Tuesday, 21/1/2020
On building Vietnamese culture and man
26/1/2015 21:19' Send Print
Comrade Vu Ngoc Hoang, PhD, Member of the Party Central Committee, Permanent Deputy Chairman of the Central Propaganda and Education Committee. Image: www.tuyengiao.vn

Culture is a category on human, of human and humankind and created by human for their life, development and fulfillment to make them become human, more human and is of human characteristic and nature. The most important goal and core content in building culture is building human – human personality. Culture and human are two facets of an issue. The most important goal of culture is human. The most important goal of human issue is culture.

Talking about culture is talking about something big at macro level but still abstract. At that macro level, it is essential that human, each individual, each life, each people and his/her personality exist as the cross-cutting, first and last element and the most important core element of culture. People come together with their social relations and become a nation and a society. To assess culture, it is most important to analyze human with their personality and social ethics.

Since the renovation process began in Viet Nam, remarkable progress has been made several fields. People’s spiritual and material life has been improved; education has developed in terms of scope, quantity, network, higher level of education, universalization of primary education and illiteracy eradication through out the country; people have had better access to diversified and multisource information, hence their knowledge and understanding increase. The issues of human and human rights have received more attention which is demonstrated in the Platform, Constitution and laws. Democracy has been uphold due to increasing awareness of all levels, higher education level and information influence. Patriotism and national spirit have been maintained; remarkable results have been made in poverty reduction and hunger eradication, in the movements of “drinking water remember its source,” “paying gratitude”; humanitarian and charity activities and building of cultural life at grassroots levels; literature publications and arts work have increased in quantity and distribution scale and diversified in subject matters and presentation.

However, the most worrying issue is degrading social ethics in several areas, some of which are alarming. Negative phenomena and crimes have also been on the rise. So do killings for robbery; rapes, woman and girl trafficking; false, deceit, fake goods, counterfeit medicines, hazardous foods; drug trafficking, deforestation, discharge of toxic substances to environment and higher number of woman and girl criminals. Corruption has not been checked. In some areas some cases are more complicated and serious, causing worries though the Party and State have issued several orientations and policies and in recent years been more stringent in preventing this ill. Illegal running for power and asking for promotion, absolution, projects and the culture of “envelop” have been common. The market economy is still in primitive stage. Signs of “group interests” and economic manipulation have caused great concerns just like in other countries in the stage of capital accumulation. If this is not prevented effectively, it will deviate the country from socialist goals and the country will fall deeper in the “middle-income trap” which will take dozens of years to get out. Not a small number of cadres and party members including middle- and high-level cadres have degraded. Negative phenomena and ills have occurred in all aspects of social life including in those which should be transparent and clean (such as justice, law enforcement, education, health, humanism dissemination, strategic consulting units, spiritual, religious and worshiping premises).

There are several causes to this situation. Noticeable is the system of values has been converted in positions and hierarchy. Personality which has always ranked first and central has conceded its position to money with its manipulating power in many aspects and many incidences. For money, man has disregarded ethics and even committed ills. Why does this system of values has changed? Of course these are results of the wrong side of the market mechanism. However the market mechanism cannot be blamed for all these because the market mechanism is like what it is. Its has many positive characteristics of a driver of development. The selection of the market mechanism is right. Its negative features should be prevented. A noticeable mistake is that when embarking on the market economy, we have not yet anticipated its complexity and harm, especially we have not taken proactive preventive measures to limit its constraints.

To overcome that situation, in the coming time, the first thing to do is to continue raising awareness on the extremely importance of culture and ethics in social life and building political system. The great writer Marxim Gorky once said that for him it was more frightening to hear that culture rather than the Fatherland was in danger. In a far-reaching vision, he was right. If the Fatherland is in danger and culture is still sustainable, the country can be protected or wrested back; but if culture is in danger not only the Fatherland but the whole nation can lose.

Looking back at feudal dynasties of Viet Nam, most of them were supported by the people at first stages and made great achievements of historical significance. However, they collapsed not longer after due to cultural and ethical degradation among mandarins and the courts. It was the same for following dynasties. Each time when ethical degradation among mandarins, social ethics also degenerated and hence social disorder. Half of the feudal dynasties existed for less than some dozens of years and collapsed in the reigns of the first or second kings. The Ly and the Tran had the longest reigning period of more or less 200 years each. This was attributable to their care for building culture in politics, considering “people as the roots”; nevertheless they also ended in degeneration. The former Soviet Union, in its first stage, built as people’s administration and supported by people, made great victories such as defeated 14 imperialist countries in their besiege of the young soviet administration, winning over fascism and saving humankind from genocide, bringing a agriculture-based country into a strong industrialized power; from a mainly handicraft-based country into a world leading aerospace industry country. However, in the later stage, due to degradation, the people’s state was turned into a state of corrupted rulers which was then collapsed. The fall of the former Soviet Union was “self-induced dissolution” not because of sabotage by enemy. The historic lesson learnt is the states of kings and feudal regimes, of rulers, of financial tycoons collapsed due to degeneration - the wrong side of the power mechanism (of course there is also other causes from the rule of development). Only the state of the people, really of the people where all powers vest with the people can be sustainable because the people are eternal and protecting and serving people are always necessary.

The Resolution of the Party Central Committee 9th Plenum, 11th Tenure on culture emphasized the core and central issue of building culture is building man with virtue, ethics and good lifestyle. This is a cross-cutting issue of the resolution, from its name to objectives, viewpoints, tasks and solutions. Culture is a great thing, but of no significance if it does not pay sufficient attention to the issues of man and personality and lets ethics degrade. It is impossible to think that culture is only “banners, lights, trumpets and drums,” “dancing and singing,” the follower and “the tail” of economy.

