Wednesday, May 9, 2007


Harmony universal world common heritage 2007-05-09 10:57:18

By Francis C. W. Fung, PH.D.
BEIJING, May 9 (Xinhuanet) -- Since ancient times Religion, Democracy and Harmony were passed down to us by our forefathers as the three main cultural pillars. I have shared this fundamental observation with you often in previous essays. In today's conflicted world full of extremism and unilateralism, the call for harmony renaissance is a unifying global movement. It is essential to sustain this spirit of harmony as our common heritage. Harmony belongs to the world. In human development of civilization, only truth can stand the test of history. Truth and common values belong to the world regardless of their source and origin.
For many, we can practice democracy and religions as belonging to the world, yet we are unaware of harmony as our common human heritage. Lasting cultures do not develop by accident. Through long patient development they were born of necessity, observation of nature, collective wisdom, and worldwide propagation by resonance. The philosophy of Harmony is all embracing, enduring and endearing. It advocates non-violence and problem-solving by means of consensus. Its premises include equity, tolerance, patience, acceptance, humility and respect for other cultures.
Equity and humility are the cornerstones of harmony practice. In the eyes of harmony there is no nobility without humility. Individuals practicing harmony require discipline, humility and the strongest conviction in gentleness, especially when challenged by force and unilateralism. Every major civilization practices harmony in one form or the other.
The roots of democracy can be seen in all cultures to some degree or other. The rediscovery of the Greek and Roman Democratic tradition during the age of European Enlightenment and Renaissance propelled democracy to its world importance today. The movement also released our collective energy that brought us modern science for the betterment of mankind. The world is mature enough now to know that democracy is an important element in modern governance. This is evidenced in the fact that almost all new nations of today regard themselves democracies.
Today's challenges to world development are sustainability in a worsening ecology, limitation of resources, and the extreme disparity between rich and poor. In a world of cultural and historical diversity one must allow different forms of democracy. The timely harmony renaissance will create the spirit of unity in diversity and the collective consensus to solve the urgent problems that face the world today. This will release a new wave of creative energy for higher human accomplishments beyond what the European renaissance brought.
With communication wonders today, harmony propagates by resonance with Internet speed as stated in my essays "Harmony Propagates by Resonance" and "Universal Wave Theory and Harmony Consensus". In today's globalization, no nation can afford to insist on the self limiting "not invented here" notion. Universally proven wisdom will outlast shortsightedness. What is proven to be good is to be adopted and improved by each nation as their own regardless of whether its source is east west or north south.. Simply put, harmony is our common value and common human heritage. It will prevail.
It is clear that throughout human history even before there were defined national boundaries; harmony was practiced as the oldest form of collective philosophy. It is the inspiration for major belief systems. Religion was practiced to keep harmony with the all mighty unknown, regardless of the form in which we glorify the unknown. Democracy was instituted to keep harmony between the government and its citizens. Moral values and legal systems were elaborately developed in different countries to promote harmony in human interactions. Family and social orders are also forms of harmony. The noticeable lack of an emphasis on religion and legal systems in the ancient Far East was undoubtedly due to the dominance of moral teachings by Laotze and Confucius. Both relied on popularization of moral education to bring harmony to human existence.
With the onslaught of globalization created by the wonders of communication, there is veritably no excuse not to understand the diversity of cultures left by 5000 years of major regional cultural developments. Now that we are facing the challenges of diversity in religious beliefs and development of democratic governance systems, it is time for us to return to harmony philosophy in order to create balance. There is every logical reason to examine harmony practices in major cultures to bring some consensus to our troubled world.
From an analytical viewpoint, there appears to be definite differences in regional emphasis and trends in harmony practice just as there will always be differences in the inevitable adoption of democracy by all nations. Because harmony is even more embracing than democracy as a human management system we must accept diversity. Fortunately, different harmony cultural practices are complementary in the sense of a total engineering system that will enable prioritized world consensus to be reached. In the process we will intuitively accept the simple truth that the best governance system for any nation is its own harmony system. Harmony also embraces democracy.
In broad strokes subject to further in depth global studies, I venture to offer for discussion the following major emphasis or trends in worldwide harmony practices. For harmony practices to stand the test of time it must be a universally acceptable common value and include nobility and humility as a basic prerequisite.
