2. Departing From Convention1
It can be said that Americans remain a fairly conservative people in terms of their values. Concepts such as sexual liberation, rock music, hippies, homosexuality, hedonism, and racial equality are still not accepted by all Americans, many of whom cling to old-fashioned values. This is especially true in politics, where traditional values still dominate. Successive victories by the Republican Party in presidential elections can also be understood as a manifestation of that tendency. Ordinary people continue to hold to very traditional standards when evaluating political leaders. Gary Hart, the backbone of the Democratic Party, had to withdraw from the presidential campaign because of a sex scandal2 and Dan Quayle, though he was elected vice president, was [only elected by] riding on the coattails of George H. W. Bush.3 Many folks shake their heads at the mention of Mr. Quayle, saying that he did not do well in school and that for military service he only ever served in the National Guard. They claim that he had no experience and that he rose to prominence because of his wealthy father.
Many people from the East take it for granted that in a country as sexually liberated as the United States, [sexual] relationships between men and women should not pose any problems. However, they often do create major problems in the political sphere. This issue is the same across the West. In politics, Americans adhere to the ideas of the founding fathers, which have remained largely unchanged. Indeed, their entire system maintains that set of [founding] ideas to the exclusion of others, and in that respect, Americans tend to be on the conservative side.
Yet Americans are, paradoxically, the most adept people in the world at being novel and original. This is a peculiar phenomenon among these people: the great bulk of the population accepts not only the oldest, most time-honored things, but also delights in the newest and most exotic. This society has more inventions, and bolder and braver visions, than any other. In recent years, the Americans have launched the Space Shuttle4 and introduced the Star Wars program,5 and in late 1988, unveiled the B-2 bomber, which has a completely unique appearance.6 Americans are also quite remarkable when it comes to more mundane inventions. When you walk into a large department store, for example, you will find a wide variety of items used for many different purposes.
They are both conservative and innovative at the same time. This seems to be something of a contradiction which manifests in different areas of [American] society. Americans tend to be conservative in their values, yet pursue novelty and originality in technical fields, where it is often the most audacious ideas that gain their support and approval. There is a group of Americans who built a mock space city on a remote piece of land and are preparing to recruit volunteers to live there for two years sealed off [from the outside world].7 It was completed surprisingly quickly. If tomorrow someone were to propose building a highway across the Atlantic Ocean from the United States to Europe, or a highway running across the Pacific Ocean all the way to Asia, it would not be considered crazy. On the contrary, people would think this was an amazing idea.
Deploying human capabilities to conquer nature is one of the values of the American tradition. Thus, in this case, innovation and tradition do not stand in contradiction to each other. The process of innovation is one that abides by traditional values. The nature of this process, where the wildest of possibilities can be imagined, is often limited to the physical and technical realms, areas in which Americans are prepared to accept anything. America’s historical development and technological progress have engendered that state of mind.
I reflected on this question over and over again while visiting the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. There I tried to figure out the causes and consequences of American originality.
The Gateway Arch is among the world’s tallest arches. It is approximately 630 feet high (nearly 200 meters) and is made entirely of stainless steel. Towering over the city, it shimmers in the sunlight and the blue sky, a majestic sight to behold. The arch spans more than 200 meters and takes on the appearance of an oversized silver rainbow on the bank of the Mississippi River. Below the arch is the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, commemorating President Thomas Jefferson and his efforts promoting the development of the western part of the United States in the first half of the nineteenth century. Inside the arch are elevators that bring visitors from the ground all the way up to the top, where a ten-meter walkway with windows offers a bird’s eye view over the city of St. Louis. The elevators ascend and descend inside the two legs of the arch. It was truly a peculiar idea. The designer was the Finnish-born American architect Eero Saarinean, whose design was the winner of a national call for submissions held in 1947. Technical and engineering staff began construction in 1963 and completed the arch in 1965.
The process of building the arch was also quite unique, as there could be no scaffolding for a building of that height. The two legs were built from the ground up, with cranes attached to each one. The cranes built the legs higher and higher as they climbed them. The legs were built skyward according to prior calculations, gradually coming together near the apex and finally being joined to form an arch. The entire process, from design to construction, was novel. But people accepted it and they built it. I suspect that people might have asked: What is the purpose of such a building? Can it generate income? Why not build a monument in the traditional style? Who can possibly guarantee its success?
