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THE END OF THE WEST COMES FROM THE EAST

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No way out of this simple fact or truth.
Trump can rage and tweet as much as he likes.
The USA will never be great again because they can only become the boss of the world if they crush it under nuclear bombs, and then there will be no world left.
The end of his dream is a nightmare for the world or a liberating “gadoosh” sound when he will be flushed down the toilet of history.
Some say in 2025 the USA will fall behind China.
Unluckily for the White Supremacists, God is not one of them and they only dream of it because they are already second in rank, maybe even only third in PPP.
Compensation is not reality.
Compensation leads to frustration.
Frustration leads to procrastination.
Procrastination leads to criminal intentions.
And criminal intentions lead to plain and simple crimes.

Here are some Chinese paths and inspirations, starting in Morocco and then moving to China itself.

NOUREDDINE HIFAD – WAGERS OF FATE – 2018,
LO KUAN-CHUNG – ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS – 1522 (1494) – C. H. BREWITT-TAYLOR – 1959 (2002),
LAO SHE – CAT COUNTRY – 1932,
LAO SHE – TEAHOUSE – JOHN HOWARD-GIBBON – 1957-2013,

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THE END OF THE WEST COMES FROM THE EAST

  1. 1. THE END OF THE WEST COMES FROM THE EAST No way out of this simple fact or truth. Trump can rage and tweet as much as he likes. The USA will never be great again because they can only become the boss of the world if they crush it under nuclear bombs, and then there will be no world left. The end of his dream is a nightmare for the world or a liberating “gadoosh” sound when he will be flushed down the toilet of history. Some say in 2025 the USA will fall behind China. Unluckily for the White Supremacists, God is not one of them and they only dream of it because they are already second in rank, maybe even only third in PPP. Compensation is not reality. Compensation leads to frustration. Frustration leads to procrastination. Procrastination leads to criminal intentions. And criminal intentions lead to plain and simple crimes. Here are some Chinese paths and inspirations, starting in Morocco and then moving to China itself. NOUREDDINE HIFAD – WAGERS OF FATE – 2018 Always believe the author of a book but with a grain of salt because that is what this author wants you to believe, but there is always a lot more and that lot more is often a lot deeper. Sure enough, Noureddine Hifad is tricking us into fantasy and it is fantasy. So forget the models and try to get to the subterranean reality. But first the opening décor. “This is a fantastical tale inspired by two ancient Chinese novels. On the one hand, there is Shi Nai’an’s Water Margin, in which one hundred and eight outlaws, nobles, soldiers and peasants revolt against a corrupted system, its injustices and its abuses of power. The one hundred and eight characters are also nicknamed the ‘one hundred and eight stars’. On the other hand, there is Luo Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which is an official historical text that covers the end of the Han dynasty (184 BC-220 AD) and the Three Kingdoms period (220-280 AD). Both books belong to the Four Great
  2. 2. Classical Novels of the Ming dynasty. This story takes place in an imaginary, medieval, western setting.” As a matter of fact, I read the Romance of the Three Kingdoms on my way to China last month, when I was in China and on my way back. I read another of these Ming classics, Journey to the West, some time ago, and watch some of the Japanese adaptation of this latter novel. We are dealing in this Ming literature with something that is between, on one hand, a historical approach of Chinese feudalism in the Han Empire, and on the other hand, some kind of fantasy quest of human spirituality, understood as Buddhist, by the monkeys these Chinese are originally. We could of course also think of Lao She’s Cat Country. That Chinese inspiration is very important and it counterbalances references to other historical events at the end of the book, particularly the Christening of the Saxons by Charlemagne who was a bloody feudal emperor who unified Europe and his empire will later be cut up into three kingdoms, three of course to pacify his three sons. And we come to what I want to study first: the numerical symbolism in the book. Three kingdoms unified in the empire of the Sun, for sure but an outside empire of the Moon, and the Enchanted Forests where Elves and dwarves live and strive. That makes six. And in fact, there is some fuzziness on that number. The number ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT is not fuzzy at all: (2x2x3x3x3) That’s the formula of doom and perdition, apocalypse and destruction. (2x2 = 4) and that is the symbol of crucifixion. (3x3x3 = 9x3 = 9+9+9 = 27) and that triple nine is nothing but the apocalypse itself, the beast and dragon of this apocalypse. Can there be any salvation beyond this crucifixion (that often goes along with resurrection three days later) and beyond this apocalypse that also brings the Second Coming and Judgment Day, Doomsday? That’s where the fuzziness in the novel is at its maximum. Hector, the dispossessed and later restored heir to the imperial crown, is surrounded by people who are presented as his four friends and in fact, they are a lot more than that. The author is deeply inspired by his own cultures, directly Islam and indirectly Judaism, plus at a farther distance, Christianity. If we follow the Chinese and Buddhist inspiration then we get to another type of symbolism since the curse of real life is ternary, based on three concepts that make life a constant frustration, and the salvation from this ternary curse is on the eightfold path. And eight is two power three and here the binary and ternary are associated into eight which is in Christian lore the Second Coming itself and hence Doomsday, hence the promise of the Messianic Jerusalem of the Jews and the Christians.
