Marco Polo had no doubt that China was the world’s greatest civilization. He wrote that if the Chinese were war like, they would conquer the world.
He said, “Thank goodness, they are not.”
During the Song Dynasty, the standard of living in China was the highest in the world.
The key concept of Chinese civilization was the search for harmony and during the Song Dynasty this balance was achieved for a few centuries.
Writing was considered a tool that provided access to the ancestors until writing became civilization itself.
However, the way China saw the world started to change after Chinese Admiral Zheng He sailed from China with a huge armada in the fifteenth century.
Zheng He’s ships were eventually broken up and the logbooks destroyed.
Western thinkers have a simple explanation that the end of Zheng He’s explorations was proof that the Chinese were backward and ignorant and had no desire for new knowledge.
However, there is another explanation.
After all, at the time, the Chinese were the most advanced technological nation on the globe.
Therefore, perhaps it is a difference of how different civilizations believed technology should be used and the Chinese may have realized that their real interests were in China — not in the world.
In Europe, however, Western philosophers, leaders and writers were not concerned with perfecting the past but how to control the world’s future.
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