Another building in Missouri that exemplifies the American spirit of originality is the church at the college in Fulton, a world-famous but unassuming little place. It is well-known for the fact that in 1946, shortly after the smoke of World War II had cleared, [Fulton] was the location of a famous speech given by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in which he stated that the “Iron Curtain” had now descended, dividing East and West. Thus began the Cold War. “Iron Curtain” became a term commonly used in the West to refer to the Soviet Union and countries in Eastern Europe.
There is a church at this location, which, from the outside, is really quite unremarkable. It is nothing special compared to the countless other churches around the country. However, this church has a distinctive charm about it. The main reason for this is that the stones used to build the church were all brought over from England. It was originally an English church constructed in the twelfth century and then completely rebuilt in 1677. It was severely damaged by bombing [raids] during World War II, and all that was left of it was rubble, stones, and twelve stone pillars. After the war, with the church still in ruins, the Westminster College Memorial Committee proposed moving the stones to Missouri to build the college’s chapel and a memorial to Winston Churchill. Ground was broken in 1965 and 700 tons of stone were transported across the Atlantic Ocean at a cost of $3 million. [Former] President Harry Truman himself laid the cornerstone for the chapel, which was completed in 1969.
This was certainly a quintessential expression of the American people’s spirit of originality. Perhaps some might question: Why didn’t they just use local materials? How much did this add to the cost? How could it be that there were no stones available and they had to ship broken ones across the Atlantic?
In fact, these are just two examples of the American way of originality. Many others can be cited. The basketball arena in Iowa City can hold more than 10,000 people, but at ground level it appears to be only as high as a one-story building since the entire structure is sunk beneath the earth. The College of Law building at the University of Iowa is a bare steel and concrete structure with a large dome and only a few small windows. It looks like a military fortification that I imagine would be quite difficult to breach in combat. Americans are capable of conceiving of an idea like carving colossal sculptures of the heads of five [sic] presidents on a large mountain. The towering Washington Monument is bare and resembles an Egyptian obelisk.8 The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a black wall with the names of the fallen soldiers from that war. Furniture stores sell waterbeds, which are quite popular. The mattress is a water-filled cushion about a foot thick. It’s incredibly soft to lie on, and the water inside can be heated and cooled. Films are a product of the most peculiar imaginings: just think of E.T., Star Wars, Superman, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The recently deployed B-2 bomber has no empennage. The whole thing simply looks like a pair of wings, which is quite different from the shape of a conventional airplane. When it comes to clothing, things are even stranger. New clothing is very expensive, but some clothes are [worn] in tatters right from the time of purchase. They say that the manufacturing process is quite complicated. In the field of science and technology, the American spirit of originality has been even more fruitful. The examples are simply too numerous to list.
Of course, sometimes their departure from convention is taken to extremes, one such case being the new-fashioned raggedy clothing mentioned above. Then there are the people who build ultra-luxury cars, gigantic as can be, with interior kitchens, swimming pools, golf practice setups, telephones, televisions, and other types of amenities. There may be only a very few people able to enjoy such things. Sometimes, walking down the street you may see people whose hair is done up in rigid spikes, afro-styled, or even with half of it shaved off. There are public places where a few pieces of broken metal are hung up and they call it modern sculpture. With some modern art [installations], many people are afraid to even enjoy it.
In any case, the pursuit of novelty and originality in the technical and physical realms is a real driving force in the development of this society. This is the spirit that drives technological progress and economic development. Now, given that Americans are so conservative in their values, how have they succeeded in protecting and advancing this spirit of innovation?
First, let us clearly distinguish values from technology and the material world. Values relate to the realm of morality or the public sphere and should take into account the inclinations of the majority of the population. The technical and physical, on the other hand, are private. Novelty is a standard by which private individuals in society are measured. To be recognized in [American] society it is important to stand out from everyone else. [As America’s] political history does not provide the preconditions that other societies have [for distinction], such as nobility and lineage, everyone depends on success and creativity [to distinguish themselves]. In fact, the tendency toward conservatism in values guarantees innovation in the technological and material realms, enabling society to innovate within an orderly context.
Second, [Americans’] conservative value orientation has not placed particular constraints on technological and material innovation (though one cannot say that there are none at all). Americans came to the New World from Europe. At the beginning they found themselves in a barren land, struggling against nature; in their victory over nature, they grew. That became a fixed value in the American tradition. Thus recognizing and accepting innovation is, in itself, upholding tradition.
