赵汀阳:A Political Philosophy of World

分类: 哲学 作者: 时间:2019年12月03日

「赵汀阳:A Political Philosophy of World」是一篇关于“天下体系,社会经济”的深度文章,最早发布在作者授权爱思想发布(专栏),由赵汀阳(作者)创作而成。本文属于“天益学术,哲学,政治哲学”的范畴。仔细阅读本文,能够增加您社会、经济、政策等方面的知识。

  ZHAO, Tingyang

  Professor of Institute of Philosophy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

  1. A Non-World or a Failed World

  Our supposed world is still a non-world.

  This side of creation, our globe, has not yet become a world of oneness, but remains the chaos of a Hobbesian situation, for there is no real coherent world society under a universally accepted political institution of a system of the world. Politically abandoned, the world where we are is the one only in geographical sense. The political identity of the world is still missing for lack of the political oneness. The world will not be made unless organized and controlled by a world institution established on a new world-view, a new political philosophy for the world.

  People have tried in vain to make a world either by means of world-empire or union of all nations, fundamentally due to the untamed problem of stable cooperation, or of the Kantian perpetual peace, or in Chinese perspective, the problem of universal harmony of all peoples[2]. More than the often spoken historical accidents and limitations, the poor political philosophy prepared for the world must be accounted guilty for the failures. People recognize much of the political concept of a nation, knowing well what to do for a nation-state, but never the political concept of the world, unaware of what to do for the world. The key problem today is the failed world rather than the so-called failed states in the world. No country could always be successful in a failed world.

  An interesting question put forward by Martin Wight as “why is there no international theory?” in 1966[3] seems still relevant to the issue wherein I am discussing. Wight argued that we had not prepared qualified international theories but instead only the so called “political theories” that were actually merely about the domestic politics of states with some poor parerga about the problems of international “balance of powers” or something like that. He implied that people did not really know what internationality was. I am afraid that Wight would have had changed his mind if he had had learnt the Chinese philosophy of world politics in terms of all-under-heaven focusing on world-ness more than internationality. Perhaps Wight’s question could be rewritten as “why is there no world theory?” to fit the new context of globalization. In the last decades the term “world politics” has become popular and said to mean something more than “international politics”. This is a late-coming but still significant change, though not so new in its understanding of the political, for the interpretations of world politics remains in the framework of internationality so that the viewpoint of world-ness is still missing. A world theory will never be possible unless we think in consideration for the universal goods of the world instead of a nation-state.

  A modern world system is far from an institutional system of the world. A world system is always the imperialistic dominance, as Wallerstein analyzes in his The Modern World System, that is, one or a group of powerful nation-states has its political, economical and cultural dominance over the less powerful nation-states. It could be said that a world system is essentially an imperialistic system in terms of dominance as a transformation from the concept of empire in terms of rule by power. Now an imperialistic system has been proved definitely not a solution to the problems of world politics, for it is a system imposed on the world rather than of and for the world, not to say by the world. What the world needs is an institutionalized system of world to improve the universal and common goods of the world, instead of the interests of some dominating nations.

  Hardt and Negri impressively argue that the emerging new empire is a sort of global empire inheriting but rehashing, by means of globalization, the ancient empire that accepts no limited boundaries, such as a Roma empire in a new pose[4]. But we have to further realize the complicated composition of new empire inheriting not simply the ancient ideal of empire but also both the modern imperialism and the Christian ideology of cultural universalism. American empire is trying to reshape the concept of empire in advantage of all dangerous possibilities, making the concept of empire a paradox of launching wars in name of peace and destroying liberty in name of liberty[5]. It is a wrong way for the world.

  Given that an empire rules the whole world, it makes no world. Ruling the world does not mean having the world, as said in Chinese political philosophy, ruling the world enjoys only the land, the geographical world, rather than the “hearts” of all peoples, so the world as the spiritual, has never been given to the ruler. The world exists only when peoples want it. In other words, the world is only when justified, and to be justified when a political system of universal “harmony” is developed to successfully solve the problem of universal cooperation of all peoples.

  

  Globalization is leading to an unclear new age without well prepared new concepts, still in rather than out of the game of nation-states, and enhancing international conflicts much more than universal interests and benefits, so that globalization will not make the world, if continuously misled by American made illusions such as the “clash of civilizations”, the “rogue states” or “failed states”, which are illegally legitimating the American bad leadership in the world and making a failed world, much worse than failed states.

  History has often gone wrong, defeating our good will, but the failure of making a world must be fundamentally due to the political ignorance of the world qua a world, to the lack of a political philosophy from the view of world instead of a view of a state, or a world-view for the world rather than for a nation. Unfortunately, the popular ideologies today are either universalism, actually the aggressive imperialism as the dominant strategy for the national interests of the most developed countries, or the pluralism, essentially the resistive nationalism as the realistic strategy for the local interests of the less developed nations. And such a strategy profile of universalism versus pluralism leads to a disappointing Nash’s equilibrium preventing us from any improvement in world peace, common interests and reciprocal development. It indicates only the philosophies of the world for national interests rather than a philosophy for the world on behalf of the universal interests.

