NOBILITY AND CIVILITY
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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I have promised my guru to live in the forest . How then can I do as Bharata bids ,
and defy the bidding of my guru ? 25 . “ I made a promise in the presence of my
guru - it brought delight to the heart of Queen Kaikeyi — and that promise shall ...
But sages arose who taught them the way to live and grow together . They served
as rulers and teachers . . . . The people were cold and they clothed them , hungry
and they fed them . Because people dwelt in trees and fell to the ground , dwelt ...
Their message is : “ Be filial to your parents , respect elders and superiors , live in
harmony with neighbors , instruct and discipline children and grandchildren , be
content with your occupation , commit no wrongful acts . ” ( 790 ) From this ...
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