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Volume 55 Issue 1
May 2023
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Citation: Junjie HUANG. What Confucianism Can Contribute to an Ecological Culture[J]. Academic Monthly, 2023, 55(1): 11-19. shu

What Confucianism Can Contribute to an Ecological Culture

  • This article aims at envisioning the contemporary relevance of Confucianism to the new ecological culture in the 21st century. Before I make two remarks pertaining to the potential contribution Confucianism can make to a new ecological culture in the 21st century, I point out 3 key statements in the ecological thinking of Confucianism, namely, (1) “All things are produced and developed without injuring one another.” (the Doctrine of Mean, 30), (2) “The mind of Heaven and Earth is to produce things.” (A Treatise on Jen), (3) “The great men regards Heaven and Earth and the myriad things as one body.” (Inquiry on the Great Learning). I argue that there are two things that Confucianism may contribute to the making of a new ecological culture. The first is the Confucian belief in “homo-cosmic continuum” that regards the relation between humans and Nature as a continuity rather than a rupture. The second idea Confucianism may contribute to a new ecological culture in our century lies in its monistic view that both Man and Nature share an essential ingredient in common, namely, ren (仁, benevolence, humanity). In conclusion, the maternal thinking in the Confucian tradition has illuminated for us a way leading to the true reconciliation between humans and Nature in the 21st century and beyond.
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        What Confucianism Can Contribute to an Ecological Culture

        Abstract: This article aims at envisioning the contemporary relevance of Confucianism to the new ecological culture in the 21st century. Before I make two remarks pertaining to the potential contribution Confucianism can make to a new ecological culture in the 21st century, I point out 3 key statements in the ecological thinking of Confucianism, namely, (1) “All things are produced and developed without injuring one another.” (the Doctrine of Mean, 30), (2) “The mind of Heaven and Earth is to produce things.” (A Treatise on Jen), (3) “The great men regards Heaven and Earth and the myriad things as one body.” (Inquiry on the Great Learning). I argue that there are two things that Confucianism may contribute to the making of a new ecological culture. The first is the Confucian belief in “homo-cosmic continuum” that regards the relation between humans and Nature as a continuity rather than a rupture. The second idea Confucianism may contribute to a new ecological culture in our century lies in its monistic view that both Man and Nature share an essential ingredient in common, namely, ren (仁, benevolence, humanity). In conclusion, the maternal thinking in the Confucian tradition has illuminated for us a way leading to the true reconciliation between humans and Nature in the 21st century and beyond.

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