HARMONY RENAISSANCE FOR WORLD HARMONY
By Francis C W Fung
EQUITY, KINDNESS, CHRISTIANITY, BAHA'I, BUDDHISM, President Obama, multilateral world, ISLAM, UNIVERSAL COMMON VALUE, HARMONY RENAISSANCE, CONFUCIANISM, DAOISM, HUMAN PROGRESS, WORLD HARMONY, SOFT POWER, AMERICA, GENTLENESS, DEMOCRACY, HUMILITY, RELIGION, PATIENCE, CULTURE, ACCEPTANCE, FORGIVENESS, PHILOSOPHY, TOLERANCE, CIVILIZATION, GREEN ECOLOGY, HARMONY VIRTUES, RESPECT, NONVIOLENCE, INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRACY, CHINESE LANDSCAPING, EUROPEAN RENAISSANCE, INTERFAITH HARMONY, DAOISM RENAISSANCE, FENGSHUI, YIN AND YANG, CHINESE MEDICINE, CONFUCIANISM RENAISSANCE, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, HARMONY WITH NATURE, ANTHONY ALEXANDER, U. S. VALUES, TODD CROWELL, HARMONY VALUE, HARMONY CONSENSUS, HUMAN RIGHTS
Confucianism and Daoism are both ancient philosophies that must move towards modernity to keep pace with human progress. Both have universal common values that must be distilled to be more appropriate for the modern world. For the same reason, religions of today must go through reform and evolution to be more relevant. Extremist fundamentalist movements can be harmful to their own religions, as we all can see. The invisible hand for the desirable changes for ancient human philosophy and religions is no other than harmony. For harmony can be practiced best in terms of the 12 virtues: TOLERANCE, ACCEPTANCE, RESPECT, KINDNESS, FORGIVENESS, HUMILITY, GENTLENESS, PATIENCE, EQUITY, NONVIOLENCE, GREEN ECOLOGY, and CONSERVATION as discussed in separate articles. Harmony from this perspective is the fundamental law of the dynamic balance of extremes. We are beginning to understand that human attempts at unattainable development without consideration of environment can lead to self-destruction.
THE THREE MAIN CULTURAL PILLARS OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION
From the perspective of harmony, the three main cultural pillars of human civilization are religion, democracy, and harmony as discussed previously in separate articles. Harmony is the most inclusive of the three. Fortunately for the survival of mankind, both religion and democracy also teach harmony. (See blogsites www.scribd.com/fcwfung http://my.opera.com/fcwfung www.worldharmonyforum.blogspot.com)
Religion, Democracy, and Harmony are a human heritage that belongs to all mankind. They do not belong to any one single civilization. Religions began with the human desire to reach harmony with the creator; democracy has sought harmony between the government and its citizens. Both have gone through continuous development in recent centuries. Most commendable is America’s effort, as a dynamic young country, to advocate and propagate Christianity and Democracy her during recent history. However, harmony has been neglected due to human overconfidence in our ability to exploit and change nature. For our own survival, we now have learned that humanity must harmonize with nature.
All religions also teach harmony among mankind, but the institutionalized religions all have their own cultural image of the creator. These culturally unique images of the creator build barriers that are hard to surmount and thus become divisive. However, there have been frequent calls from different religionists for interfaith harmony, notably the Baha’i Faith and the Buddhists. President Obama, in his recent speech in Cairo also called for interfaith harmony (see Appendix A).
In the modern world, Democracy is widely regarded as a good choice for governance by new and old nations. Democracy can be defined as harmony between the government and its citizens, but the degree of citizen participation is a subject of continuing debate, with developing and ancient nations in various degree of development stage seeking their own national harmony. In time, various countries will achieve their own degree of democracy. However, it is certain that there will be no democracy if there is no harmony within a nation. Democracy must grow from a nation’s own fertile harmony soil.
