Erenlai - New Ethical Challenges 全球化之下的倫理重建
New Ethical Challenges 全球化之下的倫理重建

New Ethical Challenges 全球化之下的倫理重建

Here are testimonies and analyses that explore business ethics, life technology ethics, and environmental ethics - all fields that determine the way we conceive our nature, monitor our social conducts and foresee our future.

全球化的浪潮也捲起一波波對倫理重建的討論。從跨國企業到生命科學,從教育體系到宗教與社會倫理,我們窺見不同區域中的反省力量可能帶來的轉變與啟示!

 

週一, 31 十二月 2007

美國的暴力文化何時了?

美國標榜的民主令人也對民主的概念產生了疑問,因為在民主自由風氣的背後是一片黑暗的色情和暴力文化。

姜川 撰文 何麗霞 編輯

網絡暴力、家庭因素、心理問題、槍支文化、社會根源等各種因素導致了二○○七年在美國土地上一系列的槍擊案,而犯罪主角的低齡化更使我們不得不沉思:我們的孩子怎麽了?十九歲的羅伯特霍金斯製造的二○○七年美國最嚴重的商場槍擊案,弗吉利亞理工大學槍擊案的兇手趙成煕都是八十年代出生的青年。
毋庸置疑的是,八十年代出生的青年擁有許多社會資源和成長的優越環境,尤其在美國這樣一個經濟發達,充滿人文素質的國度,青年們的社會服務意識不斷增加,易於展示自己,充滿自信,具有主人翁意識,獨立生存能力強等,但是信仰缺失,精神沙漠化,鬱悶等也成爲他們成長的障礙。
這些新生代享受資訊帶來的便利,他們在電腦、網絡、手機、MP3等環境成長,但是在網絡背後卻是他們「騷動」的心態和浮躁的人生態度,並且養成了他們自我中心的孤傲,慢慢地缺乏同情的心理,無法與他人建立良好的關係,更注重於物質的追求和享受,而忽略了精神層面的需求。
此外,從美國社會文化來看,眾所周知,美國是公民擁有槍支最多的國家。在二○○七年四月弗吉利亞州理工大學發生趙成煕槍殺事件後,美國槍支協會作了一個調查,平均每十個美國人就擁有九支槍,槍支總量和人均比例都排名世界第一。最近十多年來美國數以萬計的暴力犯罪大部分都與槍支有關,雖然許多民間人士,尤其是許多母親,要求國會取締擁有槍支的合法性,並且制定嚴格的槍支管理方式。事實上,正是槍支的泛濫才造成暴力的苗頭,並且為青少年的暴力行爲提供了便利的工具。如同其他國家一樣,美國崇尚民主自由,弔詭的是,美國標榜的民主令人也對民主的概念產生了疑問,因為在民主和自由風氣的背後是一片黑暗的色情和暴力文化。
美國的大衆傳媒也在這個所謂民主的過程中扮演了非常消極的角色。在今天的美國社會,打開報紙,觀看電視、電影、電子遊戲或者網絡訊息,處處充斥著暴力與色情,在耳聞目睹間使年青人形成一種扭曲的價值體系。再加上美國的家庭暴力,日益增加的離婚率,毒品的泛濫,一一把青少年推向暴力的邊緣,而對於容易獲得槍支的他們,暴力的結果就會更加嚴重。
爲此,除了在槍支管制方面有待加強外,學校、家庭、父母、團體和社區都應當深入地關注青少年在成長過程的綜合發展。當這些青少年在一個良好的,充滿愛的,良好的價值體系成長過來,則會減少社會暴力的發生。另外一方面而言,現代資本主義社會強調的功利主義,俗化思潮讓人心的道德倫理漸漸淪落,而導致人心靈的扭曲和精神的變異。當一個社會缺乏良好的道德體系和情感─—最基本的人文基礎,僅有外在的法律條文是不夠的,它還要求內在的心靈皈依以及對生命的尊重。
如果美國的社會文化不能徹底剷除暴力的滋生,悲劇還會重覆上演,而且越演越烈,這不僅僅是美國人,而且也是整個世界和社會需要深刻反思的問題。在新的一年裡,讓我們一起努力建立充滿愛與和諧的世界和社會。

