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Hopefully China is Not Just an Up-and-Coming Economic Superpower

Confucius (551-
479 BC)

Most scholars and pundits in America and some other Western countries are ignorant enough to attribute Asiatic backwardness to Confucianism. Worse, they are also arrogant enough to assume they wouldn't find any new wisdom if they bothered to go straight to the horse's mouths: The Four Books compiled circa 300 BC by early disciples of Confucius. The same can be said of their Japanese counterparts who are all yellow Yankees. It is true that they have learned in schools of maxims from The Four Books that recapitulate the Confucian principles. But they have never really understood the principal tenet incarnated in one of The Four Books titled 大学 (Great Learning). It reads: 修身斉家治国平天下.

There seems to be no standard way of expressing the idea in English. But an English-speaking Internet user has given it a try. This person translates these words like this:

"To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first set our hearts right so as to cultivate our personal life." (I made some modification to the last part of the quote for the sake of clarification.)

In short, your integrity as an individual is all that matters.

Policymakers and self-styled political analysts who habitually invert the Confucian logic should shut their mouth altogether if that means they can't make a fast buck anymore.

You don't have to convert to communism distorted by the bastard named Mao Zedong; neither do you need to agree with Deng Xiaoping who gave a new twist to Maoism. You just have to sober yourself up from the delusions being disseminated by Western demagogues and ideologues in order to see what is really at issue in this messy world.

As of writing this post, APEC 2010 is going on in this port city of Yokohama. As usual, participants from developed countries and developing countries seem to be divided over every issue on the agenda. It's quite predictable that at the closing session, the Japanese chairman will celebrate his own success in having all attendees sign the empty statement that essentially says, "Let's go on swimming together if only to sink together."

Until they wake up to the old Chinese wisdom, they are doomed to see a never-ending multiplication of busybodies and crybabies. One busybody creates two crybabies who, in turn, create four busybodies. The chain reaction goes on and on.

If we should still see a ray of hope somewhere, it will be the Chinese who could possibly break the vicious circle. GDP-wise, they have already overtaken the Japanese and are now poised to catch up with the Americans. But hopefully they aren't just replacing the two old economic powerhouses, one already dead and the other quickly dying.

That is basically why the "collapse" is coming at a glacial pace. The Chinese people certainly know that just toppling the communist regime is far from enough to make a real change happen.

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Hopefully China is Not Just an Up-and-Coming Economic Superpower
Authored by: samwidge on Monday, November 15 2010 @ 08:28 AM JST

The vicious circle will not be broken. Here in the US we have lots of books available on Confucianism. We actually read them.

Unfortunately, there are many other books competing. I was surprised to learn that Muslims read Jesus. Our Democrats read the George Bushes. We all read somebody though it is doubtful that we learn.

Obviously, there once were simpler times. Everybody was either a farmer or a warrior. Intellect was largely limited to survival studies.

Today we have the spare time to become thought-warriors. (I won't say "intellectual-warriors.") We like combat as much as we like eating.

They say a little stress can be a good thing. I suppose that, in the minds of some people, that stress expands and extends to the point of outright murder.

I like your expression, "Let's go on swimming together if only to sink together." It seems to me that it is not possible to correct the human mind. Our wisest move is to escape from the planet with a few loved ones, there to start new combat among our descendants.

Escape is not really so foolish an idea. My own hobby is the development of a disk-shaped aircraft, one that could evolve into a spacecraft unlike anything you have read about. My research frequently reveals little secrets of physics that others do not see.

If I succeed, I am under no obligation to share what I know with others. In fact, I would be unwise to do so.

With my own poor mind, success is not assured but I am willing to bet that others are on the same quest. Perhaps some of those folks have succeeded already.

Think back to remember if you have any friends who disappeared without a trace -- and nobody asked what happened.

If escape for some is already history, then you will know that the problem of failing to heed Confucius has been solved somewhere for at least for a few centuries.
Hopefully China is Not Just an Up-and-Coming Economic Superpower
Authored by: Y.Yamamoto on Tuesday, November 16 2010 @ 07:16 AM JST


I think many people misunderstand two things about Confucianism.

■ If any set of beliefs can be called a religion, it's a religion, but not in the same way Christianity or Islam is. It's purely an earthly set of beliefs.

■ With his central tenet (修身斉家治国平天下), Confucius did not intend to give you a tip on how to break what people call a vicious circle.

We all tend to think a vicious circle is something like the law of nature; it's always there, and once you got stuck in it, you can't get out of it until it breaks itself up.

Of course this is a false argument because in a specific chicken-and-egg situation, a specific hen lays a specific egg which hatches into another specific chicken.

So a vicious circle is an imaginary thing artificially made up to serve as an alibi for not doing the right thing.

Yu Yamamoto