  3. 3. Enjoy these mixed references and at once forget about them though they are constantly present. The novel is a fantasy about a feudal world in which some lord of some kind, legitimate (by being the son of the legitimate emperor who conquered power by force, or illegitimate since he took over power by using force and war, just like the founder of the dynasty he ousts. Feudalism I say, and nothing else. But feudalism is funny when it becomes fantasy, a genre of literature adored and revered by television with the games of all thrones we can find there over and over again, season after season. So what is original in this particular fantasy? Is it original to have a fantasy world centered on males and nearly only males? Regane is the only important woman around Hector seen as the main hero. The emperor has to be a male individual. The contender has to be a male rebel. The dwarves are nothing but males. Not one single female there. How do they reproduce indeed? The elves on the other side are just gender-ambiguous and when it is specified there are females like the nurses at the end. There must be some males but they definitely are at least not very stiffly defined. Since in our culture fairies are female, and in Islam, the paradise Hector speaks of after coming out of his poisoned stretch is prompted in his mind by being surrounded by female elves ONLY. When we have some mention of a woman, it is either as one to marry or one to take hostage and marriage is not much better. That is, true enough, in rather clear continuity with the feudal Chinese literature referred to in the opening foreword, but also in Lao She’s more modern Chinese literature. Women are definitely secondary and too often servants or pleasure tools, and nothing but tools. This vision in Chinese literature is pre-Maoist. It is Mao Zedong who liberated women in China, and I have to add Tibet, which was rather easy since opponents just chose to expatriate themselves into exile, and Uighur country where it is a lot more difficult because of the deeply rooted Islamic tradition among Uighurs. Too often, like in Journey to the West, women who are independent in a way or other are evil forces, evil women, rarely positive and helpful. It is true this is a very common trait of fantasy literature, and Tolkien is typical of this misogyny. It is a typical feudal feature though it is the feudal society of France – and Europe – that produced some of the most important women poets, composers and writers as soon as the 12th century, not to speak of the great female mystics like Teresa of Avila, Hildegard von Bingen, and many others. That’s what is missing in this Chinese feudal literature and Noureddine Hifad follows his model too much. In Europe, the older pre-feudal or just Scandinavian feudal literature has in Beowulf, only one female character worth mentioning. She is the mother of the monster Beowulf has to defeat to reach the great treasure of his tribe and civilization, to reach full Christianity. To conclude, this is a novella. Action galore and quick movement from one step to the next. Characters are exclusively depicted through their actions and they do not engage in any deeper psychological search or reflection; No time for that. Action first in the full emergency of the time. That enables the author to depict the main hero, Hector, as some kind of superhuman character who is flying on the back of the “divine” Hippogriff in a society where religion is both deeply superstitious and absolutely compulsory for all and it has to be in conformity with the religious choices of the leaders of each moment. Those who do not follow this rule are exterminated. There is at best a general amnesty but only for the soldiers of the vanquished side, but no religious freedom, or
  4. 4. even any freedom of expression or speech. You are for the winner, or you are lost, wasted in many ways. So declare allegiance at once, fall to your knees, and you will be pardoned. From fantasy to utopia and dystopia there is only one step to cross, but it is a lot more difficult to give some psychological density to characters, but fantasy deserves such a deepening search into the psyche of characters, positive or negative, and it is never entirely one or the other. Enjoy the trip to a world that has unluckily not ended yet with all kinds of feudal wars at times fought by the supposedly most advanced nations in this world. Can’t we think some of the world leaders today are nothing but a reincarnation of the Crusaders and Crusades feudal leaders, and the worst among them were those who were both religious and feudal, like the Knights Templar? “The order of the Knights Templar was founded by Hugh de Payens, a French nobleman from the Champagne region, along with eight of his companions, in Jerusalem around 1119.” And eight plus one makes nine and they were the real curse of the Holy Land in the name of Jesus Christ, but for the sake of enormous fortunes that will be mostly confiscated by French King Philip IV the Fair and by Pope Clement V in Avignon. Note the irony of this fate: IV + V = IX (4 + 5 = 9). Who was the beast? Who was the Apocalypse Messenger? But clearly, the riches of the Templars were seized by the French King and the Templars were burnt at the stake. Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU LO KUAN-CHUNG – ROMANCE OF THE THREE KINGDOMS – 1522 (1494) – C. H. BREWITT-TAYLOR – 1959 (2002) This book is enormous. Two volumes with around 1,400 pages. It is a long saga, an epic some say, in a way a picaresque epic across the whole of China during the Han dynasty of the empire, when that empire was at risk because of internal strife and the incapability of the emperor to keep things under control, by his own fault (the own fault of several emperors one after another) and inability of building some kind of government that could be reliable, transparent and non-corrupted. And that is where the book is amazingly revealing. This empire is quite obviously a feudal empire. Power is in the hands of governors appointed by the emperor in each district. The governors are appointed for what these people did for the empire, particularly what they did militarily, and there the difference between serving the empire and serving themselves is not always clear. Ambitious people can climb to the top in no time and then impose their power. The decomposition of this empire started when the various feudal lords or lordlings started considering the eunuchs, organized in a very close community and clan, who were provided by the emperor with the full control of the government because the emperor is lazy in many ways and looks for an easy way to control such a big empire, and because the emperor is incompetent technically (ignorance of a lot of things necessary for
  5. 5. government) and psychologically (unfit to exercise such an enormous power). He then relied on the eunuchs of the empire, a clan of men – and their relatives – who had been castrated for any reason whatsoever, among others to become the top officers of the empire. The most famous eunuch along that line was Admiral Zheng He who had been castrated at an early age because he was a Muslim and he became the top man of the Chinese fleet before it was dismantled by the Confucian Mandarins when they took over around 1430. These corrupted eunuchs encourage all kinds of outlaws to go around in the country and raid cities and farming areas to their own profit and to the shared profit with local supporters of the eunuchs. A rebellion came from the various local or regional lords who had the power and the means to raise armies. They united and finally succeeded in getting all the eunuchs eliminated and executed, but the main military force was in the hands of an ally of the local and regional lords, an ex-outlaw who shifted from raiding cities and farming communities to raiding the central government by taking control of it. The empire is then at stake because it explodes into rivaling cities and provinces and the central brigand controlling the empire spreads and increases his power by taking control of rebellious provinces. This is typically feudal. Power is in the hands of the stronger person, of the stronger clan, and stronger means military force and nothing else. Then this power is only a way for those in power to loot the country by levying armed forces and taxes for their own profit. Then the emperor can even be chosen, within the Han line, but for how long? That’s the beginning of the saga but that explains the whole saga: feudalism was the real social and political architecture of the Chinese empire. The main originality is that there was no spiritual or religious authority of any sort that could set some criteria and norms for everyone and keep the whole empire unified by some kind of spiritual allegiance, unity. That’s the main difference with European feudalism that was entirely controlled and governed by the Catholic church, hence by the Pope and his bishops and cardinals. Nothing like that in the Chinese Empire. So no Peace of God, becoming then Peace of the King in the various kingdoms, a movement that outlawed the use of military force within the limits of each kingdom and also within the limits of Christendom. That explained in part the crusades that started in the 11th century but it also explained the Teutonic crusade against the non-Christian Slavonic people in Poland, Ukraine and what they called Lithuania. War was directed to outside areas, officially non-Christian and to be Christianized. That started quite early after the fall of the Roman Empire and later on the fall of Charlemagne’s empire who only fought against the various Asian tribes or military forces trying to penetrate Europe from the East and against the mostly Muslim Saracens trying to do the same from Spain. And the emergence of such a spiritual force took a lot of time. The book was written after the takeover of the empire by the Confucian Mandarins and we could wonder if it is not a reflection of this evolution in the 15th century that inspired the author to show how bad it could have been before when the empire’s unity was endangered by internal strife and its unity was rebuilt later on by the leaders of the three kingdoms. We have to think of the other great saga of Chinese literature, “Journey to the West” by Wu Cheng’en, a saga whose earliest