附加的多媒體:
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週三, 21 十一月 2007

The ambiguity and the challenge of being Asian

The boundaries of the geographic continent of “Asia” are clearly delineated on every world map, making it a specific readily identifiable land area with some nearby islands thrown in. But what it means to be “Asian” is not so readily defined, because Asia encompasses such a variety of topographies and climates and races and cultures and languages and religions, so that to have any specific meaning the word “Asian” needs to be qualified. Russians and Arabs and Jews and Indians and Orientals and Indonesians are all Asian. The Himalayan Mountains, the Gobi Desert, the Ganges Valley, the Russian Steppes, the Arabian Peninsula, the Philippine Islands are all Asian. Will the real Asian please stand up! Each one is really Asian; each one is really different. Can any single one truly represent what it means to be Asian? Is there any single Asian language or mentality that gives them all some corporate unity? Is there anything that distinguishes them from the rest of the world? I believe that there is.

The creation of a political union or a religious union would seem quite out of the question at this time, but what about a union of trade and commerce and mutual support and development, no longer yielding the initiatives to Europeans or Americans or Africans. The one thing that Chinese and Indians and Arabs have in common is that they are not European or American or African. They share an area of the earth that does not belong to and is not occupied by Americans or Europeans or Africans. Without turning off the flow of investments from abroad or the charitable involvement of outsiders in the improvement of undeveloped Asian minorities, it is time for the peoples of Asia to accept full responsibility and assume full control over the political and economic destiny of their continent, so that each culture not only continues to flourish, but each one is proud to be Asian and fully involved in making sure that Asia has a dominant role in global affairs.

 

The creation of such a unification of purpose, sense of common brotherhood and mutual pulling together while preserving each one’s unique identity and independence will not be easy. Someone is going to have to emerge as a leader, someone as a trusted guru, others daring to take the first steps, others willing to follow their lead, the Americans, Europeans and Africans willing to pull back their dominating insistence on things being done their way. There will be successes and there will be failures. But what needs to emerge is an Asia for Asians by Asians for the benefit of the whole world.

 


週一, 23 七月 2007

Four Overriding Global Concerns

Cultural Diversity, Sustainable Development, Awareness and Responsibility.

In ancient times when people were few, they had to fend for themselves. Survival of one’s immediate family was one’s only concern. Then as external threats multiplied it became expedient for friends and neighbors to join together for mutual support and protection. This led to the formation of clans, tribes and ultimately nations and empires. These clans, tribes and nations were initially held together by common language, common concerns and cultural identity. The bonds between them were strongest when they were unified against belligerent foes. They were weakest in times of peace when everyone’s sole concern was his or her own family and business, which usually led to greed and corruption, selfishness and immorality and ultimately dissolution and defeat. A new nation or empire would arise which now had a new mix of cultural diversity, that of the vanquished joined to that of the conquerors. Eventually each would assimilate the other or they would develop separately in an uneasy truce.

In any case, the world is now blessed with an abundance of races, nations, languages, cultures, religions, political persuasions, and economic systems, in such a way that in almost every region they are intermingled side by side in competition for dominance or just struggling for survival.

Since this is so, one of the overriding global problems of the present day is how to create one world out of many without eliminating any, that is, not how to eliminate or subjugate the various minorities or how to create some new hybrid society, but how to preserve and protect each cultural heritage in the gardens of diversity through mutual respect and interaction and common destiny.

Cultural diversity is not the world’s only concern. Whether personal, tribal, or national, the aim has always been to protect what one possesses and to take what one needs. In times of an abundance of resources this creates no problem at all. One simply grabs what one wants whenever one wants and throws it away whenever it is no longer useful.

