On the subject of love, the eternal topic of humankind, I will only give my opinion from what I have seen and heard in a very micro and local way.
In recent decades, there have been many significant changes in our society. Women and men have, to some extent, formed a level playing field in the workplace; men have been freed from the role of having to provide for the family, and a single mother's family seems less miserable. The amount of young people choosing to live alone is on the rise, and marriage is no longer a necessity for everyone, while divorce rates have become a high and fading issue. I estimate that the frequent presence of robots in human society will likely replace gender relations in the near future and even satisfy the need to form families with humans.
The facts are that human reproduction is declining, and human society is aging. New types of humans such as clones, artificial intelligence, and human-computer hybrids may replace the entire organic human society in the near future while religion and beliefs are gradually becoming more and more important. Our human society is becoming more and more complex. A large proportion of scholars and scientists also seem to have lost interest in researching how to promote the harmonious development of the planet. Prominent anthropologists such as Jane Goodall may no longer be found in human history because as the earth's biodiversity shrinks and becomes extinct, human societies become more vulnerable. The history of studying orangutans and organic human societies may be lost forever.
Our more popular scientists now resemble figures like Elon Musk, whose focus is no longer on earth but on other galaxies, which also means that the fate of ordinary people may finally come to an end as a result of these scientific studies leading the way. My personal fears may be unwarranted, but although these scientists are still doing their best to research and develop green energy so that the planet can be more sustainable, any intelligent person who closely observes the proportion of their research scope will find that the ratio of the research and development of a better sustainable living environment for ordinary people is minimal and does not require much investment or research. Instead, they use a small amount of research to absorb vast amounts of money. I think they are just using ordinary people. They absorb the wealth from ordinary people to provide them with research and construction of how to abandon or control the earth and to prepare for a few people to continue to survive in space. The number of satellites that have been launched around the planet is countless, while space travel has become the most fashionable way of travel for the rich. The investment of these funds far exceeds the construction cost of improving ordinary people’s living environment on earth.
One could have used every taxpayer's tax dollars to build greener amenities for our living environment. These amenity improvements are such a small percentage of an average person's living environment. Yet, the average person around the world has to endure severe flooding during the rainy season each year. Therefore, while many elites advocate how advanced our technology is, most urban residents are still worried about natural disasters such as electricity cuts, floods, and droughts.
In any case, the scientific elite has not figured out a solution to urban water logging and has not implemented it. Maybe their science and technology are not as good as they make it out to be, or perhaps they don't want to spend their energy and money on something that is not profitable to them. This is the kind of social change I see and feel, and some will surely accuse me of being too paranoid and one-sided, and I admit that my words are also laced with discontent and may well be one-sided or narrow-minded. But that's what I see and feel as an ordinary person. So, let me follow this observation, which you might consider bigoted and narrow-minded, and talk about how much love still exists in human society.
Theoretically, according to the trends of human society, as stated above, I believe that love has become insignificant to ordinary people, and it can even be said that love will become a luxury that only the elite and powerful can enjoy. Human society has entered a state where we no longer need love but just need to live and develop senselessly according to the pattern set for us by modern technology.
Some scientists have also concluded that love is a chemical secreted by the human body and that it only lasts for about a year. Most people have come to believe that a hormone chemical is responsible for love. According to this notion, human beings don't need this hormonal chemical much, and human development should not be guided by love but by more rational thinking alongside science and technology. If I understand this correctly, the world will continue to move towards using logic and reason to guide our lives.
As we find love superfluous, family ties will naturally become less, and people will no longer love and care for each other but will become more concerned about how they can enjoy a high-quality of life and express their personal values in this high-tech era. This will lead to a significant number of people competing against each other and pursuing money and power as much as they can. Human society has shifted from the direction of loving and helping each other to one that no longer believes in dependence, but one that can accomplish important tasks on its own with the use of advanced technology.
In other words, one segment of the population can put another segment that has no use on the superfluous list. As I write these words, the United States is erupting in unprecedented marches. Many people are fighting hard for whether or not they can be treated as social equals. I have always believed that the American people are the kind of people who can bring hope and strength to people all over the world because they are always aware and courageous enough to speak up for social equality. The world is still suffering from the worsening of the neo-crown epidemic that continues to ravage the world and the rise death toll. At the same time, the world as a whole is quietly changing. Several governments are beginning to implement e-money policies; many high-tech technologies are taking the opportunity to enter our daily lives, unbanked and pilotless.
The new lifestyles advocated by technology, such as unattended restaurants and supermarkets are rapidly changing every aspect of our lives. While most of us are still anxious about human rights, unemployment, disease, and other common world problems, we are experiencing a substantial social change that is quietly being replaced by high-end technology without love and conscience. No matter what your profession, if there is no love and kindness, only logic and rational thinking, there is no doubt that the human society we are building now will be a purely material world without love and emotion. We will be left with mere technology, money, and power.
In ancient China, an influential thinker, philosopher, inventor, and scientist Mo Tzu founded the school of Mohism during the Hundred Schools of Thought period (early portion of the Warring States period of c.475–221 BC). In Mo Tzu's theory, he has a profound understanding of love and deeply analyzed the complex influence of love on human society’s development. In his theory of universal love, he clearly explained how love in the ancient society at that time affected social relations: today’s people only love themselves and not others.
Therefore, they mobilize all their strength to injure others. When the feudal lords do not love each other, they are bound to be at war with each other; when the heads of the houses do not love each other, they are bound to be at strife with each other; when people do not love each other, they are bound to injure each other. The lack of love between the king and his ministers will result in the king unwilling to bestow favor on his ministers, and the ministers, in turn, will be disloyal to the king. The lack of love between a father and his sons will result in the father’s unwillingness to show love for his sons, and the sons will not respect their father. The lack of love among brothers will result in discord among them. If people all over the world do not love each other, the strong will bully the weak, the many will rob the few, the rich will oppress the poor, the noble will despise the humble, and the cunning will deceive the stupid. Since the lack of mutual love among people often results in disasters, conflicts, complaints, and hatred, it is no wonder that the benevolent are all against it.
