Civilization Self-Identification and Confidence: A Review and Commentary on the Hypothesis of “Chinese Civilization Stems from the West”
Social Sciences in China Review
Civilization Self-Identification and Confidence: A Review and Commentary on the Hypothesis of “Chinese Civilization Stems from the West” (Abstract)
The hypothesis that “Chinese civilization stems from the West” was introduced into China in modern times. Although it has been proved absurd by modern theories and cultural history, it has re-emerged in recent years for various reasons. The essence of the hypothesis is cultural monism based on Eurocentrism. Although the origins of civilizations are interactive, it will fall into the trap of national nihilism to believe that Chinese ancient civilization completely originated from the West. Some accept this hypothesis just because Chinese script emerged late. This suggests a lack of selfidentification and confidence in our own civilization. By contrast, the theory that Chinese civilization originated from Kunlun is essentially different. Based the Chinese spirit on the theory of endogenous origin and multiethnic tradition of the Chinese civilization, it has played an important role in the shaping of China’s multi-ethnicity tradition and the reconstruction of modern Chinese spirit in the context of resisting foreign aggressions. The discussion of origin of civilization cannot be simplified into a natural or biological discourse. The Out of Africa theory cannot explain Chinese civilization. The discussion of the origin of civilization should go beyond monism to take endogenous origin as its basis. The archeological study of the origin of Chinese civilization has its limits. We should attach more importance to the exploration of the development of Chinese civilization, especially to its durability and its tradition of creative transformation.