Confucius the Man & the Myth by H.g. Creel

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By H.g. Creel

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Sample text

Finally, and perhaps ( since human nature has changed b ut little ) we must say most importantly, he trained men for p olitical careers. The training he offered and his recom­ m en datio n seem to have been of considerable help to them in gettin g p �sitions,. , . . - Th ere ts no-mdicabon that Confucms used th1s econom1c argum ent to recruit students, as his imitator Mo Tzu later did quite op enly. On the contrary, he repeatedly denounced those wh o pretended to be men of principle yet were concerned with wealth and physical com fort; he declared that i f a state were badly governed it was shameful, not cause for pride, to hold an administrative post.

And he he conclusion ( which has been fundamental to Con­ reached t fucia nis m ever since ) that no sovereign formula, however glit­ tering, co uld guarantee this. TI1is goal, he believed, could only be reached if the government were continuously administered by men of the highest personal integrity, trained for government service and so devoted to the cause of the public welfare that they would die, i f necessary, rather than betray it. / It is n ot remarkable that he came to think of himself as the person best qualified, by this standard, to run the government.

It is probable, as Mencius seems to indicate, that Con­ fucius received such support i n several states; as he was not a wealthy man, he could hardly have traveled otherwise. But that he became an active official is most unlikely. 31 The wife o f Duke Ling of Wei, known as Nan Tzii, was a �ady of considerable notoriety. fte� her marriage; she seems also to have dabbled i n political mtngue. 26 Confucius had an audience _ �1th Nan Tzii, probably at her command, but Tzii-lu was con­ s�derably disturbed that he should have done so.

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