  The difference between a philosophy for the world and a philosophy of the world has the very relevance to the justification of a world-view. Everyone could have a philosophy of the world in his own horizon, and in the same way, a nation could have a philosophy of the world in the horizon of national interests. But we do need a philosophy for the world to speak for the world. The world is missing because of our refusal of a world-view representing the world its own. The failure of world politics is essentially the failure of philosophy. Now the question is, how to take care of the world for the world?

  It is here wherein good to enter a discussion about a Chinese philosophy for the world in terms of All-under-heaven (Tian-xia, 天下), which is very old (3,000 years old) but still rather new today and not well known to the western. The theory of all-under-heaven was not fully developed in the ancient China, but it is potential. I will argue that a renewed theory of all-under-heaven might be helpful in finding a solution to the chaotic world, further more, making a new framework of philosophical analysis of political problems.

  2. To Begin Politics with World Problem

  There is an old story of the invention of an all-under-heaven System. About 3,000 years ago, in a military adventure, Zhou tribe defeated Shang tribe, the chief of the political alliance of China, and started the 800 years Zhou Dynasty. It was a political revolution, much more than a usual significant event, for it started Chinese politics in a very different way other than the Greek polis. Before Zhou there was no politics (the Chinese word for politics means “justified order”), but only the rule by power in China, the same case as no politics before Greek polis in Europe. Thanks to Zhou’s invention of all-under-heaven, China began its politics with world problem, whereas Greek began its politics with the problem of polis. It seems quite unusual to have the political begun with world problem in the early days of civilization, for world politics must be too much avant-garde to come into the ancient minds, but it did happen.

  An unusual situation had made Zhou to begin politics with world politics. The story goes in this way: Shang had been the chief of the alliance of tribes for hundreds year. The last king of Shang was extremely strong but very crude, enjoyed nothing but wars and killing, a small tribe Zhou rebelled with great courage, supported by several other tribes, and finally destroyed the huge army of Shang with a great fortune. Becoming the new chief of all tribes, Zhou realized a never met problem of governance: how to lead all tribes and to enjoy their continuous support when some of them were much larger in population or potentially stronger than a supposed chief tribe. At that time, there were about 1,000 tribes different in cultures, nations and even in ethnics in China. The population of Zhou tribe was estimated less than 70,000 persons, so small in comparison to the tribes of larger population, especially to Shang tribe of a population of more than one million. Such a problem of how to control bigger powers by a smaller power had made the world politics as the primary problem of the political instead of domestic or local politics.

  The brilliant leaders of Zhou, especially the primer Zhou-Gong, had come to some important ideas of the political. Briefly, the key principles are (1) the successful solutions to the problems of world politics should resort to a universally accepted system of world instead of resorting to force; (2) a universal system of world is politically justified if it has a political institution to benefit all peoples of all nations,

   and to produce the greatest common goods of the world; (3) a universal system of world works if it creates the harmony of all nations and all cultures. Upon these principles, Zhou created a system of world in terms of All-under-heaven.

  3. The Ancient Institutional Design of All-under-heaven

  The system of all-under-heaven is theoretically an open concept leading to possible designs of a system of world. Zhou’s design of all-under-heaven was the first and only one put into practice. It does not mean to recommend this ancient Chinese design here as an always-good example, for it was so old a design not to fit the contemporary world very well. But the eliciting points in this old design of all-under-heaven system could be supposed still worthy of contemporary rethinking and probably helpful in the forethought of future.

  Zhou’s design of all-under-heaven comes as follows[6]:

  1) It is a political system of monarch mixed with aristocracy.

  2) It is an open network consisting of a general government of the world, and the sub-states. The amount of sub-states depends on the diversity of cultures, nations or geographical conditions. The sub-states are pertaining to a general political system, just like the sub-sets pertaining to a greater set. The system of all-under-heaven is, since designed for the whole world, open to nations all over the world, and each nation is eligible to participation whenever it would join or it could choose instead to be at large if in peace with the nations in the system.

  3) The world government is in charge of the universal institutions, laws and world order, responsible for the common goods of the world, upholding world justice and peace as the judge of international conflicts among the sub-states, controlling the shared resources such as great rivers and big lakes as well as very important minerals or materials, and especially enjoying the authority to examine and recognize the political legitimacy of the sub-states, and also the authority to supervise the social and political conditions of the sub-states, as well as the authority to lead a punitive expedition if a sub-state breaks the universal law or order. But the world government will lose the legitimacy of its own, if it betrays justice or abuse its responsibilities, while the revolution is consequently justified.

  4) The sub-states are independent in their domestic economics, cultures, social norms and values, that is, independent in almost all forms of life except their political legitimacy and obligations. The sub-states are legitimated when politically recognized by the world government, and obliged to make certain contributions, in proportion to their products and natural resources, to the common goods of the world and the reciprocal aids, such as disaster relief and water control.