On the one hand, Americans conceive of the technological and material components [of life] as standing outside of the scope of values. They consider the technological and the material to be just that—technological and material. That type of innovation [technological innovation] occurs in addition to any innovation in values; both enrich traditional values. There are societies where the culture is not so clearly differentiated [from material conditions], where there is social uniformity and where all kinds of things are associated with values. That often tends to hinder technological and material progress.
On the other hand, the core of traditional values are abstractions. These include concepts such as freedom, equality, and the pursuit of happiness. As a result, technological and material innovation may be considered an expression of freedom, and the acceptance of innovation a sign of equality.
Third, the mechanisms of society force people to innovate. I say “force” because in order to win, one cannot afford to not innovate. There are two mechanisms that compel people to innovate. One is the supremacy of money. Any person or group who wants to obtain money, or make even more money, must be differentiated from others. They must introduce new things continuously in order to draw in and attract people and society.
The other [mechanism] is general prosperity and development. When a society reaches a general level of affluence and development, [social distinctions disappear as] people tend toward a wealthier average, meaning they cannot set themselves apart without extraordinary creativity. Boats rise with the tide.9 Everyone is pursuing innovation: innovation for money, innovation for self-actualization, innovation for societal recognition. To win, one must always strive for the next level.
Fourth, “great power vanity” prompts Americans to pursue novelty and originality. Such vanity is not always a good thing, but it does have a role to play in promoting innovation. From a young age, Americans are raised in an atmosphere where “America is Number One.” It turns out that most people believe in the claim that their country is, globally speaking, at the top of the pecking order. The closer people get to high-end technology, the more they tend to pursue that top status. Indeed, that mentality has led to many world-renowned American creations. At the same time, it has also created illusions [for the Americans] and they have run into some significant challenges because of this idea that they are the best in the world. However, one cannot deny its efficacy in promoting innovation.
Fifth, the dominant individualism in society also has an indirect effect on innovation. Being novel and original often implies some form of individualism, and any departure from convention means, first and foremost, a unique design that stands apart from the rest. Such a design requires an individual to give less consideration to the opinions and demands of others. Novelty and originality represent a certain type of personality. Some large-scale creations are not the work of a single person, but in the end can be broken down into the creations of many individuals, the sum of their respective personalities. Individualism imbues people with a strong sense of [their own] personality and a tendency to seek [their own] original departure from convention. In a diametrically opposed cultural atmosphere, it is more difficult for individuals and society to accept originality. [Granted], individualism has a negative effect on social harmony, but it also still affects people and society in unique ways.
Sixth, the democratic component of traditional values encourages people to [innovate] and to accept innovation. Americans take pleasure in accepting innovation. And, to put it more bluntly, they are really good at jeering at those [who don’t fall in line]. When the latest novelty comes out, anyone who doesn’t celebrate it may well be considered less democratic or less culturally refined. A parallel may be drawn to the viewing of an abstract painting: some dare not say anything bad about it for fear of being laughed at. That said, many people do genuinely approve of departure from convention. They accept those who are successful and those who think differently. People who dare to depart from convention often enjoy a special degree of reputation and respect.
The development of a society is inseparable from its spirit of innovation. To make full use of that spirit, society must encourage and accept those who are willing to look beyond the conventional. At the same time, the perpetuation of values is essential to any society; otherwise, social stability becomes difficult to sustain. The question is how to separate continuity in values from technological and material innovation. The former ensures the development of the latter, while the development of the latter also strengthens the continuation and transmission of values. From that point of view, whether an atmosphere of originality will form is, to a large extent, a question of the nature of the values themselves rather than a technological or material issue.
9. The world of the future
The American mentality is a rather complex synthesis, sometimes even a paradoxical one. The popular view is that since the development of the philosophy of pragmatism by William James and C.S. Peirce,10 the American people have come to put a particular emphasis on practicality. The concept of pragmatism and the requirement to “deliver value” permeate every part of the American spirit.
That pragmatism, reflected in ever-changing social life and human behavior, means that everything must achieve useful, practical, and realistic ends, while standards of value that are indiscernible, unattainable, or seemingly non-existent are rejected. In the contemporary United States, such a spirit is made more concrete by the expression “money first”, whereby quick financial gain is the litmus test of pragmatism and anything that makes money has an overpowering value. In a way, making money has become the essence of pragmatism in the current age.
