Friday, April 01, 2011

Confucius vs. Mao

It has become famous that Confucius and Mao are staring at each other across the Tian An Men square in Beijing. For those who don't know, the communists tried to erase their past, destroying works of art and writings, while also even changing the characters to make it more difficult to read earlier literature. No doubt many are pondering and pontificating over the significance of Confucius and Mao together, so I will have to add my own bit.

"Tzu-yu said, 'When a man in office finds that he can more than cope with his duties, then he studies; when a student finds that he can more than cope with his studies, then he takes office.'" - Analects, Book XIX.

A continuing theme throughout this book is that of public service. Everything is about the government, while those in agriculture, the artisans and the traders don't appear. Is it communist? A difference with communism is that Confucius would walk away from a situation where he wasn't being employed properly or the employment was undignified. That wouldn't happen in a traditional communist country.

Having just now read one of the works of Confucius (actually by his disciples), my impression is that he is being rehabilitated to add respect for the government and those who seek government work.

1 comment:

Delirious said...

You know, I completely missed that statue when I was there! I think I was so in awe of the military presence that day that I had trouble focusing on anything else. The policemen in Tian an men all seemed to be giants! The government was really flexing their muscles that day, but I wondered if they do that every day.