Ordinarily there doesn’t seem to be any pressing need to consider the consequences of what one does, especially those that are still far off in a distant future. But nowadays it is becoming more and more evident that the natural resources of materials, minerals and food supplies are quite limited and in some cases nearly exhausted. Furthermore, the indiscriminant disposal of trash and the byproducts of industrialization being pumped into the atmosphere or emptied into rivers or dumped onto or into the ground are polluting the environment, affecting the weather and endangering health. Not only this, it turns out that many of the things we eat are responsible for cancer, calories, and cholesterol, all of which can shorten our lives to say nothing of the smoking, lack of sufficient exercise and improper nutritional balance that also constitute serious threats to our health and well-being.

Thus there is a second overriding global concern of the present day, namely, the exponentially increasing challenges of managing the world’s limited resources, preventing pollution to the environment, and adopting healthier life styles.

It does little good for scientists to expose impending dangers, if no one pays any attention to what they are saying. It is futile for experts to point out solutions, if governments are reluctant to pay for them or hesitate to face the sacrifices that must be made. It is extremely difficult to convince anyone to change the way he or she lives if they aren’t convinced that change is necessary or they would rather take their chances than give up anything or they simply feel that it is not their responsibility.

Thus there is a third overriding global concern of the present day: how to get everyone to see the seriousness of the problems and convince them of their personal responsibility to do their part in prevention and restoration. Until there is a universal cry for help and a universal commitment to action, there is little hope that there will be any significant global reduction of waste and pollution.

This can only come about through two levels of leadership:

1. Strong charismatic leaders at the top whose message and inspiration effectively fire up the government and mobilize the masses;
2. charismatic concerned leaders at the bottom who stir up the masses to demand action and direction from the top.

Both of these efforts are paying off. Some governments more than others are taking steps to preserve dwindling resources and eliminate areas of pollution. In many places the masses are responding to calls for less smoking and better diets and willingly participate in recycling and the use of biodegradable products, etc. But so far these are mainly cosmetic and relatively inexpensive measures. In the matters of global warning, industrial pollution and developing alternate sources of energy there is often little agreement about what to do; there is resistance to change or loss of revenue; there is lack of effective international cooperation and unified effort.

Thus there is a fourth overriding global concern of the present day: how to reach a common consensus about what to do, how to attain international agreement and commitment, how to get national and multinational corporations to sacrifice some of their present profits to make the radical changes necessary to assure future pollution-free, resource-friendly products.

Where do I as an ordinary citizen fit into this picture? As I see it I do have some responsibilities:
1. I should be aware of these problems and keep abreast of current information;
2. I should willingly participate in all public projects such as re-cycling, litter removal, etc.
3. I should see to it that I and those for whom I am responsible use biodegradable materials whenever possible, protect and preserve our own environment, buy and use whenever we can only products that are the least polluting, maintain proper nutritionally balanced healthy diets and exercise, etc.
4. I should vote responsibly and make my concerns and convictions known to those who make and regulate public policies.

If every neighbor cleaned up his or her own yard, the neighborhood would be clean. If every industry reformed itself, the whole city or nation would be transformed. If every nation accepted full responsibility for cleaning up its own air, preserving its own resources and protecting its own environment, the whole globe would benefit. Only if every citizen does his or her part can the nation do fully its part.


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週一, 16 七月 2007

What kind of journalists do we need today?

There used to be an aura about journalism: typewriter, cigarettes, sandwiches and Watergate-like investigations were all part of it. Not much of it is still alive. Typewriters are definitely out. Smoking is not cool anymore, and eating sandwiches is bad for your health. As to investigations, they are now supposed to be conducted online by determined bloggers who make use of their collective intelligence and power for bringing culprits to virtual scaffolds. In a Web 2.0 world, no space is left for lonely cowboys and journalists. Anyway, who now bothers to read newspapers?

And yet, we do need journalists. We need them even more now that information is circulating in such a way as to make it less traceable than was the case before, less relevant and more dubious than at any time in modern history. Internet info-mediators are certainly a precious resource for enlarging our access to the world, but professional journalism compensates for the amateurish outlook of the information age. Journalism might be less glamorous than in the past; still, the profession remains indispensable in a truly democratic society.