  5) An institutionally made equilibrium plays a key role to maintain the long-term cooperation in the system of all-under-heaven. The world government directly rules a land called King-land, about two times of a big sub-state, and about four times of a middle sub-state. And the military force controlled by the world government is greater than a big sub-state’s in a ratio of 6 to 3 divisions, larger than a middle one’s in 6 to 2 and than a small one in 6 to 1[7]. This design limits the King-land of the world government in its advantages over the sub-states either in resources or military power, and the same case a bigger sub-state over a smaller, so that a dominating superpower is nearly impossible while revolution becomes a potential but realistic threat preventing the world government from being oppressive.

  6) Another most important policy in the all-under-heaven system is that people enjoy their freedom of migration, either emigration or immigration, so that people could move to and work for any other state they prefer. It implies a philosophy of worldism rather than nationalism.

  Zhou’s institutional design of all-under-heaven, characterized by its worldism and its principle of harmony of all nations, had created a long-term peace of hundreds year in China that had been thought to be the world because of the limited geographical knowledge at that time. The spirit of all-under-heaven has so great influence on Chinese politics even today that Chinese politics could not be correctly understood without a good knowledge of the idea of all-under-heaven, although the political pursuit of all-under-heaven ended in BC221 when the first emperor of China annexed many states and established Qin Empire that distorted the concept of all-under-heaven. The decline of Zhou’s all-under-heaven is also of much inspiration. Absurdly, Zhou system waned because it was too good to be. The limited power and force of the world government of all-under-heaven, institutionally designed in favor of the independence and interests of the sub-states, had been proved not capable to cope with the ambitious challenges from strong sub-states[8].

   This paradoxical problem of institutional design foretold the difficulty in world cooperation, challenging our minds to renew the concept of all-under-heaven for a better system of world in the future.

  4. A Philosophical Renewal of All-under-heaven

  The Chinese key word “all-under-heaven” is a thick concept of “world”. It has triple meanings as (1) the earth or all lands under the sky; and (2) the common choice by all peoples in the world or the universal agreement in the “hearts” of all peoples; and (3) a political system of world with a world institution to ensure the universal order of the world. This semantic trinity indicates that a physical world is far from a world of human. And a humanized world is unless it is defined to be a political world by a world institution reflecting the general heart of all peoples thus universally accepted[9]. In other words, the natural world will not be our world unless constituted to be the all-under-heaven with a world institution.

  The concept of all-under-heaven is thus a world-view in which the world is understood a unity of the physical world (land), the psychological world (the general heart of peoples) and the institutional world (a world institution). So it is a very thick concept of world, by which the metaphysics as political philosophy replaces the metaphysics as ontology to be the first philosophy. In this sense, the globe must be said still a non-world, for it has not yet enjoyed a world institution representing the general heart of all peoples to fully realize the eidos of world.

  The concept of all-under-heaven has established a world-view of world-size so as to see the problems of the world in a world perspective instead of a local or national perspective. To see the world from a view of world-size is an epistemological principle firstly given by Lao-tzu (580-500BC). It says “the best methodology to understand everything is to view a person from his view, to view a family from its view, a village from a village, a state from a state, and to view all-under-heaven from the view of all-under-heaven”[10]. It indicates a political epistemology more than a scientific epistemology.

  To follow the way of Chinese thinking, the world is always considered a political body more than a scientific object. As a matter of fact, the world as a scientific object was rarely discussed in Chinese traditional philosophy, for Chinese minds were inclined to investigate the society seriously while to imagine the nature in poetic way. The Chinese preference to political knowledge has been so dominating that Chinese minds took less interest in the truths of the nature. The politically oriented epistemology could be supported by an argument like this: the world is consisted of things and facts, but only facts, as what-have-been-done[11], decide our lives therefore the problems of facts are the most relevant, whereas things are merely what are as they are, being there beyond our choices, and thus making nothing problematical. Briefly, the nature is but the society is made to be, and only what could be made constitutes our problems. It is the world of facts that make the problems, and the world of facts is found essentially the political/ethical. Once a Duke asked Confucius (551-479BC) what was the most important in the human world, Confucius answered: “that is politics ”[12]. And the Confucian definition of politics comes as“the political is to justify what has been done”[13].

  Chinese has developed political philosophy, mixed with ethics, to be the first philosophy as an alternative metaphysics to change the orientation of the question of being in that, as I formulate it[14], to be is to do. The question of doing replaces being so much so that things only become meaningful when involved in facts. Chinese philosophies are engaged much more in the problems of relation and heart, whereas western philosophies the truth and mind. A truth, for instance, depends on certain “relations”, as to a typical Chinese philosophy. In fact, nothing could be said a thing so and so unless it is defined in terms of “relations”, say, we will find someone a friendly person when we treat him friendly, and in other cases we might have an opposite knowledge of him if we treat him wrongly. It is therefore the relations, instead of the essence, define and decide what is. The metaphysics of relations strongly encourages the imagination of a political system of the world in terms of all-under-heaven constituted of harmony relations of all peoples.

