Tuesday, December 3, 2013

post for comment (on the philosophy of Xunzi)

dear ones: feel free to comment on any of these themes as they show in the philosophy of Xunzi:

1- heaven
2- learning
3- the chün-tzu
4- how to govern
5- li (for Xunzi)
6- the danger of obsessions
7- the consequences of man's nature


Martin Gross said...

Xunzi approaches learning as the center of life’s growth and development. This means that learning is part of the always improving evolution of the self. To Xunzi learning is how find out if as a person we stand in the right or the wrong paths. Xunzi shares some similarities to Socrates in the philosophical aspects of learning coming from within, and checking oneself to improve our standing in life.

Anonymous said...

I think the focus on learning and education being a never ending process. People who keep asking questions and pursing knowledge always keep a sharp mind and can become teachers to encourage even more learning. I was wondering, if there is a limit to knowledge? Is there a time where knowledge, instead of enhancing experiences, dimishes them? You can know everything about a tree like it's makeup or how and why it performs a certain kind of photosynthesis, but if you can't see the tree for it's beauty and simplicity, then what is the use of knowing all that information? Will that kind of knowledge make you more in tuned with nature or distract you from it?

Something I found interesting was the importance put on ritual versus prayer. What is the importance of prayer though? Is it more of a ritual instead of expecting or hoping for something to happen?

Katherine Davila

Fabio.V said...

It's astonishing how ideas of the west and the east converged in terms of established moral law. Both Lao-Tzu and Aristotle were purporting the same ideas, fundamentally, without having had the opportunity to be acquainted with each other. It's only right to imagine a scenario where both of these giants would have exchanged ideas. Much like Rawls and Habermas; a clash of two head figures. However, I have to say that Aristotle would not agree with Lao-Tzu's minimalist view. Moderation and mediation would certainly be shared by both, but such extreme minimalism goes beyond moderation. Remember, Aristotle says that the virtuous man is neither rash nor too brave, he mediates between these two extremes. Lao-Tzu would most certainly be identified with at least one extreme. For example, he says that a good leader does not say too much to its people. Although this might be valid, he comes off as a slight Machiavellian. The point being propounded, is that in being simple or a simpleton, there lies a danger; by which can be found in the act of being simple itself. Meaning, being simple in certain situations may breed frustration, anxiety and may even muster distrust, specially when one holds a position of leadership.

Anonymous said...

Chun Tzu was the one topic that I wanted to talk about, since is based on living by Jen. Not doing to others what you dont want others doing to you.
Chun Tzu would be comfortable with himself or herself. Will be righteous at heart and will care for others. Confucious said "if one can be righteous in the heart, then he will naturally bring about peace to his surroundings". That quote got me thinking how much that way of thought could help back in those days of horror in China.
Even today having this teachings as core for social behavior cant do nothing but improve us.

Francisco Baumgarten

Roro Sess said...

“But unless you pile up little steps, you can never journey a thousand li; unless you pile up tiny streams, you can never make a river or a sea. The finest thoroughbred cannot travel ten paces in one leap, but the sorriest nag can go a ten days' journey. Achievement consists of never giving up. If you start carving and then give up, you cannot even cut through a piece of rotten wood; but if you persist without stopping, you can carve and inlay metal or stone.”

The above snippet from the excerpts of Xunzi is something that I have to keep reminding myself of. Today people are so caught up in getting things done quickly, they don’t slow down to even relish in the journey to their accomplishments. And, as soon as they’re done with one thing they’re on to the next. I am not an exception to this “rule”. But, I remind myself that “persistence pays off”, and one day I will reach my goal and look back at the journey in amazement.

Rosemary Session

Anonymous said...

* He who seeks only to preserve his life at all cost will surely suffer death. He who strives only for profit at all cost will surely suffer loss. He who thinks that safety lies in indolence and idleness alone will surely face danger. He who thinks that happiness lies only in gratifying the emotions will surely face destruction.

-This is the paradox of life

* When stars fall or trees make strange sounds,6 all the people in the country are terrified and go about asking, “Why has this happened?” For no special reason, I reply. It is simply that, with the changes of Heaven and earth and the mutations of the yin and yang, such things once in a while occur.

* You pray for rain and it rains. Why? For no particular reason, I say. It is just as though you had not prayed for rain and it rained anyway.

-I like his acceptance and level-headedness. He seems to not be easily thrown off balance or superstitious. But rather, observes.

*Achievement consists of never giving up. If you start carving and then give up, you cannot even cut through a piece of rotten wood; but if you persist without stopping, you can carve and inlay metal or stone.

