On the Side of the Angels: Scholar Says ‘How Humankind Came to Be’ Exactly What Modern Society Needs

By Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng
Daniel Y. Teng is based in Brisbane, Australia. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at [email protected].
March 4, 2023Updated: March 5, 2023

“I’m in the presence of a good man,” says the former principal of Sydney’s Campion College.

“I recognise a kindred spirit, I recognise somebody who is, we would say: ‘On the side of the angels,'” says David Daintree, now director of the Christopher Dawson Centre, in an interview with The Epoch Times.

The article “How Humankind Came To Be” by the founder of Falun Dafa, Mr. Li Hongzhi, could not come at a better time for a world obsessed with material goods, technological advancement, and money, according to the classical scholar.

“The loss of faith has been catastrophic in Western countries, and we’ve become utter materialists. We have no spiritual values left. Most of us, the great majority of us, have none,” Daintree said.

Epoch Times Photo
David Daintree, director of the Christopher Dawson Centre in Tasmania, Australia. (Courtesy of David Daintree)

In fact, the General Social Survey conducted by the University of Chicago, which is carried out every two years, revealed a gradual decline in happiness in Americans since the 1980s despite the overall improvement in quality of life. In Australia, the Melbourne Institute found happiness also tracking south, notably since 2009.

Some studies infer that the decline is due to the pandemic, a lack of awareness of how much society has developed, or simply a lack of financial security.

Yet Daintree believes it is because spirituality has been eschewed from the lives of more and more people.

The 2021 Census in Australia showed that 38.9 percent of the population reported no religious affiliation, an increase from 2016 (30.1 percent) and 2011 (22.3 percent).

“We’re a luckier generation than there has ever been on earth. We live longer lives than most do. We’re physically well looked after. I mean, think of electrical appliances, cars, air conditioners, and refrigerators. All these things make life very easy for us and easier than it’s ever been for human beings.

“In that environment, it’s easy for us to forget the spiritual aspects of life and pretend that what we’ve got now is all there is and all that matters,” Daintree added.

Financial Markets Wall Street
Visitors to the financial district walk past the New York Stock Exchange in New York on Sept. 23, 2022. (Mary Altaffer/AP Photo)

We Need More Truth in Society, Scholar Says

He commended Mr. Li for speaking the truth about the need to embrace traditional moral values, cultivate character, and seek salvation—noting that such a message will resonate.

“Every good action in the world has a ripple effect. Evil actions cause evil outcomes, while good actions must cause good outcomes,” Daintree said. “The consequences of any good action are not necessarily measurable at the time, but there may have an effect—days or even years later.”

“Every good thing said will echo in somebody’s heart and will affect the listener either for good or for ill,” he added. “Remarks that stir up hatred, for example, will affect some people. And remarks that talk about love and goodness are going to have a good effect on people as well.”

“If the [founder of Falun Gong] speaks the truth, then that’s got to be a good thing. Because there are so many people nowadays too unprepared to speak the truth. They talk nonsense.”

The article’s author, Mr. Li Hongzhi, is the founder of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that teaches the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. Since its introduction to the public in the 1990s, it has spread to more than 100 countries, and “Zhuan Falun,” its main text, has been translated into 40 languages.

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Moral Vacuum Invites Socialism, Marxism

Daintree said that in the West, the attractiveness of Marxist and socialist ideas—as well as descendent theories like postmodernism and modern woke culture—stems from its promise of wealth and material comforts to everyone in society.

In fact, many government policies prevalent in developed countries today are rooted in socialist ideas like cradle-to-grave welfare states and equality in all forms.

“It’s holding up materialistic promises, which are very attractive to people who only believe in it. So, communism is always going to be attractive to a lot of people,” Daintree said.

But he warned these ideas were only gaining traction due to the lack of emphasis on morality.

“If you have no rules of morality, then you’re going to try and find God in all sorts of places where God is not. You might look for love in pornography or stealing large amounts of money.

“‘The thief is looking for perfection,’ but he’s going about it the wrong way,” he said. “Once we lose sight of [moral values], then everything is legitimate.”

“We have this emptiness in our hearts, and we’re looking for God again [and] it’s the rules of morality that will help us find it.”

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