From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Chinese culture underwent a life-and-death choice in the face of extinction. In this process, two scholars played a crucial role.
They were the most outstanding representatives of Chinese culture at the time. Their proficiency and depth of research on traditional culture have even surpassed most high-level scholars in the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. Therefore, they have a thousand reasons to choose to be conservative, stick to the retro, call for the national essence, worship the heritage, resist change, oppose innovation, and resist Western learning. They do so, even if they go to extremes, they are qualified.
But strangely, they didn’t make such a choice, and even, made the opposite choice. Because of this, in the period of painful historical transformation, traditional culture has not become a strong resistance. This is an amazing thing, because just two people avoid a fierce cultural battle. There are some conflicts in the local area, and it is impossible to form a climate, because “the coach in the coach” has not stood in the hostile camp.
Who are these two people?
One is Zhang Taiyan, the other is Wang Guowei, both of us from Zhejiang.
The dark brown robes of the two of them did not become a golden cord to bundle the heritage, sending the traditional Chinese culture to a luxury. Their belts fluttered to the sky of the new century.
I once said that after Huang Zongxi, Gu Yanwu, and Wang Fuzhi, a group of outstanding “cultural three swordsmen”, there was a large-scale “academic intellectual intelligence” in the Qing Dynasty. A long list of knowledgeable scholars no less than any academic group in the history of human civilization, such as Dai Zhen, Jiang Yong, Hui Dong, Qian Daxin, Duan Yucai, Wang Niansun, Wang Yinzhi, Wang Zhong, Ruan Yuan, Zhu Yizun, Huang Yilie Wait. The knowledge of each of them is almost historically attributed. This great gathering was more developed during the Qianlong and Jiaqing years, so there is a saying of the “Qianjia School”. The Qianjia School was divided into Wu School and Anhui School. The best disciple of Yu Yue, the successor of Anhui School, was Zhang Taiyan. With the successive fall of academic stars, Zhang Taiyan became the true heir of the “Academic Academic Intelligence” in the Qing Dynasty, and naturally became the highest representative and the last representative proficient in traditional Chinese culture.
But the most amazing thing happened. This century master who can no longer be classical, can no longer be traditional, and can no longer be Chinese, is actually one of the bravest and most thorough revolutionaries. He did not even agree with the “medium school as a body, western school is a use” plan advocated by Zhang Zhidong. He opposed reform, compromise, and compromise, and for this reason “seven were hunted down, three went to jail, and the revolutionary end Those who are not indomitable have no second person “(Lu Xun).
”There is no second person in the world”, which indicates both first and only. Please note that this “no second life in the world” in the spirit of revolution is exactly the same “no second life in the world” in academic depth. Two firsts and two uniques are magically combined together.
With Zhang Taiyan, we can answer those noisy retro forces in the society now. They said that the Revolution of 1911 interrupted the Chinese context and was therefore sorry for the traditional Chinese culture. Zhang Taiyan’s conclusion is exactly the opposite: the 1911 Revolution is a self-selection of Chinese traditional culture. In his opinion, apart from the fundamental changes that were reborn, Chinese culture had no way out at the time.
Let me talk about Wang Guowei. He is nine years younger than Zhang Taiyan, but in cultural achievement, he has surpassed Zhang Taiyan. If Zhang Taiyan is in control of a great cultural manor, then Wang Guowei is opening up new territories around the manor, and each development is unprecedented. For example, he wrote the first true history of Chinese drama, and his research on Oracle, Northwestern history and geography, ancient sounds, exegesis, and Dream of the Red Chamber has epoch-making significance. Moreover, a large part of the important ideological resources used in his research came from Schopenhauer and Kant, German philosophers. Thanks to him, the Chinese cultural community has experienced “intuitive thinking” and understood “will to life”. He has always been in a state of creation at the international level, playing the spirit of “independence, freedom”. His subsequent suicide reflects that it is still difficult to integrate the current state of Chinese society in the 20th century with the real big culture.
Two masters of culture, one chose revolution, and one chose pioneering. For a time, the ancient Chinese culture appeared brave and fierce. This intensity of life made them exhaust themselves, but it fundamentally ignited the cultural genes.
Recalling that at the critical moment when every ancient civilization in the world ’s history is dying, there are always several “integrated” silver cricket elders who are struggling for the last time, and each time their life disappears to represent the death of a civilization . Zhang Taiyan and Wang Guowei are also such masters. They have also struggled, but have created miracles in the struggle. That is, the Chinese civilization has not been destroyed. From this, I believe that their names should occupy a more important place in the history of civilization.
The two of them are towering peaks, but it is easy for us to associate some of the hills around us. Recall that none of the cultural giants he encountered in his life was a conservative. But those retroists who shouted “National Studies” and “Cultural Essence” all day long, but hardly any of them could write a few classics, and read the second half of Chu Ci.
Those who really love a certain business must be scarred by removing old cloth and new cloth. Those who beat the gongs and drums at the mouth of the conservative village every day, they must have no plans, they need to be more careful.