Despite the worldwide progress toward national democracies, today’s unilateral world is very much in need of international democracy. International democracy can only come if the world is truly multinational, which heralds the coming of world harmony. The coming of world harmony will necessarily follow a global Harmony Renaissance. The tide of harmony renaissance is evitable. It is the next wave of creative energy that mankind is waiting for. Harmony Renaissance will lead mankind to a higher level of accomplishment beyond European renaissance.
DAOISM AND CONFUCIANISM RENAISSANCE FOR HARMONY RENAISSANCE
Daoism and Confucianism, as ancient cultures, predated Christianity, Buddhism and Islam faiths. Daoism (sometimes previously called Taoism) is a philosophy initiated by Laotze (in approximately 300 to 400 B.C.) to teach mankind to harmonize with nature. Laotze left us a 5000 word treatise named Dao De Jing (See Appendix B “A Daoist Renaissance”, author Anthony Alexander). The essence of his teaching is Dao. Dao is “the way” and also the invisible energy that created the universe (see Appendix D. Harmony Renaissance Preamble and Declaration). Since Dao is omnipresent and all prevalent, it was not necessary to contrive a manmade creator image in Daoist belief. Laotze and his disciple Zhungzi also taught man as part of nature in their famous philosophy “Tian Ren He Yi”, which means heaven and man in unity. The key Daoist belief is that all natural phenomena consist of two opposing forces, Yin and Yang, in dynamic balance. This dynamic balance belief extends to a broad spectrum of disciplines, including the practice of medicine, Fengshui and landscaping. The central theme in these practices is that man must harmonize with nature and his surroundings with minimal interference. These practices are directly in contrast to the Western belief that man, with his scientific knowledge, can exploit and conquer nature. For a comparison of East and West beliefs, see Appendix B, Daoist Renaissance by Anthony Alexander.
Confucius was a contemporary of Laotze and was supposed to have met with Laotze. He was regarded by his disciples as the master teacher. He travelled widely in China during the “Spring and Autumn” period to teach and advise rulers of many kingdoms in China. Spring and Autumn was the period when many philosophers flourished in what is called the period of “Let Hundreds of Flowers Bloom and Let Hundreds of Schools [of thought] Contend”. He is considered as the teacher who extended education to the poor. That is why China celebrates Teacher’s Day by remembering Confucius. He and his disciples left us with an abundance of writings, such as the Four Books, the Five Jings, and the Analect. (See Appendix C, The Confucian Renaissance by Todd Crowell)
Confucius taught morality and social order. As such, his teaching was adopted by all Chinese dynasties after Qin to maintain society order. The Ching emperors were invaders from the north, but they fully adopted Confucianism as the state philosophy to enforce control on the intellectuals. It was during the Ching dynasty that Confucianism teaching was carried to the extreme that invited criticism from within and without. During the late Ming Dynasty, the Chinese society was more liberal.
In moving towards modernity, Confucianism Renaissance must go through a distillation to become again a sublime modern philosophy. In this process, the most desirable result is to keep what is relevant and to discard what is not. No matter how good an ancient heritage is, it must not be allowed to become decadent and then extreme in practice. During Confucian times, it was said, “Citizens did not close their doors at night. People did not pocket what was lost on the street.”
Confucius’ teachings on harmony are sublime. There are abundant treasures on harmony teaching left by the master to us: such sayings as “Harmony is precious”, “Gentlemen prefer harmony over conformity. Petty people prefer conformity over harmony”. His teachings of Ren, universal love, include many virtues of Harmony Renaissance. His golden rule, “Do not apply to others what you do not wish” stands out among the other golden rules. His teaching of tolerance and acceptance can be summed up in a sublime saying, “The sea can accept hundreds of streams. It can only grow if it can contian.” This may explain why over her long history China accepted all major religions from outside. As big a nation as she is, China never felt the need to grow her own religion; as Confucius said, “Respect the supernatural but keep a distance”. As a result, there was never a major religious war fought inside China in her long continuous history.
