While all living beings are mortal, only human kind has access to the self-awareness of its own mortality. With this knowledge of our own finiteness, we may become cynical and fearful pessimists wallowing in despair and nihilism or we may choose to embrace a higher set of goals and principles for the identity we shape for ourselves within processes much greater than ourselves. For as mortal as we may be, the civilizations which we are born into may or may not be limited by that same finiteness. Whether a civilization has the moral fitness to survive, thrive and prosper or not, depends entirely upon the choices made by those who make up said social body and who may influence the spirit (culture) spanning countless generations.
It is here that we find the essential character of the Renaissance principle and Dark Age principles that have shaped world history.
These two paths have presented themselves at all times and cultures and it has been our lot to choose which we wish to be guided by as we use the short time we have been aloted to actualize our innate potentials for creativity, and goodness… or inversely to waste those potentials.
In this series of lectures hosted by the Rising Tide Foundation, six speakers took the challenge of presenting six case studies of the Renaissance Principle as embodied in the moral philosophy, religious growth, science, art and political culture of various great cultures of the world.
The Chinese world was then explored featuring an introduction into the life and mind of Confucius and his followers who paralleled both in time and in philosophy the battles waged in Greece and Italy by the Pythagoreans, Socrates and Plato who sought to create a society, and educational system premised upon Natural Law, Creative Reason, Goodness and Love. To the degree that all members of that society strived towards these ennobled goals and to the degree its leadership did too (under Plato’s idea of Philosopher Kings), then that society would enjoy the ‘Mandate of Heaven’ or Tianxia. This insight was also reflected in Hindu and Buddhist cultures as we came to see.
In this class, as part of the RTF lecture series “The Renaissance Principle Across the Ages“, Dr. Quan Le discusses the principles of Confucianism through a dialectic discussion on the nature of mind, understanding, and how one commences the journey towards wisdom.