What kind of journalists do we need? Some key words will never change: humility, integrity and decency remain core values. Professionalism is not an empty word either. In this trade, it refers to a capacity to analyze a source, to quote it in a correct way, to confront and link together various items of information, and to detect contradictions in the accounts of a case. It also means that the journalist must somehow specialize in a field of expertise: science is a tricky field, but we need cold-blooded, rigorous journalists for helping us to critically evaluate the nature of a scientific discovery; economics and business might be tedious, but we need sharp-tongued journalists who will go beyond the optimistic statements of entrepreneurs and central bankers; war reporting is certainly a dangerous exercise but who else will report on war crimes and hopes for reconciliation than a fearless reporter? Professionalism also means the capacity to master a number of techniques and media that interconnect. A professional journalist goes from the Internet to the newspaper and is able to blur the frontier of written, audio and visual reportage in a way that his or her predecessors would never have dreamt of.

Last but not least, a journalist is an ‘interdisciplinary specialist.” In a world of divided languages, he specializes in bringing together different fields of expertise and shaping the language through which knowledge and analytical capacity remain a common social asset. In that respect also journalism is indispensable to the democratic fabric. The glamour might have faded, but the challenge is greater than ever!

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Know more about eRenlai statement

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週三, 27 六月 2007

IT and Sustainability Culture

The growth of information technologies (IT) and the development of global awareness of sustainability issues have happened around the same time but, till now, have been largely independent phenomena. IT was linked with accelerated growth, had a marginal effect on energy consumption, and its promoters had an upbeat vision of the future that contrasted with the gloomy outlook of the prophets of frugality and zero growth society. The early promoters of sustainability were mainly concerned with traditional industries, and they were certainly wary of the speculative euphoria associated with IT start-ups.

For sure, there has been a meeting-point: the Internet has allowed for the spreading of news and analyses that have been conducive of more awareness on global warming and other issues. It might be no coincidence that Al Gore has been the self-dubbed ‘inventor” of the Internet and is now the most famous promoter of environmental causes. This does not mean that the Internet is “pro-sustainability” per se: it also induces extra-consumption, accrued individualism and socially deviant behaviors… Taken as a whole, the Internet exacerbates both the positive and the negative effects of the dynamics it creates, while its overall influence remains “neutral.”

And yet IT seems to have become a crucial field for further development of a global sustainability culture. Why so?
- First, IT are not as negligible in the field of resources consumption as they used to be. Being ubiquitous, the computer is now targeted for the waste it creates both in the manufacturing process and in terms of energy consumption. “Green computers’ might be on the way but they are not truly available yet. IT is not yet a model, “clean” industry, whatever its public image might be!
- Second, the battle about sustainability is played in the field of public opinion and social practices, i.e. throughout all the communication channels created and managed by IT. The industry might help in shaping a global consciousness of the challenges ahead, even more so if its driving forces show a clear sense of their corporate social responsibility.
- Third, sustainability is about management of complexity. A global shift in our model of development requires a systemic approach, taking into account countless information on economy, social systems, climatic changes, citizens’ values, resources consumption, etc. Luckily, this necessity to manage systemic complexity happens at a time when “collective intelligence” is being enhanced through technological channels that generate a culture of global discernment. IT has become the tool through which the technical issues that together define the sustainability challenge can be understood and answered as an organic whole.
- Finally, shifting the values systems that govern our relationships to nature, our consumption patterns and our global visions requires a change in educational model. Education is the way to bridge the digital gaps by relying more on distance learning and multimedia tools and fostering interaction among groups of people previously ignorant of each other. This is the only road for creating an awareness of sustainability issues that would be shaped and shared by different cultures and regions. This is exactly where an IT-based educational model can prove its efficiency.

IT is more than a set of technologies – it is now a “dominant’ culture. We might still be able to shape the characteristics of this culture, making it a vector of solidarity and collective responsibility in a world often blinded by the imperatives of quick profit and continuous growth. This is also an imperative for IT itself. For, in the long run, if IT wants to remain a sustainable industry it has first to develop a culture of sustainability.
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Have you heard about Corporate Social Responsability (CSR)? Here is a channel for China’s CSR professionals to come together. Go to www.china-crossroads.com

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週三, 27 六月 2007

The Many Faces of Justice

[...]

