Friday, January 28, 2011

Confucius Analect of the Week, January 27, 2011

U pluribus unum.  Out of many, one.  That inscription appears on the Great Seal of the United States.

Lately that motto has given way to “diversity” on college campuses, the media, entertainment, government, and business.  Each of the many is more important in its own right, rather than as part of a whole.

China is different.  The Han people constitute 90% of its population, the rest a collection of small tribes and indigenous groups.  Chinese are proud, cultured people.

This sentiment, the sense of high culture, appears in the Analects, Chapter III, Verse 5.

James R. Ware:  “China without a recognized leader is preferable to foreigners with all their leaders.”

James Legge:  “The Master said, “The rude tribes of the east and north have their princes, and are not like the States of our great land which are without them.”

Confucius.org: Confucius said,  “Even with lords, the Yi and the Ti cannot be compared to the Hsia without lords.”

A. Charles Muller: Confucius said:   “The tribes of the East and North (Koreans and Mongolians), though having kings, are not equal to our people, even when lacking kings.”

Order and stability are the hallmarks of Confucianism.  Yet without a lord to impose order, Chinese civilization is superior to those of other peoples with lords, princes, or kings.

I’ve run this analect by many Chinese visitors at Stanford and almost all concur in the interpretation of the superiority of Chinese culture.

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