Mozi Universal Love 1

Mozi Universal Love 1

Mozi Universal Love 1

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Larry Neal Gowdy

Copyright ©2021 - May 09, 2021

Provided histories say that Mozi lived around 470-391 B.C., thus was born about nine years after the death of Confucius, and died about eighty years before Xunzi was born. The provided histories are contradictory and incomplete, but as a general whole, it has been suggested that Mozi's idea of 'universal love' gained more popularity than Xunzi's teachings of self-learning. As Mozi's 'universal love' has been presented by western scholar-philosophers, to many people the 'universal love' sounds much like the Christian idea of 'love thy neighbor'.

Two difficulties are immediate: [1] The texts in question indicate that they are third-hand philosophical interpretations and commentaries, not written by Mozi himself, nor written by an individual who heard Mozi speak, and thus the texts cannot be an accurate record of what Mozi may have actually said. [2] The name 墨子 (Mo Zi) itself is most likely a pseudonym. During Mozi's era, the word (mo) is recorded to have commonly pointed at facial tattooing, a common punishment of criminals, and not known to have been popularly used as a surname. It is plausible that Mozi was a reformed criminal, or Mozi may have unjustly been punished as a criminal, and thus based his opinions upon his own life's injustices, or the name Mozi may have had some cultural meaning that is no longer known today. As (mo) has also been used to infer 'ink, black, poetry, writing', then it is also plausible that the Mozi writings were a collection of the written ideas of one or more authors'. Some sources say that Mozi's given name may have been 墨翟 (Mo Di), but, apparently, there is no known empirical evidence to support the claim.

Of the numerous other difficulties, [1] one is that Mohism is said to have promoted martial arts (for fighting against armies, which, of course, included killing people), [2] Mohists were reputed to be good at devising mechanical devices for the purpose of fighting against armies (killing people), and [3] Mohists then (according to scholar-philosophers) allegedly preached "universal love". The contradictions beg to be critiqued.

There is no reason to place faith in anything that philosophers have claimed, and so the goal then is to enter into a brief research of the Mozi texts to see for oneself what was actually written.

Three Books Two Words

Of the three Mozi books that are popularly titled in English as Universal Love, the first item seen is that the title's given words — 兼愛 — do not imply 'universal love'. If (jian) were purely phonetic, then it would not be possible to know the word's meaning. However, as an ideogram that would best fit the 400-500 B.C. era, jian suggests 'a hand holding two stalks of grain together simultaneously'. When assembling the concepts, several plausible meanings arise: [1] 'two things', plus [2] 'hold', thus inferring [3] 'same time' or 'combine'. Grain has many seeds on each stalk, and thus adds thoughts of holding two stalks of many seeds, which may roughly suggest 'hold many together same time'. As is common, the English language often does not possess English words that mirror ancient Chinese concepts (nor do the Greek, French, and German languages), but confidence is high that jian does not suggest 'world-wide universal'.

Also, word concepts vary from one culture to the next, as well as vary from one era to the next. Some Native American cultures think of corn being as the metaphor of children. To the Native American, might be interpreted to imply 'bring two people's children together in peace'.

As a contrast, other world cultures might apply the concept to infer 'bring two peoples together in hate and violence'. Scholar-philosophers cannot grasp what the concept 'spirit of river' implies, nor grasp the meaning of , and so there is no logical reason to assume that scholar-philosophers are able to grasp . Also, there is no reason to assume that the author(s) of Mozi themselves applied similarly as might have been used by Confucius and Xunzi, and so, therefore, the chosen translation of (jian) will rely upon how the word is used in the books' sentences, and most definitely not rely upon any modern cultural biases.

The second word (ai, pronounced like 'eye') is the key word throughout the Mozi text. It is common for English dictionaries to define ai to be 'love', but the immediate problem is that there does not exist an English definition of what the English word 'love' means, nor does there exist so much as a rational academic nor scientific description of what occurs when a person 'loves'. A typical dictionary definition of 'love' includes ideas like "strong positive emotion of regard and affection; a feeling of strong attachment induced by that which delights or commands admiration; preeminent kindness or devotion to another; affection; tenderness; as, the love of brothers and sisters; devoted attachment to, or tender or passionate affection for, one of the opposite sex".

