Dec 11, 07
Read in November, 2007
Here stands another book that is impossible to understand without someone who already knows. The first chapter sets up the relation between you, your friends and family, and the rest of society. The advent of the state was also the advent of widespread cruelty.
Take for example a glib salesman. He can sell anybody anything. I ask him, "Would you do this to your family?" He responds, "Of course not!" Obviously, a man does not cheat his friends if they are friends.
So the first paragraph of the Analects sets up this social relation and also dictates how "the gentleman" should react to each, which is to give each equal consideration, but not equal treatment.
And despite the seeming non-relation between passages, each one builds on the last one in a series of circles and revelations. The trick is reading between the lines, between the passages, and also knowing when there's a bad translation because they are a rife in all translations.