More notes at http://tanguay.info/learntracker
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 
Philosophical and Conceptual Innovations in Zhou Thought
Notes taken on December 29, 2014 by Edward Tanguay
philosophical and conceptual innovations in Zhou thought:
1. ritual (li)
any type of ceremonial activities that have a religious character
ritualized offerings to the ancestors
ceremonies surrounding divinations
in the Zhou dynasty, ritual became more of a formal system of behavioral guidelines
ritual qua ritual seems to become more important
document: The Record of Ritual (liji)
a collection of texts describing the social forms, administration, and ceremonial rites of the Zhou dynasty as they were understood in the Warring States and the early Han periods
hard to date
much of it probably warring states
much also probably Han dynasty material
important passage: "The Shang people put their spirits first, the Zhou people put their rituals first."
for the Shang, the ritual is just a means to please the spirits, to gain their favor, a means to an end, a technique for pleasing the spirits, if you had some other way of pleasing the spirits, you would do it some other way
for the Zhou, ritual becomes a priority in and of itself, not just used for pleasing the spirits, the structure of ritual matters, but seen as a part of the cosmic order, and even creating and responsible for cosmic order, i.e. ritual imposing order on the universe
ritual also include the regular administration of government
an official accepting a new position becomes very ritualized
bronze vessel getting cast to commemorate the event
bureaucratic decisions become ritualized in this intense way
also include aspects of personal deportment
the way you dress
the way you come into a room
the way you groom yourself
all of this becomes part of the scope of ritual
2. the concept of "de" or virtue, inner power, charismatic power
the Shang version of "de"
Shang oracle bones have an early version of this word
refers to power accrued by a ruler who had acted favorably toward a spirit or another person
you attain "de" when you act pro-socially, in a way that is good for the state, for other people
functions in the Shang conception as a psychic debt
e.g. if a king does something kind to a vassal, that vassal feels a desired to reciprocate
this functions with spirits as well, not just people
Zhou version of "de"
becomes more of a concept that is specifically linked to the ruler's ability to rule and have a relationship with Shang Di and tien
"de" is a power that is specifically given by the Shang-Di tien to the Zhou ruler
also hereditary from one king to another
"de" is success in battle and that ability to rule and pass this down to subsequent rulers
becomes important to the idea of non-coercive rule
the reason the Zhou were able to win at Muye was because their leaders had this "de"
the Shang lost their "de"
powerful myth: King Wu showed up on the battle field and the Shang army just gave up because of his massive "de", he just exuded this power
so this idea that the proper way to rule is through non-coercive attraction is a Zhou conceptual innovation
becomes very important in the Warring States period
3. Ritual preserves "de"
the key to ruling is you want to keep your "de"
it gets passed down from father to son, but like other things that are inherited, it can be damaged
"de" can be damaged, but you can maintain it through ritual
considering the scope of ritual, this is a full-time job
Ode #256 suggests that following ritual is a full-time job
even in your private chamber, if you are not being ritually correct, then ShangDi can see you and you're going to loose your du
4. Seek and ye shall not find
you can't actively be seeking "de" or virtue
virtue can be damaged by actively seeking it
if you actively try to get it for your own selfish reasons
e.g. you want to get it to be a rule, but not that you love the ritual
so Zhou rulers become very concerned about things like sincerity
the degree to which you are doing the rituals not to gain advantage but that you sincerely embrace the order that ritual represents
you have to be genuinely embracing the values that the rituals express
5. Ming
The Heavenly Mandate
literal meaning: "Order"
order from political superior to inferior
a metaphorical command from heaven
Zhou developed this concept that the Ming is something that heaven gives to the ruler who maintains ritual correctness
this is the Zhou story of why they conquered the Shang, since heaven took away Ming from the Shang and gave it to the Zhou
the ming is something you possess or don't possess whether or not heaven is favoring you
this communicated indirectly
even though we have heaven represented as an anthropomorphic being
we don't have heaven popping up out of the clouds commanding things to the Zhou king directly
he doesn't pop up and say, "you've lost the mandate"
he doesn't pass down tablets to people
heaven is conceived of as an anthropomorphic force, so human-like but also very mysterious
a famous passage in Confucius' Analects is, "Heaven never speaks."
so you find out about heaven's will through indirect signs through the forces of nature:
you lose in battle
your crops fail
you have floods
you have disasters
the people rebel
considered a force of nature
their a big mass
you don't know what's going to happen
that the ming can be lost is a new idea
is a source of anxiety for the kings
what you do as a king is not for your own good, it's in the service of heaven
the king of the Zhou defeated the Shang not because he wanted to personally
he was on a mission from heaven
the proper person is just an agent from heaven
he's not doing things for himself
their doing things because they're just following heaven's will
6. wu-wei: effortless action
a state where you are not feeling effort
completely unconscious of yourself as an agent
you don't feel like you are exerting any force
you're not trying yet everything's working
yet very effective in the physical world and socially
very important in the Warring States
but beginnings in the Zhou materials
two wu-wei exemplars
1. the wu-wei gentleman (junzi)
junzi means "son of a Lord"
a member of the Zhou aristocracy
essentially a military elite
idea of the perfect warrior noble
perfectly physically skilled
talented with a bow
can ride well
handsome, well-dressed
embodies the physical and social skills of his social class in this perfect, spontaneous, easy way
a martial idea
2. the virtuous ruler
one of the Zhou kings that is following heaven's mandate
without trying
completely unselfconscious
he doesn't feel there is anything important about himself
he follows the ritual perfectly
perfectly in accord with heaven's will
he embodies proper ritual behavior and proper moral attitude
in a completely spontaneous and unselfconscious manner
while the wu-wei gentleman is physically skilled and handsome
on the other hand the virtuous ruler who is a moral exemplar
someone who is admirable because of their internal, moral orientation
-in Confucius, these two ideals come together
the Confucian gentleman combines these two
a physical skill, not martial anymore, but has to do with ritual and moral behavior
also has this internal wu-wei that we see in the virtuous ruler ideal in the Western Zhou period