Morris Chang’s Pessimism

Good Evening,

I believe many of you were at tonight’s panel. I was particularly struck by Morris Chang’s comments about the inevitable stalling of China’s economy in the same manner as Taiwan, due to Cultural reasons. I agree with him. I have thought about that question and come to the same conclusion in the past.

It is my hope that we can raise some kind of coherent, rigorous conversation about cultural weaknesses amongst the Taiwanese at MIT. As Wei-Chuan has said, as of right now the organization seems to know only eat-eat-drink-drink, and does little else. There is no conversation and no common consciousness. I would like you to consider the desirability and possibility of change in this aspect.

I do not think that we are bad at having opinions. What’s weak is the ability to develop those opinions. There is an excess of the tolerance for relativism, and on important issues disagreeing people seem to be unable to speak to each other. In the absence of meaningful disagreement, agreements are shallow and only joined by coincidence of name, as opposed to some deep generating principle.

There needs to be conversation about more fruitful ways in which to disagree. We need to make the strength and vigor which comes of public conversation available to us. This is something a technical education does not offer by itself – we’ll have to work for this one. We must be aware of the dangers of philosophical bankruptcy, how we are wasting many opportunities by neglecting self-examination.


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