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Hình-Ảnh Quân-Lực Việt-Nam Cộng-Hòa

History Of Viet Nam

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History Of Viet Nam

The Equilibrium Of Vietnamese Culture

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We did not believe in Lu-Hsiang-Shan:

"In the East when there are wise men, the same sentiment and reason must appear".
"In the West when there are wise men, the same sentiment and reason must appear".
What is the basis for assimilation? It is a real spirituality, the divine principle inborn in man who is identical behind the diversity of appearance. The spirit of science and morality united in a center of super knowledge of the human being, a mankind with sentiment, reason and intelligence, a morally and socially free "Person". In this, we have a basis to balance East and West and so, create a faith for ourselves.

It is because of this education consisting of well-balanced morality and sentiment that in the old Vietnamese agricultural society there was an equilibrium of culture; i.e., equilibrium between nature and society, individual and group, spiritual and material, reason and sentiment; an equilibrium based on a supernatural principle. At that time, the Vietnamese people had returned to their well spring of life from which sprang syncretism in religions. This revolved all the contradictory aspects of foreign cultures then penetrating the country. The secret of the harmonization of these different currents of thought in order to make a source of creative life, without committing the general mistakes of eclecticism and losing their personality and vitality, lies in the search for the basis of morality and the essence of things in the Universe , in oneself and in others. In these things only, is there understanding of the different characteristics of individuality without narrow-mindedness. The more we emphasize the outside diversity, the deeper we have to go, because human life needs Unity, i.e., Equilibrium as Lao-Tszu's remark: "The further we go, the narrower our knowledge becomes". We think it is the only way for us to harmonize the characteristics of Western and Eastern cultures. That is to say, in Việt-Nam today we have to believe in the Absolute, in the Universal Person. The industrial revolution in Western Europe at the beginning of the 19th century changed the world into system of inter-dependent relations between independent and self-sufficient regions in the fields of economies, politics and cultures. The new techniques have admirably solved the problems of transportation in the air, on land and on the sea. The world is thus united as far as communication is concerned. However, these countries are so in equally developed in much aspect of living and culture. Their cooperation, therefore, is not truthful and successful, because they do not have a universal conception of life, a universal ideology, a unity spirit which makes peoples understand one another.

The political revolution, following the industrial one of the 19th century, has drawn the Western societies into an economic system of excessive free competition leading to monopoly and economic crisis.

Now from the cultural equilibrium of the old agricultural society, we ought to find a new equilibrium for Vietnamese culture. It is natural to harmonize rural culture with industrial urban culture in an industrialized Việt-Nam. There is no essential contradiction between the rural agricultural society of Asia and the industrial and urban society of the West. One of these societies is characterized by its mechanist tendency and the other, by it's vitalise tendency. Both are two forms of harmonization and adaptation of human society to the natural environment in order to last; of course, both of them respect man's right to live. If there is a difference, it is because of the basic error of the urban industrial society. This error is the setting up of the individual as a solitary supreme power, thus opposing man to nature, separating reason and sentiment, spirituality and materiality, considering reason and faith as two things that cannot coexist.

Tagore said:

"The urban society had live in a conception of a world divided and ruled".

It was because of these foregoing reasons that Lamartine, the French writer who played an important political role in the revolution of 1830, has written as follows, comparing Rousseau's idea, the theorist of the French revolution of 1789, with Confucius idea, the greatest political philosopher of the East:

"I am against Rousseau and defend Confucius in spite of the conception of everlasting progress, the wrong progress which goes down instead of going up, from the spiritualism of Confucius to the materialism of social contract of Rousseau". _( Lamartine -- Pages Retrouvées, Published by Andrei Delpuech )

Of course, the culture of independent Việt-Nam today must be assimilated with the Western urban culture according to the ideal criteria for today's human culture as stated by R. Tagore:

"The unlimited personality of mankind can only be realized in the great harmony of all the peoples of the world".

Like Gandhi's conception of an ideal education:

"Today, in order to have a perfect education, the study of Eastern cultures is as important as the study of Eastern sciences".

Việt-Nam will be industrialized, but will not authorize irrational free competition, Vietnamese culture will have a scientific character, but it will not separate the scientific mind from the traditional basis of spirituality. Today, Vietnamese culture believes in a perfect man, with reason and sentiment, an individual not isolated from the group, living in a society where there is cooperation among classes, in a country not isolated from the rest of the world, in a society where private ownership is respected; giving to the citizen the possibility of satisfying his vital needs in this "happy medium" harmony. Universe, Nature and Man continue to be harmonized. That is the ideal solution which synthesizes the scientific spirit and the love of mankind.

Dang Thuc NGUYEN 

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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