Patience and Diversity are China's Best Spiritual Asset

by on Thursday, 21 June 2007 Comments

I have been doing photo reporting in China’s southwest for the last twenty five years or so, and am struck more and more deeply by the riches of the intangible patrimony that can be found from one place to another. This is not only the result of the variety of people and ethnic groups, this is also the fruit of encounters, adaptations, migrations, cross-fertilization. At its best, cultural diversity is not the addition of different traditions living in isolation, it is rather the web of evolving ways of life that take inspiration from each other and add up in a creative pattern of colors, feasts, beliefs, craftsmanship and social organizations.

Cultural riches are the process of a long evolutionary process. A culture grows like a tree, nurtured by time, love and aptiience. This is something that we need to remind ourselves, as China’s development relies now on speed and immediate profit.

Nowadays, the ecology and culture of China’s southwest, especially of minority areas, is fragile. Traditions are not eternal. They adapt, they die, they are recreated… What I feel sure of is the fact that these riches are not only a treasure of the past, they are indispensable tools for tackling the challenges that come from natural and cultural erosion. When I travel on the highlands of Ganze, I feel the impact of a way to deal with natural phenomena, animals and other people that, for sure, cannot be repeated in the cities but can still inspire our behaviors and help us to articulate a wisdom for today.

I deeply hope that this diversity will be preserved, enhanced and more and more appreciated. Ultimately, the cultural diversity of China is what should make it able to renew in depth its spiritual civilization. A civilization that has blossomed through patience and wisdom....



 

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