Category Archives: Natural Learning

PyCon speech text version: Real life learning and design of Knowledge Engine

We have been calling for the coming of Knowledge Based Economy for years. But in my view, Knowledge Based Economy hasn’t really come yet. Among many reasons, one key reason is that we need a technology breakthrough here. The current way knowledge is represented, such as books, blogs, wikis, or other knowledge management systems, are all fundamentally document-based. With document-based representation of knowledge, it is hard to achieve continuous learning and knowledge management.

In the industrialization age, we invented engine to transform energy from gas into mechanical power, thus we can build airplanes, boats, cars or other products of the industrial age. In the Knowledge Based Economy age, we also need an engine, which I call Knowledge Engine, to transform people’s daily experiences and gathered important infos into well-structured knowledge, so we can build various products in the Knowledge Based Economy age, to help us better learn or do project management.

Talking about learning, the current mainstream learning is school learning. School learning is isolated from real life. One isolation is its learning “content”. The textbook in school is too outdated and cannot meet the rich needs of real life, which is in various aspects and on various levels. With Knowledge Engine, however, everyone becomes a knowledge explorer, and knowledge can be shared more timely. We will have more varieties of knowledge to be shared and they will be shared on a much more massive scale. Sharing by book publishing, blogs and so on is still too slow for knowledge propagation. Knowledge Engine will greatly lower the threshold of knowledge sharing. Through learning in a domain, the learner can accumulate his experiences in various aspects of this domain, important infos or facts, together with rich learning materials. He can work on his collections, form a good structure of knowledge and share with others while he is making progress in his learning. Actually, this is what we do in our real life learning. When we ask someone for his learning experiences in a domain, usually the knowledge sharer will list 1,2,3,4,5… key points quickly and give a brief explanation for each. In Knowledge Engine, we want to make that summarizing work happening on the go and can be done very quickly.

The second isolation of school learning from real life is that people who teach in the school have no learning experiences and thus true knowledge of the domain that they are teaching. With Knowledge Engine, however, learners collect and form a good structure of knowledge while they are learning and doing knowledge exploration. When the accumulation of knowledge is rich, complete and mature enough, the learner can try teaching it as a subject. So this way, excellent professionals in all walks can start teaching in their spare time, and become a high quality of resource of teachers. This will change the profession of teaching. Furthermore, students’ learning states can be well reflected by the Knowledge Engine, so the teachers can offer very effective instructions to the students. The teachers can build knowledge frames very timely according to the students’ learning needs.

The school learning mostly fills students with dry knowledge. People staying in school for more than 10 or 20 years still haven’t learned how to learn. With Knowledge Engine, however, the future learning will be chiefly learning by oneself. The teachers (or the early learners) have built up knowledge with good structure and accumulated rich learning material(books, blogs, videos, examples, projects, questions, and so on) through their own learning. So the students (or the future learners) can use these as their rich learning resources. With a good overview of all the knowledge to learn and with rich learning resources, the learner can decide for himself how to learn in the fastest and best way, as Knowledge Engine also helps the learner knows clearly his current knowledge structure. The essence of learning is self-learning. In the future, learners will learn mostly by themselves or through peer learning. The teacher only gives guidance to help learners learn, besides providing a good knowledge structure and learning materials.

Because of school, people have very misled concepts of learning and knowledge. But through Knowledge Engine, people will get to know quickly what is learning and what is knowledge. Only by editing operations and through some predefined workflows, the learners can learn quickly how to learn effectively. I think this is where the power of software is.

Last but not the least, students’ knowledge is visible in their exploration of knowledge. Also when they build up open space knowledge with their teachers together, they are participating in very meaningful social works, and their contribution is visible to the public. These will be an important part of their portfolios. (Just like what happened in open source software) Future employers will use these to pick competent candidates instead of relying too much on test scores, which can not really evaluate how much the person really understand the knowledge. Furthermore, through Knowledge Engine, the learner’s capability to learn and to explore knowledge can be demonstrated. Especially if the learner is able to open a course and teach others what he has learned, it certainly reflects that he has mastered the knowledge pretty well.

So the real life learning is not very difficult. We don’t need to be locked away from real life for more than 10 or 20 years to learn. Life is the primary. Learning is only secondary. Learning is to make out life better, instead of replacing it. Otherwise, there would be no learning, just like our current schools.

I hope the work of Knowledge Engine, can help make real life learning the mainstream learning of the future, and really start the Knowledge Based Economy.

This is a conference of Python. Starting from 2002, Python has been my favorite programming language. But I only got chances to write Python scrips for years. Finally in my job, my boss allowed me to prototype in Python, but required me to translating into Java after each iteration. That was a very painful experience. Finally in the research work on Knowledge Engine, I am able to do this exploratory work with Python. When Guido was designing Python, there was a clear goal in his mind: to make everyone being able to program, to express their ideas through programming and to do exploratory works. I cannot imagine how I can do the mast work on Knowledge Engine without Python. It would be hard to imagine with Java. So this is the first huge contribution that Python makes to this project.

The second comes from the idea of Pythonic. For me, it can be simplified as Principle of Playing. The design of Python has greatly inspired me in software design and my understanding of learning. This is the second huge contribution of Python to this project.

This experimental work of Knowledge Engine has passed two stages of experimentation. The first stage is me using the software to help myself learn, to see if it can be really helpful for my own learning. It turns out an incredible tool for my daily learning, and I need to use it daily for my learning. The second stage of experiment is to have a few other people use it to see if it can help other people as well. The result of this has been quite satisfactory to me. People who have no skills of reflection earlier can learn how to reflect quickly and thus open up the space of real life learning. The result proved my hypothesis when starting this project, and made me more confident on this project. Now I want to expand the experiment to a broader group of people, but still focus on people who already are strong self-learners, and are already using various internet tools for their learning. I hope to explore and find a mature practice of learning with this Knowledge Engine. Thus we can demonstrate to the world the possibilities and the power of real life learning.

For projects similar to this internationally, I found the following: wisdomclouds. The founder of wisdomclouds shares similar or exactly the same understanding of this kind of things. He didn’t use the word Knowledge Engine. But he used this phrase “All problems, one solution”. His software is used for project management only.

Trello, Joel claims that it will be able to manage all human consciousness. This means he already sees the potential of this kind of things. Trello is also used for project management currently.

Bagtheweb, is mainly for content curation.

This is a quite new field. I hope more people can join the work.

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Filed under Elearning, Essay, Featured Essays, John Taylor Gatto, Learning, Natural Learning, unschooling

How will Internet change education?

How will Internet change education? 1. helps self-learners and makes self-learning easier; 2. transforms professionals in various walks into a high quality teacher resource by spending just their spare time; 3. helps individuals build up comprehensive portfolios online, which reflect their learning and skills. All three hinge on one core tech breakthrough: the knowledge engine, which transforms daily experiences into knowledge. And this knowledge engine will be used to build cars, ships, and airplanes in the knowledge age.

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How to treat family life

Family life is a big part of human life. Every culture has to deal with it. From my experience, family life is a problem in both the west and the east. It is hard to have a normal mind about it. In the west, if I understand it correctly, it is called Family Baggage. In the east, there is no such a word. It is pretty hard to come up with such a word in a Confucius culture.

Chinese culture make the family life too heavy. Because of Confucius, it is deeply rooted in Chinese mindset that young people have to respect their elders, which often implies the elders don’t need to respect the young people. In China, human relations are heavily burdened by this state sponsored and reinforced human relationship hierarchy.

Coming back to China, re-entering family life, I treat everyone as friends including my parents and other family members. They are friends of my life that I happen to have chances to stay more time with. Strangers on the street are also my friends. But they are friends I haven’t had a chance to know more of or stay more time with. I treat them equally as friends.  I help them equally. If strangers on the street happen to need more time from me, I will give more time to them. This renewed way of living the family life has been working really well. The artificially imposed Confucius values are slowly dissolved and true human relationship is emerging.

Since my childhood, I have been questioning the parental love. I always feel if parents really love their children, they should show more patience. So I was expecting more patience. Otherwise, parents are just giving birth to offspring and raise them just for their own sake. I also think the relation between parents and kids should be like friends. It should be equal.

Now it is the time for me to manifest how to be a son. It is my time to show the patience. I am the one who has a lot more knowledge. I should have more patience in communicating that knowledge to my parents.

When I came back last time in January, it gave me a little surprise when I re-entered family life after many years. But i was able to realize quickly what this was about and knew the antidote was to treat everyone as friends.

When I was in the states, i didn’t quite connect to my friends who were talking or complaining about their hardship in their families. I was quite distant from the family life and has been so for quite a long time. So it was hard for me to connect to them.

The true nature of human relationship is equality or we can call it friendship. However, Confucius, in its teaching of family values and hierarchy, doesn’t recognize the equality of human relations.

Buddhism teaches treating every man as your father and every woman as your mother. This is to dissolve the burden of the concept of father or mother and go back to the equality of human relations. Buddhism also teaches treating every stranger as your friend. This is also to dissolve the self-imposed barrier to equality and the truth.

I can also tell you everyone is your stranger. You have to do everything by yourself. How do you manifest everyone is a stranger? How do you manifest everyone is your friend and there is no stranger? You can be friends with everyone.

True friendship is what we are doing together in this world. True friendship is communication. When you treat everyone as a friend, you can get rid of the family baggage, and maybe for the first time, you will realize what it means to have friends in this world and how wonderful it is to do things with friends together.

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Why I am here

I came to the states for the cause of education/learning. I have identified the education as the most important thing for China, as the thing that will make the real change. I recognized that for the macro-environment, it is better to do it in America. I believe what I am doing here will eventually benefit China greatly. So I came here.

But here in this foreign culture, I am limited by my micro-environment. I have been trying here for about 9 years. When I first came here, I made my decision that if I could not speak English like Americans (I don’t mind accent. As long as I can express myself freely and people can understand me without any problem, it is ok.), I will definitely go back. Now I already passed the deadline I had set for myself. The restrictions the US government put on foreigners make it very difficult for me to have free time to make the breakthrough. Chomsky says language is what makes human being human being. Many times when I look at the cats, I feel I am in a state between the cat and the human being. Yes, not only are the immigrants/foreigners slaves, they are also not human being. I wouldn’t go to graduate school if I stayed in China. To come to the states, I chose to go to graduate school and wasted a lot of my time there. I came to the states for the purpose of unschooling. But to come here, I need to put myself into school. How ironic is that?

I surely had my fun here, and it is always good to learn new things and meet new people. But my life is limited. I have to choose where I am going to base myself.

People who believe in national border is very short-sighted and lack of knowledge and imagination. I thought America is about Equality.

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Open response to Tim O’reilly

Open response to Tim O’reilly’s keynote speech at Web2.0 Expo New York.

The keynote speaking today given by Tim O’reilly is very inspiring. Thank him for giving that kind of speech. In response to him, I want to talk about my thinking on these issues. I don’t have all the answers. I have some, which hopefully can get us to the next step.

I’ve been thinking about these since my childhood. So even I am still young, I have a lot of experiences of this. I can think about those since my childhood because I had a very wonderful childhood and I think life is precious. Thus I think everyone should have the opportunity to best pursue his life. Seeing many adults around me not able to do that promoted me to think about it.

Since then I have tried all my life to expand my knowledge and improve my understanding of the world. I have tried to learn many different things. They open myself up to various worlds of knowledge and help me understand the world we are living in.

O’reilly talked about all the one line slogans of MS and google. Those are what they are fighting for. What is my one line slogan? Two things. Bring out the true face of learning. Build a better playground.

Clay Shirky talked about a very good story of a student getting into trouble after starting a study group on the facebook. But in this story, I want to ask why people have to be forced to learn. Should they just participate in learning what they want to learn? What are all these energy wasted in trying to take a free ride and steal the answers. Obviously something is very worng with our education system.

Below is an assembly of links to my essays that you can read to get to know more of what I mean by “Bring out the true face of learning. Build a better playground.


Against Compulsory Schooling: from mass production to empowering individual professionals

https://freestone.wordpress.com/2007/03/25/against-compulsory-schooling/

Peace: what is peace and how to build peace in our world

https://freestone.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/peace-what-is-peace-and-how-to-build-peace/

Build a better playground

https://freestone.wordpress.com/2008/03/20/build-a-better-playground/

Featured Essays:
https://freestone.wordpress.com/category/featured-essays/

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Play

Play

When the world is still, the whole world is just one. When it starts moving, forces are applied to its body and split out many small parts.  Under the forces, the small part has to make itself stronger correspondingly in order to follow the flow of the whole. Thus there is more life. This is the same in the human world. Each individual is a separation out of the whole. Each individual is under the forces caused by the movement of the whole. Under the (social) forces, each individual has to make himself/herself stronger so the whole can move together. Thus we have more life. So under the force of the movement of the whole, separation happened. Each separated individual has to absorb that force and make himself/herself stronger and connect back to the whole so the whole can move together. (This understanding of life is the same as how life is interpreted in the book Nature of Order.) When the world moves faster and faster, greater and greater forces are generated and smaller and smaller parts are split out, and they have to be stronger in order to follow the movement of the whole. Take sports for example, when the game becomes faster, you rely on components of your body that are the primary organs of that sport to be stronger and more skillful in order to follow the flow. So when you really enjoy the sports, or we can go more specific, for example in the sport of soccer, if your legs really enjoy the ball, you can play better and be better at following the flow. Thus play and enjoying fun are the essential part of life. Life is about playing.

So play is space interacting with the space. On the individual level, it is the individual’s inner space interacting with the outer space. On the level of society, it is how individuals interact with each other, or on a larger scale how organizations of individuals interact with each other. So we can see in the future sophisticated and ever-changing society, we rely on the individuals to be stronger players.

To play with other players, you need to make yourself easy to understand and other people know how to play with you. So play is space communicating to space.

As the universe becomes faster and has more life, we can say the universe is playing.

When I was a kid, I heard adults saying that when you get older you are not afraid of death anymore. As a kid, I reflected on it. I had a lot of fun in my childhood. I thought the adults were not afraid of death probably because there were nothing fun in their lives anymore. As I was looking at many adults’ lives, it was certainly true. Then I figured that they forgot to play because they could not keep growing their knowledge and ability as their bodies grew. So naturally after you have played with dragonfly for so many times, you will get bored. So what I saw was that adults got bored with life, or overwhelmed by responsibilities or little things of life, and thus forgot how to play. So I thought it was a challenge to be able to keep improving yourself as you grow up, and I swore to myself that I would keep improving myself and expanding my world so I can keep playing with the same kind of fun I was playing in my childhood.

In the recent years, I realized that one thing that contributed to those adults forgetting how to play is the compulsory schooling system. When children become teenagers, they need to naturally expand their world in the human world. However, the compulsory schooling system occupied all their time, and they have no time to continuously expand their space, and later become very passive in this new space of human world. When they are kids, it is easy for them to get excited when they first see the snow, or play with the insects. Everything is new, and it is easy to learn of new things. So we see kids always have a lot of curiosity. Kids are not interested in the adult world, however. To them, the adult world is too complex and they cannot understand. So they prefer watching the more simplistic version of it, the cartoon. Cartoon is very simplified, and the kids enjoy the stories in it. But as the kids grow older and become teenagers, they will get bored with what they have been playing before. At this stage, it is natural for them to be curious of the adult world. They want to know how the professionals work. They are interested in knowing about society. It is an adventure for them. But since the kids have to go to school, and in the middle school, the schoolwork becomes more intensive. Even when kids go back home, they have to work on “homework”. Together with TV, the compulsory schooling occupied the teenagers’ time. For the teenagers to understand the adult world and society, they need big blocks of time to try things out in the real world, read a lot of literatures, novels, and history. Not being able to expand into that space for many years (more than 10 years), they become passive about that space. They have been living in that space of adult world for many years without being able to understand it, they don’t seek to understand it anymore. They become very passive. The doors to many worlds closed down on them. They cannot comprehend their world anymore. They become powerless. They will just be satisfied if they can find a job after school that can pay them well. They forget how to play. You can imagine what kind of problem you will have if a civilization forget how to play.

Thus to solve the problems we have today we need to restore the fun of playing, which certainly cannot do without dismantling the compulsory schooling system and return the true learning to the hands of the individuals.

Since playing is space interacting with space, it will certainly lead to appreciating the beauty of the emptiness of the space. Thus playing in its highest form is to pursue art. Because everyone of us is unique and the life of this world relies on our diversity, every individual needs to identify and pursue his/her art of life. Thus every profession is art. To encourage individuals pursuing their art of life is to empower individual professionals to  bring out the true value of their professions. Yes, we need to empower the individual professionals.

The problem of our world is that individual professionals are dictated by the capitalists, and thus they cannot pursue their arts. Musicians cannot be true musicians and journalists cannot be true journalists. To address this problem, we need to build a better playground, which provides equal access to every individual. The web and social software, by connecting people’s consciousness together, makes it much more difficult for a group of minorities in power to set up barriers to deny the majority of the people the access to the playground. The web and social software themselves build up the infrastructure of the playground in the human world.

So this is why I dedicated myself to bringing out the true face of learning and ways for individual professionals to cooperate with each other through various forms of organizations.

Thus I said, don’t tell me any big ideas, as long as what you say is fun, it is the biggest idea.

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Peace: What is peace? How do we build peace in our world?

We human beings, like everything else, are just like simple objects, which have both inside and outside. Deep inside of us is an inner core. On our outside, we have an outer layer that is in touch with the outside world. Various forces are acting upon us through the outside layer and are transformed into various signals and passed through to the inner core. The matter of the outer layer, according to my personal experience, is like fluid. It flows naturally and responds to the outside like a mirror in a very spontaneous way. The inner core, however, seems to be of a matter that when overworked becomes very sticky and it sticks itself to whatever it touches. When you see a table, the concept of table will arise in your mind, which traps you and drags your mind preventing it from following the flow of the outside world.

The inner core is shaped by the signals and forces passed through the outer layer. Though the inner core carries out certain functions based on the signals from the outside world and is important to us as human being, the inner core by itself is never able to figure out the truth. Many problems of our world can be attributed to people’s tendency to acknowledge the inner core unconditionally, and attempting to figure out the truth by the inner core itself. Every concept has two sides. So they will start fighting with each other. One concept leads to another concept. They begin fighting among themselves. This drives the person crazy. He becomes mad. That is why we have wars. Cultures that are obsessed with this inner core, acknowledging it unconditionally, have caused conflicts and great harms around the world.

Understanding this root of violence, we should realize that violence can never be overcome by the force of violence. Only the force of peace can dissolve force of violence.

Thus it is important to go back to the nature, realizing we are part of the nature, that is where we come from, and that is our source. By fully in touch with the outside world with all our senses (which compose our outside layer), we can get out of the grip of the inner core, and our mind can start flowing and reflecting like a mirror again. Realizing the inner core, which we often culturally mistake as our identified self, is by every means connected and shaped by the outside world, is the base of love. Without love, we probably cannot live even for one single day. The fact that we are still living in this world means that we are in love with this world.

