The generic assumption is quite simple: every kind of human domination has a conceptual side. You exert your power through cultural tools and technological weapons,that implement concepts. One of the most common ways is simply massive conceptual production. A good example is the movie industry: though the US State didn't specifically try to dominate the world via Hollywood, the scale of this sector contributes to expansion. You build a channel;your goods and your ideas go through. When it reaches a critical point, you observe the reinforcement of the expansion: just because it's Hollywood, it sells (and of course just for this it can be refused).
The Chinese model is more subtle. The Chinese way to conceptual domination aims to accede the target system, to reach the core value of the conceptual architecture and to sinicify the host. I'd like to be more neutral and less politic: the movement is viral, the chinese conceptual warfare moves as an alien virus to the system and progressively it deconstructs the scaffolding of the target via concepts.
It's a classic the linguistic or ethnic assimilation but I prefer to discuss two assimilations with more conceptual degree: Catholicism and Tibetan Buddhism.

If you are not to accustom to catholic theology, Catholicism is Christianity a-la-Rome. The Roman declination is not a characterization or a lovely tradition: it's the core of Catholicism. Indeed the Church is catholic, apostolic and roman. If you're catholic, you can be a misguided, degenerated, perverted but if you are apostolic and roman, it's better than to be a nice dude who doesn't give a fluff about Rome. Seriously (and sometimes it is the case). Why??? Lots of reason, but basically the Church is the paradigm of vertical governance, hierarchy grounded in just one single point: Jesus saved the humankind, but to communicate, to witness this miracle and mystery he decided to delegate to one single representative, the Pope. And the definition of the Pope is bishop of Rome. Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus (Outside the Church there is no salvation). You can be a good bloke, a Satanist, a sheep; it doesn't matter, if you're catholic, you're roman. Can you imagine the disappointment of the top catholic management when they started to see the Chinese party ordering catholic priest with no connection with Rome: no designation, no consultation, no knowledge NOTHING. They began to babble that it was unfair; they claimed that they could be good Christians, but not catholic, because "technically" speaking, only the Pope and his proper bishop can order proper catholic priests. Technically speaking, it's impossible to be a catholic priest and not be ordered by a proper, roman bishop. And what did the Chinese party do? They ordered more priests. Now the Catholic Church is trying to sort the mess out; they said that they could recognize the party priest as "100% catholic". But the point is, whenever there is a friction between China and the Vatican, the Chinese party starts to order more priests...

The second chapter is even more conceptual. Ok, you're Tibetan; you believe in Tibetan Buddhism; you're spiritual leader is the Dalai Lama. It happened Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama (as they are now!) are considered as hostile by the Chinese Party. What happened in this case? First the Chinese Party recognized in the '90 its own Panchen Lama (the second spiritual role in Tibetan Buddhism). In the '95 The Dalai Lama simply recognized as the real, proper Panchen Lama, another child. Ok 1 -1, it's a draw? Not really: the Chinese Party (and in those times the chief of the forgotten region of Tibet was Hu Jintao, current Paramount Leader of the Party) took custody of the Dalai Lama chosen Panchen Lama. Since then the Panchen Lama has never been seen in public. There is more than a rumor is now dead, but this would be more than an embrace for both sides. For the Chinese Party it is not exactly good for reputation to kill leaders of opposition factions when they are teenager. But it's even more serious for the Dalai Lama: how could the spiritual leader chose a Panchen Lama with such a short life? It's easy for you and me, poor secular observers, to say: "technically" speaking it's not Dalai Lama fault. But I don't believe in reincarnation. If you're a Tibetan Buddhist, if you're conceptual system is made of Tibetan Buddhism, you expect the choice would be more appropriate. On the table now it stands only the Party chosen Panchen Lama. Oh, before I forget to mention: the Panchen Lama is highly involved in the process to recognize the next Dalai Lama, when the one in charge dies.

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