(East-West Question) Pan Zhichang: Can the aesthetics of East-West under the wave of globalization move towards "beauty and beauty in common"?

  China News Agency, Nanjing, February 17th, Question: Can the aesthetics of the East and the West under the tide of globalization move towards "beauty and beauty"?

  ——Interview with Pan Zhichang, Director of Nanjing University Aesthetics and Cultural Communication Research Center

  China News Agency reporter Yang Yanci

  What is aesthetics?

This is a "beautiful subject" that has been studied for thousands of years at home and abroad since the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period in China and the ancient Greek era in the West.

What is aesthetics?

Aesthetics for what?

China News Agency's "East and West Questions" column recently invited visiting aesthetician, Professor Pan Zhichang, director of the Center for Aesthetics and Cultural Communication at Nanjing University, to discuss the differences between Chinese and Western aesthetics, and whether the beauty of the East and the West can bridge the gap, and "beauty and beauty come together".

The excerpts from the on-site interview are as follows:

China News Agency reporter: Aesthetics is an important branch of philosophy. In your opinion, what is the difference between Eastern and Western aesthetic studies?

Pan Zhichang:

The pursuit of beauty is the common pursuit of the whole world.

In the West, in ancient Greece, Plato said: "Ever since the birth of the god of love, people have a love of beauty, and from the love of beauty comes all the happiness that man and God enjoy." The heart of beauty, everyone has it."

  The positioning of aesthetics in the East and the West is different.

In the West, aesthetics has always been an auxiliary discipline. From the age of religion to the age of science, it is only an appendage of religion and science, and it mainly focuses on the interpretation of literature and art, so it is also called "art philosophy".

  In China, it is different, it has always existed as an independent discipline.

Mr. Cai Yuanpei found that in China, "religion is replaced by aesthetic education".

In fact, in China also "replacing science with aesthetic education".

Therefore, in China, aesthetics has always been not the "small aesthetics" of the West that mainly cares about literature and art, but the "big aesthetics" that mainly cares about "the great beauty of heaven and earth" and the beauty of life.

  In the past 100 years, there have been several "aesthetic crazes" in China.

From Wang Guowei, Zong Baihua, Fang Dongmei, Zhu Guangqian to contemporary life aesthetics, they have always pursued the fundamental goal of "aesthetics and human liberation".

Therefore, it is the same as the orientation of Western aesthetics in the past one or two hundred years, and unexpectedly, an aesthetic space that can communicate and discuss with each other has appeared in the focus of the century of "life aesthetics".

  Therefore, the aesthetics of life can and should be a window for the exchange of aesthetics between the East and the West.

An "aesthetic era" with aesthetic value as the dominant value and guiding value is coming.

  In contemporary times, the life aesthetics of China and the West has gone beyond the attention to literature and art, focusing on the fundamental issue of "aesthetics and human liberation".

Obviously, this is a reassuring theoretical premise that the East and the West can "seek common ground while reserving differences" and seek "beauty and beauty in common".

"East-West" in the collection of China Artists Association.

Photo by China News Agency in Kyushu

China News Service reporter: How can the Eastern and Western publics bridge differences and achieve mutual understanding and tolerance?

Pan Zhichang:

For the public, we can start with a very interesting phenomenon, which is the phenomenon of aesthetics.

  The first is a keen interest in aesthetic phenomena.

In the past quite a long time, aesthetic phenomenon has not been the focus of the common attention of the East and the West.

But as the West moves from the age of religion to the age of science to the age of aesthetics, and as China moves from "standing up" to "getting rich" to "strong" and then "beautiful", "literacy" has become a common concern of both the East and the West. hotspot.

  Of course, in the past, "illiteracy" was eradicated, because "knowledge is power", which is the mission of the age of science.

Today is the era of "beauty blindness".

Because "aesthetics is the competitiveness of life", "aesthetics is the creativity of life" and "aesthetics is the soft power of life".

  "Unity of beauty lovers around the world" may become the key to bridging the differences between the East and the West and realizing mutual understanding and tolerance.

