NOBILITY AND CIVILITY
Harvard University Press, 2004 - 272 pages
Globalization has become an inescapable fact of contemporary life. Some leaders, in both the East and the West, believe that human rights are culture-bound and that liberal democracy is essentially Western, inapplicable to the non-Western world. How can civilized life be preserved and issues of human rights and civil society be addressed if the material forces dominating world affairs are allowed to run blindly, uncontrolled by any cross-cultural consensus on how human values can be given effective expression and direction?
In a thoughtful meditation ranging widely over several civilizations and historical eras, Wm. Theodore de Bary argues that the concepts of leadership and public morality in the major Asian traditions offer a valuable perspective on humanizing the globalization process. Turning to the classic ideals of the Buddhist, Hindu, Confucian, and Japanese traditions, he investigates the nature of true leadership and its relation to learning, virtue, and education in human governance; the role in society of the public intellectual; and the responsibilities of those in power in creating and maintaining civil society.
De Bary recognizes that throughout history ideals have always come up against messy human complications. Still, he finds in the exploration and affirmation of common values a worthy attempt to grapple with persistent human dilemmas across the globe.
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For Confucius this concept of true nobility and genuine leadership was a high
calling. He did not underestimate the demands it laid on the educated person or
man of learning who also bore the burden of leadership in society. In the
In the long run perhaps the most significant effect of Shotoku's attempt to assert
the primacy of the public good, even if it proved abortive in actual practice, was to
establish a theoretical concept of universality and the common good (generally ...
Bushido is a system of making ethics beautiful or perhaps of giving ethical
content to beauty; it is a union between life and art. . . . The special features of this
cultural concept correspond to the special features of the emperor system in that
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Confucius Noble Person
The Noble Paths of Buddha and Rama
Buddhist Spirituality and Chinese Civility
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