Justice is often depicted as a blindfolded woman with a balance scale in her hand. This is supposed to be a sign of her impartiality. She is not swayed by bribes nor by any consideration for personal advantage or connection with the litigants, but only by the facts in the case. It is the facts and only the facts that decide the issue. Thus, the resultant resolution is just. Each side gets what it deserves. Right?

Perhaps, if one could see very clearly all the facts as in a clear cut criminal case where the defendant is obviously and beyond doubt guilty, so the verdict of guilty is just and correct. But actually, the annals of justice record many, many instances where the judgments of the moment seemed just, but turned out to be wrong. Not all the facts had been discovered or those that were had been misinterpreted, so the wrong person was condemned or the accused culprit was declared not guilty.

A much better image of justice would not be a blindfold, but a magnifying glass through which the truth, the facts, are thoroughly examined together with a sieve through which the facts are impartially sorted into troughs that lead to their proper disposition free from any interference of prejudice, anger or self-interest.

[...]

(Photo by C.P.)
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週四, 26 四月 2007

Sustainability, the Third Wave of the Taiwan Miracle

End of April 2007, Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration indicated that each Taiwanese produces about 12 metric tons of CO2 each year, for a world average of 4 tons. By comparison, each U.S. citizen produces 20 tons, while the figure in South Korea and Singapore is 11 tons. Other data show that global warming has resulted in the proportion of high-temperature days rising very fast during the last five years. Even more significant is the fact that Taiwan’s increase of carbon emission is the highest in the world. Other figures could be cited, that would show Taiwan’s lagging far behind Korea and Japan when it comes to treated urban sewage for instance.

It is to be hoped that such figures as well as the unfolding debate on global warming will convince Taiwan that shifting towards a more sustainable model of development is essential for its international standing. Sustainability is, first and foremost, a set of attitudes and policy that can greatly enhance Taiwan’s quality of life and economic strategy. It is also a way of mobilizing its considerable resources towards the well-being of the region and the world, reaching a new kind of moral status. Taiwan’s cultural diversity equips it with a variety in models of thought, inventiveness and technical assets that is to be mobilized in order to develop a strategy of sustainability anchored into grassroots realities.

During the sixties and seventies, Taiwan’s rapid growth constituted the country’s first wave of modernization and internationalization. In the eighties and nineties, democratization was Taiwan’s second wave of globalization. Since then, its growing diplomatic isolation makes it less sensitive to global trends and international pressure. Let us hope that the country finally understands that becoming leader in building an Asian model of sustainable development would be the third wave of the Taiwan’s miracle. And, as happened during the first and the second wave, the world would take notice.
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週四, 26 四月 2007

Some Educated Guesses about Education

Today I was inspired to write about education because I rediscovered in my old papers an essay I wrote when I was twelve years old. It was submitted in an essay contest for six-graders. I don’t think I won, because I would probably remember if I had, but I am struck by how closely it describes what I still believe about education sixty-three years later after surviving twenty-four years of education.

Whenever I think to write about a topic, I often look it up first on the internet. Even a cursory look at what Google says about education shows that there are almost as many opinions and controversies about what education is as there are educators and critics. There are many ways of looking at education. It can be the process of learning or what is learned. There are arguments about what should be taught and about how it should be taught. It is praised and vilified. It depends upon one’s point of view and especially on one’s ideals.

Is the purpose of education just the accumulating of information? to build character? To cram the mind with facts that will soon be forgotten? to teach how to think forming people who can discern and think for themselves? to empower people with the skills they need to obtain a livelihood? to impart culture and appreciation for literature, art and music? to develop imagination and creativity? to equip people for independence and action? To indoctrinate and brainwash, propagating some ism? to control the masses? to pass on the treasures of the past or to go beyond them? to pass on opinions, theories or hypotheses as facts? to turn everyone into identical moulds or to develop and enhance their individuality?

