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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This personal code of righteousness I know myself to be the true one . Wise men
have always borne the burden it imposes , and I gladly accept it . 20 . “ I reject the
kshatriya ' s code , where unrighteousness and righteousness go hand in hand ...
night : though they are not identical , yet they are a cyclical stream of one and the
same original matter that is not disrupted ... 16 In this discussion the terms Ieyasu
uses are familiar ones in Mahayana Buddhist philosophy , but those used by ...
10 While noting this as a Japanese trait , Shundai did not condone it , arguing
instead that the leader of the forty - seven ronin actually acted out of selfish
motives , not truly honorable ones . This issue was recognized later by the Meiji
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