The Dao of Benevolence in the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Revelation from Cultural and Ethical Perspectives
Keywords:全球大流行, 新冠病毒, 防疫工作, 儒家倫理, 仁愛原則
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract also in English.
The special properties of the new Covid-19 virus make it difficult to control, and it very quickly became a pandemic. The numbers of infected and deaths have increased so fast that it has incited a global panic and caused serious worldwide psychological, day-to-day, and cultural problems. This paper adopts a Confucian perspective to analyze the problems of living with the virus and to explore how to adapt our values and way of living to mitigate or eliminate personal and social traumatic experiences during this serious time. In this paper, I point out that as we live in a close-knit global village, we need an effective policy to keep the pandemic at bay before we can remove inter-city and international barriers to the production of materials and the flow of economic products. Otherwise, we may—and in fact have had—continuous repeated infections. People must develop global solidarity based on interpersonal and intersocial love to share our responsibilities and burdens, and to help ourselves as well as others in this terrifying pandemic.
Public health pandemic prevention is a job involving a moral dilemma between personal rights and public safety. Because our preventative actions involve the lives of others, we must abandon prioritizing our personal rights and adopt the principles of benevolence and empathy toward others, taking our common responsibility and care toward others as our main basis of action. This principle also applies to us: benevolence needs to be extended from our family members to everyone else. We have to put precautionary principles into action in our prevention, publicity, transparency, and accountability efforts to overcome the pandemic.
Family members are essential, as they provide both physical and emotional support during the pandemic. Society and governments have to provide the means to live as well as medical support, and political interference must be curbed so that medical professionals can take the lead on public interactions, education, and interviews to enable individuals, families, and society to build a consensus on the issues and policies of prevention. Our common enemy is the virus, which assaults human health indiscriminately. We need to help our people as well as those in other countries, especially society’s most vulnerable. We must learn from this calamity and build a platform to share information, establish norms regulating virus studies, enact rigorous regulations for safety in virus research laboratories, and reject using research results for chemical warfare. We hope this pandemic can bring about world peace as we learn to better our lives and further our ethical and cultural values.
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