Notice that the dictionaries defined the unknown noun love with use of many more unknown nouns: circular reasoning. Too, it is not possible in Nature for an individual to express nor to feel the same 'love' for a family member as what is felt for a non-relative, nor is it possible in Nature for an individual to feel the same 'love' for both genders. Therefore, immediately all dictionary definitions invalidate themselves.

Western philosophy has always defined unknown words through use of other unknown words — circular reasoning — and so there is no reason to ever assume that an accurate knowledge of any topic could possibly arrive from western philosophy.

Science claims that love is "lust", "habit", and "jealousy", which are all negative and destructive. Science does not know what emotions are, nor how emotions occur, nor what thoughts are, nor any other topic related to human life, and so science will never be a source of knowledge of what love is.

The only source of knowledge of what 'love' means will arrive from oneself when one's self attains love. Everything in Nature is different. Nothing is identical, the same, nor equal, and neither will one's experience of 'love' be the same as anyone else's, and so, therefore, since the conceptual word 'love' is variable relative to each individual, then there cannot be a coherent English dictionary definition of 'love'.

Also, all things are composed of ingredients. Blending flour, oil, heat, and time, may make one type of bread, but 'bread' does not define what the created thing is. Rye flour, wheat flour, corn flour, each produce a different color, different taste, different aroma, different nutrition, different texture, and always create a different end-product. Too much time, too little time, it also changes the quality of the end-product. Too much heat, too little heat, add or omit yeast, add or omit herbs, the variables are almost infinite, and so becomes the possible contradictions within the definition of 'bread'.

The act of 'love' is far more complex than 'bread', and includes trillions of trillions of different ingredients. Speaking the single word 'love' does not carry meaning.

When glancing at the older bronze and small seal scripts, the meaning of (ai) appears to be simplistic and obvious. Rather than enter into a lengthy discussion of the word's construction, for the moment it will suffice to simply give the word a phrase that I myself have been saying for most of my life, and has generally been the one and only teaching that I ever felt was important enough to say: "care about other people".

When first speaking the phrase, I had made the mistake of assuming that other people were able to "care" similarly as how I describe the verb "care". After lengthy projects researching normal human behavior (e.g. the Sensory Quotient cognition project), I discovered that I needed to add a clarification: "heart-felt caring for other people".

Many cultures today truly do believe that cold and callous outward motions (e.g. charity) are the definitions of "caring", but that is also how all western scholar-philosophers and scientists define all other things including ethics, morals, and love itself; that of only being able to see and to invent a noun-name of an end-product that is never experienced firsthand, thus never knowing of the inward causes, nor knowing of the inward ingredients.

Therefore, for the purposes of this article and any that may follow, (ai) will be applied with the meaning of "heart-felt caring for other people". The actual meaning of (ai) is far more detailed and active of creatively positive qualities, but for obvious purposes will not be given here.

Also, the three Mozi books will be given the working title of Simultaneous Caring For Other People. For my own personal translations, I use a fully different working title, one that, to me, is very descriptive and meaningful of what the combination of 兼愛 together implies.

Mohism Failed

As all ideologies have been voiced for thousands of years, the ideologies' ideas remained as mere words; not lived, and not accomplished. All Chinese ideologies failed. All European ideologies failed.

No known ideology has ever achieved what the original philosophers claimed (or at least hoped) would happen. The ideologies failed because the ideologies incorrectly assumed that most people were capable of self-thinking, and of choosing proper behavior.

Only one known culture throughout the history of mankind — and only recently discovered — has actually lived the act of caring for other people. By many measures, the culture fulfills the highest goals of all coherent ideologies and religions: the culture does, the culture does not merely talk about it. The culture is precious; a pearl whose name will not be spoken.

It has been claimed by scholar-philosophers that Mozi taught a 'universal love'. But if that were true, then there should exist evidence that Mohists practiced universal love. The evidence does not exist. The evidence that does exist says the opposite was true (i.e. killing people).