(1) Major religions of today all include belief in harmony, otherwise they would not have survived the test of history. It is taught by scriptures and reinforced by preachers in houses of worship with few exceptions. The practice of harmony is based, in part, on a fear of punishment by the almighty unknown and the reward of going to heaven, rather than for the goodness of harmony itself.
The further spread of religion is limited by two major factors. The first is the fixation of modern religion to exclusively accept its own institutionalized conception of the almighty unknown. The second is the waning authority of the clergy within the community. Faith in the almighty as the savior of mankind and submission to his will continue as the modus operandi of nobility and humility to drive religion.
(II) Since the age of the European Enlightenment the concept of democracy has spread far and wide. It is universally accepted as the foundation of good governance. Nations in the midst of inevitable transformation all agree. True democracy must blend in with each individual nation's cultural heritage and its various stages of development. It takes evolution to truly bring harmony to a society. Democracy must adapt to the harmony of dynamic balance in changing times. The western democratic tradition, with America as the driving force, relies heavily on complex legal practice and penal punishment. Law and order has worked to bring harmony in that particular society.
No democratic system prescribed by one nation for another can be perfect for our diverse world with systems developed regionally over 5000 years. Unfortunately the noble goal of spreading democracy by any means necessary, including overt political action and occupation, has greatly tarnished the image of Western democracy. As Pan Ke-Moon, the current U.N. Secretary General, stated in front of the recent Asian Development Forum "Democracy is not an import export item". Still, empty marketing slogans bereft of consideration for cultural diversity and history is drumming to the call of war cries.
The noticeable lack of humility of past proselytizing processes of Euro-centric democracy and colonialism left an irreparable chasm dividing developed and developing countries. This suggests alternate approaches for the developed world to help the needy. An approach of harmony, with its gentleness and respect for all cultures, appears more palatable to the needy world for mutual development. It is time for America, the young dynamic democracy with abundant resources, to rise to the occasion.
(III) In the Far East harmony was practiced with heavy doses of moral education. The system promulgated comprehensive moral teachings reinforced by family unity and civil service examinations. This examination system reached its extreme during the 19th century. A harmonious society is supported more by family order and unity, than by law and order. Nobility and humility are reinforced by education and morality and sacrifices are extolled by all. Law was the bottom line with moral values taking precedence. A focus on harmony creates a society where materialism and commercialism can acceptably be placed in low priority positions.
With the onslaught of Western individualism and commercialism, the flood gates of self indulgence and corruption were forced wide open. The venerable ancient system of relying on education of nobility and humility was shaken to the core. Today Far East nations including Japan and Korea have adopted law and order to complement their moral value system, followed closely by China in its reform and opening up. The successful transformation of Japan and Korea from systems based on moral values and family unity to their own individualistic modern democratic societies is worthy of attention. Despite the fact that both societies were heavily influenced by foreign cultures East and West, these modern societies have combined the best of both worlds and their choices have flourished. Until very recent times, both nations' histories were recorded in Chinese characters. Today both Japan and Korea are proud of their own innovations culturally and scientifically.
This lends to the optimism that diverse culture, despite opposite ideals, can be blended together resulting in modern, competitive and harmonious societies. China today is determined and motivated to combine the best of East and West to forge a harmonious society with its own characteristics, sans outside occupation. The result is very encouraging and to be commended by the outside world.
When the economic and scientific conditions are mature enough, and the historical moment comes, politics will change. Nations will become harmonious societies by their own resonance with external influence. Outside force and constant chastisement can be counter-productive given the probable impact on national dignity. Today, many parts of the world have suffered the collective mental anguish of a loss of dignity under Western dominance for far too long.
The truth can be seen that in this rapidly changing materialistic world, no ready-made system is perfect in bringing harmony to the world. For unity in diversity we need to call for world harmony renaissance and advocate consensus through dynamic balance. Many of my previous essays have expounded on this. Please visit our website and blog site By adhering to the true spirit of equity and humility, perhaps the world can work together through individual harmony practices to bring about a better and more understanding world. By doing so, a new wave of innovation will release our creative energy to bring human beings to the next level of accomplishment. Failing to do so will cast the sustainability of expanding world development very much into doubt.
May Harmony Prevail in the World!

Editor: Xia Xiaopeng

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