  6. 6. extant copy is traced to 1592 and is the story of a Monkey that travels to the west to discover the famous Buddhist scriptures that found the Taoist approach of life that developed in China as the spiritual guideline of the empire and can be considered as the basis of the Confucian Mandarin takeover in the 15th century. That is rather amazing to see this empire evolving from a purely feudal state with a marginal Taoist presence seen more like some witchcraft than anything else, though they carry the Chinese medical tradition and the ethical code of Taoism, the Chinese version of Buddhism in the making. Their final victory will destroy the Chinese fleet, the most impressive one in the whole world at the time, vastly centered on the China seas and the entire Indian Ocean and that would have been capable to defend the empire against the European invasion that was still to come when Admiral Zheng He died. The result was a total closing up of the empire onto itself, which enabled the Europeans to come and take control of the whole of the Indian Ocean and then of the China Seas. Closing up on itself made the Chinese Empire weak, particularly the tool of its power was destroyed: the various commercial routes known as the Silk Roads. You will find all that in these books and it will make clear that the present commercial policy of China to reopen and redevelop the various Silk Roads is the only way for China to develop and recapture its past greatness. Will this policy re-establish some feudal state? Hardly conceivable. Will it establish some hierarchical centralized and unified system in the whole country and beyond? That’s also a dubious unrealistic view. China has to open itself to the world but that will not lead to the looting the English, the French and later on the Japanese tried to impose to China, but it may turn Chinas as the beating heart of the global economy, or at least one of the beating hearts of the global world using its commercial power rather than military force. That should bring you to wondering if the use of military force is not a feudal way of looking at the world and trying to dominate it. You may come to wonder if president Trump’s approach of the world is not a feudal way of looking at the problem in total opposition to and contradiction with the Chinese commercial approach of president Xi. To conclude I will say that Chinese literature, old or more recent like Lao She’s books and plays, is always centered on this problematic of the whole world in development and the choice between three possibilities: 1- pure military force and a feudal system; 2- pure spiritual closing up onto themselves and their protected own resources: some Confucian hierarchical architecture; 3- a general commercial vision that brings economic development to the world: modern sharing resources via some global free but regulated marketplace. Just get into this saga and enjoy the action and the treacherous ways of most of these feudal lords.
  7. 7. Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU LAO SHE – CAT COUNTRY - 1932 In our present time of crisis and contradictions we have to stop one moment and think as clearly as possible upon this following question: “Will we survive the present crisis, not as individuals, not as nations, but as humanity? They all tell us the warming up of our planet, the climate change on our planet, the carbon cycle that comes to a peak that will cause the eradication of some 80 to 90% of all species on our planet soon, even if it takes ten thousand years to be completed. And then you add the various bubbles building up here and there in the economy and the craziness of some on the extremes of our political system who pretend that states do not have to mind their debts. They can do what they want, provided they keep their national currency autonomy. This last idea is the proof the world is sick and probably dying of insanity because there are so many examples in history and particularly over the last four or five centuries of a crisis in one country, in several countries, in many countries that prove a limited financial crisis can bring the world down and Keynes has not changed that. He has at best given us the illusion that we can live on credit, not as individuals who are always caught up by our debts, but as nations who can always do what they want with their currency, close their borders, introduce limitations on the circulation of money, foreign currencies and many other things of the sort. Keynes could not know the globalized world we are just entering. And in this globalized world goods, money, currencies, everything is one and no country can survive alone, can even live alone, and unluckily can die alone. What happens in one country is at once propagated into the whole world like ripples or waves on the ocean. And some want to see everything is so connected that it is all some kind of predestination, fate: all is in all and everything is everywhere at once. Michael Barron in his Medium article “A Glimpse into North Korea through the Eyes of One of Its Writers, How a manuscript smuggled out of the Hermit Kingdom gave the world a unique peek inside of it” (https://medium.com/the-omnivore/a-glimpse-into-north-korea-through-the-eyes-of-one-of-its-writers- bd5054596590, accessed September 24, 2017) just follows this line and reads this book, The Accusation written by the pseudonymous Bandi from North Korea, as if it were a journalistic report on North Korea, an objective scientific description of life there and of course he compares this book to George Orwell’s 1984, why not Animal Farm.
