The most important part of Keightley’s article is the author’s reflection.
This observation is at the conclusion after he chose the key characteristics that he judged the most crucial ones. According to the scholar Ping Chen a useful key to understanding the civilizations’ diversity is the degree of the opening and the adaptability to the changing environment. Both this opening and these cultural differences depend on the geographical, climatic, and in general environmental peculiarities.
The author admits that no civilization is homogeneous. He underlines that his remarks are “nuances not absolute distinctions”, nevertheless he quests Chineseness. Does an essence exist? Is the author’s opinion that “the Chinese responses differed to a significant degree from those of other seminal civilizations” right?
I am not learned enough to judge, my remarks are impressions.
One should compare only similar subjects according to a scientific method and following a systematic analysis. The choice should be one of the other agricultural empires such as the Egyptians, the Maya, the Aztecs, etc. Many of these ancient empires used the human sacrifices and many ancient civilizations practiced the divination and asked the oracles. The author description of these neolithic practices does not reveal a peculiar Chinese’s singularity. Keightley defined the Chinese culture as “optimistic”, if he is right I am particularly puzzled by the funerary rituals. How does the mass killing mean? Is it consonant with the optimistic attitude of Chinese people?
He equated the Chinese Neolithic period to the Classical Greece? It is true that period is one of the roots of Western culture, but when Judaic-Christian tradition prevailed in the West progressively the tragedy disappeared. Christianity incorporated by distorting the Greek values: equity instead of blind destiny, the striving for justice instead of the useless opposition to the Gods’ whim, the insistence on the loyal service to...