Postmodernization and the Second Enlightenment
August 1, 2008By Zhihe Wang, Ph.D
Director, China Project, Center for Process Studies
It is clear to all that China is facing the predicament of modernization. While the achievements of China's modernization are remarkable, such as the fast GDP growth, the price is extremely high. The price includes environmental problems, an increasing gap between the rich and the poor, and the loss of faith among its people.
What is wrong with China's modernization? Who is responsible for the predicament? Is there any way for China to get out of the predicament? Is there any alternative to the current form of modernization?
This paper offers a tentative answer to these questions. Constructive postmodern thought, based on Whiteheadian or Process thought, provides an alternative to China's current form of modernization. However, in order for a constructively postmodern culture to emerge in China or in other parts of the world, we need what can be called a Second Enlightenment. A Second Enlightenment can overcome the limitations of the first Enlightenment, aspects of which are responsible for some of China's problems in modernization. A Second Enlightenment can assist China in a process that moves beyond modernity toward postmodernity: a process called postmodernization.
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