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Creating the New ManFrom Enlightenment Ideals to Socialist Realities$
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Yinghong Cheng

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824830748

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824830748.001.0001

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(p.214) Conclusion
Creating the New Man

Yinghong Cheng

University of Hawai'i Press

This concluding chapter argues that the goal of making people better or more virtuous—based on faith in human malleability and perfectibility, justified by ideological, moral, or spiritual concepts, and accomplished through political coercion—is one of the fundamental human passionate impulses that has fascinated or, perhaps to a greater extent, obsessed a great number of the most intellectually and politically capable people throughout world history. Indeed, this impulse has been reflected intellectually in numerous ideas in different cultures, but has more frequently and more intensively been manifested in modern times, as radical social transformation created tensions between the society and the individual, and as prominent intellectuals and politicians had more power to address their ideas and to materialize them through state policies, often in the name of nation building and national identity formation.

Keywords:   human malleability, perfectibility, human impulses, social transformation, state policies, nation building, national identity formation

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