荀子 Xunzi 勸學 Encourage Learning #4








荀子 Xunzi 勸學 Encourage Learning #4

Commentary and Translations


荀子 Xunzi

(PD) Zhao Yong - Egrets Small Birds Willows and Peach Blossoms

(Photo clarity and wording by Larry Neal Gowdy)

Larry Neal Gowdy

Copyright ©2020 March 16, 2020




Be Consistent


Water flows downhill. Water does not flow uphill. Nature is consistent.

Rocks lie upon the ground. Rocks do not float in the skies. Nature is consistent.

Earth revolves. Earth does not stop revolving. Nature is consistent.

Seasons change every year. Seasonal changes do not stop. Nature is consistent.

Nature is the sole standard of what is correct. Nature's standard never changes. Nature is consistent.

It is illogical for an individual to claim that water flows uphill, because, in Nature water always flows downhill (towards the greater gravity). The standard of what is logical is based upon what is real in the real world of Nature.

A person is judged to be sane when his logic is based upon the standard of Nature. A person is judged to be insane when his logic does not agree with what is real in the real world of Nature.

All philosophies always disagree with what is real in the real world of Nature. All philosophies are insane.

Not all people are able to be consistent of logic. One of the ideals within ancient Chinese texts is for an individual to achieve the quality of being a junzi. One of the core qualities of being a junzi is to be consistent of logic and behavior.

It was uncommon for humans to be consistent 2,500 years ago. It is still uncommon today.


Paragraph #17


Paragraph #17 of Encourage Learning focuses on the topic of consistency. Of the several examples of consistency given within paragraph #17, each help to explain what consistency is, while the explanations also give ample sentence structures to enable the translator to better grasp how the author had himself defined individual words.

Perhaps the best value in paragraph #17 is not the mere pointing at what is inconsistent, but rather the value is within the reader self-convicting oneself, to recognize one's own inconsistencies, and to then self-choose to be consistent. Achieving the mental ability of being consistent, ought to be one of the topmost important things in all people's lives.


Consistency of Translations


The following is a word-per-word draft translation of paragraph #17. The finished version is very much different, but the draft version is ample enough to illustrate the structure of the original words. The Chinese word 'shan' is given as 'good', which is incorrect, but 'good' is one of the definitions that dictionaries claim 'shan' to mean. Individuals with firsthand experience in the following topics ought to quickly recognize what shan points to.


[1] 'Hundred shoot, miss one, not stop meaning-name good(shan#1)(i) shoot.

[2] Thousand li(ii) (kui)'(iii) walking not arrive, not stop meaning-name good(shan#2) control-withstand.

[3] Human-relationships kind(iv) not logical-coherent, benevolence righteousness not one, not stop meaning-name good(shan#3) learning.

[4] Learning {also-indeed} {person-ist} solidify-establish learning one {it-him} {also-indeed}.

[5] One exit {then} one enter {then} Tu(river) Xiang(street) {it} character {also-indeed}.

[6] {Its-their} good(shan#4) {person-ist} few.

[7] Not good(shan#5) {person-ist} many.

[8] Hero (Jie), saddle-crupper (Zhou) [Jiezhou = 'tyrannical king'], bandit (Dao), sole-foot (Zhi) {also}.

[9] Whole-complete {it-him} finish {it-him} like-this future learning {person-ist} {also}.(v)

[(i) The word (shan) is extremely important for the paragraph as well as the whole chapter. The favored English wording for shan is not in the draft version, but 'good' is sufficient enough to enable the paragraph to remain reasonably coherent.]

[(ii) One-thousand li is about 621 miles.]

[(iii) (kui) has no known publicly-available definition, so it is proper to not present the favored wording here.]

[(iv) 'Kind' relates to a previous paragraph that spoke of how birds behave as birds, cattle behave as cattle, and each species, of its own kind, has it own behaviorisms.]

[(v) The last two sentences are very rough drafts, and the wording, as it stands, is distant from fullness of meaning.]


As comparisons are the following two academic versions of paragraph #17.



"To miss once in a hundred shots is sufficient to prevent a person from being classed as an expert shot; to fail to go the last half step in a thousand li is enough to prevent a person from being classed as an expert driver; to fail to understand the niceties of human relationships and to fail to concentrate on benevolence (Jen) and justice (Yi) is sufficient to prevent a person from being classed as an eminent scholar. Scholarship is to know things thoroughly and to unify them; to be unified in learning and unified in teaching. The goodness of the man on the street is little, his lack of goodness is great; as for example, Ch'ie, Chou, and the robber Chih. Scholarship must be complete and exhaustive." (The Works of Hsüntze by Homer H. Dubs, Ph.D., publisher Arthur Probsthain, London, 1928).