China, as an ancient society, relied on its moral code as a gentlemen’s code of conduct. There was never heavy reliance on a system of laws for order. Morality was always above law in maintaining society order. There was an old saying “Hue Dei Wei Lao” which means one draws a circle on the ground as the prison to repent. Of course, in today’s complex and materialistic world with the multitude of temptations, a large nation must rely on law and a large police force to maintain order. Despite the extensive new laws modern China is writing, it will take time for China to adjust to a law-based society in her execution of the new laws that are promulgated so rapidly. A Chinese-American told me, “I have been very disappointed every time when I visited China. On street, people elbow their way; they do not obey traffic laws. The people are so impolite and unfriendly. Law to many people is only a noun with no context. It is a known fact that corruption in China is very common. I think the Chinese should learn from U.S. in many ways, not the other way around.” I can only say, be patient with the new China; 60 years is still very young. All cultures must learn from each other. That is the best way for each nation to develop.
In “A Daoist Renaissance”, author Anthony Alexander concludes, “But perhaps it is in the West that an appreciation of the Dao will bring the ripest fruit. This is primarily because Daoism is a philosophy of action that describes humanity as inescapably part of nature rather than in any way separate from it. The new paradigm of science, Gaia and systems theory remains a referential framework within the edifice of modern rationalist inquiry. It does not speak of individual ethical action with the same weight of experience as the millennia-old wisdom of Daoism. What the new paradigm of science offers is rational explanation for a model of nature that Daoism has built up by experience rather than analysis. They can be thought of as different paths up the same mountain, the view from which represents understanding of the natural world.”
In reviewing the modern history of the last three hundred years, one cannot help but come to a similar conclusion as Alexander. Religions from Middle East, Democracy from Greece, and Harmony from Far East all grew from ancient cultures. But America, the most endowed dynamic young country, is more rigorous in propagating Christianity and democracy around the world.
It may be more fruitful for America to combine U.S. values, such as human rights, with harmony components in Daoism and Confucianism that will be beneficial to a better ecology and lead to a more harmonious world. Judging by the past success of America in advocating and propagating Christiananity and Democracy, if history repeats itself, America can play a major role in spearheading Harmony Renaissance by leading China out of her current uncertainty in transitioning to a global power. In a multilateral world, all nations have a responsibility to practice Harmony Renaissance, especially major powers that are endowed with resources. What needs to happen is for President Obama, who claims himself as the first U.S. Pacific President, to continue his Harmony Diplomacy and exercise the Harmony value of soft power. Better yet, one can hope for America and China to reach a harmony consensus, as happened in the Copenhagen Climate Conference. That will certainly add needed momentum to the world Harmony Renaissance.
May Harmony Renaissance prevail in the world!
Francis C W Fung, Ph.D.
World harmony Organization
Edited by James C Townsend
President Obama calls for greater inter-faith harmony
Posted: Friday, June 5, 2009 7:08 pm
US President Barrack Obama used his first visit to Africa to call for religious harmony and an end to Islamic extremism often expressed violently. In his speech in Cairo yesterday, President Obama emphasized that “the people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth.”People should come together regardless of religious and racial differences and root out extremists who threaten world peace, the President said.He declared that the US is interested in raising the economic, education scientific status of Muslim communities around the world through exchange programs.“I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles - principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”His speech comes at a time that relations between the United States and the Muslim world are strained. After the September 9/11 continued efforts by extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some Americans to view Islam as inevitably hostile.President Obama acknowledged the fact that there are nearly 7 million Muslims in America and was happy that today they enjoyed incomes and education that are higher than average.The US President called for religious tolerance, recalling his childhood experience in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country.“That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it is being challenged in many different ways.”President Obama castigated the tendency among some Muslims to measure one's own faith by the rejection of another's. “The richness of religious diversity must be upheld - whether it is for Maronites in Lebanon or the Copts in Egypt. And fault lines must be closed among Muslims as well, as the divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to tragic violence, particularly in Iraq.”The President also urged Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit - for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. “We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.”On the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East, President Obama expressed his deep desire for lasting peace.“Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to minglepeacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.”Source: CISA
A DAOIST RENAISSANCE
Can China's ancient Dao philosophy help its current ecological crisis?
