Ideal for the future, improvement today
——Preface to Unirule Yearbook 2016
In the view of history that we have been shaped, there is full of great words and grand narratives. We think that all our efforts are for a certain moment in the future. At that time, all kinds of conditions to meet the ideal are suddenly ready. The nightmare is over and the light will stay forever.
This is not true of history. Sima Qian said that “mastering the transformation from ancient to modern”, which means that today has evolved from ancient times. Ancient times and today are not isolated and antagonistic. The relationship between them is just like yesterday and today. Countless yesterday and today connect the past and the present. The great difference between the past and the present is just the accumulation of small changes between yesterday and today. So the great ideal of the future is just achieved by the improvement step by step at present. Miracles don’t appear automatically. Changes in ancient and modern times depend on people to “connect”.
As in time, great change in space is like accumulating sands into a tower. The principle of constitution comes from the collection and refinement of numerous rural customs. The public power of a great state should be made up of the rights of each person through the superposition of lower powers. The constitutional system should be based on the contractual structure and the tradition of autonomy. Therefore, the improvement of the countryside, the evolution of customs, the cultivation of contractual spirit, and the formation of the tradition of autonomy are the minor but necessary foreshadowing and prelude to the realization of the constitutional principles, the power structure of effective checks and balances, and the ideal of political clarity.
Needless to say, some Utopian ideals have never had a channel from ancient times to the present, and ignoring the limited social ambition of human rationality hides the danger of subverting the normal path of evolution. The superman who claims that “God is dead” just wants to pretend to be God, and the politicians who let the people sacrifice for the future ideal just want to grab power for themselves. Tragedies teach us that the investment made for wonderful words is full of risks that cannot be realized. It may be a huge political Ponzi scam to sell beautiful propaganda.
We can even conclude that the so-called struggle that makes a considerable number of people sacrifice will never go through the road of realizing the ideal. Only the efforts of cultural elites who voluntarily pay the price can hope to connect the present improvement and the future ideal. Therefore, the most sure thing is to promote the improvement of visible benefits at present, which enables us to really get a better surrounding environment and feel the improvement and gain, and these small improvements are bound to be able to go through the road of ancient and modern social changes.
The Unirule looks to the future and lives in the present; has great ambition with subtle steps; studies ritual in the grassroots and finds the natural law.
December 25, 2015 at Fivewoods Studio