Date: April 26th，2019
Source: news agency of cultural education office
Author: Lin Xiaohua
Photographer: Ma Ruiping
Sun Xiangchen, dean of School of Philosophy and director of the Center for General Education Fudan University, guested on JNU lectures of cultural education, a lecture series aimed at passing on and spreading Chinese culture. He spoke on the topic of life and death in Chinese and Western cultures. Through a comparative study, Sun shared his understanding of life and death from the perspective of philosophy in those cultures, analyzing the classics and phenomena in life and explaining profound thoughts in simple language.
(Sun Xiangchen in the lecture)
He said Christians, believing in an afterlife, regard death as a link. The philosopher Martin Heidegger, who believes that people in different periods of life face the same question and are at the same level, defines life as moving towards death. Sun added that Westerners, influenced by Heidegger, cherish life before death, attaching great importance to the journey toward death as well as their life plans.
In China, Sun said, Moving towards the next generation is a value that continues from generation to generation. The famous fable of the Foolish Old Man who removed the mountains is based on that value. Therefore, Chinese people not only plan their own lives but also pay more attention to planning the lives of future generations.'Moving towards death' is based on the individual, Sun said. It is believed that people do not have the right to decide their own birth, which is a state of being ‘thrown away.' People will have a sense of loneliness and loss. 'Moving towards the next generation' attaches importance to generation and origin, which means that we are not single individuals, but also have generational relationships.
Sun emphasized that moving towards the next generation and moving towards death are different concepts under different basic presuppositions. We should not only understand the traditional culture, he said, but also recognize the concept of modern individuals. We should have a profound understanding of where the two kinds of logic can merge and conflict.
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