The material achievements of modern times have been great, but the world has suffered losses in the realm of values and ideals. We have lost contact, says Dr. Wang, with our ancient civilizations—the source of our humanity. This happened a hundred years ago in China and India, fifty years ago in Europe. If we are to maintain our humanity, the connection with our ancient traditions must be restored, and that requires the deep study of classical languages. Humanity can only be maintained by the humanities. Other animals follow natural instinct, which is why there are no dogities or catities (the younger students in the audience giggle at that), but human beings need the humanities to attain their full human potential. By organizing this conference, he hopes to make common cause with others around the world who feel their cultures have lost contact with humanizing traditions.
At Wenli Academy Dr. Wang promotes the study of classical languages from across the globe, Sanskrit as well as Latin and Greek, the great vehicles of humane wisdom. But he is firm that such study should not come at the expense of “our great Chinese culture.” Truth is universal, and the dao is transparent to the universal reason of mankind. Heaven and earth do not change, nor does dao and humanitas. But truth comes to us through our civilizations and their traditions, not through disembodied scientific reason. “In education the only important thing is filling human beings with humanity, actualizing their capacity for goodness. Since humanitas remains eternal and immutable, men have had that as their common bond from ancient to modern times, from East to West; through kinship in the humanities human beings are united. It is fitting, therefore, that all humans recognize the force of humanity as among the causative principles of nature.”2
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