Journeys Toward Moral Leadership

 Stephan Rothlin

 

Moral leadership begins with moral education. But moral education often is reduced to compliance and legalist approaches. This tendency to equate morality with a duty to follow the rules—judging from what we see around us nowadays—is highly ineffective, if not counter-productive. The whip of indoctrination coercing support for ideological creeds just seems to provoke greater and better organized resistance. When official textbooks for schools aim to infuse “patriotic values” following a similar logic, the predictable failure seems programmed in advance as most students are likely to resist such intrusions into their conscience.

 

       As the Macau Ricci Institute Journal aims to shape new concepts of Moral Leadership and Social Innovation it appears as most timely that this issue should begin with research focused on visual media and ethics. Within cultures that are more and more characterised by a strong visual orientation and by the impact of social media, there is a need for methods of analysis that can help us sort out our own questioning about the myriad of pictures and images we are more and more bombarded with. Dealing with this challenge is compounded by the apparent generation gap between those who did or did not grow up in the digital age. We need to encourage the development of different perspectives on how to recognize genuine moral values embedded in the use of symbols and images both past and present, emerging from the diversity of wisdom traditions and philosophies honored in China and East Asia.

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