Transform and Boost Traditional Culture in a Creative Way*
September 24, 2014
We must never forget our history; only then can we open up a new era. We should know how to inherit before we become good at innovation.
Outstanding traditional culture is the root of the heritage and development of a country and a nation. Renouncing it is tantamount to severing our cultural lifeline. We should learn how to best carry forward our fine cultural traditions, and at the same time promote contemporary culture. We should put emphasis on both inheriting and development.
During its formation and progress, traditional culture is inevitably subjected to restraint and influence by the limitations in people's mindset, in conditions of the times, and in social systems. Consequently, it is natural that it contains things outdated or even dross.
This requires us to adhere to the principle of making the past serve the present, weeding through the old to bring forth the new when learning, studying and applying traditional culture. We must make a judgment in accordance with today's reality and the requirements of our era, instead of putting it into practice mechanically without thinking.
We should make the past serve the present, taking the past as a mirror for today, distinguishing what can be used, and what cannot, and carrying forward while assimilating, instead of esteeming the past over the present and using the past to negate the present. We should learn to transform and boost traditional culture in a creative way, to integrate old and new, and let both of them serve our current mission of cultivating the people.
* Part of the speech at the opening ceremony of the International Conference Commemorating the 2565th Anniversary of Confucius' Birth and the Fifth Congress of the International Confucian Association.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)