Chinese centralities: the centre, the connector and the Doctrine of the Mean

A late 18th century Korean map. China is, clearly, the Middle Realm. This view of the world is common to all the peoples and states surrounding China.

David Gosset, 2012, “Chinese centralities”, in Huffington Post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-gosset/sinoamerican_b_1443787.html

David Gosset, in this very interesting article, explains Chinese centrality or, better in plural, Chinese centralities. It is a given that China is called the Zhongguo: the Middle Kingdom, the Central Country (For more information cf. this post on centrality of China: http://centrici.hypotheses.org/70). China’s central-ness and middle-ness can be articulated in many aspects that stem from space, from history or from moral teachings.

Gosset proposes three different aspects of this centrality. First, there is the spatial “classic” one, being in the middle and being the Middle Kingdom, the centre of the world when considered by her people and by all the surrounding neighbours. Then there is the nexus or the bridge, being the connector of all what is around. And  the third is the central moral dimension best represented in the Doctrine of the Mean (Zhong Yong), one of the foundations of Confucian philosophy in which harmony and closeness are most appreciated. No need to say that China is all of these together, and even more.

A late 18th century Korean map. China is, clearly, the Middle Realm. This view of the world is common to all the peoples and states surrounding China.

A late 18th century Korean map. China is, clearly, the Middle Realm. This visio mundi is common to all the peoples and states surrounding China.

Gosset argues that the Chinese concept of centrality is different from the American one of leadership. In this context the author finds that the Western-Chinese relations do not have to escalate to sheer violence: competition, maybe yes; but no direct confrontation. On the contrary, the Chinese centrality intelligence and the Western urge for leadership would more and more need each other to cross-fertilize.

David Gosset is a scholar and academic. He is the director of the Academia Sinica Europaea at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS). For further information cf. http://www.ceibs.edu/faculty/cv/35498.shtml

Image Credit: Cartographic Images. For more information on the map above cf. http://cartographic-images.net/Cartographic_Images/236_Kangnido.html

 


You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *