If you want to make an attempt to understand China, I suggest starting with the differences between Chinese dragons vs. Western ones.
Kid World Citizen.org tells us, “(Chinese) Dragons symbolize importance, power and strength, represent all things male, and were the symbol of the Emperor of China (who was said to sit on the dragon throne). The imperial dragon is shown with 5 claws instead of the usual 4, to distinguish him from lesser beasts.”
Chinese “Dragons are essential in agricultural life, since they are seen to control the seasons and the weather. Although they (Chinese dragons) have no wings, the fiery pearl sometimes displayed in their mouths gives them the power to fly to heaven. The male air and weather dragons would bring rains and winds to help the harvest, while the female earth dragons would preserve the waters in rivers and underground wells.” …
If you are interested, there’s more about Chinese dragons at Kid World Citizens dot org (find the link above).
Compare what you have learned about China’s dragons to the West’s. The Vintage News.com says, “From ancient Greek myths to Game of Thrones, the legend of the dragon is one of the most enduring and romanticized throughout history. It has been traced back as far as 4000 BC and exists in all parts of the world.” …
In the West, dragons were generally treated as violent monsters that must be slain by heroes and saints. European dragons could have four legs, two legs, or none, and often had wings.
“In Asia, and especially China,” The Vintage News continues, “the view of these creatures was very different. … They breathed clouds and moved the seasons. The dragon was the symbol of the Chinese Emperor, and the Imperial throne was called the Dragon Throne. Known as the Dragon, the emperor ruled in harmony, and brought peace and prosperity to all. … Chinese dragons are depicted as being more serpent-like, with long, snaking bodies and usually had four legs. They are generally seen as wingless.”
There are also a few other differences to compare.
China is a collective culture vs Europe and North America that are individualistic cultures. It is possible that the reason China’s dragons are different is because of the influence of a collective culture.
Does that mean we can explain the evil and danger of Western dragons to the influence of individualistic thinking?
European and North American cultures are influenced mostly by Christianity, Judaism, and philosophers from ancient Greece and Renaissance Europe. Ancient Athens in Greece is among the first recorded and one of the most important democracies in ancient times; the word “democracy” ( Greek: δημοκρατία – “rule by the people”) was invented by Athenians in order to define their system of government, around 508 BC.
Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have never been a major political or religious influence in China.
Religious and/or philosophical influences in China come from Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.
Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism have never been a major political or religious influence in Europe or North America.
Because of these differences, mainland China has never had a republic or democracy similar to Europe or North America.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.
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