Global Views of World Citizens
Achieving World Peace with Conscience
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens
President of the Federation of World Peace and Love
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
November 11, 2017
In 2017, half of the world population is under the age of 29; sadly, the challenges they will face are much more severe than ever before. How could they influence the world and benefit mankind? How can we achieve sustainable development goals by making a good use of education and culture?
Global village is not merely a concept. For example, pollution and climate change are real and happening right now. The effects are already impacting everyone on the planet. All world citizens will have to pay the price no matter where the pollutants come from or which nation made the pollution. Not a single nation is capable of solving these global problems with its own technologies or resources. The global issues facing the humanity today requires “global governance.” Global governance is a process of cooperative management of the planet that brings governments, multilateral public agencies, and civil societies together, and it must span national and sectoral boundaries and interests in order to achieve our common goals.
Global governance should be developed in accordance with conscience by world citizens.
Culture of conscience is the foundation
Conscience lies deep inside everyone’s heart, guiding a person’s conduct, intentions, and feelings. Conscience leads us to search for the truth and meaning of life and take actions for a higher purpose. Conscience shapes our common humanity. Healthy policies and practices originated from conscience enable the human race to accomplish things of enduring significance. Conscience holds the key to the continuation of human civilization.
Culture is like an ocean containing the life process of humanity and the wisdom developed by our ancestors who learned from nature. Today, we are on the same boat in this ocean. We should learn the wisdom passed down from our ancestors and develop solutions to the present and future challenges from the traditional wisdom.
Every individual is a miniature representative of a society, a nation, and even the world. The human heart is like a mirror, reflecting the brightness and darkness of human nature, just like the angel and the devil battling in our hearts. Throughout our lives, when we face a dilemma, the mirror keeps testing us to see whether we could stay true to our virtuous heart and refuse the outside temptation and to see whether we could be ethically brave enough not to be budged by any force and insist on upholding justice. Those who reflect on themselves, through the mirror of the heart, can see their true selves and their conscience, which guides them to change their intentions, attitudes, and behaviors for the better.
Conscience transcends the differences in gender, nationality, skin color and religious belief. Conscience respects diversity as well as common similarities of humanity. Therefore, a governance system based upon a culture of conscience will be inclusive, unbiased, and well-coordinated. It will meet the needs of different groups of people in human societies.
Education based on conscience is the nourishment
Virtues of conscience such as courage, goodness, and compassion are shaped over a lifetime by education. Good culture leads to quality education which brings sound economy; and the culture based on conscience should be fostered by education.
It’s never too early to start education of conscience. Schools and teachers should be committed to supporting students in their search for the meaning and truth in life, while at the same time teaching them the civic principles and virtues of conscience. To prepare students to be ethical, engaged citizens, we must give them opportunities to involve in shared decision making, service learning, peer mediation, conflict resolution, and volunteer work.
Conscience education starting from early childhood will pave the foundation for a new global governance regime. Under the conscience-based global governance system, mistrust will be replaced with trust, exclusion with inclusion. Education of conscience will serve as the beacon light guiding us to steer through the more and more complicated and interdependent world.
Conscience-based law is the justice of human rights
Mankind takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from Heaven; Heaven takes its law from Nature; the law of the Nature is the justice of the Universe. The most impartial judge on Earth is thus the justice of the Universe – it’s fair and lucid. Law in the human world is created and learned from Heaven, aiming to safeguarding people’s living in an environment with justice and innate human rights.
Human rights are precious assets granted by Heaven to human beings. And as the law is the last line of defense to protect human rights, it is imperative that law enforcers have adequate expertise, outstanding morality, as well as good understanding of human rights in order to safeguard people’s rights to justice. How can we use laws as a protection instead of persecution of human rights? The key lies in the conscience of law enforcers. Before gaveling, one must keep in mind the essence of judicature and make human rights paramount in his heart.
Every country wants to grow and prosper. Law concerns one’s freedom, while taxation pertains to one’s property, so a government must resolve issues related to law and taxation based on conscience to realize the protection of human rights. A judge must enforce law from the perspective of human rights, especially when someone’s rights are already harmed or in doubt. A judge must act according to the law, always pay attention to evidence, and be persistent in independent judgment in order to make a ruling correctly and impartially.
A country relies on tax revenue to build infrastructure and make all kinds of development. But to protect civilians’ rights to living and property, a government must collect tax through legal procedures rather than cause loss and damage on people’s assets during the tax collection process. A government must keep the right balance between reasonable taxation and protection of people’s property.
Conscience creates peace
Nearly every country faces crises that threaten human beings’ survival and development, including economic crises and conflicts. And the causes of all these issues are greed and the deprivation of human rights.
Thus, everything must start from one’s conscience. Hatred and misunderstanding among nations can only be resolved through good hearts and kindness. And only conscience can eliminate harm and attacks among nations. Only by cooperation can people create a common future of peace and prosperity.
World peace is the aspiration of everyone who lives on Earth. However, are we still heading for this goal with the things we do every day? Do we hold peaceful thoughts in our everyday lives? For people we meet every day, do we give them smiles and hugs? All these details in our daily lives create the butterfly effect that constitutes the world we are living in. Like it or not, all of us are accountable for making the world the way it is now.
If what we desire is peace, then let us resolve difficulties through peaceful thoughts, use peaceful words to communicate, and take peaceful actions to realize the vision of a harmonious world.
The younger generation will face more diverse life lessons. The global views of world citizens is not just about having expertise and ability, but wisdom to distinguish right from wrong, and the courage to uphold justice. They will learn to know themselves, excel themselves, nurture the ambition to save others from dangers and crises and to safeguard their nations and families, as well as to create a bright future with their virtuous hearts.
May the seeds of love and peace be deeply rooted in every heart. May culture and friendships replace conflicts and differences. Uniting the collective power of conscience can make the butterfly effect of kindness reach out. Once we reach consensus, work collectively and help one another, a beautiful world of peace is not far away.
*Presented in the 18th International Conference of Chief Justices of the World at Lucknow, India.