Step 1: Be Chinese
If you’re Chinese, congratulations! By dint of blood and tradition, you understand Chinese culture implicitly and are in a position to constantly remind those who are not Chinese that there is 5,000 years of it.

Note: 5,000 is a conservative estimate. There is mounting evidence that Chinese culture actually caused The Big Bang.

Step 2: Give Up
If you’re not Chinese, abandon all hope. No matter how long you live in China or how many books you read, you will never understand Chinese culture.

Sure, Chinese people might be able to grasp your country’s primitive, flash-in-the-pan culture, but how can your feeble foreign mind ever hope to fathom 50 centuries of history?

Perhaps your time would be better spent studying one of the lesser cultures, like Rome or Japan.

Step 3: Acknowledge Its Supremacy
If you’re a foreigner and insist on effing that which is ineffable, grab a pen.

The first thing you need to know is: Chinese culture is superior to any culture that has existed or will ever exist because it is older, and older things, by definition, have more culture stuffed in them. Thus, Chinese culture is the best.

And even if some other civilization is older, they don’t count because they haven’t existed continuously. What does “continuous” mean? Now you’re asking too many questions, which shows that you don’t understand Chinese culture after all. How disappointing.

FACT! Questioning whether Chinese culture is the greatest means you don’t understand Chinese culture.

Step 4: Try in Vain
Many foreigners are under the mistaken impression that you can understand China through experience or by learning empirical facts. You fools.

Something like that might work for an ephemeral Western culture. For example, everything about British culture can be learned by watching Hamlet, French culture by visiting the Louvre, American culture by shooting people with guns, and so on.

But Chinese culture is exceptional. To even have a shot at understanding the essence of Chinese civilization, one must memorize nothing less than the Four Books and Five Classics, the Four Great Classical Novels, Three Hundred Tang Poems, and the lyrics to every Jay Chou song.

Of course, most Chinese people haven’t read, much less understood, those books, but they don’t need to! They’re already Chinese, which, if you’ve been paying attention, is all it takes.

DID YOU KNOW? On average, a six-month-old Chinese fetus understands Chinese culture better than most foreigners.

Step 5: Surrender
Let’s say, hypothetically, a foreigner masters the Chinese language and can comprehend the intricacies of Chinese culture. Even then, he will never be able to convince a Chinese person of anything. The Chinese interlocutor can always say, “You don’t understand. You’re not Chinese.”

It’s a bulletproof defense. Until the day you can make yourself Chinese through magic, you’ll never win. So take my advice and submit to the overwhelming force of Chinese culture, a culture that will continue on, forevermore, until the universe suffers a cold, lonely heat death. And even then, who’s to say that Chinese culture wasn’t responsible?

If, as a foreigner, you want to prove that you understand Chinese culture, the only way is to pretend that you know nothing. Whenever a Chinese person asks you a question, say you don’t know. When asked for an opinion on China, say you have none.

When asked about a historical figure or cultural legacy, act dumb and listen to them explain it to you for an hour.
Embrace your own ignorance and tremble before China’s all-encompassing majesty. That’s what Chinese culture is all about.

Photo: Free Great Picture

 


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