  8. 8. “The Accusation provides a real-life analog to 1984, down to brazen examples of Newspeak and Forever War employed by the Party, but this extreme authoritarianism also plays to Bandi’s talent as a writer. He is a keen observer of how North Koreans suffer, and like a sleeper aware of his own nightmare commands an uncanny ability to frame the ludicrous situations that fester under its rule with arresting solemnity.” And that is the negation of the difference between literature and journalism, between imaginary and scientific, between visionary and testimonial. The parallel is dangerous. 1984 was also considered in its time (like Animal Farm) to be a vision of the real future of the western world entirely dominated by television as a tool for dictatorship and control. We know that was not right and that there cannot be control through television and even social media. There may be conditioning for some, but control certainly not. The “Russian” electoral “affair” between Putin and Trump is typical as for that. The result was not reached due to any Facebook ads but it was reached because of the deep level of frustration and dissatisfaction of the American lower middle class and deprived unemployed or poor people under the poverty threshold most of the time, or close to it (including Blacks, Latinos and women) not to speak of the anti-federal stance of someone who, once in power, is trying to control everything from Washington DC, and when I say everything, I mean everything including the press, even if he fails. A book of literature is always a book of literature, otherwise, it is a pamphlet or a journalistic article, and even in such cases the author can fall into journalese language and thinking, into what becomes ranting and raving because not attached to real problems. Utopian and dystopian literature is full of books that were not confirmed by the real future, even Jules Verne’s technical and scientific visions of the future. The divide between literature and pamphlet has to be clearly considered and NOT trespassed. And to show what we can do with such a dystopian work of literature from the past in today’s world I will consider a book that comes from the East, the Far East indeed, China itself. It is Lao She’s Cat People. I had read Teahouse already and was advised to try Cat People. I must admit I had some difficulty finding it at a decent price. Even the Penguin classic edition could be at a tremendous collectible price. And I was amazed by this dystopian, still valid since it starts with a Chinese spacecraft crashing on Mars. The book was written in 1932 and that’s why it is fascinating to look at it.
  9. 9. Of course, we could today read this novel as a direct description of China in 1932, more or less predicting the invasion of the country by the Japanese, not yet the Communists really since the Long March has to go west and not east, though the communist troops are present in the final defeat with the soldiers that wear a red string around their necks and they are told as having accepted all kinds of goodies from the invading foreigners provided they just fled away and accepted defeat. And the invasion from the west is clearly the invasion of China by western powers before the Japanese who will come from the east, and the conquest of China by the Commies from the West is not even conceivable at the time. But that reading would be treating this book not as literature but as a pamphlet and that would be very reductive. I want to consider it as a work of literature and thus of imagination and projecting meaning onto the reality of life by imagining some conceptualized abstract reality that may have roots in the real present of the time but has branches growing wide and high into the sky of our human reality. Then what does Lao She speaks of, what does he tell us about the reality and nature of humankind? A lot, my friends, a lot, but certainly not as a direct description. You have to use your imagination to transfer or translate the conceptualized abstract situation set up in the book to see how it could be similar to – or different from – the situations we can witness in today’s world. As for flying to Mars, we are still far from that. As for finding humanoids there divided in various countries, we can say it is impossible since apparently, the soil of Mars is poisonous. “The pervading carpet of perchlorate chemicals found on Mars may boost the chances that microbial life exists on the Red Planet — but perchlorates are also perilous to the health of future crews destined to explore that way-off world. “Perchlorates are reactive chemicals first detected in arctic Martian soil by NASA's Phoenix lander that plopped down on Mars over five years ago in May 2008. . . “The high levels of perchlorate found on Mars would be toxic to humans, Smith said. "Anybody who is saying they want to go live on the surface of Mars better think about the interaction of perchlorate with the human body," he warned. "At one-half percent, that's a huge amount. Very small amounts are considered toxic. So you'd better have a plan to deal with the poisons on the surface." (“Toxic Mars: Astronauts Must Deal with Perchlorate on the Red Planet,” by Leonard David, Space.com's Space Insider Columnist, June 13, 2013, 03:20 pm ET, https://www.space.com/21554-mars-toxic-perchlorate-chemicals.html, accessed