Week 4

I had exploration pack one for week four: Memorials on opium, Taiping Religious Verses. It talks about how opium affects the body and how it can become very addictive because it states, “When anyone is long habituated to inhaling it, it becomes necessary to resort to it at regular intervals, and the habit of using it, being inveterate, is destructive of time, injurious to property, and yet dear to one even as life. Of those who use it to great excess, the breath becomes feeble, the body wasted, the face sallow, the teeth black: the individuals themselves clearly see the evil effects of it, yet cannot refrain from it. It is indeed indispensably necessary to enact severe prohibitions in order to eradicate so vile a practice.” Different types of opium rank in quality, such as the best, or black earth, sells for around 800 dollars in foreign currency per chest; the following best, or white skin, for around 600 dollars; and the last, or red skin, for around 400 dollars. It was solid for millions of dollars, and Barbarian merchants were being paid to exchange the goods. Still, they would sell the opium for money, which led to them not importing foreign silver, and the money from the other countries kept going out instead of coming in.  

I found the second reading of exploration pack one, about the Ten Commandments, exciting because each one was related to the actual Ten Commandments. To me, it felt more like a tactic for people to follow the rules of the emperor rather than a religious text, for example, “The great God says, Thou shalt have no other spirits (gods) besides me. Therefore all besides the great God are corrupt spirits (gods), deceiving and destroying mankind; they must on no account be worshipped: whoever worships the whole class of corrupt spirits (gods) offends against the commands of Heaven.

The Hymn says: Corrupt devils very easily delude the souls of men. If you perversely believe in them, you will at last go down to hell. We exhort you all, brave people, to awake from your lethargy, And early make your peace with your exalted Heavenly Father.” 

I find this more of a rule and a threat, not a religious text, and it feels like they want more control of the people. 


A picture of opium imports to China from the year 1650-1880.






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