Mozi Original Texts

The following is a segment of paragraph #2 from the first Mozi book of Simultaneous Caring For Other People. Note that the offered text is from an early rough draft of the paragraph's sentence structures, and the English words are not intended to be close of interpretation. Nevertheless, the words are adequate enough to recognize the underlying concepts. Also note that the word 'love' is temporarily retained so as to illustrate that the sentences are not speaking of the English idea of 'love'.

'Equally examine chaos, inquire oneself-nature extract.

Extract not appearance(concept) love, minister, child, it-him not filial gentleman, father, place logical-meaning-name chaos {also}.

Child oneself-nature love, not love father, cause lacking father and oneself-nature usefulness(creativity).

Younger-brother oneself-nature love, not love older-brother, cause lacking older-brother and oneself-nature usefulness(creativity).

Minister oneself-nature love, not love noble-gentleman, cause lacking noble-gentleman and oneself-nature usefulness.

Here place meaning-name chaos {also}.'

The Mozi ideas have merit. Two of the items that stand-out are [1] the act of two individuals simultaneously caring for the other results in [2] creativity. The ideas are childishly simple, but do not exist within any known science, western philosophy, nor school. Creative reciprocation is obvious throughout the known universe, and yet only one known culture on earth has ever strived to form their own culture based upon Natural laws of reciprocation. Dogs cannot build their own dog houses, and likewise, callous people cannot build their own creative cultures.

The following is a segment from paragraph #5 with a few word translations purposefully omitted, plus one word left as a working concept. The 'love' word is given as 'care'.

'Similar, cause heaven under simultaneous care

nation take-part, nation not appearance attack-criticize

family take-part, family not appearance chaos

bandit thief nothing have

noble-gentleman, minister, father, child all capable filial-piety...

Similar this-here then heaven under seat-of-local-government

Cause sage person use-together seat-of-local-government heaven under, become matter-thing person-ist.

Evil-bad obtain not restraint, evil-bad and encourage-advise care,

cause heaven under simultaneous appearance care, then seat-of-local-government

intersect-intermingle appearance evil-bad then chaos'

The general underlying concept relates to the idea of developing a culture based upon what is real in the real world ('heaven under' being as what might be thought of as being Nature's way).

In no sentence was there a mention of the "love" that scientists and scholar-philosophers claim to exist: no lust, no habit, and no jealously.

For self-thinking individuals, the Mozi text points to an obviousness of heart-felt caring, which is a fully different emotion and a fully different manner of mental activity than what occurs during the conversational concept of "love". Loving another person does not create a positive culture, nor does the act of two people loving each other create a positive bond. Creativity relies upon numerous ingredients that do not relate to the end-product of "love". Believed or not, nothing in the universe exists alone by itself, nor does "love" exist alone by itself, nor can "caring".

Far more distant is the possibility that any person could ever "love" equally universally. Regardless of what sciencians and philosophians claim, emotions are not identically the same for everyone, and never ever in all of eternity will it ever be possible for an individual to 'love' everyone the same.

Nevertheless, as a partial explanation, I myself have often written the "love" word while thinking of something different and more complex. Due to the English language being so impoverished of meaning, and due to it being inappropriate to attempt a long phrasing of words while with the goal of expressing a single concept, sometimes it is enough to simply say "love" while hoping that the listener will sufficiently grasp the general idea.

Further, it is easy to "heart-felt care" for all things, and increasing the qualities and quantities of 'caring' will remain 'caring', but when 'love' is increased of qualities and quantities, it becomes something else, a thing that no known word suggests. Nevertheless, there is an ancient symbol that points at the increased love, a symbol that may only appear obvious after an individual has personally attained the increased love. All life always changes, and all emotions always change.

The Mozi idea could not remain sensible if someone 'loved' too much, but, the Mozi idea could remain sensible for many degrees of 'heart-felt caring'.

Wars and Caring

'Love' is not the same emotion as 'care', nor are the two acts similar of ingredients, tone, and external expression. To physically protect one's family from harm, requires caring. An individual might love his family, but if the act of caring does not exist simultaneously, then the individual will permit his family to suffer of hunger, violence, and death.

