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C O U R S E 
Chinese Thought: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science
Edward Slingerland, University of British Columbia
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Confucius and the Analects
Notes taken on January 7, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
The Analects ("Lúnyǔ", or "Edited Conversations")
or "collected sayings" or "categorized sayings"
a record of Confucius' teachings as put together by disciples after his death
we don't have written texts directly from the pen of Confucius
we have an account of his teachings from people who know him and interacted with him
tradition view is that the whole text was recorded during Confucius' lifetime or shortly thereafter
probably not true
20 books
books 1-10, the early core
recorded by first generation disciples
books 11-15: next generation of disciples
using different concepts
books 16-20: anyone's guess
uncommon and long, narrative forms
more like later Warring States writings
late concepts
book 20 is a hodge podge
clearly just random passages that look like the Book of Documents
the name Confucius
a Latinization of the Chinese "Kong Fu Zi"
Zi = master
Kong was his surname, or "Master Kong" or Kongzi
almost all master writers of this time have "zi" as a suffix in their name, e.g. Laozi, Chongzhi and Xunzi.
especially in the Han Dynasty, there is this idea that they want to single out Confucius as special so they added another honorific "fu" which means "supper" in the middle of his name so "Kongzi" became "Kongfuzi" or, Latinized, "Confucius".
the person Confucius
most probably a real person
probably not as is commonly thought now is that he was a massively revered person in his lifetime
member of the minor nobility in State of Lu
formerly a knight class
a class of scholar-officials
were literate and worked in the bureaucracy in some capacity
kind of an "out of luck" nobility, not wealthy
professionally he wasn't terribly successful
traveled around China
one way to look at the Analects is that it was a record of Confucius trying to get a job
going from state to state trying to get kings to accept the Confucian way
while he was not very successful in his own lifetime, it is almost impossible to overstate the importance of his later on in history
Confucian thought, especially as formulated in the Analects became foundational throughout East Asia and still has a profound affect on modern East-Asian civilization
the State of Lu
one of the warring states
ruled by a Duke, the Duke of Lu
could trace his ancestry back to the Duke of Zhou
in practice during Confucius' lifetime, the state of Lu was ruled by three powerful clans
ministerial families who should have been subordinate to the Duke
but in face had usurped his power
also usurping certain ritual prerogatives
this upset Confucius
Confucius is concerned about the state of ritual decay
believes he's on a mission from heaven
the Analects is a record of a guy who thought it was his job to save the world
it's a religious mission from tian to revive the culture of the Zhou
his job is to get a ruler to readopt the way of the Zhou
he feels if this can happen, then by the power of "de", the entire kingdom will be ruled by one king again
Analects 3.24
Confucius going from one state to another
gets interviewed by a border official
Confucius failed to get a job in the state he was in
disciples are discouraged
border official says to them
don't worry that your master is unemployed, heaven has plans for him
"The world has been without the Way for a long time now, and Heaven intends to use your Master like the wooden clapper for a bell."
officials would use the clapper and the bell to get people's attention
so heaven wants to use Confucius as a clapper to "wake up China"
Confucius and the Dao
a way or a path
also "the way to do something"
an ontological framework that gives normative guidance
something that was revealed by heaven to the ancient Zhou kings
preserved in the state of Zhou
embodied in cultural forms of classics and rituals
passed down in the state of Lu
Confucius happens to be an expert in these cultural forms
Confucius sees his job as returning people to these practices
Confucius was a "ru"
(not only a "shir")
not translated as "Confucian"
"ru-jah" is a Confucian school
this is obviously anachronistic
some scholars don't use Confucian anymore, instead use "Ru-ist" or "erudite"
trained in rituals and classics
could recite the classics
masters in Zhou cultural arts
singing, dancing, music
they made their living by being hired by the aristocracy to perform ceremonies
Analects 6.13
"Be a gentlemanly ru, not a petty ru."
let's reclaim this concept of ru
we're not just technical specialists, someone you can hire for a party
we are keepers of the sacred tradition that was passed down from heaven
Confucius' Views on Culture
ordered patterns
everything that has been passed down from our ancestors
the way you walk into a room
the way you are supposed to think
the way you dance and sing
for Confucius this culture that was inherited from the Western Zhou is the key to being a proper human being
culture in modern West today
culture is more of an add-on
we're human beings, we walk around, and then we get culture afterwards
for Confucius culture is what makes us who we are
until you get shaped by culture, you are a raw human being
culture is not exclusively humans
song birds
human beings are unique in the extent to which we use culture to think and act
humans are uniquely dependent on culture
reliant on culture input to be who we are
we are born incomplete and are designed for receiving cultural input
we are born to acquire the bit that we still need, the culture that will form us
we are learning creatures
one culture fits all
the dark underbelly to this idea
people who are not properly acculturated are not proper human beings
can lead to narrow views of who is a proper human being and who is not
in the West we celebrate cultural diversity
Confucius was not very into diversity in that regard
thought there was one, true culture
when we are born, we need a culture, and there is one true culture to fill that need, and that is the culture of the Western Zhou
Analects 6.17
"Who is able to leave a room without going out through the door? How is it, then, that no one follows this Way?"
most students read the Analects and are appalled by this kind of rigidity
seen historical, culture diversity is a freakishly anomalous view
but most religious communities are traditional conservative
there is one proper way to be a human
there is one proper way to believe about the world
Confucius in context
political chaos of the warring states
was a direct result of a neglect of Zhou cultural forms
Analects 3.1
Confucius said of the Ji Family, "They have eight rows of dancers performing in their courtyard. If they can condone this, what are they not capable of?"
eight rows of dancers is what the Zhou king is allowed to have in his courtyard
a mere official has put on an event in which he has eight rows of dancers in his courtyard
he might as well be putting a crown on his head and parading around with a scepter
for Confucius, this is a symptom of the broader degeneration of his age
the solution is: re-learn the rituals the proper way
Analects 17.5
"If I found someone to employ me, could I not establish a new Zhou in the East?"
so Confucius' main aim is to restore the Dao, or the way, which is both
a concrete cultural way
a metaphysical, normative order