Eric Kibler's Reviews > The Analects of Confucius

The Analects of Confucius by Confucius
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Jul 29, 10

Read from July 18 to 29, 2010

Disappointing.

You know in all those Charlie Chan movies, where Charlie Chan would say, "Confucius say..." and follow with something brilliant? Well, Confucius never said all that shit.

Basically, he said, "Love learning, mourn your parents for three years, know the Odes, appreciate music, observe the proper rituals, honor what has come before, observe propriety, love doing a good job over getting a good salary, and love virtue more than beauty."

I mean, that's it. I summarized it for you.
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message 1: by Jo (new)

Jo Mckay lol. You said a bunch - but i disagree about disappointing. I was going to give it 3 stars, after all it is Confucius; a few gems here, but clear that this was written in it's times; some deep prejudice and bias - like 'always kiss robe of exalted ruler; more likely to keep ones head on straight' (paraphrased of course)...thanks 4 the chuckle - I'd still buy a copy, but get it on sale :)


Mike Maxwell Confucius' philosophy is profound, but I can understand readers' impatience as they wade through a significant amount of culturally specific advice. However, we have much to learn from him.

For example, Confucius is asked by one of his students (to paraphrase) whether one should in fact turn the other cheek in response to an enemy's affront. To this he replies (again, paraphasing) that if one were to do that, how would one then respond to a friend? This is no mere rhetorical question, but a profound, and profoundly witty, reply. We read elsewhere that "the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names". This may not seem particularly insightful at first glance, maybe even trivial. But what Confucius is getting at is something akin to the Western figure of speech "calling a spade a spade", and this is extremely important to keep in mind if one wishes to distinguish truth from falsehood in daily life. We would be well advised to learn the proper names of things, so as not to have the wool pulled over our eyes by politician doublespeak, for example.

Some of the Analects does not translate well to modern Western culture, but there are profound insights to be gained from it.


Fred Kohn I had a similar experience. You should try the Skylight Illuminations version, which excerpts just a few important passages and explains them in depth. At any rate it gave me an appreciation for Confucius that I didn't get by just diving in on my own.


D.wavrock The point of the Analects isnt to appease your desire for more of the same racist "confucius say" bullcrap. If you're disappointed, it's because you were expecting a fundamental work of Chinese history to be nothing more than a bunch of fortune cookie sayings, which makes you an idiot.


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