Workshop presentation - 中欧社会论坛 - China Europa Forum

Workshop presentation

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Workshop’s Presentation from an European point of view :
On both sides and for many centuries, the comparison between Chinese and European societies has been a subject of surprise, comparison and reflection. All societies are called on to respond to fundamental questions, such as the individual and the community, the nature of morality, the conception and the bases of social order, and the existence and role of principles that transcend human societies. All societies are led to say what is a « good life » and what is a « good society ». These conceptions have varied over the centuries, and societies and cultures are constantly influencing one another. Yet, it seems established that the cultural matrix inherited from history continues, through multiple metamorphoses, to influence the representation that individuals and societies make of themselves and of their relationships with others.

Many misunderstandings in the dialogue between societies or between cultures result from the fact that the representations that are the grounds for each of them and that give their meaning to words used, to attitudes and to behaviours are poorly interpreted or deformed due to the ignorance of these cultural codes. This is sometimes because we ignore the bases and the coherence of the representations of the other when interpreting what he understands by good, evil, power, virtue, prestige, happiness or harmony; or, on the other hand because we underestimate the cultural transformations taking part on both sides, especially under mutual influence.

It’s this dual perspective, on the one hand comparative and respectful of differences, and on the other fluid and attentive to the transformations, that will guide the workshop. It starts from the hypothesis that this analysis is not reserved to specialists, but that its main dimensions and contents are essential to balanced and respectful dialogue between Chinese and European societies.

In addition to the above, this workshop would like to address the issue of how the contemporary European and Chinese societies strive to be harmonious, sustainable societies. In this respect, values and behaviors which are growing among the populations of most industrialized countries can be decisive levers to favor a harmonious society and a sustainable economy. The question thus rises if these phenomena are similar in European and in the Chinese society.

The socio-cultural observations, which took place in North America and Europe since the Fifties, show an expansion of transformations of people, social field and cultures behind which take place some encouraging axes. The behaviors of people and their networks change and are moved in direction of harmony, peace, the blooming and sense of living; they carry the development of values of being and wellbeing rather than of acquisition and competition; female postures rather than virile; they produce self-organizations and fertile self-regulations likely to nourish the development of more harmonious and inter-adaptive relations between people, networks and collectivities.

A new-spiritual and moral revival is at hand. It appears since the Eighties by an awakening of the need for sense and of the search for spiritual/emotional experiments. This revival manifests itself by the starting of a “social machine” to produce new values and a new ‘daily-life’ moral. It could find synergies with such Christian values as “love each other”, values that are also found in Buddhism, with Confucianism, with Daoism…

In the civil society, waves of collective intelligence and networks emerge and are likely to weigh on the effective decisions of the public authorities (national, international or planetary), of the companies and of the intermediate bodies.

for Chinese presentation