There is Love and Righteousness in the World Speech by Dean Men Honghua At the 2021 Commencement of the School of Political Science & International Relations, Tongji University
Time: 2021-08-22

There is Love and Righteousness in the World

Speech by Dean Men Honghua

At the 2021 Commencement of the School of Political Science & International Relations, Tongji University

July 6, 2021

Dear Students and Faculty Members,

As the whole country is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, we at the School of Political Science & International Relations of Tongji University are grandly holding the 2021 Commencement and Degree-Granting Ceremony to bid farewell to you. You have successfully completed studies and are about to embark on a new journey. On this solemn and unforgettable moment, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations on behalf of Party Secretary Xu Hong, the Party and administrative leadership, and all the faculty members and students of the School! Meanwhile, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all those who have devoted themselves to your growth!

You live in a world of change, and you must have deeply realized that our country is becoming stronger under the great leadership of the Party! You have spent extraordinary years in Tongji University, and you will surely lead an extraordinary life in the future! In 2017, the year when our undergraduate freshmen came, the 19th CPC National Congress was held successfully and China embarked on a new journey. In 2018, when graduate freshmen came, China was celebrating the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up, and General Secretary Xi Jinping called for all-around opening up. In 2019, events were held worldwide in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, which impressed us with the power of our motherland. In 2020, we endured the test of the outbreak of COVID-19 together, and China was acclaimed by the whole world for its safety and fulfillment of responsibility. In 2021, we celebrate the Party’s 100th anniversary together. Great, glorious and correct, our Party protects us all and leads China to stand erect and march into the center of the world stage!

 “Growing with the motherland and benefiting the world with science and education” is the pursuit of Tongji University. Studying in Tongji, you are also part of the excellence. Now, it is time for you to fulfill the mission put on your shoulder. I am confident in you and looking forward to your success. Remember that there is love and righteousness in the world. Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zhou said, “Notwithstanding the greatness of heaven and earth, their transforming power proceeds from one to another; notwithstanding the number of the myriad things, the government of them is one and the same.” In the Song of the Spirit Righteousness by Wen Tianxiang, a writer and a nationalist philosopher of the late Southern Song period, there were lines going like this: “In the world there is the spirit of righteousness, taking many forms, bestowed on the ever-changing things. Below they are the rivers and mountains; above they are the sun and stars.” And there was a sentence in Guoyu: “people can only achieve success by acting in accordance with the laws of Nature.” Confucius asks for benevolence; Mencius explains the virtue of righteousness; The Great Learning manifests bright virtue; The Doctrine of the Mean emphasizes sincerity; and man’s world is mutable. I hope that all our students will keep in mind such philosophical ideas as “studying the nature of things to acquire knowledge”, “being of integrity and sincerity” and “cultivating the self, regulating the family, governing the state, and then leading the world to peace” and act on them to become winners in life step by step!

You are stepping into a new stage in life. Famous poet Li Bai wrote in the “Preface to Feast on Spring Night in Peach & Plum Garden” that “The world is an inn for all creatures and time is a passing traveler of endless generations”. From youth to age, man’s life is both long and short. To live it to the full, one can only work hard! After more than ten years of study, self-cultivation and accumulation, this is your moment to create your own glory. I wish you all to create a life rather than just earning a living and become professional elites and social pillars with deep love for the country! I believe you have your own ideals and dreams and have made your own plans for reaching your goals. As a teacher, I want to share some of my thoughts, as graduation messages and blessings to you all.

First, we need to know to advance. Diligence is the only way to success in life. As stated in the Book of Changes, “The movement of heaven is full of power. Thus the superior man makes himself strong and untiring” and “The earth’s condition is receptive devotion. Thus the superior man who has breadth of character carries the outer world.” In his messages to the youth, General Secretary Xi Jinping once said, “Being positive, down-to-earth and persistent in dreams, you will create a life worthy of the times.” You are born in a golden age and shoulder important tasks. So you need to work hard instead of “lying flat” (or becoming a couch potato), and you need to be inclusive instead of getting stuck in the “rat race”. Only by being open-minded, responsible, and courageous enough to “go forward against tens of thousands people” can you live a glorious life.

Second, we need to know to retreat. It’s easy to know to advance but hard to know to retreat. To retreat is to possess the spirit of humility and self-examination and keep a rational and objective attitude. It means to leave more space for us to think and remind ourselves from time to time to make self-examination every day. There is a hexagram named Qian (“谦” in Chinese) in the Book of Changes, which says, “The first SIX, divided, shows us the superior man who adds humility to humility. Even the great stream may be crossed with this, and there will be good fortune. Xiang Zhuan: ‘The superior man who adds humility to humility is one who nourishes his virtue in lowliness’.” You may have heard the maxim from which Han Yu, a great scholar of literature in Tang Dynasty, got his courtesy name Tuizhi: “Man must be honest and modest. Whoever wants to achieve something big must be in a receptive mood.” Timely advancing and retreating shows one’s state of mind and leaves more room for maneuver. To retreat is not to give in, but to keep upright. As written in Sima Qian’s The Historical Records, “Do not be conceited in prosperity; dispirited in adversity; arrogant in comfort; or scared in crisis. He who has an ambition but looks calm will be made a great general.”

Third, we need to know to stop. Knowing to retreat benefits oneself, and learning to stop benefits others. While the former is not easy, the latter is even harder and requires wisdom and courage. Chinese sages have made profound elaborations in this regard. Tao Te Ching says, “Who knows to stop incurs no blame. Free from danger, he shall live long.” The Great Learning says, “The point where to rest being known, the object of pursuit is then determined; and, that being determined, a calm unperturbedness may be attained to. To that calmness there will succeed a tranquil repose. In that repose there may be careful deliberation, and that deliberation will be followed by the attainment of the desired end.” Zhu Xi’s annotation for this is that “The point where to rest is where the highest excellence is. Knowing about it, one will have a clear goal.” Know to stop, keep the bottom line, and rest in the highest excellence - all these ideas also demonstrate the state of “occupying himself with the spirit-like operation of heaven and earth” said by Zhuang Zhou. How can we put this concept into practice? On the eve of May 4th in 2017, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, “Every young man is a piece of jade that needs to be carved to sparkle truth, goodness and beauty.” And the following words from Tao Te Ching are also inspiring: “The knowledge of that unchanging rule produces a grand capacity and forbearance, and that capacity and forbearance lead to a community of feeling with all things. From this community of feeling comes a kingliness of character; and he who is king-like goes on to be heaven-like. In that likeness to heaven he possesses the Dao. Possessed of the Dao, he endures long; and to the end of his bodily life, is exempt from all danger of decay.”

When you came to Tongji as freshmen, I was already working full-time here. It is my responsibility and my honor to be able to learn and grow together with you. As you reap what you sow and start to set sail again, I would like to extend my best wishes to you on behalf of all the faculty members and students of the School. Wish you succeed in career and make a name for yourself!

Thank you!