The whole universe never changes and never moves.  Just as in our sitting meditation, we are able to feel the absolute stillness. As the world goes faster, it has to split into small parts. There are greater forces applied to those small parts, and it relies on the response of those small parts to follow the flow. When those small parts can follow the move of the whole, there is no time and there is peace. For  example, when playing sports, you need to put greater emphasis on the parts of the body that are involved in that sports, such as legs in soccer. As the game becomes faster, you need to make your legs stronger and more skillful in its following and interacting with the space.  When you can follow the flow, you feel of no time. When activity is very slow, you can feel total harmony with the bigger environment, and the consciousness can reach very far. When the activity gets faster, because of our limitedness, we have to focus on the specific parts that are involved, and thus we are not able to pay attention to things far away. For example, in martial arts, if it gets faster and more people attack you, you will have greater difficulty to focus on things far away, and dodging the arrows that enemy shoot at you. 🙂  Thus playing and fun are essential for us to be able to follow the flow of the moving world.

Our world manifests both absolute and relative. Absolute is the absolute stillness. It is the thing that never changes. Relative is the relative dynamic evolving process. This process is the activity of living. Thus this is what life is about. It is the thing that never fixates and is always evolving. To obtain the peace in our world, it is not enough to just understand the absolute. It is also important to understand the changing and evolving aspect of our world. I guess this is a lesson the east can learn from the west.

To understand the relative evolving process, we need to understand the peaceful forces that cause the evolving process. To understand this is the same as to understand what life is about. These forces are the same forces that acted upon our outer layer and shaped the inner beauty of our core.

So what are the outside forces that shape our inner core? I would say briefly that they are beauty, fun, and love.

We are often awed by the beauty of the outside world, and we strive hard to create beauty in our lives and in our minds. The beauty of the nature is such a powerful force that drive people for their whole life. We perceive the beauty of the outside world through various senses in our outer layer. The emptiness manifests itself as various senses of beauties that we can perceive with our senses. It is beautiful because it contains both absolute and relative within itself. It has the absolute stillness which never changes. It has the dynamic flow, which never fixates and is always evolving. Through our ears, we perceive the emptiness and beauty of sound. Through our eyes, we perceive the emptiness and beauty of light. All these senses of beauties shape how our inner core perceives as beauty of emptiness. And it shapes how the inner core considers as beauty in the human world. The inner core manifests its understanding of beauty through literature, music, arts, and so on. That is the beauty of the human world.

Fun is our body being able to interact with the outside space, and being together with the outside world. By being able to follow outside world, we can have peace. To be able to follow the outside world, the related part of the body has to truly enjoy its interaction with the space. Having a very good sense of humor is a manifestation of understanding of emptiness. Thus to have a good sense of humor requires a deep understanding of emptiness. That is why humor can dissolve anything and connect people together, making them realize their common humanity even if they had been on ill terms in the past.

Love is realizing the inner core, which we often identify as our self, is actually shaped by the outside world, and thus we are one with the outside world. Manifesting this oneness with outside world, with other people is interpreted as love in every culture. Thus as we are interacting with the outside world every day, we are receiving love every day.

Thus to build the peace in our world, we need to build a society in which every individual can do what s/he likes to do, e.g. pursue her/his art of life. Everyone is unique. Everyone must have something in the world that s/he is the best at. Diversity is the relative thing. It is the nature of life. Equality is the absolute. Equality manifests itself as diversity in the relative thing of life. To achieve equality, we have to encourage our individuals to greatly develop themselves, which is itself the activity of life. The activity of life, is to perceive the force of beauty, to play with this beauty of emptiness and interact with the outside space, and thus to receive love and manifest love. Thus life is to pursue art. Life activities are to learn/grow, to play, and to create.

To create is to grow as life demands enriching itself and creating new lives.

This essay is a general description of what is peace and how to build peace. As to more specifically what we can do to build peace, for me it is my efforts in changing the way people learn and the way how people organize and cooperate with each other. But I will not cover these in this essay.

