ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2018, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (5): 572-582.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.00572

• • 上一篇    

 对水稻理论的质疑: 兼新论中国人偏好整体思维的内外因


  1.  (南京师范大学 道德教育研究所, 暨 心理学院, 南京 210097)
  • 收稿日期:2017-08-10 出版日期:2018-05-25 发布日期:2018-03-31
  • 通讯作者: 汪凤炎, E-mail: E-mail: E-mail:
  • 基金资助:

 Questioning the Rice Theory: Also on the internal and external causes of Chinese preference for holistic thinking

 WANG Fengyan   

  1.  (Institute of Moral Education Research and School of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China)
  • Received:2017-08-10 Online:2018-05-25 Published:2018-03-31
  • Contact: WANG Fengyan, E-mail: E-mail: E-mail:
  • Supported by:

摘要:  Talhelm等人认为种植水稻与种植小麦有重大差别, 所以, 中国水稻文化与小麦文化是两种不同类型的文化:南方的水稻文化更倾向于东亚文化, 北方的小麦文化看起来更像西方文化。“水稻理论”视角颇新颖, 但能否成立有待检验。以整体思维为例, 用“水稻理论”解释中国人偏好整体思维的缘由时存在两个矛盾:一是南宋之前的多数中国人虽长期生活在小麦区, 但他们的思维方式却主要是整体思维, 几乎没有分析思维, 且整体思维至迟到春秋战国时期已炉火纯青; 二是目前无足够的可靠证据证明种植小麦的中国北方在文化上看起来更像西方, 并且北方人擅长的同样是整体思维。这两个矛盾证明“水稻理论”解释不通。其实, 促成中国古人崇尚整体思维最可能的外因是:先人从长期的治水经验尤其是从鲧治水失败而大禹治水成功的一反一正事例中直观、真切地看到了天人密切相关理念、顺应自然和通盘考虑(整体思维的雏形)在成功解决复杂问题时的重要性; 促成中国古人崇尚整体思维最可能的内因是蕴含阴阳思维的阴阳学说、蕴含五行思维的五行学说和蕴含阴阳五行思维的阴阳五行学说的提出与被认可, 它们为中国人如何运用整体思维提供了一整套完整的思维运作方式。

关键词:  整体思维, 水稻理论, 治水, 阴阳学说, 五行学说, 阴阳五行学说

Abstract:  Based on the significant differences between rice and wheat cultivation, Talhelm et al. (2014) divided the Chinese culture into two types, respectively: rice culture and wheat culture. The former is closer to East Asian culture, and the latter to Western culture. Although the “Rice Theory” provides a novel perspective, it remains to be tested before it’s established. For example, why is holistic-thinking prevalent in China? The “Rice Theory” argues that agricultural types result into cultural differences. Specifically, a long history of rice cultivation should make people live in the rice area more interdependent and thus prefer holistic-thinking, while that of wheat cultivation should make people live in the wheat area more individualistic and thus prefer analytical-thinking. Although the “Rice Theory” provides a new perspective in explaining the differences between rice culture and wheat culture and the prevalence of holistic-thinking in China, the real reason for Chinese, especially ancient Chinese, preferring holistic-thinking may not be a long history of rice cultivation. This paper focuses on explaining this new theory in details. Two contradictions come out when explaining Chinese preference for holistic-thinking by the “Rice Theory”. (1) Before the Southern Sung Dynasty (1127-1279), the majority of Chinese, who lived in wheat-growing area for a long time, used holistic-thinking, barely with any analytic-thinking. Moreover, the holistic-thinking had already reached a high degree no later than the Chhun Chhiu and Warring States Period (770-221 BC). (2) There is no firm evidence insofar to support that the wheat-growing northern Chinese are more culturally Western, no sufficient evidence to support that northerners were more analytical than southerners, or southerners were more holistic than northerners. In fact, northerners are also good at holistic-thinking. The founders and main representatives of “the hundred schools of thought” in pre-Qin period, who have largely influenced Chinese culture and holistic-thinking mode after the Qin and Han dynasties (221-220 BC), were mostly from the northern wheat region. Overall, these two contradictions suggested that the “Rice Theory” was invalid. The external reasons for the prevalence of holistic-thinking in China is probably the enlightenments and inspirations derived from flood control practices, especially the contrast between Yu’s success and Gun’s failure in flood control, which made the Chinese ancients intuitively realized the importance of the harmony between man and nature, and thus considering beings comprehensively (the prototype of holistic-thinking) in solving complicated problems. And the internal reasons is probably the proposal and acceptance of the Yin-Yang theory which contains the thought of Yin-Yang, the Five Elements theory which contains the thought of Five Elements, and the combined Yin Yang-Five Elements theory which contains the thought of Yin-Yang and Five Elements. They provide a complete set of thinking methods to utilize the holistic-thinking for Chinese. Due to the logical and systematic explaining of the birth, growing, sickness and death of the universe, these theories were regarded the rule of thinking by ancient Chinese. They also promoted ancient Chinese to use the holistic, dynamic, and self-adaptive thinking model to explain manifold natural and social phenomena. To sum up, (1) the “Rice Theory” is invalid to explain preference of holistic thinking among Chinese, due to its lack of cultural and ecological validity. (2) It is the flood control practice together with the Yin-Yang thinking, Five Elements thinking, and combined Yin Yang-Five Elements theory that lead to the holistic thinking of ancients Chinese. Insofar, the habit of using holistic thinking to understand and solve problems by Chinese is indestructible.

Key words: holistic-thinking, Rice Theory, flood control, Yin-Yang theory, Five Elements theory, Yin-Yang and Five Elements theory