--Confucius Confucius is recognized as China's first and greatest teacher, and his ideas have been the fertile soil in which the Chinese cultural tradition has flourished. If influence is determined by the number of people who have lived and died in accordance with a philosopher's vision, Confucius
--Confucius Confucius is recognized as China's first and greatest teacher, and his ideas have been the fertile soil in which the Chinese cultural tradition has flourished. If influence is determined by the number of people who have lived and died in accordance with a philosopher's vision, Confucius is perhaps the most influential thinker in human history. Confucius (551-479 BCE) was born in the ancient state of Lu into an era of unrelenting, escalating, violence as seven of the strongest states in the proto-Chinese world warred for supremacy. The landscape was not only fierce politically but also intellectually. Although Confucius enjoyed great popularity as a teacher, and many of his students found their way into political office, he personally had little influence in Lu. And so he began to travel from state to state as an itinerant philosopher to persuade political leaders that his teachings were a formula for social and political success. Eventually, his philosophies came to dictate the standard of behavior for all of society -- including the emperor himself. No other book in the entire history of the world has exerted a greater influence on a larger number of people over a longer period of time than this slim volume. The spiritual cornerstone of the most populous and oldest living civilization on Earth, the Analects has inspired the Chinese and all the peoples of East Asia with its affirmation of a humanist ethics. As the Gospels are to Jesus, the Analects is the only place where we can encounter the real, living Confucius. He emerges as a man of great passion and many enthusiasms, a man of bold action whose true vocation is politics. Confucius lived in an age of acute cultural and political crisis. Many of his observations mark a world sinking into violence and barbarity. Unable to obtain the leading political role he sought, he endeavored to reform society and salvage civilization through ethical debate, defining for ages to come the public mission of the intellectual. ...show less
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