  5. Nothing and nobody excluded

  One of the most important principles of all-under-heaven must be the principle of “exclusion of nothing and nobody” or “inclusion of all peoples and all lands” [15]. It says that no other peoples could be excluded or pushed aside, for no one is an essentially incompatible other. It consists of two key points: the claim of no outsider and the claim of no pagan.

  As claimed in the theory of all-under-heaven, a country or a state has no chance to avoid disorder if the world is in a disorder of anarchy,

   and conflicts would never be reduced even among the countries of good order. The external order of a political entity, say a country, is always the necessary condition of its internal order, so the external problems of a political entity is even more serious than its internal troubles. And a political system could boast of the universal and perpetual peace only if it has no more externality but only its internality when nothing and nobody excluded outside. As written by Lu Buwei (?-235BC), a primer of Qin: “no state could be safe if the world is in disorder, no family could escape if the state is thrown into turmoil, and nowhere for one to stay if his family is ruined”[16]. In order to enjoy universal and perpetual peace, a complete and good political system should be as extensive as it could be, as implied, a world wide political system so that all are included and protected. So nobody could be recognized as and let to be an outsider.

  The claim of no outsider always hold good together with the claim of no pagan. Some peoples could be separated as the incompatible other on a hostile reason if the claim of no pagan were missing. An interesting ancient argument for the claim of no pagan runs as that the heaven is universal, always fair to everything, never particularly good to something, so all-under-heaven should be universally fair and good to all peoples without any preference for some people, and “all-under-heaven is meant to be of all peoples and for all peoples, never of and for some people”[17]. The spirit of all-under-heaven could explain the Chinese refusal of the domination of a religion and of the Chosen people in any sense. It is considered unjustified to identify some people as the pagan because everyone is born to share all-under-heaven instead of made an outsider.

  The core idea of all-under-heaven is to reconstitute the world in the principle of family-ship to make a world as the home for all peoples as it should be. An old story shows much of Chinese consciousness of all-under-heaven: a man of Jing state lost his bow and he was reluctant to get it back, saying: “a man of Jing lost it, and another man of Jing got it, that is no problem at all”. Confucius heard of it and said: “better not to mention Jing state. Just to say a man lost it and another got it”. And Lao-tzu gave a further comment: “it would be perfect if not even to mention a man, just to say that something lost and got”[18].

  Upon the principle of inclusion of all peoples, to make the world-for-all-peoples has become the first and fundamental political problem, and the priority of world institution is now reasonably argued. The world is of course not yet there, but it should be made.

  6. The priority of world institution

  Now the Chinese political philosophy of all-under-heaven insists a world institution absolutely necessary to make a world. As argued, every state has no other choices but to be involved in a disorder world, the theory of world thus includes the theory of state and world politics includes local politics, and not on the contrary. Very different from the usual western political thinking, world theory is regarded as the general political framework, while state theory as well as international theory as its branches, and it is the world, rather than a state, to be found the key problem in political philosophy. A world institution to ensure world order is therefore considered to be of top priority.

  As talked above, Zhou Dynasty had chosen the world, instead of a country or a sort of state, to be a starting point of political thinking. It means the world must be made a highest political body with the leadership over any lower political units, which is supposed the universal condition for the good order of any inferior units such as nation-state or any other kind of political community. This project has constituted the Chinese concept of political system consists of political bodies ranked as all-under-heaven, states and families, essentially different from the western ranking as nation-states, communities and individuals.

  The western political system seems incomplete in philosophical grammar, at least from the Chinese viewpoint of the division of political bodies as all-under-heaven, states and families. The absence of a world institution as the highest political body would be the serious systematical incompleteness in that no one to take care of the world. We have to take the world seriously. As the matter of fact, the western invention of modern nation-states system has been almost universally adopted today. And the absence of a political authority higher than nation-states explains our failure to remove the international conflicts which are unlikely to be settled by means of something like UN, because UN or other available international organizations is not at all a political system higher than nation-states. An international organization is meant to deal with the problems in terms of inter-ness,

   nothing more than an auxiliary organization confined by and pertaining to the nation-states system in which no universal interests but only the national interests are concerned. International organizations are not capable to overcome any serious conflicts in the world, for an international theory is always short of a horizon beyond the limitation of nationalism. Essentially, “internationality” is a specious and misleading concept in the philosophy of world politics. It is “world-ness”, rather than “internationality”, that fits the framework of analysis and the methodology to recognize the real problems in world politics. The concept of internationality is not a proper access to the political problems of world-size, and the worse, it could be a concealment of what should be reorganized and solved in the horizon of world-ness.

  After domestic theory and international theory, world theory should be now developed in turn to be the universally accepted general framework of political thinking. Political philosophy or political science will never be complete if not to introduce the horizon of world-ness only by which the problems of world politics could be well and appropriately understood. The theory of all-under-heaven is supposed to be a world theory to rethink the world problems, such as world order and governance, conflicts and cooperation, war and peace as well as cultural clash, all of which have been usually misled in international theory.

