Updates from China: Lao Tse and Modern Values

by | Nov 27, 2011 | Travels, Taoism | 4 comments

The young man mentioned that it seemed as if foreigners are more interested and knowledgeable about old Chinese culture than most Chinese. He commented that nowadays, many of the youth are driven by money and consumerism, leaving behind culture and human values.

The conversation made me reflect on an interview I had just finished with China Radio International (CRI). On air, I spoke of the relevance of Chi work to modern Chinese life, where everything currently is just about money. I expressed that regardless of economic status or social position, if a person’s inner life was not in good shape, life in general can easily be unhappy and unfulfilling.

Money alone is not life. Rich or not, a person whose insides and outsides are in balance will get the most out of life. At the end of my time on the air, I encouraged Chinese youth to find legitimate masters, learn from them, and keep the traditions alive for future generations.

From the road,



  1. Beto

    Nice post.
    (I remember seeing Bruce in Brighton about 5 years ago. Watching the photo on this article, it is amazing to see how much weight he has lost since then…)

  2. Marc Goodman

    Hey Bruce,

    Interesting observation. Having been in China for almost 7 years now, I can tell you the problem isn’t so much the cultural revolution, but rather westernization and lack of good universal education here. Most Chinese people know Lao Zi, and all the philosophers of ancient China… But they can’t all tell you the principles of daosim just as they can’t tell you about the legalist theories of the early first century, or all the Confucian patriarchs, or all the buddhist sects…

    I guess that is also partly due to such extensive history and culture, and a major focus on learning sports like basketball and soccer, and listening to the latest chinese pop stars, who often are just Chinese translations and adaptations of western pop stars, and of course on capitalism and the desire to make money at any cost…

  3. Kevin Hartwell

    It seems to be the same story around with world. Many aboriginal youth here on the West Coast of Canada seem to have lost interest in continuing with the ancient traditions of there culture and instead of being proud of their heritage, are more facinated with money, status, and the latest gossip or gadget.
    Good to hear you are making an effort to remind the chinese people the importance of their traditions and heritage.

  4. Stuart Shaw

    Yeah well said Bruce. One’s external life expression is only as healthy as one’s inner life. Just like gardening we should nourish the soil to get good fruit.


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