Scholars: Confucianism offers modern-day, global solutions
The wisdom of Confucius, dating back more than 2,500 years, can be borrowed to solve the world's problems today and to protect cultural diversity amid the process of globalization, said officials and international scholars at the eighth World Confucian Conference held last week in Qufu, Shandong province, the hometown of the ancient Chinese philosopher and educator.
The theme of the conference was "Confucianism and a community of shared future". More than 250 researchers took part in the event, including 96 people from over 30 countries and regions.
"Confucianism, created by Confucius, has had a profound influence on Chinese civilization, and has become a key part of traditional Chinese culture," said Wang Shengjun, vice-chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, at the opening ceremony.
He said Confucian influences have been felt far beyond China and Asia, as the scholar was highly lauded by a number of Western thinkers, such as Voltaire, Montesquieu and Rousseau, and has made a significant contribution to the progress of human civilization.
China's Minister of Culture Luo Shugang said in a keynote speech at the conference that Confucian ideas can play an important role in promoting international exchange and that Confucian culture, focusing on harmony, will help to build a community based on a shared future.
He called for an improved system to pass down Chinese traditional culture and protect cultural heritage.
The Chinese government has been seeking national governance-related wisdom by learning from Confucian ideas, as well as other traditional cultures and altitudes.
"No country can stay aloof or immune from the current economic complexities and many other global problems, such as regional conflicts, environmental challenges and a shortage of natural resources," Wang Shengjun said.
"To build a community based on a shared future, we need nutrition from all the cultural fruits that humankind has created, including Confucianism, and to seek solutions through cultural exchange."
Tu Weiming, an American-Chinese scholar of Confucian studies and a professor at Peking University, said the spiritual humanism rooted in the Confucian tradition is "an insight worth exploring".
"Spiritual humanism underscores dialogue, reconciliation and harmony by advocating the Confucian idea of unity of heaven and humanity, a sense of reverence toward heaven, respect and care for the Earth, and a community based on trust," he said
Tu added that "the time is ripe for us to engage in dialogues on core values".
"The universal values embodied in the Enlightenment mentality of the modern West, such as liberty, rationality, legality, rights and the dignity of individuals, should be compared and enriched by other universal values embodied in spiritual humanism, such as rightness, sympathy, civility, responsibility and social solidarity.
"The emerging global community is highly differentiated by primordial ties. As a result, plurality and multifacetedness characterizes the cultural scene throughout the world."
Johnny Montalvo Falcon, a professor at ESAN University in Peru, said globalization has involved an intensification of the economic, commercial and financial flows among all the countries in the world, as well as the standardization of institutions and closer encounters between all cultures on the planet.
"In a world where all is interconnected and online communication is immediate, it is possible to forge a consensus on what the human needs of life are in order to improve them.
"In a world fraught with difficulties, where the volatility of markets often provokes crisis and people's impoverishment, it is necessary to learn from the masters of antiquity. The thoughts of Confucius can provide vital proposals to humanity in the current period of history."
One of the examples of a global solution with Confucian ideas is the Belt and Road Initiative, said Falcon, as it seeks to "integrate the world and build great harmony in the concert of nations through a network of interconnection".
The eighth World Confucian Conference was held last week in Qufu, Shandong province, the hometown of the ancient Chinese philosopher.Provided to China Daily
(China Daily 09/25/2017 page12)