In the midst of society, of course, there is a significant portion of the population that continues to struggle in pursuit of political, moral, ethical, religious, social, or philosophical values. However, most of the people who work in those fields do not have much of a penchant for ideals.
Come election season, [you find] many people are working for the two parties, but never for their beliefs. Being employed by the political parties they must work for those whose money they are taking. In government departments where so many officials are employed, it is likely that very few of them are constantly pining for the American ideals. They do their jobs because it is just that—a job. They have nothing close to a sense of responsibility for “carrying morality and righteousness on one’s shoulders.” People working in social welfare institutions are eager to take care of the poor and the disabled. Still, it is difficult to say with certainty that they all do so out of sympathy for the lower rungs of society or the poor. Rather, it is because this is work and they receive a paycheck for doing it. University professors author books and make impassioned speeches in the classroom, criticizing the government, lamenting the ills of the day, and calling for change. Yet most professors view it merely as part of their jobs, with very few taking on an intellectual sense of mission and responsibility. At the end of the day, it’s just a job, and nothing more. The idea that “matters of the family, the state, and the world all concern the individual”11 and other such sentiments are rare. This is merely an illustration of how pragmatism dominates the American spirit and American society–a society which privileges money over people.
On the other hand, it cannot be overlooked–and it is rather curious–that there is yet another spirit that pervades society, which I would call “futurism”. In this overly materialistic society, it is rare to see a force that can overwhelm pragmatism. However, [here] the idea of futurism carries a particularly strong appeal and allure. Thus futurism also makes up a fundamental component of the general spirit of [American] society. It may be difficult to win hearts with other ideas, but [here] the ideas of futurism are powerful.
To me, futurism refers to something that has no direct effect at the moment, but will have an effect in the future, whether that something be a tangible object, an abstract concept, or a state of being. From this viewpoint, it becomes clear that pragmatism and futurism are a contradictory dichotomy, with one seeking value from the present moment and the other from the future. Yet [both] of these two spirits do, in fact, dominate [this] society. This is why I say [American society] is a complex synthesis.
Let us next review a few examples of the futurist spirit.
- On the political front, one need only look at the 1983 presidential election. A popular topic for Bush and Dukakis was the United States in the 21st century, or the world and the United States in the 21st century. Could America maintain its current status in the world? What path should the U.S. take in the face of challenges from Japan and Europe, and possibly China? With the Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe having challenged America on all fronts, how should it approach its choices? Both parties, in their quest to win votes, talked about how their policies and strategies would ensure that the 21st century would be an American century, just as they believed the 20th century was an American century. Already, some say that the 21st century will be the century of Japan or of China. It is often claimed by President Bush that the 21st century will be an American century; such sloganeering is really rather demagogic in nature. In Richard Nixon’s 1987 book, 1999: Victory Without War, recurring themes are how America will win in the future, what types of threats the country will encounter in the future, and which strategies it should deploy in response. It was an instant best-seller. Clearly, these concerns are shared among politicians and the general public alike; otherwise, this would not be such a successful strategy for attracting voters.
- When it comes to the military, Americans also hold rather strong ideological sentiments about the future. The United States has been devoting extraordinary attention to, and investing heavily in, war, strategy, and weapons research in preparation for the future. The tens of billions of dollars spent on the Star Wars program is a result of the dominance of futurism. To many, the program seems to be nothing more than a fanciful idea. However, the Americans are determined to implement it in earnest against the possible future competition in the strategic arms race. The program led to an uproar and endless rounds of debate across both political parties. One potential reason for this [uproar] was that this was a clash between the spirits of pragmatism and futurism. In arms development, the spirit of futurism has prevailed for the most part. Moreover, the arms industry is, on the whole, in favor of futurism because it is profitable, despite the fact that [people in the arms industry] themselves might all be pragmatists to the core. The recently introduced B-2 bomber is a typical reflection of that futurism. Despite appearances that pragmatism would be the driving ideology at the crossroads of strategy, futurism is the one that became predominant. With regard to the conflicts and volatility of Nicaragua, the Philippines, and the Middle East, the approach of the U.S. government is, for the most part, based on futurist strategic thinking.
