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« A Daoist Turn on Disability | Main | The Impossibility of a Confucian Society »

November 17, 2010


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I think you're right about the breakdown of family values in China due to increasing materialism. Sad indeed. Another growing trend in China, I hear, which would have been absolutely unthinkable not too long ago (and through most of Chinese history), is the adoption of the "nursing home" concept. What could be less filial than failing to personally take care of one's aging parents? Yet it seems to be slowly catching on in China.

Surely a serious Confucian would be just as condemning of certain causes of divorce, such as domestic violence and infedility, as of divorce? And hopefully likely to take the view that divorce would be the lesser of two evils in such cases if there were no hope of a correction of the offender's ways and reconciliation?

And Alexus, "What could be less filial than failing to personally take care of one's aging parents?" Many elderly people have health and disability issues requiring professional care. I would say there are situations in which it is more caring and more filial to place one's elders in a nursing home or similar institution.

Just trying to play Devil's Advocate.

Is it just part of the general breakdown of values in China? I just was made aware of the disgusting rabbit crushing videos that seem to be enormously popular

From a philosophical point of view, I am wondering if there is any Chinese tradition of animal rights, if Mencius, Confucius or anyone would have anything to say about this, or if someway the lack of historical concern for animal rights might be a contributing factor here

I despise those videos and will not link to them...And I don't think we can make broader cultural generalizations based on such depraved behavior - depravity is expressed in all cultures, unfortunately.
I have written on the human treatment of animals in Chinese thought. Generally, Taoism would afford all things, human and non-human, equal status in Way and, thus, would look askance on cruelty generally, to the extent that such cruelty would impede the natural unfolding of things, especially the animals upon which the cruelty is visited. Confucians would clearly see humans as morally superior to animals. But Confucius himself fished with hooks not nets and never shot roosting birds (7.27); in other words, he respected animals in their nature habitats. He would, certainly, deplore the senseless killing of innocent animals for no purpose but depravity.

i think these are general issues..the materialism, the divorces, domestic violence and infidelity, the adoption of the "nursing home" concept, and so on. if Confucius and Mencius would be appalled at how far China has fallen from their moral visions, God would be dismayed of all the rest of us.

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Aidan's Way

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    Understanding disability from a Taoist point of view