September 23, 2017) We are thus fully engaged in science fiction. Then we have to take this story as a utopian story, and if we look at it like that we have to say it is a dystopia more than a utopia. The future of a society that lets itself fall into the arms of consumer’s oblivion because what you consume becomes a drug that provides you with full comfort, full satiety as for hunger and thirst. But at the same time that is only valid for the top layer of this society, those who do not work at all, along with the soldiers directly under them to protect their power and property and these soldiers are granted some of the consumer’s drug which is called reverie leaves and these leaves grow on trees in forest of reverie trees. There are some allusions to farmers and workers but there is no specification of
  10. 10. how and where they live and work. Anyway, the description of the society we are discovering here does not actually show us any farmer or worker and not even the servants of these elite people. But to reduce the reverie leaves to opium would be a very caricaturistic approach. Any human society has one drug, one consumer’s good, at times several, that is the very drug that brings “reverie” to their tired psyches, their tired and lazy psyches. It can be food like marihuana and magic mushrooms, drinks like wine and beer, rum and bourbon; or simply what makes life comfortable and enables people to just rest in peace, but the peace of survival before eternal peace, like beds, sofas, television, radio, hi-fis and in the modern world the Internet and social networks. You end up living in a world of phantasms, fantasy, unreality, virtual reality. “Réverie” in one word, dreaming, and dreams that never turn into nightmares. And there is always a party pooper somewhere who will tell you virtual reality does not exist since virtual and real are antagonistic words and virtual reality is an oxymoron that cannot be natural since nature dislikes oxymoronic entities, at least so they say. Just the same way as Artificial Intelligence does not exist since intelligence is human, and all machines are nothing but programmed organisms that can only do what they are programmed for. They cannot invent, have emotions, conceptualize. These people think that everything is either A or B and no other choice is possible and certainly not AB or BA. As the English would say when I say “This is a small little book that. . .” is this book small or little? Imagine their caustic smile if I said: “This man is a little big man.” And yet a film is titled that way. Then think of the crazy extreme of a country whose population is the victim of a self-inflicted medical epidemic if not pandemic like the USA who are in the arms of opioids, those relaxing drugs derived from opium and giving you the ability to stand stress and even worse than stress as if it were a breeze in the warm summer. Just imagine what it is: “Opium and opioids: a brief history,” Danilo Freire Duarte, TSA, M.D. SUMMARY BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: In addition to their major influence on human behavior, opium and opioids have been used for a long time as sedative and analgesic drugs. As from the 19th century, with the isolation of opium alkaloids and easy parenteral administration of these substances, there has been increased interest in the judicious medical use of opioids and in the analysis of social consequences of their abuse, which has justified a historical review of opium and opioids. CONTENTS: Further understanding of opium, a natural product extracted from Papaver somniferum, and of opioids, natural opium-extracted semi-synthetic and synthetic substances, as well as major references to these substances since ancient times are evaluated. Breakthroughs after Setürner's studies, which have resulted in morphine isolation, are emphasized. Reference is made to other authors' investigations in the search for synthetic substances with advantages over natural products. The importance of the discovery of opioid receptors and their endogenous binders is highlighted. CONCLUSIONS: In the dawning of the third millennium, regardless of studies with analgesic drugs of different pharmacological groups, opioids are still the most potent analgesics, although their efficacy has been questioned for some types of pain. Current Clinical Pharmacology knowledge allows for the selection of the opioid-based on patient's disease and conditions, in the search for the best cost-benefit ratio. Keywords: ANALGESICS: opioids; ANESTHESIOLOGY, History. (http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034- 70942005000100015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en, accessed September 23, 2017) And with the regular use of these drugs, you become insensitive to heat and cold, to pressure and abandon or neglect. And that makes the USA the first consumer of the opium market in the world, opium that is mostly coming from Afghanistan where the Talibans had banned it and the Americans have re-established it as a standard agricultural crop after their invasion. It is true that opium makes opioids a lot cheaper than if they had to produce the molecule through some synthetic procedure. And natural opioids are more ecological than synthetic molecules, aren’t they? How good war is at times to provide you with the drug that will make you forget war is the ugliest invention of human beings. That’s what the book is all about and not China in 1932 – ONLY. And a people, a country that has let itself fall in the arms of such a soft and sweet illusion, delusion, is ready to die and the book shows us the final