- The American mentality on technological development is [even] more futurist. In fundamental domains such as basic theory, astrophysics, biological sciences, and chemistry, belief in futurism is thriving. It is often said that the sciences enjoy the most financial support in American universities, with the money coming from outside foundations or other institutions. [The reason why] those organizations are willing to invest so much money this way is that their guiding philosophy is oriented toward the future. The United States recently announced that it would build one of the world’s biggest particle colliders.12 At a total length of 80 kilometers, it sounds like an astonishingly large project. But with an eye to the future, the Americans decided to allocate the funding and construct it. They are also looking to the future in computers, with companies investing huge sums in the development of the latest models. Environmental protection has garnered unprecedented attention and public consensus [on the need for environmental protection] now exists where it did not before. The issue has become a fundamental force guiding government policy. Such a consensus would be difficult to forge in the absence of the futurist spirit.
- Futurism runs even deeper when it comes to urban construction. Whether in Iowa City, a small city of just a few tens of thousands, or New York, a metropolis of more than 10 million, futurism plays a decisive role in urban architectural design. To ensure the successful implementation of any urban planning program, one important condition must be met: What will become of the design over the subsequent decades? Will it become an obstacle, or a bridge, to further development of the city? In many cities, highways, subways, buildings, and homes are designed and constructed with the future in mind. The World Trade Center in New York, for instance, is made up of majestic buildings standing tall in the sky, with the world below them even more impressive. There are enormous underground levels with subways and trains with service to all parts of New York and the neighboring states. The designers, in performing their work, took into account the future needs of the city. In a great number of cities, many of the housing units are more than fifty years old, some even more than a hundred years old. To this day, however, they still do not appear dilapidated or overly cramped. Small buildings, upon renovation, still make for impressive residential housing. They are an invaluable resource, to be sure. If all of the homes built at that time were going to become obsolete or uninhabitable in five or twenty years’ time, then housing could not have reached the level it has today. Futurism manifests itself in urban construction in the form of grand projects inspired by long-term, strategic thinking.
- Futurism is also evident in the education of talented individuals. Americans understand that the world of the future belongs to the children and young people of today. Will they be able to meet the challenges of the present and those of the world of tomorrow? The expression “children’s paradise” [used in China in reference to American society], refers to the comprehensive manner that children are cared for so that they are able to meet the future head-on. The same is true of their university education. The achievements and [global] status of the United States today is inextricably linked to their university education. Educational success is the most powerful force in maintaining and developing a social system. Whatever the nature of a society’s institutions, they would be difficult to maintain without success in education. Governments and universities alike have expended a great deal of effort to take on the world of the future.
The spirit of futurism is reflected in many aspects [of American society], and therefore, one must not oversimplify [this society] by branding it as entirely pragmatic. It goes without saying that pragmatism enjoys a dominant status. So, the question is: why has this society given rise to such a mighty futurism? And how do [Americans] reconcile those two spirits? The spirit of the American tradition has always been one of pragmatism. Indeed, from the moment the first settlers set foot on the territory to begin building homes and struggling with nature in their newfound homeland, there was a special need for pragmatism. [In this land] there was no deep-rooted cultural tradition, very little philosophizing, and not much money or wealth to enable people to indulge their imaginations. To survive, they needed to prioritize practicality and tangible results. That spirit, borne of the early settlers, was carried on as the vast territory of the country was developed and has come to find its place as the guiding spirit of this society.
On the other hand, the United States gradually became more involved in the international community beginning in the 20th century and leapt into the role of a leading world power. After World War II, the country became a great power second to none. The intervening decades have since forged a strong American mentality of “we are number one in the world.” Maintaining this status has become America’s [national] consensus. In order to maintain their status as the “top dog” in today’s highly competitive world, they naturally opt for futurism, as doing otherwise would result in the country losing its lead. The “number one in the world” mentality exerts a subtle and gradual influence on the promotion of futurism, so it is perhaps difficult to draw precise conclusions here. Yet [we can at least say that] if a country that occupies the highest position in the world fails to consider how to stop other countries from surpassing it and how to remain in the lead in all aspects, it will naturally result in obsolescence.
