The search for spiritual inwardness in modern society: Zong baihua's (1897-1986) Aesthetic vision in the 1920s and 1930s

King Sang MAK*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Owing to its tremendous industrial and technological growth since the late nineteenth century and its seemingly miraculous recovery after WWI, Germany rose during the interwar years as a hotspot for Chinese students seeking advanced education opportunities. However, having encountered the modernity characterized by materialism, bureaucracy, instrumental rationality, etc., in Weimar Germany, some of them turned to reflect on human conditions in modern society and to search for an alternative approach to China's future development. Inspired by the German cultural ideals of "Bildung" (forming of the soul) and "Innerlichkeit" (inwardness), Zong Baihua (1897-1986), a German-educated thinker that this article examines, reaffirmed in the 1930s the values of self and interiority deeply rooted in Confucianism. Embedded in Zong's aesthetics in this period, which hybridized the Confucian values and German philosophy, was his hope to re-create among the Chinese people a self-sustainable "self" that not only withstood the perils of modernity, but also served as foundation of China's cultural reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-28
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Civic, Political and Community Studies
Volume14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Confucianism
  • Inwardness
  • Modernity

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