  11. 11. destruction of this cat society by foreigners arriving from the west. And this will apply marvelously to Trump’s USA. Cutting all connections with the world: TPP out; NAFTA out; Iran Deal out; North Korea destroyed entirely; China on their knees; Russia banned from the civilized world, and even Europe and their Paris accord out too. A wall all around and an army that is supposed to be all-powerful though 36 out of 60 tomahawk missiles were hijacked into the sea by the Russians when one night, Trump decided to totally destroy one air base of Syrian President Assad, an air base that was of course not destroyed since the majority of the missiles did not even reach Syria. And Trump does not understand. The stake is simple: the USA, any modern dominant power has to understand that the times are changing, as Bob Dylan used to sing, and that he who is number one today will be number two in two years and number three in three years. You have to accept this reality and that leads to wondering if you are ready for collective government in this world; if the others are ready to accept you in that collective government of the world; and in the end, if you have any power to influence what is going to happen in the world. The French oil company Total has signed a full agreement with Iran. Are the USA if they decide to step out of the Iran deal going to impose sanctions on this oil company, hence on France, hence on Europe, leaving Iran in the hands of Russian oil companies delivering the oil to China as a direct consequence of such a move? That’s what the book is all about: what happens when a country and its people have reached the point when they are living in a total delusion that they are happy and the best and most powerful in the world, a world that is growing all around while this country and its people is little by little going down. Even if this country could have a sustainable growth rate of 3%, it will eventually be overtaken by China, for one example and instance, who can have a sustainable growth rate of 6%, except of course if this delusional country could start a war that would severely maim China, directly or via North Korea. Is anyone dumb enough to get into a war when all such wars have been lost since 1945? Lost in Indochina by the French. Lost in Korea by the USA and other UN nations. Lost in China itself by the Kuomintang supported by the USA and other western countries. Lost in Algeria by the French. Lost in Vietnam by the USA. Lost in Afghanistan by the Soviets. Lost in Afghanistan by
  12. 12. the USA (still in progress). Lost in Iraq by the USA and a few other western countries (still in progress). Even, mark my word, lost in Syria by the USA and the West (still in progress). Who will be the winner in the still-in- progress cases? You name them and you have them: Iran, the Kurds, Turkey, Syria itself (Assad), Russia, China and the question is: will the USA and other western powers have any possibility to keep a couple of their dirty fingers in the mess they have created? If we follow Lao She, the answer is no. The Cat people will be killed to the very last one by these foreigners, even if they accept to kneel down and change their allegiances and submit themselves to the foreigners. The foreigners do not want completely-rotten-to-the-core cat people who are even able to go flat on their stomach to save their life – eventually, maybe and at best as slaves. All big empires have ended in decay. The Roman Empire, west or east, Rome or Constantinople, have ended up as the soil of people coming from outside, the Germanic tribes or the Ottomans and Muslims, and there was no rebirth. The Chinese Empire ended up in total disarray with the opium wars, the colonization by the French and the English mostly, then by the Japanese and an attempt by the USA via the Kuomintang. And the rebirth was hard. Closer to us the Nazi conquest ended up with 55 or more million dead and of course, complete destruction and the rebirth came from other European countries led by de Gaulle and Aldo Moro that decided to work with West-Germany and Adenauer. Even the Soviet empire went down and the rebirth of Russia is not exactly easy after the looting Yeltsin authorized to the profit, political or financial, of the USA and the west. And look at the ex-colonial empires for final examples!!! Lao She is the voice of reason in a world that may fall into disarray and folly and destruction, self- destruction I mean. So 1932 China is very far away from any open-minded literary reading. This is a dystopia of all consumer’s societies and a utopia of all those who work hard and together to build the future for everyone and not for a class of privileged people. It is a masterpiece. Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU LAO SHE – TEAHOUSE – JOHN HOWARD-GIBBON – 1957-2013 One of the strangest plays we can imagine because it deals with China and for us, westerners, China is the other end of the universe. It has three acts, one in 1898. The second ten years later hence in 1908 or so, and the third one after 1945 but under the Kuomintang government. The scene is in the Teahouse in Beijing all the time. At first, we are at the end of Imperial China with the Empire going out, meaning down, and the Emperor being pushed aside out of power. The reformist party takes over and in the second act, we have the republican power. This will not change much at the end after the Japanese occupation and defeat when Beijing is under the