IN AUGUST 2005 the Chinese government formally commissioned British design consultancy Arup to create Dongtan Eco-city, a new urban development for 100,000 people just outside Shanghai. Opening in 2010, it will be a showcase for low-impact modern development and will be the largest of a number of projects China is undertaking to engage with sustainability.
China's environment has suffered many problems over the last half-century. In the words of Jasper Becker, writing in the National Geographic, "With 1.3 billion people the implications of its gallop towards Western-style consumer society are sobering." These are not just problems for China, facing a giant public health crisis, but for the whole world. The implementation of Western modernity at a rate and scale a thousand times greater than in the Industrial Revolution means China alone may conclusively tip global ecosystems to breaking point.
Professor Sir Peter Hall, president of the UK's Town and Country Planning Association and one of the consultants for Dongtan, describes China as full of contradictions: "On the one hand there are very deep beliefs in the harmony of the universe, as seen in their historic temples and gardens. On the other hand, there is this nightmarish worship of modernity." Today the Chinese Government is becoming aware that the nation's 3,000-year heritage should be a source of national pride. What is less apparent is the significance of their civilisation once being governed by the world's most sophisticated philosophy regarding human interrelation with the natural world.
The belief system we call Daoism dates back to at least 500 BCE and promotes long life, peace and the veneration of nature through understanding the Dao, or the Way of the natural world. Achieving harmony with the Dao is sought by understanding how qi energy flows through everything according to the principles of yin (yielding) and yang (asserting), and how these principles dynamically balance and interact. How is this ancient school of thought and practice relevant today? Can Daoism tell us anything today about our role in the world, and can it help either China or the West address the environmental crisis of the modern industrial world?
Daoism defies simple categorisation by Western academic method, as central to its approach to knowledge is personal experiential practice, as seen in the Daoist arts of wu-shu, better known in the West as T'ai chi and kung fu. Daoist ('traditional Chinese') medicine, increasingly familiar in the West, comprising herbalism and acupuncture, is known for its effectiveness, even if its explanations are at odds with modern science. Feng shui, too, far from being a guide to arranging one's furniture, was originally the sophisticated Daoist art of urban planning that would ensure that settlements lay in harmony with the landscape and would not be at risk from flooding, soil erosion and other similar natural calamities.
AN ORTHODOX DAOIST priesthood has existed since the 1st century CE. The height of its influence on the state was between the 7th and 14th centuries, when Emperors led Daoist rituals from the temple complexes that still perch on top of China's sacred mountains. Besides being global leaders in medicine, agriculture and urban planning they were also technologists who created countless inventions that we now take for granted, from wrought iron to gunpowder, folding umbrellas to paddle boats. The Daoist notion of spiritual technology, however, went so far as to imbue religious value to tools that benefited physical and spiritual development.
Yet the Chinese were unable to achieve a European-style Industrial Revolution, precisely because they did not pursue an objective or abstract conception of the universe independent from human subjectivity. In Europe, this abstraction permitted the mathematical modelling of nature that led to modern science and the mechanistic paradigm. It was this 'failure' that led to Daoism being suppressed as feudal superstition by the Qing (Manchu) dynasty in the early 20th century. However, the increasing persecution that followed the arrival of Mao in the 1940s led to a Chinese diaspora that has seen Daoist practices take root in the West. Meanwhile, longstanding Chinese communities in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan remained centres of Daoist culture.
Since the 1980s, under the auspices of the Chinese State Bureau of Religious Affairs there has been a revival of Daoism; the major sects of the Daoist priesthood have been steadily rebuilding their heritage, and the Chinese Daoist Association now includes some 45,000 priests and nuns in several thousand temples, monasteries and hermitages. They have been at the forefront of grassroots-level environmental work in China.
