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Abstract

There are several misunderstandings about “family” in today’s world: first, “individual” and “family” are viewed as two incompatible choices of values; second, the existential experience of “affection towards their relatives (qin qin)” is confused with the institutional expression of “family” in history; third, the asymmetric structure of “family” is wrongly taken as the root of a relationship between superiority and subordination; fourth, there is a false assumption that one’s role and responsibility within the family is incompatible with freedom as an individual in the modern world; fifth, “family” is merely viewed as a social organization, and its identity as a spiritual and cultural existence is largely neglected. In that sense, the inherent value of “family” is overlooked in the modern world. Reestablishing an idea of “family” surrounded by “individual consciousness” in the modern context can clarify the positive value of “family”, make “family” a solid guarantee for the achievements of “individuals”, and effectively relieve the negative consequences of the “individual standard”. Meanwhile, the modern world must also renew the relationship between “cultivating the moral self and regulating the family” and “running the state rightly and making the world peaceful”, and help “family” exert a more universal influence. “Family” must be reinterpreted as a basic pattern of human existence and the modern world must redefine the ontological meaning of “family” as a carrier of “relationships”, an “emotional encounter”, an “ethical principle”, a “way of understanding the world” and a “method to transcend spiritually”.

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