Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Conflict And Wisdom

We have a saying in Mexico, "Hay mucho trecho entre dicho y hecho", which means being said is a long way from being done. Yet, saying is important in its own right. It guides judgment when gathered and reflected and serves in that as precursor to modification of current doing. There is such saying in an opinion article written by Le Daiyun, professor from the Chinese Department at Peking University. It appeared in today’s People’s Daily and is pointed to because, though clearly a long way from doing, It bears possibly of providing desperately needed guidance.

Conflicts born of differences in belief, ethnicity, life style, and resource allocation, have always been a part of planetary existence. Rapid technological advances in transportation and communication however have recently brought them two new dimensions. One is that we are now aware of their universality through history and across the globe. The other results from that awareness and melds the mix of previously separated violence into one that threatens all.

Professor Le brings a message from China in offering solution from combined perspective of Confucius and Taoist thought. His article is titled “To Dissolve Cultural Conflict With Oriental Wisdom”. It is worth reading in entirety. Some excerpts are below.

“History tells us that cultural conflict can't be solved by taking over or wiping out the other culture. Culture is rooted in people's heart. Conquering or wiping out a culture is only temporary, but will sow the seeds of hatred and create new hatred...

“In China, the basis of Confucius thought was to deal with relations between people while the foundation of Taoism … was to deal with relations between man and nature. But both of them dealt with issues on how to be in harmony despite the differences. The lofty ideal of traditional Chinese culture is that all things in the universe will grow together but not harm each other and their ways are coexisting but not against each other.

“… capitalist individualism has created the self-centered isolation. The blind economic development in the western world has caused the ethical and psychological dilemma and the separation between different fields … Science and technology has promoted the social progress, but it has also brought about damage to environment and culture and caused new round of inequity. The old-style slavery is simply replaced by the new style, in particular, the pollution in cities and the non-ethical nature of science has brought tension and harm to people and leads people and the ecology to demise. …

“… Chinese culture can become an inspiration to western culture. … Chinese civilization is the longest human civilization and has developed without any influence from the European culture. China has seen the western culture from an outsiders' view and tried to see the ideal image of the west.

“These studies can be a step forward … and promote the dissolution of culture conflict. … “


Hay mucho trecho entre dicho y hecho? Yes, to be sure. But, nothing else seems to work. The analysis of Le Daiyun may point to the only better future, or for that matter, any future at all.


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