For nearly 2,000 years it has been the duty of Daoist priests to promote respect for nature and personal responsibility for the impact that one's actions have. Ordination rites once commanded priests to compel their congregations not to contaminate water, cut down trees unnecessarily or trap birds or animals. Universal peace was promoted not least because warfare involved a huge drain on natural resources, which often prompted further conflict.
The Daoist priesthood today encourages its millions of followers to cultivate new forest cover to repair denuded landscapes, to preserve wild habitats and to engage in social welfare and disaster relief. By directly working with their local communities, Daoists offer a practical bottom-up approach to counter the commendable, but poorly enforced, top-down environmental pronouncements from the central Government.
For Daoists, care for the Earth is religious duty as nature is sacred. Daoists pre-empt modern holistic scientists who know our atoms are born in the hearts of stars and our biology is inescapably linked to an interdependent ecosystem, as they see humanity as inseparable from Earth (nature) and Heaven (the sky and the universe). Their principal belief is that human intellect makes us uniquely capable of deviating from the natural order of the Dao for reasons of greed or ignorance; hence the need for Daoist teaching.
This profoundly practical insight makes Daoism greatly relevant today. At a fundamental level, Western thought seeks truth by what can be shown to be logically valid and is supported by experimental evidence. As such, it has a referential relationship with nature, founded on an idealised, abstract view that is external to the physical world it refers to. Daoist knowledge, by contrast, always perceives the natural world as something that can only be understood by experience, and as something that can be acted on only with due humility. Thus it has a 'deferential' view towards nature. The Chinese language itself does not give the same degree of certainty to words or names as Western languages do; hence specific reference is weaker and potential metaphorical association stronger. The Daoists' aesthetic approach to nature never escapes from the perspective of the individual, and the perception of nature is essentially an aspect of one's spiritual understanding.
ALTHOUGH DAOISTS PLAY an important and a growing role in modern China, on the surface they remain at the margins of society. The Daoist priesthood clearly sits in the role of a religious institution in a secular state, and it is concerned with preserving and practising an ancient tradition. Yet the broader philosophy of Daoism is so central a root of Chinese thought that it is as ubiquitous as, say, the Protestant work ethic is in the West; its deep influence is maintained despite the rise of secularism.
Paradox and contradiction are constructs of Western logic, and so the two intellectual and cultural ideologies of traditional Chinese metaphysics and industrial modernity remain in a strange but workable juxtaposition in modern China. Is a synthesis between the two possible? For China, a newly found respect for its heritage and an understanding of the role it played may open a new awareness of the natural world and an understanding of the consequence of human action that does not respect the power of the Dao. Daoism is finding a new role, and has wisely pronounced its compatibility with the socialist status quo by highlighting its role in promoting moral behaviour, altruism and personal responsibility. The focus on balance as a spiritual virtue means restraining from greed and wasteful (bourgeois) extravagance whilst promoting basic material welfare and reduction of poverty. Wealth is something that it is right to seek, but not if it creates disharmony. The Chinese government is currently looking at how it can interpret economic growth in a new way. The China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development is considering economic frameworks for clean, green growth. Whether Daoism will be considered in processes such as this or in projects such as Dongtan is hard to say.
But perhaps it is in the West that an appreciation of the Dao will bring the ripest fruit. This is primarily because Daoism is a philosophy of action that describes humanity as inescapably part of nature rather than in any way separate from it. The new paradigm of science, Gaia and systems theory, remains a referential framework within the edifice of modern rationalist inquiry. It does not speak of individual ethical action with the same weight of experience as the millennia-old wisdom of Daoism. What the new paradigm of science offers is rational explanation for a model of nature that Daoism has built up by experience rather than analysis. They can be thought of as different paths up the same mountain, the view from which represents understanding of the natural world.
Just as chaos theory shows that the universe can never be fully comprehended by human intellect, the Daoist classic Daode Jing begins by stating that the eternal Dao is beyond human definition. The Dao can be thought of as essentially describing the laws of science in action. The principles of yin and yang describe how systems behave, mirroring aspects of positive and negative feedback, where one amplifies and strengthens and the other weakens and dissipates.
