Conscience-guided Health, Education, and Sustainability
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
March 05, 2020
Over the past two decades, I have led the Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL) to visit 101 nations and promote the culture of peace with love and conscience. FOWPAL members sincerely care about the world and care about the wellbeing of the current and future generations. We would like to share with you our experiences in promoting human rights, love, and peace under the guidance of our conscience. We hope to work together with all of you for a peaceful and sustainable future.
Technologies have advanced exponentially, increasing our knowledge and affecting our lives significantly. Breakthrough technologies, such as AI, robotics, drones, applications of big data, blockchain, etc., are changing human life rapidly and driving future economic growth. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is reshaping the current and future workforce. Dr. Stephen Hawking warned that AI will take up more and more jobs. Greater profits will be enjoyed by only a small group of people. AI technologies are a sign of progress, but they also bring harm to society. High efficiency in industrial production has exhausted natural resources, caused global warming, and triggered disasters, such as wildfires, monster hurricanes, droughts, and locust infestations. These are warnings from Mother Nature, and it is imperative that we find the root causes and tackle them. How to correctly handle and use technologies is very valuable to all humanity. It is obvious that we must maintain a dynamic balance between human needs and the ecosystem.
Human health consists of physical health and mental health. While global life expectancy has increased to 72.6 years and the life expectancy for developed countries has increased to over 80 years, mental health issues, such as loneliness, workplace stress, grief, depression, and anxiety, become more serious year after year. Longevity does not guarantee good mental health. Physical ailments pose another problem. With the advancement of technology, come many health problems. These problems can be caused by reduced personal space in cities, traffic noise, particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5), microplastics, rapid environmental changes, etc. The outbreaks and rapid spread of infectious diseases also pose great challenges. To stay healthy, humans must learn to live a balanced life, coexist harmoniously with nature, and cooperate with one another.
Education is an instrument for dealing with the rapidly changing world. World leaders must advocate an education system which promotes human sustainability by balancing human needs and the ecosystem. Besides equipping students with academic and technical skills and knowledge, the core value of education is to inspire everyone’s inherent kindness, self-reflection, and self-awakening. All world leaders and business stakeholders must let their conscience guide their decisions. Wars, hatred in society, and global warming are damaging the substantiality of humankind. The common root causes of these problems are human greed and calculation for power and wealth. The ultimate solution to these problems is conscience. Conscience can guide people to take wise actions, and a conscience-driven education can change the future of the world.
Values and Lifestyles for Sustainability
A person’s lifestyle is the embodiment of his/her inner value system. Conscience is the compass guiding such a system. It has been proven scientifically that our thoughts and attitudes can have direct impacts on the environment. Our choices of lifestyles will determine what the impact is on the environment. On the macro level, a sustainable lifestyle is not against development, and it is not about a return to the Stone Age. Instead, a sustainable lifestyle is about understanding the costs we have paid for the development throughout history and making decisions that we will not regret and that will benefit everyone for a long time. On the personal level, a sustainable lifestyle is about our conducting self-reflection on a daily basis, making new choices, as well as debating and understanding the gains and losses from our decisions, and this has to be done outwardly and inwardly. Conscience serves as a compass for our souls, guiding us in uncharted waters while we reflect upon ourselves. We have to admit that we are prone to getting astray, and we have to accept the judgement from the inner compass, follow the guidance of our conscience, and act accordingly. Of course, values for sustainability will be fostered as we follow the guidance of our conscience. The most important thing is that we need to put it into practice on a daily basis as a sustainable future starts with the current moment, which is now.
Jointly Creating Love and Peace with Conscience
On July 25, 2019, during its 73rd session, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the draft resolution entitled “Promoting the Culture of Peace with Love and Conscience,” declaring April 5 as the International Day of Conscience. Through the establishment of a culture of conscience and peace as well as the influences of the United Nations, this initiative will lead the world toward a more peaceful, harmonious, and sustainable future. Now the world is at a very critical juncture, we encourage everyone to take a moment of peace to self-reflect, activate the conscience within, and change the world with conscience! We sincerely urge everyone to jointly promote the International Day of Conscience from today onwards and follow his/her conscience to treat the environment and one another with kindness. By doing so, we hope the outbreak can be contained soon and natural and man-made disasters can be greatly mitigated. The International Day of Conscience is an important day for all of us to take a moment to reflect upon ourselves and seek inner peace in our hearts. A daily self-reflection practice will allow the conscience in everyone’s heart to continually inspire actions to promote a culture of love and peace worldwide.
*Shared on the occasion of the Second World Sustainable Development Forum, March 05 ~ 09, Durango, Mexico