TOWARD A CREATIVE EAST-WEST DIALOGUE IN MORAL EDUCATION AND VALUE ORIENTATION
Charles Wei-hsun Fu
To rethink the curriculum, especially on the college level, we must avail ourselves of all possible resources, cross-cultural as well as interdisciplinary. These resources must include perspectives beyond the cultural assumptions and scientific-technological mindset of modern Western societies, which in part have contributed to our present problems in moral education and value orientation. I would like to propose certain elements in Eastasian tradition--specifically the traditions of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism--which indicate ways the moral shortcomings of our educational system may be filled. 1 My intent is not to find fault with Western approaches, but to offer complementary and supplementary visions with respect to moral education and overall value orientation--potential means by which we can indeed venture to guide our students into the next century.
By focusing on cross-cultural and interdisciplinary elements, we shall be able to help our students widen their scope of vision regarding humanity, morality, religion, philosophy, psychotherapy, and the nature and direction of the sciences. The cross-cultural task has been considerably aided by the meeting of East and West experienced since the end of World War II. Paradoxically, the military confrontation of that war, followed by subsequent conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, led to an increasing interest in and sensitivity to Eastasian thought and culture on the part of the Americans involved, due to their exposure to widely divergent lifestyles and values. The net result was a broadening and deepening of the American vision. A related development was the influx of Eastasian immigrants, enriching the mosaic of ethnic diversity in American society.