  13. 13. control of the Kuomintang and the quasi-occupation of the country by Americans. The hope everyone is waiting for (either as a frightful future for the Kuomintang officials, or some hope of decency among simple people) is coming from the western provinces and mountains and will take four years to arrive, but they will arrive indeed, the Communists. As for the historical change from 1898 to 1945, the play is not that original. But it is fascinating because it is tremendously Brechtian in the fact it concentrates on simple people and how they feel, react and simply suffer in front of change. Yet they have to endorse it because life is change. The main character is typical. Hardly 20 in 1898, taking over the Teahouse from his dead father he follows the trend and changes and he will change all along because nothing can be successful if it does not change. His point of view, his vision of successive periods of change and what they mean, including the shift from the older generation to the younger generation, at times twice removed, is sad, very sad. Change most of the time meant takeover, from the old proprietors, the old people, to the newcomers. In 1898 it meant getting rid of the Empire and its systematic selling and buying of girls and boys as anything at all and a plain banal practice, for the rich and the powerful who could buy a wife, when a eunuch, and even buy a son. Absurd world where a eunuch can buy himself a family, since he can’t make it himself, or shouldn’t I say “itself. In 1908 it meant industrialization and the enthusiasm it may bring to the younger generation then who are able to sell all their property that brought no real enterprising benefits to open a factory. But that change did not go beyond this limited evolution and it required a lot of corruption and under the table or under the cover dealings. In 1945 the picture has changed. The Japanese had taken over and occupied the country for many years. They had purely seized all property that could produce anything and had integrated these requisitioned properties into their industrial endeavor whose only objective was the war with the USA. The Japanese were defeated and the Americans took over under the semblance of the Kuomintang. That meant transforming the Teahouse into a brothel more than anything else, with charming names on the ladies and the place, for the sole entertaining of the powerful of the Kuomintang and the occupying Americans and their puppets. All those opposed were either sent to prison or beaten up. A teachers’ strike is declared a rebellion and repressed in blood and violence. The ringleaders, as they are called are simply killed on the spot when captured, in the most effective and rapid way possible. All those who are against this evolution which is no reform but the continuation of the Japanese endeavor under the star-spangled banner and their local lackeys, their hope is the communists in the western mountains. And to symbolize how dead this old new world is, the younger man who was taking over the Teahouse after the death of his father in 1898 just hang himself before his Teahouse is seized by the Kuomintang and he himself is reduced to being a doorman in his own Teahouse. He can hang himself because all the members of his family have left and are on the way to the Western Mountains, hence to the communists. That’s probably what people like Trump and his supporters who voted for him, as well as those who voted not for Clinton but against Trump, will never understand. China is not about the first or the second amendment of the US Constitution, but it is about millennia (not centuries) of exploitation in China itself by various political systems and success in global commerce represented by the famous Silk Roads finally discovered by Marco Polo (1271–1368), which meant that the western world limited to Europe at the time finally came to realizing China was the real global power Europe and then the West tried to become after the discovery of the Americas (1492) and the re-invention of slavery by the Portuguese around 1450 in Africa from Western Africa to Congo, Angola, Mozambique and eastern Africa, plus India on the other side of the Indian Ocean. And China was already a very wide empire long before even Homer and Aeschylus were even born, not to mention Plato and Aristotle, the fanatic supporters of slave societies. Unluckily this play will not be understood by Westerners, especially narrow-minded people like those I have just mentioned, because they think they are hot hamburgers and hotdogs all over and that anyone and everything that is not in their direct mental and geographical territory is nothing but swampy water and rotting mud. Waking up will be difficult and I just hope they do not start throwing their atomic bonbons on us before dying out. Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

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