Insight into American Social Relationships

by B.J. Delas Armas on 5/17/2008 04:56:00 PM 0 comments Print this post

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http://wang.ed.csuohio.edu/learning_center/confucius.dewey.dialogue.html

Confucius: The current problems of American society were created by social choices. They are not individual moral dilemmas but results from the failures of society's institutions. My notion of "li," which means ritual, also refers to the everyday way one relates to others in the world. If we see that the forms of social life have a kind of ritual element to them, we view institutions differently. Americans on the whole don't have that sense. Everything for Americans tends to be viewed as utilitarian, or may I say, pragmatistic.

Dewey: Are you attacking me again? (Reluctant grin.)

Confucius: May I continue? Although there was also a counter-cultural belief that any social form or ritual is constraining and must be knocked down, that very rejection of social forms is itself a social form. It's hard for Americans to see, for instance, that in order for a friendship to be maintained it has to have a kind of ritual form to it. Otherwise, it's so easy to be exploitive. The American society has some social rituals and forms, but relative to Chinese societies, the Americans don't value or cultivate them.

What I glean from this page:

Americans. Lack of ritual.

American relationships. Opportunity to exploit.

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