At the opening ceremony of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, “Diversity spurs interaction among civilizations, which in turn promotes mutual learning and their further development. We need to promote exchanges and mutual learning among countries, nations and cultures around the world, and strengthen popular support for jointly building a community with a shared future for both Asia and humanity as a whole.”
This requires us to carry forward the principle of “harmony in diversity,” promote exchange and mutual learning among diverse cultures, advocate the idea of quality and sharing in global governance, and incorporate different cultures for the establishment of a community of shared future for mankind.
Cultures originating from different peoples and regions manifest the diverse cultural prospects of humanity in many ways. Human exchanges require mutual respect, equal dialogue and mutual learning. Learning from each other with an attitude of harmony and inclusiveness in diversity will enrich our mindsets and promote human progress.
Following the blueprint of mutual learning among diverse cultures, no cultures can exist independently by rejecting others. Civilizational conflict and the clashes of ideas increasingly remind people of the costs of cultural alienation and give rise to an awareness of the need for mutual learning and cultural fusion.
Therefore, it is important to maintain the diversity of the cultures of all peoples and realize the value of existence of all cultures. Rather than confronting each other, cultures with their own unique values should learn from each other. Only by respecting and understanding other’s cultures and regions can we understand the historical process of “cultivating people via culture” and the historical experience of “spreading values through cultures” in all areas of the world. That is how we should understand the commonality of world civilizations and establish the fundamental ideas for the development of civilizations in the world today.
The development of diverse cultures reflects the evolution of communities. The evolution of the existing forms of various communities is realized through cultural evolution. For a community to evolve from a primitive form to a high form, its people must focus on the destiny of the entire human race. Cultures should join forces, through cultural fusion and regeneration, to construct a community of shared future for mankind.
To form a joint force made up of different cultures does not mean that diverse cultures should abandon their own ways of existence, but rather to rejuvenate the inter-subjectivity of cultures. We should view a culture as an organic life by recognizing the autonomy of cultural independence and comprehending the unique history, style and potential of every culture. In addition, we should regard cultural communication and exchange as the normal phenomena of cultural development. We should view dialogue and fusion among different cultures as basic forms of cultural development. In this way, exchange and mutual learning among cultures can be better advanced. Cultural exchanges transfer practical experiences and ideologies among different peoples in different areas. This kind of exchange not only promotes mutual understanding but also broadens the cultural vision of participants. Encouraging interaction between history and reality, between the East and the West, is actually an effort to form joint cultural forces through the innovation of ideas.
Today, we are encountering increasingly complex global problems, and exchanges and conflicts among cultures are increasingly diverse. We must search for new cultural ideas that fit the demands of development in the new era. We should understand the internal values of our own culture and region by upholding a view of the whole human context. We should tackle the differences between diverse civilizations in a rational way and strive for a mechanism for dialogue and cooperation among them. On the basis of cultural self-confidence, and by recognizing and respecting the values of all cultures in the world, we may address the common cultural problems facing us all by forming joint cultural energy through mutual understanding and learning. In this way, we may lay a cultural basis for a community of shared future for mankind.
This article was edited and translated from Guangming Daily. Zang Fengyu is a research fellow from the Research Center of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism With Chinese Characteristics for a New Era at the Ministry of Education.