quenched by adherence to the notions of the ancients as containing all that could be learned. Yet even the knowledge of astronomy, for instance, which is contained in their books, has not been taught.
(b) They have set no value on abstract science, apart from some obvious and immediate end of utility. There has been no cultivation of knowledge for its own sake among the Chinese; their minds have not been broadened by the collection and investigation of facts; they have had few books, if any, on whose statements exact reliance could be placed.
(c) Political preferment was hitherto based on attainments in literature and politics; a knowledge of science was not used as a criterion and hence was not cultivated.
Thus throughout long ages the mind of China has been held in a false way, because no man of superior enlightenment arose to counteract the prevailing practise of putting thoughts in the place of things and facts, and it is likely that even had such a man arisen he would not have been able to counteract the attraction which drew all the vigorous and inquiring minds of the nation into the literary examinations. Hard labor then as now absorbed the energy and time of the masses while strife after official honors has consumed the talents of the learned.
6. The Influence of Astrologers and Fortune-tellers, Geomancers, etc., and the Attitude of the Officials.—The curious and intimate connection between geomancy, horoscopy and astrology, which the Chinese presuppose, has had a powerful influence, just as it had in former times in Europe, in maintaining their errors, because of its bearing on every man's luck.
Even when aided in no small measure by Europeans, especially by the Jesuit missionaries, the Chinese have seemed unable to advance in astronomy when left to themselves, and still cling to superstitions against every evidence. The speculations of their philosophers by their curious system of elementary correspondencies have led them away from carefully recording facts and processes, and they have gone on, as Williams says, "like a squirrel in a cage, making no progress toward real knowledge."
Even when more enlightened concepts of the realm of nature have been at hand and their acceptance even urged, Chinese officials have opposed their spread among the common people. There is not even yet an adequate government effort at popular education. The chief aim is still, as under the old examination system, the training of future officials and government servants. Europeans were employed for many years in compiling the calendar, but they were not allowed to interfere in the astrological part. The Chinese government apparently has deemed and still deems it necessary to uphold ancient superstitions, in order thereby to influence its own security and strengthen the reverence due it.