Wolfgang Bauer:

"China and the Search for Happiness" (1976)

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Bauer's survey of China's philosophy, from ancient times to communist times, focuses on one aspect: the Chinese vision of paradise. At the beginning this means that Bauer has to provide insight into the little explored versions of Buddhism and Taoism that were popular among ordinary people, not the theoretical ones that were grasped only by the elite. In the final chapters Bauer shows that the republican revolution and the communist regime were more traditional than they looked like. It was still a search for paradise, and it was still permeated with Buddhist and Taoist principles, so much so that Chinese communism was always different from Soviet communism (e.g., in the preminence given to the countryside over the big city). While it may seem odd to legitimize a butcher like Mao with an entire chapter devoted to his philosophy, Mao and his program represent Chinese civilization as much as Confucius. Bauer's most impressive achievement lies in finding continuity over the millennia of Chinese history.