[Note that Dubs glossed-over the unknown word (kui) by inventing the unrelated phrase "half step". Dubs also force-fitted the word "scholar" while fully inventing the word "Scholarship". Also note that the paragraph's latter sentences do not relate to the former sentences, resulting in an incoherency of the whole paragraph as well as the whole chapter: the philosophical translation makes no sense. Just for fun, attempt to count how many contradictions of logic exist within each of the sentences.]




"One who misses a single shot out of 100 does not deserve to be called an expert archer. One who travels a journey of 1,000 li, but does not take the last half-step does not deserve to be called an expert carriage driver. One who does not fully grasp the appropriate connection between modes of behavior and the various categories of things and who does not see the oneness between the requirements of the principle of humanity and the moral obligations that inhere in it does not deserve to be called expert in learning. The truly learned are those who make sure that their studies keep this unity. Those who leave with one principle and return with another are men of the streets and alleys. They are expert in a few things, but inexpert in many, like Jie, Zhou Xin, and Robber Zhi. Be complete and whole in it, and then you will be truly learned." (Xunzi - A Translation and Study of the Complete Works, Dr. John Knoblock, ©1988, Stanford University Press)

[Note that Knoblock apparently merely copy-pasted Dubs' phrase "half-step" instead of attempting to translate the unknown word (kui). Knoblock also copied several of Dubs' words and then attempted to make sense of the sentences by inventing sizable sophist rhetoric that did not relate to the paragraph's topic. The end result was incoherent and made no sense.]



Yes, the quotes are real. The quotes can be verified by looking at the cited books. No one with a knowledge of the topic of shooting would ever claim that missing one shot out of a hundred would be reason enough to prevent a shooter from being an expert. The world's best basketball players, archers, marksmen, chess players, painters, musicians, scientists, and all other top rated 'expert' individuals have always failed to achieve a one-hundred percent perfect score. In Nature, nothing is one-hundred percent perfect, and yet Dubs and Knoblock made claims that not only made no sense, but also denied the laws of Nature.

Unless Dubs and Knoblock themselves had always scored perfect scores in school tests, had always scored perfect IQ scores, and always had all students score perfect scores on tests, then according to Dubs' and Knoblock's definition of "expert", neither Dubs nor Knoblock were qualified to be "expert" teachers, which is actually a valid conclusion, but it is still not a paradox.




All known academic translations of all ancient Chinese books are very similarly illogical, inconsistent, and incoherent throughout the entirety of the books, partly because the translators themselves had no knowledge of what the topics are. Paragraph #17 is an easy example of how academicians make illogical and incoherent claims that do not relate to the real world.


Edited Version


When the previous draft word-per-word version is given its first level of editing, the result begins showing increased logic and coherency. Note that the following version is not the final version, nor have the last two sentences been edited from the original draft version. Finished translations are not made public on this website, but since the topic of consistency is so important, then the following edited version is being provided so that the reader can glean a close idea of how the original author had formed his logic.


'Hundred shoot, miss one, not attain meaning-name consistent-uniform shoot.

Thousand li ' (kui) short stroll' walk not arrive, not attain meaning-name consistent-uniform self-control.

Human-relationships kind-species not logical-coherent, benevolence right-conduct not one, not attain meaning-name consistent-uniform learning.

Learning {also} {person-ist} solidify learning one {it-him} {also}.

One create {how}, one attain {how}, river street {it} character {also}.

{Those} consistent-uniform {person-ist} few.

Not consistent-uniform {person-ist} many.

Jie, Zhou (jiezhou=tyrannical king), thief Zhi {also}.

All {it-him} finish {it-him} like-that previous learning {person-ist} {also}.


Note that (kui) 'short stroll' is a working definition, and is not intended to be high of accuracy.

When reading the word shan, the meaning ought to be relatively obvious. The interpretation 'consistent-uniform' is not only valid for the word, but is also coherent with the paragraph's other sentences, and enables the paragraph to make sense.

Shan is also used in the third sentence of a fourth paragraph's section. Abbreviated, the fourth paragraph speaks of [1] borrowing a horse and carriage which enables a person to travel a thousand li, of [2] borrowing a boat and oar to cross a river, and of [3] 'Junzi's life is non-different, him consistent-uniform borrow things'. The fourth paragraph's topic makes sense when shan is interpreted to imply 'consistent-uniform'. The topic would make no sense to say that 'Junzi's life is non-different, him good borrow things' or 'Junzi's life is non-different, him expert borrow things'.

However, Dubs' translation of sentence 3 was: "The nature of the superior man is no different; he needs to use implements." Knoblock's translation of sentence 3 was: "The gentleman by birth is not different from other men; he is just good at "borrowing" the use of external things." Dubs and Knoblock both chose against using "expert" for shan as they had chosen for paragraph #17. The philosophical translations are inconsistent, non-uniform, incoherent, and make no sense.


