This Century could be read as a dialectic of unity and diversity. The first half of the century engaged the enthusiasm of peoples in major, indeed terrorizing, campaigns of unification. Totalitarian systems took hold from the Atlantic across Europe and Asia to the Pacific; through pogroms, death camps and mass deportations when deemed opportune all was homogenized. In North America the melting pot approach to immigrants made differences an impediment and a personal shame. Over distant lands nets of empire--political and commercial--were cast.
Unity came to reign so supreme and with so heavy a hand that the last 50 years have been preoccupied largely with breaking its stranglehold over the life of mankind. These have been the major markers of our memory: the war against Fascist totalitarianism; the breakup of the empires; the recognition of the rights of minorities, whether ethnic, national, gender; and the collapse from within of the forced communist uniformism.
Where does this leave us at this transition between millennia; has the 20th century been wasted in a difficult, indeed deadly and as yet unresolved, isometric of unity and diversity? In fact, the agenda of conflict at the present time: from the reactions against immigrants in Western Europe or against other races in America, to massive attacks upon whole peoples in Yugoslavia, the Caucasus, India, etc., etc., could lead one to despair of human harmony. The deadly dilemma of our day is that the assertion of one's own distinctiveness seems too easily to imply attacking others simply because they differ, ignoring and destroying all bonds of unity; whereas the effort to achieve unity is interpreted as requiring the suppression of the access of peoples to the cultural and religious wellsprings of their identity and thereby the very roots of their sense of unity with others.
Must the coming century be a replay of the last or, worse still, the perpetuation of our present quandary, marked by a collapse of mutual respect, the destruction of the roots of a person's values, virtues and goals, and a breakdown of civil cohesion? Or is it possible to see the very diversity of persons and peoples as the resource enabling us to related more intimately, to cooperated more actively and to create more profusely what lies within the unfulfilled agenda of human hopes. If so diversity must be turned into cooperation and unity into empowerment so that the lion might lie down with the lamb, swords be beaten into plowshares, and new horizons of human progress can beckon us beyond conflict to new levels of unity.
In our present condition this is not a formula but a destiny, not an ideology but
a task, not an utopia but a direction. What is needed in order to take up our task and
to move in the direction of our hopes is concentrated effort drawing upon both the
experience and values of the many cultures and religions, and the scientific rigor of
the empirical sciences. The two must be bonded through the development of theoretical interpretations which make it possible to see diversity as a key to unity and unity
as enabling diversity. How can this be achieved?
I. The Diversity of Persons and Peoples
In the aftermath of forced processes of assimilation and uniformity the value and importance of diversity has come vividly to the consciousness in our times. In Central Europe, in the afterglow of the revolutions which signalled the collapse of Communist universalism, people have begun to celebrate their uniqueness and diversity. In Western Europe the project of unity is being delayed until the reality of national and even regional differences can be taken into accounted. In North America the melting pot has been followed by a recognition that at bottom we are a nation of minorities whose history has ever lain primarily in the process of assimilating new and increasingly different immigrant groups. What had been the vast empire of the Soviet Union is now undergoing a process of redefinition and reorganization according to the differences of its peoples.
With this celebration of freedom comes pride in the accomplishments of our people, renewed commitment to the values they have shaped and new ways of exercising the virtues they have formed. But with the good comes also evil, and this process has unearthed ancient prejudices and even antipathies, memories of oppression and even of atrocities. Close upon the flush of new awareness of freedom there has followed the fear of new menaces. Defensive reactions, in turn, now lead to failure of the will to cooperate and even to a downward spiral into a pit of suspicion, rejection and mutual attack which seems without bottom.
Hence, the eruption of human freedom in our day presents a double challenge.
On the one hand, it means new recognition of the difference and distinctness of
peoples. If peoples are to realize their humanity this diversity must be not only tolerated but promoted. Progress will consist in the ability to harvest the results of the
creativity this unleashes.
This project must be realized in such manner that diversity does not end in conflict. Differences must be channeled toward interchange of peoples with a view to cooperation and mutual promotion.
What are the ultimate cultural and religious principles for diversity which can promote such cooperation; what are its psychological and sociological mechanisms; how can these be protected and promoted in legal and political structures.
All this is the urgent task of this seminar, and indeed, of our day.