In a sense everything above is true sometimes somewhere. Schools teach what their Boards of Directors dictate, teachers impart their own ideas and opinions. Fortunate the students with the opportunity to attend schools with sound curricula and enlightened teachers. Fortunate those who manage to educate themselves without those helps.

Education should transmit information, but even more importantly how to interpret the data. Education should give us the skills and tools necessary for meaningful, satisfying livelihoods, not as jacks of all trades but expert in what is important for each individual’s goals and success. Education should prepare us for enjoying our leisure time, instilling interest and appreciation for art, literature, music, sports, hobbies. Education should develop our imaginations and creativity and open our eyes to worlds and possibilities beyond us, so at least we won’t mind others going there though we don’t. Education teaches us how to recognize what is true and what isn’t, to discern what is important and what is unimportant, to discriminate what is fact and what opinion, and to judge properly what should be done and what should not. Education should be tailored to the capacities of the students, but always aim just a little higher. Not everyone has the ability to go all the way, but even those with the lowest I.Q.s can be taught something to make their lives more pleasant and meaningful.

Not the best education system in the world will succeed if the students will not listen or learn. The secret to good teaching is the teacher’s ability to instill the appetite for learning and to make the process pleasant and entertaining and memorable. As Educator Gail Goodwin once said: “Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater.” Just as teachers have different ways of teaching, students have different ways of learning. Some rely primarily on what they hear, others on what the see, or what they read. The trick is to get them to think about what they are learning so it becomes part of them, because they have added something of themselves. Passive reception of what one is taught is not as effective as hands on participation and involvement and personal contribution. A goal of education should to enable the students to go on educating themselves the rest of their lives.

As usual I turned to the internet for meaningful quotes. Some are very critical of what is taught or how it is taught. Some are more positive expressing the goals that education should ideally aim for. Some are wordy and boring. I prefer the witty ones that come right to the point, but one long one really moved me. It was the words of Helen Keller who was both blind and deaf.

Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding line, and no way of knowing how near the harbor was. “Light! Give me light!” was the wordless cry of my soul, and the light of love shone on me in that very hour.

Education, however is not just the shedding of light, but in being able to know and follow where the light leads. That is why I like the following quote from George Savile , English Marquis of Halifax in the 17th century:

Education is what remains when we have forgotten all that we have been taught.

This echoed by Elbert Hubbard:

The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher.

As Alfred Lord Tennyson said:

Knowledge comes, but wisdom stays.

And by the poet William B. Yeats:

Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire.

Finally in the same vein is a saying of Edmund S. Wilson who thinks one’s Q.Q. is more important than one’s I.Q.

Only the curious will learn and only the resolute will overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient.

There are quite a number of interesting proverbs and sayings that deal with education and learning.
Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand. (Native American saying)
Whatever is good to know is difficult to learn.
(Greek Proverb)
Learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back. (Chinese Saying)
He who asks a question is a fool for a minute; he who does not remains a fool forever. (Chinese Proverb)
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. (Lao-Tzu)
The final quote is my own, namely that essay I wrote when I was twelve. It was entitled “What Education Means to Me”.
Education should provide me with suitable instruction to fit me for the duties of adult life. It should cover such qualities as virtue, wisdom, good manners and knowledge.
Virtue is necessary for the true art of living. It should guide me in the right relation of things temporal as well as things spiritual. It should teach me courage and honesty.
Wisdom will give me understanding of truth and justice. A mind will give greater understanding of life and its problems.
The learning and practice of good manners will develop good behavior and consideration and kindness to others. Correct social forms are essential to be a part of good society.
Knowledge will help to perfect my natural abilities, so that they will provide me with a livelihood. The study of music and reading of good books will broaden my mind and help me to enjoy life to the fullest extent. Sports and recreation are essential for well being.
A good foundation based on the above should help me to carry out the duties of citizenship and to be a respected member of society. It will give me an appreciation of the better things of life.
I am amazed at how this still rings true today.