Emotions absolutely do not only occur singularly as is often claimed by western science, western philosophy, and western academia. Many emotions occur simultaneously at all times. Love and caring are two emotions that commonly exist simultaneously. Surely most living adult humans ought to be capable of self-observing the emotions of love and caring to exist simultaneously.

A refined 'love' is very strong of outwardly expressing the specific product, but the more refined that love becomes, the less value is placed upon oneself and one's environment. A fully refined love is a complete and utter surrender of one's self, with no thought nor value placed on one's self. Love by itself has tremendous strength towards the loved one, but tremendous weakness towards one's self. A fully refined love surrenders and knowingly and purposefully gives away one's life and soul to another.

A fully refined love without caring is as like a fully callous disregard towards Nature, Earth, society, and all living beings except one. The fully refined love is possible, and has existed for a rare few individuals, but is incomprehensible to all western sciences, philosophies, academics, and ideologies.

A refined 'heart-felt caring' is flavored relative to its ingredients, but generally results in an outwardly flowing 'heart-felt stress-state' (caring) towards all things animate and inanimate. A fully refined 'heart-felt caring' is not possible because evil (disharmony) exists, and when evil exists then there must be a mental reasoning to mentally analyze that the thing being cared for (i.e. family) is not being cared for if the evil is not stopped. The mental analyses must then choose to not care for the evil, else, the caring (i.e. for family) would no longer exist, and yet, by not caring for the evil, then the individual has ceased to care for all things.

Love alone is weak, caring alone is self-contradicting and self-annihilating. All things in Nature are composed of three or more ingredients. Creative behavior requires three or more creative ingredients composed within specific quantities and qualities. Laozi spoke of similar thousands of years ago. Aside from Confucius, Xunzi, and a rare modern mention, the topic has not been repeated within any known culture outside of Asia and modern Native North America.

'Universal love' is weak, self-contradicting, and self-annihilating. 'Universal caring for other people' is capable of being gentle to all except evil. I myself love and care for all living beings, but the act of caring also has the rational ingredient of defending the things that are innocent. The moment that an animal threatens my family, in so doing the animal has given away its worthiness of being cared for, and is then eliminated. Ideologies that preach ashima, universal love, and similar, are self-contradicting, self-annihilating, amential, and unworthy of recognition.

If a man truly does love and care for his family, then he will risk his life (act of love) to protect (care for) his family. The old saying 'middle way' is valid. Laozi's words of mutuals are valid. Defense against violence is valid. Love by itself is of no effect in society except to condone violence and hate. Caring by itself is pronouncedly amential. The healthy mind has all ingredients within harmonies of quantities and qualities.

Therefore, it is sane, rational, and logical that men who care for other people will exert the effort to defend the people from harm. The balance of choice of which people to care for is based upon the people's own worthiness of being cared for. It is rational and worthy that the Mohists fought wars to defend worthy people.

The scholar-philosophers' claims of "universal love" are useful examples of how neither science nor philosophy are capable of discerning one emotion from another, nor of defining what any emotion is, which in turn verifies that all scientists and philosophers are very much normal, and are themselves incapable of expressing love, caring, and thinking.


As the ancient Mozi texts are presented within the first book, the author's general thoughts are valid. Dogs are incapable of building their own dog houses, and callous people are incapable of building their own harmonious culture. Proof is found throughout the world.

Therefore, the Mozi ideas could very much be of value to all common cultures, but the plausibility of that happening is zero.

Yes, it is expected that I myself interpreted the Mozi text to imply the concept of 'simultaneous heart-felt caring for other people' because it is a topic that I am familiar with. Scholar-philosophers also translated the same texts by the topics that the scholar-philosophers were familiar with: incoherent 'ear to mouth' callous recitation of memorized words that have no meaning: "So, when there is universal love in the world it will be orderly..." (James Legge), which is as sensible as saying "So, when all pigs throughout the world grow wings, pigs will fly."

Creative reciprocation: Xunzi spoke of it, Confucius spoke of it, Mozi spoke of it, Nature illustrates it, but where does it exist today in man's cultures? Where is the heart-felt caring for other people? Why is there only chaos? Why is there only one known positive culture in the world?

The answer is easy: because most everyone is waiting for someone else to do all the work: no self-participation of self-thinking.