II. The Unity of Cultures and Religions
At the end of this millenium we face a twin dilemma. On the one hand, the contemporary resurgence of the sense of cultural identity calls for attention to, and promotion of, the diversity of peoples. But, as the senses of freedom, distinctiveness and diversity emerge ever more vividly in human consciousness, we experience the ways in which diversity can, and indeed has already begun to degenerate into conflict--into Hobbes' savage state in which man is wolf to man. On the other hand, the emergence of technology and the intensification of economic interchange call for ever greater unity and even uniformity. Indeed, we know that peace and harmony are the conditions of growth and development, whether of a child or of a people. But from the first half of this century we know how the call for unity can entail suppression of the freedom, identity and diversity of peoples.
Hence, the increase of the pressure of numbers, of the interdependence of workers and nations in industry and commerce, and of the penetration of the media of communication into the very households of the world, make it ever more urgent that progress in developing a more subtle sense of unity be kept in step with the development of the new sense of diversity.
Concretely, the challenges are multiple. What are the possibilities and requirements of peace and cooperation in families and neighborhoods? What are the conditions of just collaboration between the many groups and sectors of a complex, pluralistic enterprise of nation? Both nationally and internationally, what are the bases for reaching beyond self centered interest in order to live in harmony with peoples of notably different cultures and traditions? More deeply still, are the philosophical and religious roots of the various cultures able not only to be compatible one with another, but to inspire peoples to reach out beyond themselves with respect and concern for what others are and would make of their future?
We cannot suppose that these issues have ready answers, for the questions themselves are being raised in new manners and with ever greater scope and intensity. The sense of diversity is held with new passion, the range of diverse peoples and cultures has new extent, their interaction is more intense and pervasive. Hence, unity in diversity cannot be achieved merely by new techniques; it requires a more refined appreciation of psychological and social dynamisms, as well as a new and penetrating understanding through the humanities and religious sciences of the well springs of human meaning and aspirations.
The exploration of these challenges will be the work of this seminar.
For this there are significant and promising resources. The humanities (history and literature) can uncover the values of the various cultures. The social sciences (psychology, sociology and economics) can contribute understanding of the structures of the world in which we live. Above all, it will be necessary with these to think together, in order to understand the way in which human freedom is open rather than closed, and how self-assertion consists in reaching out to others.
PART I. Theoretical Relations of Unity and Diversity
by George F. Mclean
2. Pursuit of Harmony: Contribution of Chinese Philosophy
by Sun Shangyang
by Hu Jun
4. The Philosophical Origins, and the Topical Predicament
of the Problem of Diversity in Unity
by Miloslav Bedná
5. Rielo's Genetic Conception of Unity:
Unum Geniticum vs. unum simpliciter
by Robert P. Badillo
6. From Difference to Non-indifference: Implications for
Diversity-in-Unity between and beyond Faces
by Angelli F. Tugado
PART II. Contemporary Challenge of Diversity in Unity
7. Durkheims Concept of Anomie in the Light of the Present Problems of Change in Developing Countries
by Heinz Holley
8. The Culture of Pluralism -- The Dialectic of Unity and Diversity
in Contemporary Christianity
by Godé Iwele
9. The Challenge of a Cross-cultural Ministry
by J. Donders
10. The Dynamics of the Dunamis in Collaborations,
Associations and Unions
by Bhajan S. Badwal
11. Central and Peripheral Elements of Group Identity -- Exploring the Phenomenon of Religious Inquirers
by Florencio R. Riguera
12. The Contemporary Mutual Contamination of Cultures
or Diversity in Unity
by Jozef Pauer
by M. Galczynska
PART III. Cultural Forms of Unity and Diversity
14. Diversity as a Problem of Practical Reason with Some References
to the African Experience
by Raphael J. Njoroge
15. Diversity and unity in a Buddhist Cultural Context
by K. Bunchua
16. The Personal Relations among Urban Dwellers in Shanghai, China
by An Qing Shi
17. Unity in Diversity: the Immigrant Experience in America
by James S. Pula
18. Latin American Identity in Relation to Unity in Diversity:
a Social Work Reflection
by Martha Gonzalez
19. Puerto Rico, the One and the Many
by José A. Rivera
PART IV. Diversity and Unity in the Political Order
20. Global Unity in Multiplicity: the University as Institutional Locus
of an Emerging Ecumenical Culture
by Charles R. Dechert
21. Tocqueville's America and Jazz, a Critique of
Pure Harmony in Politics
by Steve Schneck
22. Hegel and liberalism
by Miloslav Bedná
23. Strife and Harmony
by Jozef Pauer