Saturday, February 14, 2009

Advice from Confucius

"Confucius told others that he was a transmitter, not an innovator-that he 'was fond of antiquity and had faith in it.'" His disciples and his son seem to attest that this was indeed the case. They all agreed that what he taught was knowledge of the past as culture and ritual practice. But once he had imparted what he knew, how could Confucius be sure that instead of spurring his students on as he had hoped, this body of knowledge would not in fact deluge them, leaving them dazed and dampened? He himself had said: 'If you simply learn but do not think, then you will be bewildered. But if you simply think but do not learn, you will be in danger.' The knowledge he passed on, therefore, could not have been knowledge garnered wholesale but knowledge he had distilled by way of thought." (page 149)

From "The Authentic Confucius" A Life of Thought and Politics by Annping Chin, Scribner, NY, 2007. A quite good book.