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週二, 27 三月 2007

In Between Right and Wrong

 

For some people life is like a succession of computer games. It is a constant state of war. The object is to kill the enemy before the enemy kills you. So long as you successfully eliminate the enemy the game goes on. If you are eliminated, then you start a new game. There is no peace, only the interval between games.

For some people life is just a confrontation between right and wrong. Right is what they believe is right. Wrong is whatever anyone else believes is right that is not the same as what they believe. There is no middle ground. There is no room for compromise, because compromise would mean either that you repudiate something you believe is right or accept as right what you believe is wrong. This means that life is a continual conflict. You must always defend what you think is right and attack what you think is wrong.

Some people don’t believe in either “right” or “wrong”. For them life is just a struggle between “mine” and “theirs”. The objective is to protect what is “mine” from becoming “theirs” and to increase what is “mine” by acquiring what is “theirs”. There is no middle ground that must be respected as off limits.

For some people peace is when they can do whatever they wish without anyone trying to stop them and war is permission to do whatever it takes to make others give them what they want. There is no middle ground where “I’ll let you do what you want” so long as “you let me do what I want without interference”. Life is an ever present battleground because it is impossible to move without stepping on someone else’s toes.

There are some people who see only part of the truth and believe that the little they see is all there is to know. And they denounce as frauds, liars or idiots anyone who sees any part of the truth that they missed, because they won’t admit they didn’t see everything. There can only be reconciliation when everyone is willing to take another look and appreciate the perspectives of others.

For some people there is no “live” and “let live”. There is only “let me prosper” and “let everyone else keep out of my way”. I only care what happens to me. I don’t care what happens to you, so long as it doesn’t affect me. There is no “me and you”. There is only “me”.

For some people there is “no me” only “you”. It is society, the community that matters; the preservation of the race or the good of all that counts. All else is selfishness. There is no middle ground where you can just enjoy what you have without concern for or sharing with those who have not. But fortunately there is the privileged ground where those who enforce the hardships on all for the common good are rewarded with the common goods taken from the common people.

Then there are all the middle people who don’t believe in anything, who have no idea what is right or what is wrong, all those who have nothing worth fighting for. There is no middle ground for them either. Theirs is the only ground.

Whatever happened to “in between”? Is there an “in between”? Should there be any “in between’? Is there any room for “compromise” or “moderation”?

Yes, because peace is not the absence of war, a momentary cessation of hostilities, but the absence of hostility. It is the condition where I am willing to acknowledge the limits of what is mine and willing to let you keep what is yours. I insist upon my rights, but I let you keep yours.

Yes, because right and wrong are not always right or wrong. I am right to defend my right but I am wrong sometimes about what is right. You are wrong to deny my right because it is not right to think my right is wrong just because it is not your right. When and only when I am willing to examine and possibly correct what I think is right and can calmly consider and tolerate what you think is wrong, then and then only am I standing on the “middle ground”, the only place where the whole truth can be found.

Yes, because even though I honestly believe that what I believe is right and honestly do not believe what you believe, I also honestly believe that you have the right to believe what you honestly believe and that we should respect each other’s beliefs and do our best to live together side by side in peace.

True peace is not just a temporary lull between hostilities, it is the absence of hostilities. It is when the things that divide us no longer impel us to hostile acts, when we agree that the things we don’t agree on will be mutually tolerated.

True peace can only be found on the middle ground between extremes. It is not a no man’s land where no one meets, but the vast “in between” where everyone is free to express his ideas and put forth his views in an atmosphere that reduces hostilities rather than incites to war.

(Photo: B.V.)

