It’s quite a curious thing that, while Western literature is wildly influential in China — having been so ever since 1919, except for a sad hiatus between 1949 and 1979 — most of Chinese literature barely exists in Western cultural discourse.
In Coetzee’s “Disgrace,” these dichotomies that we depend on to comprehend or distort reality disintegrate, from the ruins and rubbles of which a shared suffering transcending tribalism arises — the essence of our human condition.
The concept of canon as a set of important, if not immortal literary, artistic and otherwise cultural documents, manifesting the best parts of a certain culture, is an idea not at all alien to the non-Western world.
In late 2017, I developed a very serious mental health problem: after encountering crushing catastrophes in multiple facets of life, I became an angry, bitter, resentful, purposeless and vengeful person. As a self-proclaimed radical liberal who believed in moral relativism and subjectivity, my intellectual composition only helped exacerbate my worsening situation. In short, I had fallen into a chaotic abyss that was myself, and my long-standing personal philosophies only rendered prospects of recovery even dimmer.