The Vietnamese man should be patriotic. When building culture, constant attention should be paid to foster patriotism and national spirit. Thank to these characteristics that the Vietnamese people have safeguarded the country and wrested the country back from much stronger enemies and avoided assimilation during the 1000 years under Northern domination. Nowadays, patriotism and national spirit must also serve as a springboard and mainstay for development. In the period of international integration and global cultural development, only by developing can a nation exist as itself and as a truly independent nation.

The Vietnamese man should be humane. In the past, the Vietnamese people loved and cared for each others, particularly in difficulties, ups and downs and distresses. In future, to develop a society as good as expected by Uncle Ho, the Party and people, humanism must be the most important foundation for that beautiful society.

The Vietnamese man should be creative. So far, the Vietnamese people have been adaptable and creative but conservative and have not come to the end to creation for development. The strongest point in the Vietnamese culture is the culture of national defense. The weak point is the culture of development. This has been manifested in reality. The Vietnamese nation has been staunch and successful in extremely difficult situations; on the other hand, Viet Nam has undergone not only wars but also peace time. Though the country has got out of the less-developed status, joined the group of middle-income countries, it is still hard for the country in its development. Each of the Vietnamese should develop, the Vietnamese nation should develop and this is the most important objective of culture building. To achieve development, there must be continuous and constant renovation and creation.

Culture is real values in a real life. Formalism, false successes and deceit will never produce cultural values, on the country, do harm to culture. The Vietnamese man should be righteous, self-respecting and feel ashamed of his/her wrongdoings before ancestors, compatriots, comrades and himself/herself. Patriotism, humanism, righteousness and creativeness are important characteristics of the Vietnamese man identified in the Central Committee’s resolution.

Cultural environment is the place where people live and come under its influence during the period of personality development. Families, communities, culture in economy, and in politics are of extreme significance for building personality. Families which are eager to learn are needed as the cradles for personality nurturing. It is necessary to have a sustainable, healthy and efficient economy in which laborers are respected with no irrational stratification and manipulation of “interest groups”; and there is an advanced management mechanism strong enough to restraint the wrong side of the market economy. There must be a democratic politics imbued with cultural identity of “the people as the roots” in which the people are the real masters, the people master, the power belongs to the people, cadres are wholeheartedly at people’s service, respect for and are polite with people. A mechanism for power control is needed to limit the constraints of the “restive horse.” That is the most important point of building political culture. If this is not achieved, real socialism cannot be implemented. The Party Central Committee of 5th Plenum, the 8th Tenure, advocated an “advanced culture of Viet Nam imbued with national identity.” Inheriting and upholding that spirit, the Party Central Committee of the 9th Plenum, 11th Tenure, stated that the Vietnamese culture has national, humanistic, democratic and scientific characteristics. The Vietnamese nation should resolutely develop and should remains Viet Nam with a culture full of humanism in which the people are better and happy, with a democratic regime in sustainable stability with strength to move forward, and with a developed science for the country to match with the time.

Cultural activities are human activities to develop, create, preserve and disseminate humane values of “Honesty, Humanism and Beauty.” If economic activities are to generate incomes, cultural activities are mainly to create humanistic values. Cultural activities are of utmost importance to building man and fostering personality. The Central Committee also issued a resolution on radical and comprehensive renovation of education and training. Accordingly, to change education from mainly transferring knowledge to building personality and capacity; to develop an open education linked with a learning society. This is a important viewpoint on renovation to the right direction and conforms to the objective trend. Most of man’s personality are built in the first stage of his/her life, during his/her school age which will be supplemented and completed in the later stage on the foundation already built. As personality is most effectively established during school age, education plays a key role in building culture. Personality building should be the primary objective of general education programs in all subjects, especially in scientific and social subjects.

In cultural activities, literature and arts are essence of culture, the shortest path to people’s hearts. They are required to create and proliferate humanistic values. A book, a song, a piece of music, a theatre program, a painting and a festival are important. However, they are “intermediary” products. The final product, and the highest goal is their positive impacts on building personality through content and arts - the two facets of an issue which are of equal importance to create wisdom, ethics, capacity and rich soul.

Information and communication are also cultural activities, meeting people’s demands for information while participating in building personality through discovering, honoring and disseminating humanistic values and condemning, isolating and eradicating the bads and ills.

Literature, arts, information and communication should be responsible to fight against the bads and ills as poet Nguyen Dinh Chieu wrote: “Literature and arts are like the boats with immense capacity to carry ethics and morals; and like the pens which will never wear out writing against the bads and ills.” Fighting against the bads and ills is for the goods, beauty, humanism to develop just like to kill weeds for rice to grow not for destruction and collapse. Writers are secretary of the time, teachers who reflect reality with humanism, the “physicians” who treat personality degradation for the community, and the one who light the torch shining the way to humanism. If literature, cinema, theatre, information, communication and public opinions lack fighting spirit against the bads and ills, the society will lose its resistance - the pandemic which has been prevented and treated by humankind.

Literature and arts works bear deep imprint of individual artists and are high creative. For natural science, some scholar may not discover a formula which may delay the development of human civilization for a long time. However, it is certain that another scholar will invent that formula. Whereas without poet Nguyen Du and novelist Lev Tolstoy, mankind will never have “Kieu story” and “War and Peace.” Thus, respecting freedom and honoring artists’ creativity facilitate the creation of masterpieces.

Vu Ngoc Hoang, PhDMember of the Party Central Committee, Permanent Deputy Chairman of the Central Propaganda and Education Committee