  International theory, as well as the ideology of nation-states, had been founded on the sprite of the Treaties of Westphalia, admitting of no political horizon higher and wider than nation-states, leading to nothing more than bargaining for each interests and nervous balance of powers. International theory is thus more or less a kind of game theory about the strategies of maximization of national interests and about the necessary but reluctant equilibrium rather than a cooperative theory. The very contribution of all-under-heaven as a world theory comes from its world-view of world size, higher than any national view, inviting us to a much wider context where the bigger and deeper or more complicated problems could be recognized and solved.

  7. From political transitivity to ethical transitivity

  Incoherence or inconsistency found between domestic and international theory would reduce greatly the effectiveness and capacity of the nation centered political theory. For instance, the domestic democracy is always taken for granted whereas the international democracy considered unacceptable and practically impossible by most of liberalists. The truth is, domestic democracy could enhance an imperialist hegemony over the world but international democracy on the contrary. Such a kind of theoretical break hurts the universality of a political theory, when it admits of a political institution not to be universal and transitive in the world.

  Given a political institution, it could be free of doubts and anti-arguments if it could be run universally, that is, universally applied to all political units and transitive in all political levels or systems, otherwise it would lose its authenticity for being unequal or hostile to the others. Even an admirable institution such as democracy could be proved a political failure if it could not be extendedly developed into the world democracy more than the domestic, though it works well inside a community or a state. That is one of the reasons that America is losing its political reputation in the world now, since it plays different political games in the domestic and international levels.

  Alternatively, Chinese political philosophy searches for the completeness and oneness of political system, upon the belief that an institution is good if and only if it could be run well throughout all political levels, from the basic to the highest, and from local to the world, to make a universal political system. It is right at least in its theoretical goal of a reduction in conflicts and incompatibility of the political levels from the world to states and families so as to create a “political continuum” by which one political level could be structurally mapped into the others. That is, the world, states and families must be consistent in their way of governance so that they are nothing but the different presences of one institution.

  It is argued that political governance must have its effective transitivity from the highest or greatest to the lowest or smallest, for the reason that the smaller political societies are always conditioned by the greater as their extended context. That means the order and peace of the greater political society is always the necessary guarantee for the smaller. Mo-tzu (468-376BC) had an argument going like this: the world could be in disorder because of the conflicting interests and opinions of peoples, and it could not be controlled unless ordered by the leadership in general. The world was too big to be managed only by the highest government so that it should be divided into many sub-states and other smaller units,

   so the good governance should go with a political institution of the transitivity “from the superior to the inferior rather than from the inferior to the superior”, a descending order from all-under-heaven to states then to families, because of the fact of conflicting interests and opinions so that the conjunction of good families does not necessarily make a good and peaceful society, and in the same way, the conjunction of good states does not ensure a good and peaceful world[19]. Mo-tzu’ s theory implies a distrust of international “union”, or something like that, to solve the problem of conflicts.

  It is further argued that a universal political institution should have its political legitimacy reflecting ethical rightness, that is, political legitimacy is justified if it fits ethical rightness. So Chinese philosophies always insist on the ethical transitivity to support the political transitivity. In the reverse direction, the ethical transitivity is considered to develop in an ascending order from families to states then to all-under-heaven, an inversion of the political transitivity, for the reason that the ethical should be rooted in the basic forms of life. Family-ship is thought to be the naturally given ground and strongest evidence for the normal human love, harmony, mutual concern and obligations, thus claimed the concentrated pattern almost “exhausting the essence of humanity”[20], so much so that it is a best ethical paradigm to be universally promoted to all political levels. To run a state and even the all-under-heaven in the way of running a family is a widely recognized Confucian principle in China[21]. And it is implied that world peace will not come unless the world governance follows the pattern of family-ship.

  The political descending transitivity from all-under-heaven to states then to families and the ethical ascending from families to states then to all-under-heaven have made a political-ethical circulation by which the reciprocal justification comes between politics and ethics. This Chinese circulation indicates a meta-principle of politics, that is, the design of a political system is good if and only if it makes a good ethical system at the same time. It could be a standard of examination of political justification, which produces a fundamental doubt about western political thinking. Briefly, the western metaphysical presupposition of the absolute individuals inevitably leads to the Hobbes’ imagination of a war of everyone against any other, which further comes logically to Carl Schmitt’s concept of the political as the politics of enemy, a very honest representation of western political thinking. To follow the way of the politics of enemy, cooperation will be always difficult, very limited and never stable, and unfortunately, almost hopeless to go beyond the Nash’s equilibrium as an insolubilia. The western political logic from individuals to nation-states and even to imperialist system is a refusal of world, which will finally backfire if this political project is universally imitated by all nations. The key point is: an idea or a strategy will be proved a bad one if it backfires thus self-defeated when universally imitated.

  The system of all-under-heaven seems to be probably successful when universally imitated at least in a theoretical situation. It claims the politics of harmony for a world in which the far and near relations among nations instead of the hostile distinguish of the self and the others. In a world of no enemy as hostis[22], harmony becomes possible, and it is maybe the only way to make a world of all peoples.

