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ICI Academic ║Educational Reflection on Moral Apathy by Professor Gao Desheng


Recently, Fujian Education Express officially published the new book, Educational Reflection on Moral Apathy, by ICI professor Gao Desheng.


Gao Desheng, Distinguished professor of "Zijiang Scholar" of East China Normal University, doctoral supervisor of Curriculum and Teaching Research Institute, New Century Outstanding Talents of the Ministry of Education.

Brief Introduction

This book mainly studies the following three aspects, namely, moral indifference and moral evil, educational association with moral indifference, and how to resist moral indifference in education.

Moral indifference is the disregard of others, that is, ignoring everyone, and living or dead, sorrow or pain, does not stir a ripple in the cold heart. The "cold air" of moral indifference is outward, but also inward. Our indifference to others is a sign of the withering of the inner soul.

Moral apathy relates to education. Modern education is overly competitive and can be said to be possessed by competition. Modern education, which has been kidnapped by competition, to a large extent, teaches children that life is a hunger game, and what others suffer doesn’t matter. Modern technology provides too many ways for people to escape from themselves, and they went astray further and quicker. When people cannot talk to themselves, they lose their moral sensitivity and moral judgment, thus an indifferent, ignorant evil. Moral apathy is also associated with memory, and the decline in the quality of memory is also a source of moral apathy. From a historical perspective, the educational connection of moral indifference also lies in the fact that modern education has developed at the cost of morality. In fact, moral apathy has educational relevance.

Education has both a realistic form and a natural form. Do not think that the latter is meaningless, because the natural and ideal form of education plays a role in constructing a new form of education. Today's educational reality is actually nothing more than a construction. We can construct a new educational reality to resist and dissolve the spread of moral apathy.

Heart Wrenched by Apathy: An Excerpt from Introduction

As the old saying goes, "When the granaries are full, people follow appropriate rules of conduct, and when there is enough to eat and wear, people know honor and shame." According to this logic, today, when we are generally achieving a moderately prosperous society, our moral standards and civilized qualities should also be greatly improved. However, increasing indifferent incidence has refuted the expectation that moral civilization will advance simultaneously with the material development. From Xiaoyueyue to the incident where a woman was hit by a car and lay on the road without anyone come to help, and then was run over and killed by the car behind her; from the woman jumping off the building, hundreds of people watching and booing, to the elderly people falling on the ground, while people just watching indifferently without giving helping hands. ALL HEART-WRENCHING!

Some people say this is the result of media hype. Indeed, the true reproduction function of the media, especially the electronic media, completely exposed these events to us, so striking and so unsettling! It is not that similar incidents did not exist in the past, but due to the limitations of communication technology, there are few witnesses. Thus, the impact on social psychology is not as great as it is now. The recording and communication capabilities of electronic media have indeed played a role in spreading and exaggerating negative social events to a certain extent. However, media recording and dissemination is one thing, and what are recorded and disseminated by the media is another. These indifferent incidents recorded by the media are all real, and the cropping up incidences testing our nerves continuously. Some indifferent incident disclosed by the media seemed to have broken through people's psychological bottom line at the time, but soon a worse incident was disclosed, making people wonder where the bottom line is.

If moral indifference only stays in the media, and the more you see it, it will no longer be shocking, and "compassion fatigue" will ensue. The problem is that apathy is not only a media event, but also a personal experience for most people. In other words, indifference is personal, personal indifference. On the one hand, as social beings, we all feel wary and cold eyes from others, and do not dare to put our hope in others when we encounter difficulties; on the other hand, we also put self-preservation first, and when encountering problems, we first Thinking about how to protect yourself rather than bravely reaching out to help.

Some people say that the Peng Yu case is a major moral event and has even affected the morals of a generation. It is undeniable that the occurrence of the "Peng Yu case" has indeed chilled the alrealy cold heart. But we cannot overstate the impact of a single case. Objectively speaking, it is not that the Peng Yu case affected the morals of a generation, but that the Peng Yu case catered to the indifferent social psychology. Reform and opening up have loosened the constraints on material development, but social normative requirements have continued. In other words, in the past few decades of social development, people's hearts have changed a lot. It is not that morality has declined, but that morality has lost the lofty decorations attached to it in the past era. The Peng Yu case happened to provide a legitimate excuse for the indifference suppressed by social control: Why should I help others? What if he bites me back?

Looking around the world, we will find that moral apathy is not a phenomenon unique to China, but a global phenomenon. British sociologist Zygmunt Bauman had a sensitive and profound understanding of this problem. He named this problem "moral blindness". The media always implies, intentionally or unintentionally, the high civilization of the Western world, but intellectuals in the Western world are equally saddened by the indifference of the Western world and have revealed it without reservation. For example, Bauman used the roots of modernity to reveal the roots of moral indifference, and Ulrich Beck used the perspective of risk society to reveal the reality that everyone protects himself and ignores others.

The achievements of modernization are undeniable, but is wealthy and indifferent life we want? If a certain degree of loneliness and indifference can be tolerated, then the accumulation of indifference to a certain critical point will lead to the collapse of society, vendettas between ethnic groups, and even world-wide, destructive wars. It is not something pulled out from thin air, but a real possibility, and even a fact that is happening. This is certainly not the life we want.

In this case, moral apathy is a major issue of our time.