Filial Piety Makes Some People Very Angry - A Short Course on 'Do Not Believe James Legge'

Filial Piety Makes Some People Very Angry

A Short Course on 'Do Not Believe James Legge'

Larry Neal Gowdy - Copyright ©2024 - January 21, 2024

Confucius I Didn't Say That!

(PD) Junzi able to read words. Tiny people not able to read words. Confucius did not say that!

Do Not Believe Anything That James Legge Wrote!

An odd (but also unintentionally funny) rant by an eighteen year old Chinese boy was of how he blames and "hates" Confucius for some Asian people's bad behaviors. According to the boy, Confucius' teachings are directly responsible for child abuse, hatred of females, oppression of generations of citizens, and on and on. (As if the same bad behaviors do not also exist in all other cultures all over the world.)

To his credit, the boy was quite good at quoting Confucian references, but, unfortunately (and quite humorously), the boy quoted James Legge, Wikipedia, and other sources that always give false information, which made the boy look foolish for having believed in crazy things that make no sense.

Tiny People Behave as Tiny People!

One reference given by the boy was Shu Er #37. The original text reads as '子曰君子坦蕩蕩小人長戚戚'. James Legge's English version reads as:

"The Master said, "The superior man is satisfied and composed; the mean man is always full of distress."

A quick draft word per word translation reads as 'Zi say: Junzi (noble child) level(sunrise) calm-calm, tiny people lengthy concern-concern.'

Choosing the favored English words for the translation relies upon first observing what the sentence is speaking about. 'Junzi' are quality individuals, and 'tiny people' are disquality people. Whatever the sentence is speaking of, the idea ought to agree with the interpretation that a junzi is an inwardly calm individual of quality inner traits, and, in contrast, the tiny person, therefore, would not possess an inward calmness, nor have quality inner traits.

Western philosophy does not take into consideration an individual's inner qualities. Western philosophy only evaluates outward mannerisms that can be seen by other people. If the sentence is interpreted within a western philosophy manner of interpretation, then the sentence may indeed resemble common translations. However, if the sentence is similar to all other known phrases by Confucius, then the idea ought to focus on inner natures, and not focus on outer behaviors.

The two words to be decided are and . The two words are contrasts to the other. Both words will relate in inner natures.

The word suggests 'grass and water' + 'grass and sun' + 'not/nothing'. If one's grass is watered, and has plenty of sun, then there is nothing more to do, then, be relaxed, no problems, just feel inwardly calm. If a pond has water, grass, and sun, then again there is nothing more needing done; feel inwardly calm. The pond itself, is calm.

Depending on how the word is intended to be interpreted, a portion of it includes a halberd weapon, which might suggest a concern for the victim. If the word's design suggests a farming tool, then still there would exist an inner concern of farming. Either way, the word does suggest an inner emotion that is not calm nor peaceful.

The above chosen words of 'calm' and 'concern' are both inner traits that are the cause of outward behaviors. The double usage of each word may have inferred an idiom, or may have simply implied an increased emphasis, but either way, the general idea is close enough: level calm-calm (feeling peaceful inside while behaving calmly on the outside) versus lengthy concern-concern (never feeling calm nor at peace, nor behaving calmly).

And there, the boy who blamed Confucius for some Asian people's bad behaviors, the boy himself was concerned-concerned as his excessive vulgarity spoke negatively of Confucius, and, the boy blamed Confucius for things that Confucius did not do, and, the boy believed that Confucius taught things that Confucius never said, and, the boy believed what was written by James Legge, and, the boy believed that the popular social customs of Confucianism were taught by Confucius.

The boy did not know that his sources of translations were false, the boy did not know that most Confucian social customs were invented by citizens and not by Confucius, the boy did not know that his concern-concern directly contradicted his own claims, and the boy did not know that his strong use of vulgarity proved that he was a tiny person. We all make mistakes, but sometimes some people (like the boy) seem to be quite skilled at making a whole bunch of mistakes all at once. (Being 18 years old, yes, a really bad age for making a lot of really dumb mistakes that most all of us also made during that age.)

And, the boy could not read Chinese in spite of his saying that he was Chinese. And there you go, people inventing wildly crazy things in their minds, all while the people will not so much as exert an effort to read twelve whole words. If the boy were not tiny (nor alogicus), then the boy might have been mentally capable of reasoning that his argument was ridiculous.

Did Confucius Promote Crime Within Filial Piety?

The boy gave a quote about how Confucius' version of filial piety allegedly promoted dishonesty and the covering-up of relatives' crimes. The quote is from Zi Lu #37: 葉公語孔子曰吾黨有直躬者其父攘羊而子證之孔子曰吾黨之直者異於是父為子隱子為父隱直在其中矣. The following is James Legge's version, of which, the boy derived his conclusions from.

"The Duke of She informed Confucius, saying, "Among us here there are those who may be styled upright in their conduct. If their father have stolen a sheep, they will bear witness to the fact." Confucius said, "Among us, in our part of the country, those who are upright are different from this. The father conceals the misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the misconduct of the father. Uprightness is to be found in this.""

The following is a quick draft word per word translation of Zi Lu #37.

'Ye Gong speak Kong Zi, say: "My society have upright bow-personally personist, it father steal sheep while child testify it."

Kong Zi say: "My society it upright personist different regard-to right.

Father guide child hidden-concealed(secret), child guide father hidden-concealed(secret).

Upright involved-in its middle {-carry-!}"'

Regardless of how an individual may interpret the sentences, the gist remains similar: Ye Gong's society was of people being honest and fair regardless of family relations, while Confucius' society was of fathers and sons conniving together to keep each other's secrets, and, whereas Ye Gong's society placed uprightness on a child testifying against a criminal father, in Confucius' society the uprightness was placed on the middle of two individuals' act of keeping each other's secrets.

Notice that Confucius did not say that his society was the proper way, nor the better way. Confucius merely stated how his society was. If you were to say 'American society places uprightness in corporate profits at the expense of human life', it does not mean that you are promoting nor condoning the behavior.

And why would Confucius have spoken hundreds of times about high quality junzi traits, and then turn around and promote the low quality traits of deceit and lies within filial piety and social structuring? Alogicus people are [1] unable to mentally cross-light the two contrasts, which [2] leads to the current problem of the boy knowing that Confucius spoke of junzi qualities, and [3] the boy also believing that Confucius spoke against junzi qualities; [4] the boy's mind was not mentally capable of rationalizing that the two opposites contradict. The result is not what the boy would want to hear: his claims were the behavior of alogicus tiny people.

The Story Has a Moral!

The moral of the story is that if a person wants a scape-goat for their own problems that were all caused by their own behavior, then yes it is easy to pick and choose to find other people who share a similar behavior of wanting to blame other people for one's own problems, and to then copy-paste what the other people said while claiming that the fairytales are true truth.

Yes of course Confucianism as a social custom does not work well, because, most people are unable to attain and to live a thoughtful life. The problem is not Confucius, nor Jesus, nor anyone else; the problem is the people themselves. If a person is wise and mindful — a real junzi — then they will not follow any herd, regardless of whether it is named Confucianism or any other -ism.

In the USA today, there are several popular fads, including having a horse rear-end, having gender changes, getting tattoos, having all sorts of eeky body piercings, and on and on, but, they are fads fueled by 'monkey see monkey do' people who follow the herd. Neither Trump nor Biden caused the fads, and likewise, Confucius did not cause the bad Confucian fads.

If a person has a problem in life, then it is their problem, no one else's, and the responsibility to remedy the problem is the person's own. Laying blame on other people for one's own problems is just dumb, really really dumb.

Related articles are in the Chi Dao Various section.