Reflection on the Fragility of Modern Civilization: A Response to Professor Sass
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in Chinese; abstract in English only.
In my response to Prof. Sass, I first elaborate some points on which we agree. For example, I find the five crises of modern civilization discussed by Prof. Sass to be quite real, and I believe that this points to the fragility of modern civilization. I then critique the Enlightenment ideology of progress and argue that we need to prepare for the possibility of a cultural decline. I also agree with Prof. Sass’s emphasis on both the human potential for creativity and the human capacity for self-destruction. This contradicts liberal optimism about human nature and raises questions about our internal and spiritual resources. I support Prof. Sass’s critique of modern society’s obsession with GNP (Gross National Product) and agree that the concept of a GHP (Goss Happiness Product) is a better criterion for a good society. However, I believe that we must overcome even the vestiges of hedonism by affirming the intrinsic value of an objective moral order that transcends human happiness. In the end, in the face of the possibilities of disasters and the collapse of modern civilization, we need to return to our basic communities, such as family, and emphasize the cultivation of virtue.
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