By Peter Johnson
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Additional info for An Illustrated History of the Snowdon Mountain Railway
Quite faithfully, then, Kipling’s view mirrored the conventional and colonial perception of the time that gave rise to PanAsianism, in other words, the notion that the world was compartmentalized into two distinct—purportedly civilizational—camps. Furthermore, this binary world was in the end characterized by an utter “imbalance,” rather than “balance,” of power. In the classical balance-of-power sense, indeed, the lack of equilibrium in the world governed by relative material capabilities made even the ancient, proud, and gigantic East look like a burden on a white man’s shoulder.
A form of beauty scarcely lasts a generation with us, but it lasts with you for centuries. 12 The lack of modernity and the sense of inertia, identified as the primary weakness of Asia in power-political terms, were now increasingly viewed by some as its strength, at least in certain spiritual and artistic senses, irrespective of the actual validity of Yeats’ claims about the resilience, consistency, or even simplicity of Asian aesthetics. It is true that Pan-Asianism on the whole did not escape the immediate power-political considerations of Asia’s weakness, as will be seen in Japan’s attempt at fomenting modern Asian nationalisms under its leadership.
Arab Conceptual Roadmap 37 chivalry, Persian poetry, Chinese ethics, and Indian thought, all speak of a single ancient Asiatic peace, in which there grew up a common life, bearing in different regions different characteristic blossoms, but nowhere capable of a hard and fast dividing line. Islam itself may be described as Confucianism on horse-back, sword in hand. 26 Thus for Okakura, Asia was about a common way of being based on love and peace, overriding even the ethnic and religious differences within, creating a common outlook on life that could uniformly be identified as “Asiatic” over far-reaching physical as well as psychological space.
An Illustrated History of the Snowdon Mountain Railway by Peter Johnson