How the public in the East and the West grasp the "beautiful and common" and "each is beautiful" should be answered on this basis.

In April 2019, the immersive digital artistic conception exhibition "Magnificent, Still in the Realm" was held in Nanjing.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Yang Bo

China News Agency reporter: How do you view the "harmony but difference" between Eastern and Western aesthetics?

Pan Zhichang:

Due to the huge differences in history and culture between Eastern and Western aesthetics, there is naturally an element of "harmony but difference".

Therefore, under the wave of globalization, it is necessary to face up to the convergence and differences between the two.

  For example, the heroines of Chinese literary works are mostly girls, which is often referred to as "the age of twenty-eight".

But in Western literature, beautiful young women often become prominent protagonists, such as Anna, the protagonist of "Anna Karenina".

  From the perspective of real life, there are also differences in the aesthetics of the East and the West.

For example, Western aesthetics emphasize the three-dimensional sense of the side profile, while Chinese aesthetics tend to be frontal, focusing on "almond eyes and cherry lips".

  After the reform and opening up, Eastern and Western aesthetics began to gradually blend.

The West began to have a strong interest in the mysterious East, such as martial arts, calligraphy, and gardens.

The East began to open the door to the world.

The Suzhou Museum was designed by the architect Ieoh Ming Pei.

Photo by Guo Zhihua issued by China News Agency

  For example, in the past, we only liked oriental folk dances that landed on the soles of our feet, but now we are beginning to appreciate Western ballet "on the toes"; in the past, we only admired Taihu stones as "ugly stones", but now we are beginning to accept marbles as art treasures.

This undoubtedly reflects that our national aesthetic is more confident and tolerant.

  There is never a fixed pattern to aesthetics.

The French Enlightenment philosopher Montesquieu said in "On Taste": "A person is beautiful in only one way, but she can make herself cute in a hundred thousand ways." The same is true of aesthetics, the way of beauty There is only "one way", which involves "beauty pageants", which has nothing to do with aesthetics. "Aesthetics" focuses on the lovely "100,000 ways".

China News Service reporter: What kind of attitude do you think should be upheld in the exchange between the East and the West?

Pan Zhichang:

Of course it is a dialogue, and it can only be a dialogue!

  In the past, we were accustomed to dividing the Eastern and Western worlds into two opposing sides, either for the guest or for the master, and mistakenly thought that there was a concentric circle.

So although there are small circles in the big circle and circles in the circle, the core is always a "dot" around which all the circles revolve.

Therefore, either the east wind prevails over the west wind, or the west wind prevails over the east wind.

But in fact, the East and the West have only "intersections" and no "centers".

In September 2020, the "Three-body·Space-Time Immersion Exhibition" was held in Chongqing.

Photo by China News Agency reporter Chen Chao

  In this way, the dialogue between the East and the West cannot be answered in terms of right and wrong, but there is an answer in a question, a question in an answer, an answer is a question at the same time, and a question is an answer at the same time.

As Zhuangzi said: "Is it true that there is such a thing? Is it really that there is no such thing?"

  Moreover, the appearance of the East did not make the West lose its meaning, nor did the appearance of the West make the East lose its meaning.

Ideas such as "I am the only one", "Who wins and who loses" or even "You live or die" are extremely narrow and unnecessary.

  All we need is "symbiosis", "co-existence" and "coexistence".

For example, when Schopenhauer studied the aesthetics of life, he borrowed a lot from Eastern Buddhist thought, and Heidegger quoted Laozi's Tao Te Ching several times in his writings.

  Obviously, there is no conflict between "each with its own beauty" and "beauty in common".


Interviewee Profile:

  Pan Zhichang, an aesthetician, strategic consulting and planning expert, enjoys special government allowances from the State Council, professor and doctoral tutor at the School of Journalism and Communication, Nanjing University, and director of the Research Center for Aesthetics and Cultural Communication.

The main research fields include basic aesthetic theory, Chinese and Western comparative culture and aesthetics, research on "A Dream of Red Mansions", and strategic consulting and planning.

He has been engaged in planning and creative work in the fields of enterprises, regions, governments and media for a long time.