  8. The strategy of harmony and the Confucian improvement

  In the first chapter of Shang-shu (the Book of documents, 3,000 years old), “to create harmony of all nations and all peoples” is said the greatest political goal. It must be the earliest words about harmony. A world of harmony appeals much more than a world of clash—- actually a non-world as I see. It turns out a problem of harmonious game as a best cooperative game.

  In Chinese theory, harmony is the necessary ontological condition for different things to exist and to develop, usually defined as reciprocal dependence, reciprocal improvement or the perfect fitting of different things, contrary to the sameness of things. Harmony opposite to sameness is more or less a matter of the Many opposite to the One, though more complicated. This definition of harmony traces back to a significant debate (about 530BC) about the meaning of harmony.

  As recorded in Tso-Chuan (History of the States), A Duke, a lord of a state, said he would rather appreciate those who had the same opinions with him since sameness meant harmony. But his primer Yan-tzu (?-500BC) insisted on the essential difference between harmony and sameness with the reason that harmony should be the reciprocal improvement among the different things to make agreeable cooperation whereas sameness reduced possibilities to only one thing.

   He explained: “harmony could be observed in the well prepared soup with many ingredients. The harmony of them makes a tasteful soup because of their complementariness and reciprocal improvement. The harmony of the different is also important to politics in that the available different ideas opposite to a lord’s could be found useful to adjust or improve the lord’s. … If a soup were made only with water and some more water, was it good to our taste? And if music were played in no difference, was it good to our ears? Only one voice will make bad politics”[23].

  In another debate, harmony was further argued to be the necessary condition for a thing to exist and to be of any value. A historian Shi-bo gave his argument in another also very old book Guo-yu ( National Affairs) as follows:“harmony as the mutual improvement brings things to flourish whereas sameness makes things dying. Things would become nothing if reduced to the same. So the great kings have their queens from other states, select ministers from people who have alternative opinions, and use different things in different cases in right ways. … Monotone is boring, uniformity makes no culture, single taste is poor, and sameness has no value”[24]. So it is said: “harmony of the different is the condition that keeps everything be something rather than nothing”[25]. Music would be one of the best examples of how harmony is created, As described in Tso-Chuan: “the sounds of the clear and the chaotic, the great and the small, the long and the short, the quick and the slow, the joyful and the sorrow, the hard and the soft, the early and the late, the high and the low, the emerging and the fading, as well as the thick and the loose are always reciprocally improved in wonderful music”[26].

  Harmony as a principle of co-existence could be better understood in Chinese metaphysics. As said above, Chinese philosophy has the metaphysics of relations rather than ontology of being. And the question of the being of a thing in itself would be regarded queer, for nothing could be a thing as such unless it is something defined in its relations with other things. It means it is relations, rather than things, to be meaningfully questioned. From the viewpoint of relationship, it is unreasonable to say “a thing is as it is”, for a thing never is as it is by itself but to be made as such and such in certain relations where it is involved. “A thing” is merely a linguistic invention for convenience in representation rather than a real presence. Relations are now supposed the ontological condition for a thing to present as such, so much so that existence presupposes co-existence, and the situation of co-existence decides the situation of existence. This philosophical logic is key to the understanding of harmony as a principle of relations of things.

  A small but definitely not trivial difference between cooperation and harmony leads to an important issue. The principle of cooperation could be said as live-and-let-live, while harmony means a stronger principle of live-iff-let-live and improved-iff-let-improved[27], the strategy of harmony is thus more than the usual cooperation. A harmonious game seeks harmonious play more than fair play. In a given game of no other choices, fair play is the best that could be expected. But the admirable fairness could conceal the slight but serious injustice of the game itself in that fair play could be injustice if not all the players agree with the game itself, say the goal and rules of game. People want not only fair play but also the rights to choose a better game than a game decided by a dominating power. Harmonious play might be the way to create an all agreed game. The Chinese metaphysical concern of relations changes the goal of game. A game is now meant to develop the harmonious relations of all players and to maximize the common and shared goods of all players rather than to maximize the interests of a player.

  Now we come to the key point of the strategies of harmony as: (1) given any two players X and Y, harmony is a reciprocal equilibrium in which X and Y share their fortune so much so that X gets a good payoff iff Y gets a good payoff too, and X loses iff Y loses; and (2) X reaches to his improvement iff Y reaches to his improvement so much so that the promotion of Y’s improvement becomes X’s dominating strategy to promote the improvement of his own, and vice versa. In short, a strategy of harmony is to create a game of necessary and inevitable reciprocal improvement. The reciprocal benefiting formula of harmony means a much better social situation than the Pareto’s improvement unless the Pareto’s happens to coincide with a harmonious improvement. To respect Confucius for his important contribution to the theory of harmony, I would like to call the two strategies of harmony as the Confucian equilibrium and the Confucian improvement.

  9. Relevance to the Contemporary Problems

  In the contemporary context, the all-under-heaven pattern might remind us of UN pattern for both of them are supposed to solve international problems and to keep peace and order of the world.

