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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 
Mozi's Religious Fundamentalism and Organized Activism
Notes taken on January 15, 2019 by Edward Tanguay
Mozi (470-391 BCE) as a fundamentalist and activist
two chapters: "On Ghosts" and "Heaven's Will"
understand these chapters on the background of two trends of the growing elite as the Warring States period moves on
becoming unclear if ghosts and spirits exist
Mozi wants to revive this
that ghosts and spirits are alive and active agents on the Earth
he wants it to be a kind of invisible police force
Confucius says: sacrifice as if they spirits are present
one way to read this is that Confucius believes that the spirits are not there but you have to pretend they are there
Mozi thinks that's a terrible idea
in his chapter "On Ghosts" he presents his position that he wants to make sure that the people literally believe in ghosts
his key argument why people should do this is that it is advantageous
it increases order in the state
an increasingly depersonalized view of tian, or heaven
or the Shang and the Zhou dynasties
tien is an anthropomorphic being
an active being who sends down mandates
becomes more of a generic force
it's doing something
but doesn't have intentions
not acting like a person
Mozi is upset with this trend
for Mozi, tian is up there and watching you
tian practices impartial caring itself and wants us to do the same
ghosts and spirits were like a police force
makes people behave
people behave better when they think they are being watched by invisible agents
supernatural surveillance in human behavior
research: Haley, Kevin, Fessler
when they replaced random patterns with eyes, you are much more generous, i.e. cues of being watched
offices, if you take coffee, put in some money
when you manipulate the image, i.e. have human eyes, contributions went up
research: Piazza
children in situations where they could be cheating
princess Alice lived in the lab
watched people are good people
research: porn consumption
where there is high levels of Christianity, people watch less porn on Sundays
Mozi argued its a crucial tool you need in your toolbox if you are going to get people to act in accordance with impartial caring
Mozi and his followers were activists
"killing one person is condemned, but killing a thousand people in war is encouraged"
if you kill people on a large scale you get a medal, if you kill one person, you get thrown in jail
stealing some peaches and plus from an orchard is condemned, but not stealing an entire state
Mozi is against offensive warfare
it doesn't increase the wealth, population, and order of the state
wants to stop the warfare of the warring states
action: going to the defense of attacked states
became experts in defensive warfare
Mozi saved a weaker state in the Warring States
Chu was a large, aggressive state
Chu developed a scaling ladder to scale city walls
convinced another king not to attack
Mozi was an activist, unlike typical Confucian followers
believed you had to get out in the world and act
made his followers do the same
took as the sage king Yu
a vigorous and tireless worker who rescued China from the raging waters of the flooding Yellow River
made it inhabitable for humans
created civilization
he was so dedicated to his task that he passed his house three times
so dedicated to the public good that he didn't even stop to say hello
this, of course, appealed to the Mohists, who believed one should not be concerned about one's private life but only the public life and others
Mohists described
from the last book of the Zhuangzi, Book 33, "Under Heaven", a description of the Mohists
"Many of the Mohists of later ages wear furs and rough clothing, clogs and grass slippers, never resting day or night, taking self-sacrifice as the highest. They say one who cannot do this is not following the way of Yu and doesn't deserve to be called a Mohist. Thtey press each other forward in self-sacrifice until there's no flesh left on their calves or hair on their shins.
so they are described as kind of crazy, fanatic activists
but they have an inspiring ideal
concerned only by objective concerns for other people
we are concerned only impartially with what is good for everyone
we think things through logically
it's hard to argue against the Mohists
people make fun of them because they are uncomfortable
there is something about self-sacrifice in an extreme way
it's hard to argue against people who say you should help all children equally, not just your own children
criticism against Mozi
he doesn't take into account human nature
Mencius (372-289 BC)
argued against Mozi
not logically or intellectually
human beings are just not built in a way that they can follow this idea
yet there are some people who do self-sacrifice
but they seem to always be a minority of human beings