Any Westerner learning Daoist arts aids the renaissance of a belief system that is radically different from that of the modern world. As China reopens to the outside world - for only the second time in the modern era - the West is encountering a civilisation built on profoundly different beliefs from those of the Semitic and Greek traditions. Today, China is looking to the West for advice on solving its environmental problems, from the Dongtan Eco-city to William McDonough's cradle-to-cradle sustainable village in Huangbaiyu.
If it is these projects that are scaled up to accommodate the 350 million people expected to move into urban developments in China over the next twenty-five years, and if sustainability can spread throughout urban China, then there is hope for a better future. Daoism shows that only by living in harmony with nature can humanity avoid misery. We must hope that an appreciation for the upper limits of acceptable human impact on the ecosystems on which our lives depend can be achieved and acted upon. Fortunately the philosophy of Daoism offers some hope that the latest understandings of environmental science can be balanced with an ancient environmental wisdom to offer a harmonious future for the East and the West. o
Anthony Alexander is a writer, artist and film-maker. www.greenmanproductions.co.uk
The Confucian renaissance
> By Todd Crowell
> "It is clear the success of Japan and the "Four Tigers" (Korea, > Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore) owe much to such essential Confucian > precepts as self-discipline, social harmony, strong families and a > reverence for education."
> In his 19th-century classic, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of > Capitalism, German sociologist Max Weber argued that Asian values were > incompatible with the development of a modern economic system. He saw > in the brand of Christianity practiced in northern Europe the only > ethical system with the attributes needed to make capitalism work.
> At the beginning of the 20th century, many Asian intellectuals might > have agreed with him. Commenting on Confucianism, the Chinese leftist > thinker, Chen Duxiu, said in 1916, "If we want to build a new society > on the Western model in order to survive in
> the world, we must courageously throw away that which is incompatible > with the new belief, the new society, the new state."
> History, of course, has proved Weber and Chen wrong. It is now plain > that the most dynamic practitioners of capitalism at the dawn of the > 21st century are to be found in Asia. More strikingly, all of them are > located within what might be called a Confucian cultural zone.
> It is clear the success of Japan and the "Four Tigers" (Korea, Taiwan, > Hong Kong and Singapore) owe much to such essential Confucian precepts > as self-discipline, social harmony, strong families and a reverence > for education. That has led to unprecedented - and increasingly broad- > based international interest in the creed. Yet the Confucian > renaissance may only be in its early phases.
> For most of the last century, Confucius (or Kongfuzi - Master Kong) > has been under a cloud in his homeland. Everyone from late Qing > dynasty reformers to revolutionary communists blamed his teaching for > a host of ills, ranging from feudal oppression to economic > backwardness. But recently, Beijing's leaders have begun to > characterize the sage's philosophy as a national treasure that will > benefit today's Chinese.
> September's official celebration of the birth of Confucius was the > biggest since the People's Republic of China was established in 1949. > The state-controlled television broadcast festivities surrounding his > 2,556th birthday on September 28 on a scale never before seen in > China. More than 2,500, including many fairly high-ranking Communist > Party cadres, made a pilgrimage to the philosopher's birthplace at > Qufu in Shandong province.
> The latest government line is that Confucianism can serve as a moral > foundation to help build a more "harmonious society" in keeping with > President (and Communist Party General Secretary) Hu Jintao's efforts > to address social problems such as the polarization of society and a > wide spread "money first" mentality.
> It is little surprise that Chinese leaders are seeking to rehabilitate > their country's most famous and influential thinker. In the moral void > opened by the decline of Marxism and the abundance of material > temptations, Confucianism can help provide the nation with a much- > needed ethical anchor. And success in these endeavors would allow > China's leaders to strengthen their hold on another Confucian bequest > - the "mandate of heaven", or the right to rule.