   Unfortunately, their essential differences are much deeper than their similarities. UN is not a world institution with substantial power to govern the world, but only an organization of negotiating and bargaining for each nation’s interests, so it could never come to any real agreement since everyone is defined as a rational selfish creature only to maximize his interests. In order to reconcile the divergence, UN has made great effort in validating rational dialogues to replace unreasonable conflicts, but definitely not so successful as expected. It is of no doubt that rational dialogues have made a decrease in wars but never a reduction in conflicts. And the worse, UN has no substantial power hence unable to resist a superpower’s dominance over the world.

  Underlying the pattern of UN there are the ideals of international democracy and rational communication, more or less to follow the great Greek tradition of agora. But it is a pity that UN is only an agora without a polis, so it has become a big problem. An agora could be chaotic and confused unless institutionally well organized. It is obvious that UN is very far from a perfect agora of world since no world as a political body. Contrary to the popular illusion of democracy, we have not yet found a best concept for democracy. As a matter of fact, democracy could be distorted by power, money and marketing, misled by strategic votes as Arrow’s theorem has proved, and even absurdly used to bring about terrible disasters such as Hitler’s German did or American empire has been doing to the world. To our disappointment, democracy does not necessarily entail, neither theoretically nor practically, justice, goodness and peace. As to rational communication or dialogue, it also suffers from serious difficulties. Given the communication going in an ideal situation as perfect as Habermas’ project, it might lead to reciprocal understanding but not necessarily to reciprocal acceptance, because understanding cannot guarantee acceptance, so that the project of rational communication fails to produce agreement because it cannot skip over the problem of acceptance between understanding and agreement. The truth is that there is no necessary transition from reciprocal understanding of minds to reciprocal acceptance of hearts. And we have to be aware of the problem of the other is actually a problem of the other hearts more than other minds, for heart is of no bargaining[28].

  Now back to the problem of UN. An international society is similar to an individualist society in the social relations, so it inherits all the problems of an individualist society. And an international society is often driven worse because of its anarchy. As actually observed, a superpower can easily invalidate an international organization such as UN. The matter is that, UN is a joint organization far from a world government in power with a world institution, only supposed to be a place of bargaining for the interests of the nation-states far from the world interests, so it seems to enhance rather than weaken, as Giddens points out, the system of nation-states[29]. An agora without a polis was impossible, and in the same way, a world organization without a world institution is an illusion.

  Now the question of world institution for the future has become relevant today since globalization is deconstructing the system of nation-states as often talked about. In the process of globalization it is very likely for one or several nation-states to transform themselves into a sort of new empire, for instance, the newly invention of American “empire”, a new imperialism inheriting characteristics of the modern imperialism but transformed from the colonial rule into dominating control of the world by means of hegemony or “American leadership” as Americans prefer to call it. This omni-empire seeks its dominance not only in politics and economics but also in cultural discourse and even knowledge producing with aid of globalization in which it finds the greatest chance of universalizing its power. But it seems some Americans want even more. Just as Joseph Nye said the problem of the American empire might be better termed “imperial understretch” rather than “imperial overstretch” as often blamed[30], and he called upon USA to enhance its “soft power” as the complement to its “hard power” [31]. This omni-empire wants to be not only the winner in a given game but also the maker of games as well as the rules of all games. The world would become totally disordered if a player could be the maker of the rules of games at the same time. American empire will never lead the world to a cheerful “end of history” but rather to the death of the world, for the best strategy of the frustrated and desperate countries is to break the order of the world by all means also in advantage of all the dangerous opportunities available in globalization.

  The world is disoriented. This is a problem of our times. Globalization seems a transformation from the age of nation-states to an unclear new age.

   But one thing is clear that globalization has deeply involved all nations, societies and cultures so much so that nothing could be at large. This is why world institution will become a key problem for the future. And the world is not, as argued, if there is no world institution in charge of the order and peace of the world. The physical world was created, but a humanized world has to be made. The rebirth of the world in terms of all-under-heaven needs a world political reform to follow a philosophical turn to a new world-view and a new framework of political analysis, by which all problems in the world will be re-interpreted as the problems of the world. This is the reason to discuss the philosophy of All-under-heaven as a way of rethinking political problems today and maybe a resource for the designation of a world institution. As far as I see, a good world could be made of a composition of two key concepts, agora and all-under-heaven, where Greek and Chinese traditions meet in harmony. And of course both the concepts of agora and all-under-heaven should be renewed or rewritten to follow the contemporary way.

  (载Diogenes No. 221 Jan 2008)

  注释:

  [1] My theory of all-under-heaven, published in Chinese papers in 2003 and a book in 2005, has received many reviews and debates in China. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the comments and criticisms. Here is a newly written and improved representation of all-under-heaven theory, only for Diogenes.

  [2] Shang-shu (《尚书》,The Book of Documents), Chapter 1(the Documents of King Yao). One of the oldest Chinese books, about 3,000 years old, recording the words and stories of the great kings.

  [3] M. Wight: Why is there no international theory, in Diplomatic Investigation, ed. Butterfield & Wight, 1966, London, George Allen & Unwin, p. 17.

  [4] Hardt and Negri: Empire, Harvard Univ. Press, 2000. Preface.

