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... or perhaps as a learning experience for those who do not, but should, this book is a wonderful tonic. I usually choose books on the chaos and conflicts of history and modern life, but this one cleanses the palate mentally. It calms and relaxes me, and helps me get composed for another day amidst the noise and clamor of humanity. It reminds me of those quiet virtues that are the vast (often unsung) treasure of any functioning society. These are summed up in the person of the "gentleman," as Confucious' terms are translated.
In book reviews elsewhere, I have seen criticism heaped on Confucious for what some see as anti-creativity. I can only feel sorry for the people who can't appreciate what is here. I will keep this one to replay whenever I get too caught up in the frenzies of humanity's anxiusness and "creative destruction."
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The Master said, 'It is only the most intelligent and the most stupid who are not susceptible to change."
- Confucius, The Analects, XVII.3
I rarely re-read books. An exception to this rule are ethical or religious texts. I love Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and will read this in dribs and drabs throughout the year. The same is true of the New Testament, the Wisdom Books, Psalms, parts of the Book of Mormon, and the Analects. I am drawn to some of the more universal teachings in these books (the Golden Rule seems to find a spot everywhere).
Anyway, I'm still trying to avoid thinking too much about Trump by reading a book a day and so I figured this was a good time to read, again, the Analects* (I'm working on a longer book so, I rely on the help of smaller books to keep me one my 1-per-day pace). I am not sure if I've come across a translation I prefer, but I've read several now. Because I don't actually read Chinese, I'm not I guess looking for the perfect translation. I'm looking for one that seems to dance with the right amount of poetry and truth. I'm getting closer and feel as I read the different translations I can circle around some of the truth of what was originally spoken without ever hearing the original text. For example, consider the opening quote:
The Master said, "There are only the wise of the highest class, and the stupid of the lowest class, who cannot be changed."
- James Legge translation
Confucius said: “Only the most wise and the most foolish do not change.”
- A. Charles Muller translation
The Master said, "It is only the most intelligent and the most stupid who are not susceptible to change."
- Lau translation
* With Trump's art of the deal, I'm expecting us to belong to the Chinese in a year or two, so the more I understand of the Chinese the better I'll be treated in the reconditioning camps, me thinks.
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