Recap of Previous Paragraphs


In the previous articles, the draft versions illustrated the original paragraphs' structures of wording, but the draft versions purposefully omitted clarifications of word meanings. The following are three sentences (including the previous words from paragraph #4) in Encourage Learning that also use the word 'shan'. For illustration purposes, the draft words of 'good' are given the English word 'consistent'. Note that the following sentences are still draft versions with only one or two words given an additional editing. The corresponding words within all three versions are underlined for ease of recognition.

Paragraph #4: 'Jun zi life non- different {also}, good(consistent) borrow {regard-to} thing {also}'. Dubs' translation of sentence 3 was: "The nature of the superior man is no different; he needs to use implements." Knoblock's translation of sentence 3 was: "The gentleman by birth is not different from other men; he is just good at "borrowing" the use of external things."

Paragraph #9: 'Accumulate good-virtuous(consistency), become virtue(de) {and} spirit bright-understanding oneself obtain, sage heart complete therein.' Dubs: "...by gathering goodness and making virtue, wisdom equal with that of the gods is ordained, and the heart of the sage is perfected." Knoblock: "If you accumulate enough good to make whole your inner power, a divine clarity of intelligence will be naturally acquired and a sagelike mind will be fully realized."

Paragraph #11: 'Become good(consistent), not accumulate unnatural(irregular-twisted-wrong), stable-peaceful have-be not listen person-ist {is-as}.' Dubs: "How could it be that the man who is virtuous and thoroughly orthodox should not be famous?" Knoblock: "Good deeds—do they not accumulate! Surely it is not true that no one will ever hear of them!" Dubs fully ignored and omitted 'shan', while Dubs and Knoblock both ignored and omitted the word for 'unnatural-twisted'.


Contrasts


The Chidao versions of translations retain consistency of word definitions, while also retaining consistency of coherence between all sentences and all chapters of books. The Chidao versions enable the original texts to speak with consistency and meaningful coherence, whereas the academic versions are always inconsistent and incoherent.

All known 'expert' philosophy and Chinese language professors have never translated any ancient Chinese text similarly. There is no consistency even within the very schools that claim of themselves to be the one and only source of true truth.

Consistency is very important in an individual's life. Emotional consistency is level, level-headed, calm, rational, mindful, and of a stable and predictable expression of emotions. The absence of emotional consistency is named 'bipolar'.

Consistency of logic is rational as well as being predictable. Inconsistent logic is named 'dementia', 'insanity', 'mental illness', and numerous other medical terms.

Consistency of translating words is rational, logical, makes sense, and relates to the real world of Nature. Inconsistent translations are irrational, illogical, make no sense, make claims of mysterious supernatural magic, and are given names like 'philosophical' and 'academic'.

Repeatedly, over and over throughout Encourage Learning, the central idea is that of learning through the firsthand experience of real world things. The English scholars, however, their not knowing what the word 'understanding' means, the scholars invented the fairytale that all knowledge and all truths can be found by memorizing book words and by accepting the scholars to be the one and only source of knowledge.


Xunzi's Message


Paragraph #17 gives four examples of consistency as contrasted to inconsistency: [1] the skill of shooting, [2] the personal dedication to complete one's goals, [3] logical human relationships, and [4] of benevolence and right conduct. Consistent-uniform people are few, but inconsistent people are many.

Notice that paragraph #17 did not speak of memorizing book words, nor of 'studying' books. The paragraph speaks of firsthand experiences, not ear-to-mouth memorization as what Dubs and Knoblock had frequently preached in other paragraphs. Intelligence and self-betterment arrive through self-participation, not from a classroom, nor from a book.

The standard of consistency in one's own life — of thought and behavior — relies upon consistent inner and outer standards. The one and only consistent outer standard is Nature. The one and only consistent inner standard of reasoning is based upon Nature. It is insane to believe that correct behavior can be found within a philosophy.


Sum


Healthy people know that firsthand experience is the only way to acquire an understanding of any topic. Healthy people know that all things are ruled by the laws of Nature. Healthy people know that accurate logic is based upon what is real within Nature. Healthy people know that people who claim things that cannot be real within Nature, are claims of the supernatural.

All healthy people know that reading books cannot teach an understanding of any topic. Even if a person has a Ph.D. and teaches university classes of philosophy and the Chinese language, still, if the person has no firsthand experience with a topic, and cannot think with connected thoughts, then the person will be unable to be logical.



"You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from teachers." (attributed to Saint Bernard (1090 - 1153).



High mountains, deep gorges, blue from green, ice from water and cold, consistency of logic and behavior; Xunzi spoke of firsthand learning.