If one deeply examines their personal psychology, Americans' futurist mindset could have [something] to do with the uncertainty everyone feels about the future. Whether viewed in terms of employment, social life, marriage, or education, it is hard to say that any [aspect of American life] comes with a lifelong guarantee. Under the American system it is rare for the government to guarantee anything for the entire life of an individual, with the possible exception of social security, which, of course, requires having a job. Individuals are unable to entrust their care to family, parents, friends, private enterprise, or even government. All they can do is hope for a future where the social environment, chance to earn a living, and living conditions are better than–or at least not worse than–the present. From the perspective of any member of such a society, a sense of uncertainty about the future is an important motivation for believing in futurism.
And therein lies the conflict between and the synthesis of pragmatism and futurism. The moment of synthesis occurs when both tides of thought find [something] favorable and beneficial. The moment of conflict occurs when they are at odds with each other. The conflicts and disputes that appear in [American] society over many issues are generally related to the similarities and differences between the two spirits. Of course, that conflict runs on a deeper level. Then again, in many cases, people often believe in futurism for pragmatic reasons, while in other cases, they believe in pragmatism, but from futuristic thinking.
The development of this land is inseparable from the concerns its people have for the world of the future. Their concerns about that world may be a product of various purposes and intentions, such as the desire to become the world’s hegemon, the desire to advance global development, and various other personal motivations. Nevertheless, these concerns will become a shared belief and spirit in social development of the society. They generate a driving force that cannot be replaced by any other force. Generally speaking, any nation must concern itself with the world of the future and understand what status it will have, or strive for, in that world. Only then can that nation truly find a path to development and an expansive, far-sighted vision.
1. The phrase biāoxīn lìyì [标新立异] is used repeatedly in the Wang’s text. The phrase can be used both as an adjective and a noun; it describes all attempts to depart from existing conventions and travel untrodden paths. It thus connotes both the offbeat and the original. Depending on context, this translation renders biāoxīn lìyì variously as “novel/novelty,” “original/originality,” and “unconventional/departure from convention.”
2. Gary Hart (b.1936) served as a representative of Colorado in the United States Senate from 1975 to 1987. He was a front-runner of the Democratic presidential nomination for the 1988 election but had to withdraw his candidacy when journalists uncovered an extra-marital affair Hart had on the campaign trail.
3. Dan Quayle (b. 1947) was George H. W. Bush’s running mate in the 1988 presidential election. Lampooned as a lightweight by the media, Quayle was often questioned on his relative lack of experience by reporters and opponents on the campaign trail. During the 1988 presidential campaign a Washington Post expose revealed that Quayle had relied on family influence to join the National Guard in lieu of being drafted for service in the Vietnam War. See Michael Isikoff and Joe Pichirallo, “Qualye Was In Line To Be Drafted,” Washington Post, 20 August 1988.
4. The Space Shuttle Program was the fourth human spaceflight program run by NASA, operating between 1981 and 2011. The space shuttles were the first reusable crewed space vehicles that made multiple flights into orbit and then landed upon reentry. At the time Wang published America Against America they embodied the cutting edge in space technology.
5. The Strategic Defense Initiative, nicknamed the Star Wars Program, was a proposed missile defense system that Ronald Reagan announced to the American public on March 23, 1983. SDI proposals included a wide array of advanced weapon concepts, including lasers, particle beam weapons, and orbiting missiles. None of these technologies were successfully developed before the program was terminated in 1993.
6. The B-2 Spirit is a strategic stealth bomber designed by Northrop Grumman. The platform’s maiden flight was in 1989; the strange shape of the bomber is intended to reduce its radar cross section, allowing the B-2 to penetrate standard air defenses.
7. This is a reference to Biosphere 2, an earth system research facility located in Oracle, Arizona. Constructed between 1987 and 1991, the facility was designed to test the viability of a closed ecological system to support human life in outer space. Notably, funding for the project was entirely private.
8. In the Chinese text Wang describes this as the “Washington monument to the unknown heroes.” He is likely conflating the Washington monument with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, VA.
9. Or more literally, “As the tide rises, so does the boat.” This idiom refers to any situation where a part follows the trendline of a larger whole.
10. Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914) and William James (1842–1910) are among the first generation of American philosophers who developed the school of pragmatism in the 1870s. This school of philosophy views language and thought as tools for prediction, problem solving, and action, rather than describing, representing, or mirroring reality.
11. “Matters of the family, the state, and the world all concern the individual” is a popular Chinese couplet that dates to the twelfth century.
12. Wang refers to the Superconducting Super Collider, whose 54 mile circumference promised to be the largest in the world. The project was canceled in 1993 after $2 billion had been spent on its initial construction.