The society that did not care about love more than two thousand years ago looks almost identical to our crisis-facing society today. Mozi also, at that time, described it thus. “If all the peoples of the earth loved one another; the strong will not dominate the weak, the many will not rob the few, the rich will not insult the poor, the rich will not despise the lowly, the treacherous will not deceive the foolish. All mischief, strife, and resentment under heaven may be kept out of the way, by the establishment of mutual love.”
Ancient China’s national character has always been one of reverence for nature, simplicity, and modesty. Because of these characteristics, the ancient Chinese philosophers, in their deep thinking about the development of human society, used tea as a spiritual carrier, thus forming the tea ceremony culture. Because the rich philosophy of ancient China, as well as different religious rituals, have a profound influence on the Chinese tea ceremony, in the study of the history of the tea ceremony, it is known that the most prevalent Japanese tea ceremony was actually developed by the Japanese through their understanding and summary of the Chinese tea ceremony. The Chinese tea ceremony culture not only contains the content of today's popular Japanese tea ceremony culture; there are many other profound spiritual and intellectual essences that have not yet been discovered and carried forward.
Through the study and understanding of the Chinese tea ceremony, Japanese scholars have summarized the basic spirit of the tea ceremony as harmony, respect, clarity and silence, which has become the four noble truths, four rules, and four regulations of the tea ceremony.
Harmony – is the ultimate ideal for human beings. It is the positive interaction between the host and the guest in a tea gathering or among people in any situation in life. Tea is the sharing between the host and guest and is not a solitary pursuit. Harmony extends to nature, as well, and to tangibles such as tea utensils, everyday utensils, and life itself. True harmony brings peace.
Respect - is the ability to understand and accept others, even those with who we may be in disagreement. When we are kind to others and can humble ourselves, we can receive respect.
Purity – is not one of absolute cleanliness but one of a pure heart, the ability to treat oneself and others with a pure and open heart. This is the essence of Japanese tea training. With a pure heart, harmony and respect can be realized.
Tranquility - is the point in one’s training and practice where a level of selflessness is reached. While on the one hand, it is the ultimate goal; on the other, it is the beginning once again. A true master reaches this highest level and then, putting the ideals of harmony, respect, and purity into practice, begins again with a fresh and enlightened heart. At this point, the endless possibilities of life can be realized.
These four rules have been the code of conduct for the Japanese tea ceremony for over 400 years. You may ask, with such a long history and rich Chinese tea culture, is there, or why isn't there, a clear summation of the basic spirit of the Chinese tea ceremony? The answer is that the Chinese tea ceremony culture is diverse. It encompasses a wide range of disciplines from astronomy, geography, literature, politics, history, philosophy, medicine, etc., which cannot be summed up in four words.
We have already discussed beauty and love, two of the more universal and essential topics of human spirituality. Now it is indeed time to delve deeper into the meaning of the Chinese tea ceremony and the spiritual culture it is meant to represent, as well as what it means to our human spirit, and whether it can truly help us find our own clear direction for living and breathing in today's chaotic world.
The ancient Chinese who brewed tea intended to use tea, common topics, and people with common thoughts in a harmonious and beautiful natural environment, to taste tea so that they could find real love for people, things, and the world. Everyone who brewed and drank tea in a harmonious environment could feel and explore the true meaning of love for themselves, as well as the true meaning of life in the present moment. Only those who truly love nature and others from the heart can naturally create an atmosphere of harmony in a tea ceremony. So harmony may be a rule and form in the Japanese tea ceremony, but in the Chinese tea ceremony, it is a kind of truth that cannot be obtained by training and formal rules. It is a deep understanding of love from the mind.
Tea itself is a plant with the spiritual energy of love, which was originally a precious spiritual plant given to man by Mother Earth's love for humankind. It has been used quite naturally by people in all aspects of their lives from time immemorial to the present.
Doctors who love others should use tea to treat others. At young people's weddings, they should make tea for each other to express mutual love and respect. Children should make tea for their parents to express gratitude for their parenting grace. Students entering school should make tea for the teachers, to express their love for the teacher, and to thank the teacher for the selfless sharing of knowledge. Make tea between friends to express the love of sincere friendship. Strangers should make tea to convey human kindness and love. The rich should make tea for the poor to convey that the wealth of society can never represent the difference between people. Countries should give tea to each other to express that people should love each other. The tea ceremony in traditional Chinese culture is also a manifestation of human love; it is not a form used by politicians and profit-minded people. Only those who genuinely cherish and understand the importance of love can truly understand the true meaning behind the harmony proposed in the Japanese tea ceremony.
We will not have time to love nature or cherish the harmony and tranquility that a good cup of tea can bring to our lives if tea-making is only seen as a tool to show off one's skills to unloved people. If marriage and mutual payments are seen as a labor contract without love, parents do not unconditionally love their children, and nations prioritize profit, how can we respect and cherish the mutual efforts between people? If tea is only seen as a commodity to make money by unloved businesspeople and we continue to put money, power, and technology before everything else, in that case, we will continue to be a nation with no love for each other.
So if you still believe that love is the way to save human society, if you still have love in your heart, please calm down, put down the troubles around you, quiet yourself, let go of your worries, and seriously take the time to make a cup of tea for your loved ones. Use the power of a cup of tea to change the world, one person at a time.
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