This is quite a magic moment in Swiss TV, indeed - it's an interview with Harro von Senger, Swiss sinologist who popularised the Chinese 36 Stratagems in western thinking. In this programme, he discusses both the concept of stratagems as well as his most recent book Moulüe which reveals an ultra-long term, targeted thinking that is beyond what we consider to be strategic. The discussion, or rather, the somewhat clumsily scripted monologue is a useful first introduction into von Senger's subject. It is interesting to observe how very outlandish that subject appears to be to his interviewers, even though they have evidently done their homework. 

I've read Moulüe a while back, and I've been fascinated by the book. Von Senger's writing is chattier than his TV presence, meaning that it has its lengths. But these lengths are filled with a lot of erudite detail about Chinese literature and practice, so they are easily suffered. The concept itself of thinking "strategically" (for lack of a better word) over multiple generations with a view to a defined objective is quite an eye-opener, especially in conjunction with dialectical materialism as practised by the Communist Party. Many think that China has gone native with capitalism, but I have my doubts ...

1 comment:

Smaran said...

Coincidence: A family friend visiting from out of town mentioned this ultra-long-term thinking of China as a nation to me today. He thinks its origins lie in the uninterrupted dynasties that ruled the country for thousands of years. There wasn't a regular interruption of, and from a slightly more negative point of view, revitalisation of Chinese life, as is the case with other cultures that came into contact and conflict with each other more often.