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NO.290 11.07.2016

“Confucian Spirit Emphasizes Dialogue and Harmony”


“Global awareness for a sustainable civilization can grow through dialogues with cultures and religions”


“Spiritual Humanism underpinned by Confucian spirit emphasizing dialogue and harmony (和) will facilitate multilateral communication among states, regions, religions, and philosophies,” said Tu Weiming (Director, Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies at Peking University) on October 7, 2016, at the Crown Hall in a lecture titled “Spiritual Humanism: Can Confucianism be a New Humanism?”


“Confucian humanism will underscore dialogues among East Asian communities and civilizations”
Professor Tu suggested what he termed “Spiritual Humanism” as a philosophical alternative to resolve global exigencies. He said, “Spiritual Humanism can achieve peace and prosperity by bringing about a harmonious fusion among self, community, Earth, and Heaven.” Professor Tu particularly emphasized on “Confucian humanism” as the basis of his vision of Spiritual Humanism, because Confucianism, as a collection of broad-spectrum morality and loosely-defined respect for transcendental beings, does not compete with existing religions but can coexist with and creatively augment multilateral flow of ideas and holistic manifestation of cultural peace.


Professor Tu named the “loss of altruism” as the root cause of the current civilizational crises such as terrorism and environmental destruction that threaten the continued survival of human race. He expected Confucian humanism based on altruism will facilitate the dialogue among diverse civilizations and the building of community in East Asia. He said, “We must accept the existence of, and the respect for, others (community), Earth (nature) and Heaven.”



“The force of change is within us”
Professor Tu argued that humanity must change for the future of sustainable civilization saying, “The power to change is within us, as we are the main actors in this scene. We have to be aware that the world is interconnected and that we, as a member of the Earth community, must do our duty as global citizens.” He also called for an open mind and readiness to engage in dialogue. He said, “Whenever we encounter a problem, we should strive to resolve it through dialogue and to affect positive change in reality. In so doing, we should always respect other peoples’ religion and culture with an open mind.” 


It was the fifth lecture of the "Asking Global Intellectuals: Shift of Civilization and Future of Asia" series co-hosted by Kyung Hee University and the Foundation Academia Platonica. This special lecture series open to public discusses how the current challenges facing humanity in general are specifically connected to the future of Asia and explores possible ways to create a sustainable future model of human civilization.

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