This is so true. Turtle and the Hare.

-I posit that humans are not innately good or evil, but are rather part of Tian

-Geoff Robbins

Anonymous said...

Darn it I slept in again…

I love what Rosemary had to say about persistence. They say it takes 30 days to break/create a habit? One that I am working on now is meditation. They say if you are too busy to meditate for 20 minutes out of the day, you should probably meditate for an hour. I am one to overthink (or obsess) over the smallest of moments or ideas, so I am constantly trying to overthink how meditation works instead of trusting the process and doing it. I could also probably use some persistence in school…

Now onto the idea that I relate to the most, obsession.

There is nothing more selfish and self serving than to stay in an obsessive state. You are of no help to others and tend to create negative energy. My personal belief about obsession stems from people who wish to control the world around them. What they don’t realize (and I am just learning) is you can change the world if you change yourself! What a concept, but the crazy thing is, it works!


Vini Giannattasio said...

“A warped piece of wood must wait until it has been laid against the straightening board, steamed, and forced into shape before it can become straight... Similarly, since man's nature is evil, it must wait for the instructions of a teacher before it can become upright...”

Agreed. But this is not exhaustive. So far, I gather that Confucian teaching argues that Evil is a lack of balance. A chaotic entity which wreaks havoc upon social order. But for Evil to be a perversion of something, there must be a primordial good. If chaos is change, there must be a premise of order which later becomes chaotic. By the arguments of first cause, and eternal motion as postulated by Rabbi Moses Ben Maimonides, and Aquinas, it stands that the pretense of chaos is perfection; good. Moreover, men becomes evil not by outer influences, but by inner corruption. Evil sets in when the attempts of achieving comfort and perfection are void of sustenance and become vices. To argue that influences outside of the self can turn a man evil is to confront the active mind theory of Kant. Also, to judged something perverted, one must understand the prescriptive standard of perfection. If man is inherently Evil, where does such idea come from? Heaven? Isn't heaven also partially Evil? The wood is not originally warped.
Finally, I agree that teachers are paramount. However, both Western mysticism and many Yogis would argue that “the kingdom of God is withing [ones]self;” we should [not be conformed by the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of [our] minds.” We are our own teachers. Wisdom is healed pain and hardship. Enlightenment is the Abyss within blazed alight. Only the self can interpret the forms of the universe through the perspective of one's own soul.

Kate Blazej said...

'The learning of the chün-tzu enters his ear, clings to his mind, spreads through his four limbs, and manifests itself in his actions. His smallest word, his slightest movement can serve as a model. The learning of the petty man enters his ear and comes out his mouth. With only four inches between ear and mouth, how can he have possession of it long enough to ennoble a seven-foot body? In old times men studied for their own sake; nowadays men study with an eye to others.'
This passage very much spoke to me in regards to the raising of children. Since the beginning of homo-sapiens, we have been raising our young to be strong, brave and intelligent. That is why this passage in particular struck a chord with me. When it comes to learning and teaching, it is best to be patient. Not even Rome was built in a day. The philosophy of Xunzi teaches to savor the process of teaching another. The student learns to accept the teachings and not boast of his or her newfound knowledge, but let it resonate and begin a process of understanding. Knowledge and learning should come from a place of infinite joy, not the need to replace another, or be better than someone else.
I understand that these teachings happened long ago and very few were granted access to an education. But the philosophy is wonderful, and should be taught in classrooms around the world. It begins with patience.

Thanks for reading,
Kate Blazej

manny said...

It's interesting of every culture has tried to create a philosophical system or theory that could completely encompass all of man's aspects; what is virtuousness and what is not. The East, particularly Chinese philosophers have a more secular tone, basing our nature on nature, and not by some divine manifestation, I think that you can only say this about the far East, and not so much India. In putting down our nature, they write on how to regulate it by mainly carnal means to basically make life for better for mankind in general, and in a rather organized way, has a bit of a bureaucrat's touch to it. They give advise on how to regulate our habits, behaviors, how to learn and just in general, how to live life.

-Manny Alonso

Anonymous said...

"A person is born with desires of the eyes and ears, and a liking for beautiful sights and sounds. If he gives way to them, they will lead him to immorality and lack of restriction, and any ritual principles and propriety will be abandoned."
This quote in particular is something I can relate to. When I first got into college I wasn't divulging into my desires... Instead I was being greedy.
If you follow your inner most desires , you will ultimately be rich. It may not mean gold watches and expensive cars, but you will be left with a piece of mind... Something that many people do not have in this present day.
Bob Marley once said, "Don't gain the world and lose your soul."
-Manuel valdes