One extra note on the function of our inner core. One important function of the inner core of our human being is memory. Because of memory, we are able to hold the past and the future together. As life is an dynamic evolving process, we need to grow and figure out the relative of things, which is to tell the difference. To tell the difference is also one important function of our inner core. This is the importance of learning. So learning is an essential part of life. Thus in this relative dynamic evolving living process, we will have confusion. But we need to remember in the absolute there is neither the past nor the future. There is only the present. The necessity of knowing the relative of the past and future is to enable us to be able to better follow the flow. Since we are in a living process, we have no choice but to follow the flow. To follow the flow we need to understand the relative of the dynamic evolving process, which in the human world translates to understanding our history, our current conditioning in our current society and culture, and how we go to the future. If we can be at now, our mind can follow our body instead of being somewhere else. Then you can have peace. In peace, the power of inner core will allow us to follow and creatively engage in the flow of the world.

So the function of the inner core for the purpose of learning is legitimate, and is an essential part of living as a human being. But as said above, when the brain is overworked, it becomes very sticky and attaches itself to whatever it is in touch with, and thus slows you down, exhausts you or drives you crazy. We also need to keep in mind that the relative, no matter how rich it is, is very limited compared to the absolute. Thus it is always important to have access to the unlimited absolute and have it as the source. That will be your base of peace. Indeed, the relative is just the manifestation of the absolute.

I feel the eastern cultures traditionally have played down this relative part of reality. It might because they fear of losing clarity of the understanding of the absolute. As the east meets the west, it is time for us to learn how to sort out the relative of life and build the richness of life, at the same time not to forget the absoluteness of our still and never changing source. Indeed, the absolute and the relative are inextricably bound to each other and they should serve each other.

Now let me bring this a little into our current context of war and peace. It is my understanding and a shared understanding with many people in other countries that the greatest strength of America lies in the relative lack of wars in the continent of America. The long time peace that Americans have enjoyed have built up a strong force of peace within people’s hearts. Even people here may not realize this themselves, it is easy to tell if you compare people here to people in other countries. There are many subtle differences. The few wars that did happen in this continent or wars that America was involved actually did have a traumatic effect on American psychology, as you can find that in the literature and films. The two wars (Civil War and WWII) actually transformed America from scattered, more individual states centered country to a country that has a stronger national identity, from which the corporate and the capitalists are able to have a tighter control of the nation, and thus America loses its essence to the war. 911 further drags America away from who she is. No matter what rhetorics people have for going to war and no matter what noble causes they are trying to serve, they didn’t have the deep experience of the forces of peace. It is because of realizing this power of peace, MLK came to the understanding that non-violence includes not using violence in self-defense. Violence can never be overcome by the force of violence. Only the force of peace can dissolve force of violence.

Whatever people say of the big success and transformation of China, to me that success mostly can be attributed to the peace that we are lucky enough to enjoy for the past 30 years. As I grew up in China, I could feel the functioning of peaceful forces in people’s hearts which gradually settle down the social order from chaos and make people’s hearts warm to each other again. So for me I feel the most important thing for my country (and thus for the world) is to enlarge those peaceful forces, making them functioning more smoothly. One way to do that is to open up more, and engage with the diversity of the outside world. That is the peaceful force that will cause the greater diversity in China (the greatest diversity is that each individual can pursue her/his art of life according to her/his uniqueness.)  and enrich life. That is why I think the culture communication among people at the bottom level is the most important thing among people of different countries.

A little commercial for myself. This essay is just one way I can use to present my understanding of peace. There are many aspects of peace that will be too big to be covered in one essay. You will  have to read my other articles to get to know more the complete picture of how I understand what is peace and how to build peace. 🙂

Note: this essay is more about the big picture of peace. For fine tuned techniques to deal with peace in various situations on a daily basis, I will cover them in other posts.

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