> What is the relevance of Confucianism in modern times? Which tenets > have served East Asia well - and could help other nations and > cultures? What are the pitfalls to be avoided? Of all the world's > great canons, Confucianism is the most practical. What concerned him > most were people's relationships with one another and with the state. > He also focused on social justice and good government. Ren or > benevolence was the pillar of the master's thought.
> Another was learning. Whether East Asian countries include The > Analects (sayings of Confucius) in their social curriculums, they all > understand that education is the root of national strength and > prosperity. The ingrained respect for knowledge - and for the teacher > who imparts it - is the key factor in the outstanding academic > performance of East Asians on a global basis.
> One can see Confucianism alive in a modern way in Singapore when a > secondary student is reprimanded for blogging about his teacher in a > negative light. For that matter, the Pennsylvania court that upheld a > school district for expelling a student who, ranting on the Internet, > called his teacher a range of bad names and displayed a picture with > her head cut off was also, knowingly or not, upholding Confucian > values.
> Yet the long-time preoccupation with reciting the Nine Classics > (ancient musical pieces) has also produced educational systems in Asia > that stress memorization at the expense of creative thinking. This is > a distortion of Confucian philosophy, which emphasized both knowledge > and thought. The master said: "He who does not think is lost. He who > thinks but does not learn is in great danger."
> To the master, the family was fundamental to the social order. "If the > family is properly regulated, the state will be too," he reasoned. No > amount of legislation, Confucius taught, could either take the > family's place or perform its function as the linchpin of a well- > ordered society. In the master's world, children defer to parents, > wives to their husbands and subjects to rulers in a natural > progression.
> He tended to relegate women to the margins of public affairs, though > he may merely have been reflecting the prevalent values of his time. > Today a nation shortchanges itself if it does not follow a saying of > another Chinese thinker, Mao Zedong, "women hold up half the sky".
> In return for the loyalty of subjects, Confucius demanded that a ruler > display benevolence and unstintingly serve their interests. If he > didn't, citizens had the right to remonstrate. Mencius, the second- > most influential Confucian philosopher, later developed the concept of > a "divine right of rebellion". If an emperor became a tyrant, he would > lose the mandate of heaven and people would overthrow him. Today they > might simply throw the leader out of office in an election. Confucius > and democracy are not incompatible.
> Throughout history, the rigid and unthinking application of Confucian > principles repeatedly produced complacent closed societies that were > unable to make progress. They paid a terrible price: foreign > subjugation and internal upheaval. Modern Confucians must guard > against repeating such mistakes. If they succeed in adapting their > time-tested heritage to contemporary challenges, Master Kong's > teaching may blossom beyond East Asia to enrich all mankind in the > next century.
> Veteran Asia correspondent Todd Crowell comments on Asian affairs.
Harmony Renaissance Preamble & Declaration
HARMONY RENAISSANCE PREAMBLE
In the East harmony as a social science theory was evolved from natural science observation by Lao Zi. Human in harmony with the universe is called Tian Ren He Yi.
Einstein was also quoted as saying the order of nature is not accidental. Harmony is the order of nature. Harmony belongs to the World and to the Universe.
HARMONY RENAISSANCE DECLARATION
Harmony is the highest common value. Renaissance is action. Together they have life. Harmony is the order of natural science and the fundamental law of the universe. Harmony is dynamic energy balance and is also the principle of universe creation. From the very beginning, the Universe is created by the infinite invisible energy in the firmament. The invisible energy that created the universe can also be called DAO.
Lao Zi said "Dao created one, one created two, two created three, three created all things. All things carry Ying and embrace Yang. Dynamic balance creates harmony." Lao Zi's harmony theory of universe is in unison with modern quantum physics. Harmony renaissance is the guiding principle to be applied to natural and social sciences. It is the break through that will take us to the next level of human creativity andaccomplishment beyond European Renaissance.
WORLD HARMONY ORGANIZATION
SPRING 2006, SAN FRANCISCO
World Harmony Organization
Spring, 2006, San Francisco