"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
1 Enter Marxism-LeninismChapter 6: The Big Cycle of China and Its Currency2020-10-09Journal
It is easy to see how that period had an important role in shaping Chinese leaders’ perspectives—e.g., why Mao saw capitalism as a system in which companies pursued profits through imperialism (i.e., through the controlling and exploiting of countries, the way the British and other capitalist powers did to China) in a way that enriched greedy rich people while exploiting workers. After all this is what happened to China over the prior 100 years, and the world in the 1930-45 period was in one of the most extreme wars between the “rich capitalists” and the “working class communists.” It was interesting to me to see how Mao’s view of capitalism differed from my view of capitalism because his experience with it was so different from mine, though both of our views about it were true. Because capitalism provided me and most others I knew, including immigrants from all over the world, with enormous opportunity, America was both fair and a land of opportunity in which one could learn, contribute, and be rewarded without boundaries. I was from a working-class background and always admired and appreciated the hard-working people who worked together to be productive and the motivated entrepreneurs innovating and working with devoted workers to convert their dreams into realities that the whole society benefited from. This experience of my trying to see something (capitalism) through both my eyes and through Mao’s eyes was another reminder for me of how important radical open-mindedness and thoughtful disagreement are in order to find out what is true. That desire led me to study Marxism a bit so that I could imagine how it made a lot of sense to Mao and others as a philosophy. My inclination up until then was to think of it as at its best obviously impractical and at its worse possibly an evil threat, yet I was ignorant about what Marx actually said.