Education of Conscience to Build a Future of Peace
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens,
NGO in Consultative Status with ECOSOC and
Associated with the UN DPI
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
May 30, 2016
“War and Peace” seems to be an eternal subject in human history. 71 years ago, two World Wars gave us a bitter lesson that everlasting peace cannot depend solely on political and economic protocols. Instead, peace must be established in people’s thinking by promoting international cooperation through education, science, and culture. The United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was established with this mission.
However, human beings are forgetful and prone to the temptations of immediate gratification; thus the clarity and vision of hearts fade. For nearly a century, wars and man-made disasters have recurred throughout the history of humanity. In addition, our pursuit for technological advancement and modern conveniences have resulted in the exhaustion of natural resources, degradation of environment and the retaliation of Mother Earth. These have become imminent and frequent threats to mankind’s continued existence. Those who care about the world have come to a consensus: The world cannot afford the ravages and destruction of another world war. Only peace can bring sustainable development and true well-being to the human race.
More important than a nation’s governance and administration, the consciousness to promote peace comes from the bottom up. When the citizenry is awakened to conscience, their collective force possesses the most powerful strength and the foundation of every movement. Education is the most important driving force to form such consciousness. Education is the channel through which human culture is continued, passing down wisdom and experiences. It is the key to change the future. Family education inspires people in their childhoods and shapes character. Schooling passes on and makes knowledge available to the general public, and equips people with a basic ability to make a living. However, the most influential form of education is societal education which lasts throughout a person’s life time. Societal education forms the value system of a race and a country. Can people treat others with honesty and respect? Will the people trust the country’s institutions and be willing to abide by laws? Do the people cherish and preserve their culture? All these things, little by little, sum up to be a stream of continuous influence to shape the future of a country and even the future of the world.
People might ask: If societal education is so important, who should implement such education? In fact, every person is a contributor to societal education. If we ponder deeply, we can find that, however extensive societal education may look, its starting point is always our heart. If every person in the society can do things with good hearts in everyday life to influence others, conscience and good deeds will become the dominant atmosphere in society, and in turn the atmosphere will influence every member in the society. What works for a society will also work for a country. If every world citizen has such an awakening and follows the conscience deep in their heart, consistently moving towards goodness and kindness, then this strength of self-education will have unimaginable creative power that can build a world we all wish for. This is the important concept of “extension of innate conscience” in Chinese culture.
Good cultures enable good education; good education nurtures the culture of good virtues. World citizen education is the education of conscience coming from the culture of conscience. The Earth is our only home. Every one of us must respect the universe, cherish all the living things, embrace differences, respect one another, share common resources, and live harmoniously with others. The education of conscience is a lifetime journey for world citizens. In this era where the fates of all members in the global village are closely related, every world citizen is a participant and promoter of the education of conscience. Every good thought and good deed will have important influence. NGOs strengthen the cohesiveness of the United Nations, and at the same time also play the role as a supervisor to make sure governments are administered in the correct ways to serve the best interests of the people. Everyone could be the leader of conscience in the future world.
In the face of challenges and difficulties, we need unwavering faith and resolutions to never giving up. In our commitment to the betterment of the world, we should encourage ourselves and one another with the positive thinking of happiness, so as to maintain the momentum of moving forward. Just like what’s found in the quantum physics, the power of mind goes beyond all boundaries, honest good hearts and love for the world are the greatest energy to build a peaceful and bright future. Benefitting others is benefitting oneself. Through our common efforts and cooperation, we can earn more time and opportunities to ensure the sustainability of human race and the Earth as well, and a world of peace, freedom, safety, and harmony can come soon.
* Presented in the 2016 FOWPAL World Summit of Love and Peace
Gyeongju, Republic of Korea