週二, 27 三月 2007

2007文化多樣性與永續發展國際研討會

【文化多樣性與永續發展:歐洲與台灣的對話】國際研討會
◆活動時間:2007年5月25日(星期五)
◆活動地點:高雄市政府新聞處多媒體簡報室
◆參加對象:限大學校長、教授、公務人員、媒體記者等參加

【文化多樣性與永續發展:歐洲與台灣的對話】國際研討會
暨【生命永續獎】頒獎典禮
◆活動時間:2007年5月26日(星期六)
◆活動地點:高雄市國立中山大學國際會議廳
◆無限定對象

永續發展是全世界、亞洲以及台灣非走不可的路。群體的發展不能只滿足今日的需求,同時仍須顧及後代子孫的需要,並在經濟生產、生活水準與生態體系三方面尋求平衡點。
回顧過去,台灣創造了「經濟奇蹟」及「民主奇蹟」,並贏得世界的注目與國際輿論的肯定。繼經濟奇蹟、民主奇蹟之後,台灣是否能夠締造「第三波奇蹟」,成為「永續發展」的亞洲典範呢?
2007年五月二十六日,人籟/e人籟與外交部、文建會、高雄市政府、城市治理知識管理顧問公司、好事聯播網與港都電台共同籌辦【文化多樣性與永續發展:歐洲與台灣的對話】國際研討會,研討會中並設有【生命永續獎】頒獎典禮,地點選定在高雄市國立中山大學國際會議廳舉行。
來自歐洲的訪客將與台灣貴賓交流,同時我們將報導得獎者的具體事蹟,屆時歡迎您的蒞臨與參與。透過研討會的思想激盪與獎項的頒發,我們呈現了台灣對人類的多元發展與環境永續經營的貢獻。
你我同心協力,讓台灣成為文化多樣性和永續發展的典範!

【文化多樣性與永續發展】國際研討會
主辦單位
利氏學社 Ricci Institute

協辦單位
外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs
文建會 Council for Cultural Affairs
高雄市政府 Kaohsiung City Government

協助執行單位
城市治理知識管理顧問公司 CCDI

合作單位
好事聯播網與港都電台www.bestradio.com.tw

【生命永續獎】頒獎典禮
人籟論辨月刊/e人籟主辦
Renlai Monthly/eRenlai Magazine

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議程回顧

附加的多媒體:
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週二, 27 二月 2007

Diversity

Entering the path of sustainable development is the primary imperative that Taiwan, Asia and the world presently face.

We must protect the rights of future generations to still have access to clean water, pure air, energy supply, biodiversity, climatic conditions that preserve coastlines and diminish the risks of extreme storms and droughts.

Sustainable development is also about the way we share our resources in order to meet the basic needs of all of us, while fostering values such as frugality and solidarity, as opposed to consumerism and individualism.

We need to mobilize cultural resources that help nations, international organizations, companies and civil societies to tackle evolving challenges with a more acute sense of the issues at stake, thus generating increased inventiveness, boldness and sense of cooperation.

Cultures help us to keep alive the memory of history and nurture creativity so as to better inhabit the world..

Cultural diversity is a necessary component of sustainable development.

A diversified natural environment is more prone to resist the effect of viruses thanks to its superior adaptability. Likewise, a diversified cultural environment can better adapt to new economic and social imperatives.

Today, cultural dialogue provides societies with accrued cultural resources. Never in the past has humankind been equipped with such scientific and cultural means for tackling the challenges that determine the course of its development.

Our cultural resources are the first thing we need to share, through a web of “knowledge networks” that will make our success stories known and replicated.

Taiwan can pave the way to a new model of global governance by mobilizing its rich cultural resources in order to become a beacon of sustainable development.

By fostering creative initiatives for sustainability Taiwan enters into a renewed dialogue with the world while changing for the better its current developmental model.

By helping itself, Taiwan helps the world. Reduced energy consumption, green businesses, preserved biodiversity, social equity and better corporate governance are exactly what all societies are striving for.

Together, let us make Taiwan a show case of cultural diversity and sustainable development…

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週四, 22 二月 2007

Framing a New Value System in Taiwan

Excerpts of a Conference given in January 2000 at Taiwan’s National Library for the readers of United Daily News

The questions I want to discuss with you today are the following ones:
- What do we mean when we speak about “value” and “value system”?
- In which ways is a discussion on “values” relevant for understanding the cultural, social and political future of a society?
- What is especially striking about the dominant values and attitudes in today’s Taiwan?
- Are there certain values that are lacking and that we should try to promote for bettering Taiwan’s future prospects?

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