  [5] The American decision of “preemptive attack” has proclaimed a new age of military empire and a world of disorder. Cf. The National Security Strategy of the United States of America. The White House, September 2002.

  [6] Cf. Shang-shu (《尚书》,the Book of Documents), Zhou-li (《周礼》,the Institutions of Zhou) and Li-ji (《礼记》,the Interpretations of Nomos).

  [7] Zhou-li (the Institutions of Zhou, chapter 4.《周礼夏官司马》);Tso-chuan (History of the States, the 14th years of Duke Xian,《左传襄公14年》;also in Chen Fuliang (1137-1203): The Military Systems in Dynasties (陳傅良:《歷代兵制》).

  [8] The argument by Li Si, the primer of Qin empire, in Sima Qian (145-86BC): The History, the Story of First Emperor of Qin, (《史記秦始皇本紀》).

  [9] As Xun-tzu (313-238BC) pointed out: “to enjoy the world as all-under-heaven does not mean to have people to give their land by force but to have an institution universally accepted by people”. In Works of Xun-tzu, chapter 11(《荀子/王霸》).

  [10] Lao-tzu: Tao-de-jing. Chapter 54 (《道德經/54章》:“以身觀身,以家觀家,以鄉觀鄉,以邦觀邦,以天下觀天下”).

  [11] The Chinese concept “事” is defined as “what has been done”, very close to the western word factum. See Huai-nan-zi: What has to be followed are the Ways, and what have been done are the facts.《淮南子/汜論》:“所由曰道,所爲曰事”。

  [12] Li-ji ( Interpretations of Nomos), chapter 27 (《禮記哀公問》: 哀公曰:敢問人道誰爲大。孔子對曰:人道,政爲大).

  [13] Confucius: The Analects, chapter 12 (孔子《論語顔淵》).

  [14] Zhao Tingyang: On Possible Lives, the Press of Renmin University of China, 2003. 《論可能生活》,中國人民大學出版社,2003.

  [15] Shi-jing ( the Book of Songs,《詩經小雅北山》:“溥天之下,莫非王土;率土之濱,莫非王臣”); also in蔡邕《獨斷/卷上》曰:“天子無外,以天下爲家;司馬遷《史記/卷8/高祖本紀》亦曰:“天子以四海爲家”。司馬光《資治通鑒/卷27/漢紀19》:“春秋之義,王者無外,欲一於天下也”。

  [16] Lu Bu-wei’s History, Vol.13 (《呂氏春秋卷13諭大》).

  [17] Lu Bu-wei’s History, Vol.1 (《呂氏春秋卷一貴公》).

  [18] Lu Bu-wei’s History, Vol.1 (《呂氏春秋卷一貴公》).

  [19] The Works of Mo-tzu. Vol. 3 (《墨子/尚同》).

  [20] The Interpretation of Nomos.《禮記/大傳》曰:“上治祖禰尊尊也,下治子孫親親也,旁治昆弟,合族以食,序以昭穆,別之以禮義,人道竭矣”。

  [21] The Great Ideas ( 《大學》:身修而後家齊,家齊而後國治,國治而後天下平); also in The Works of Mo-tzu《墨子/尚同下》:治天下之國若治一家.

  [22] Carl Schmitt says the real enemy is hostis, not inimicus. In The Concept of the Political. the University of Chicago Press. 1996. p. 28.

  [23] Tso-chuan, 20th years of Duke Zhao.《左传/昭公20年》:“公曰:和与同异乎?对曰:异。和如羹焉,……宰夫和之,齐之以味,济其不及,以泄其过。……君臣亦然,君所谓可,而有否焉,臣献其否,以成其可;君所谓否,而有可焉,臣献其可,以去其否。是以政平而不干……若以水济水,谁能食之?若琴瑟之专一,谁能听之?同之不可也如是”。

  [24] Guo-yu (the National Affairs, Stories of Zheng).《国语/郑语》:“夫和实生物,同则不继。以他平他谓之和,故能丰长而物生之,若以同裨同,尽乃弃矣。……声一无听,物一无文,味一无果,物一不讲”。

  [25] Li-ji, chapter 19.《礼记/乐记》:“和故百物不失”。

  [26] Tso-chuan, 20th years of Duke Zhao.《左传/昭公20年》:“一气,二体,三类,四物,五声,六律,七音,八风,九歌,以相成也; 清浊,大小,短长,疾徐,哀乐,刚柔,迟速,高下,出入,周疏,以相济也”。

  [27] It is an improved version of Confucian golden rule. Cf. Confucius: The Analects, chapter 6.

  [28] My criticism on Habermas’ theory of communication could be found in my paper Understanding and Acceptance in Les de la Connaissance Reciproque, ed. Alain Le Pichon, Le Robert, 2003.

  [29] Anthony Giddens: The Nation-state and Violence, Chapter 10, Polity Press. 1985.

  [30] J. Nye: U.S. Power and Strategy after Iraq, in Foreign Affairs, July/August, 2003.

  [31] J. Nye : The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go It Alone. Oxford Univ. Pr. 2002.

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