My Photo
Follow UselessTree on Twitter



  • eXTReMe Tracker
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 07/2005

« Can Capitalist CEOs be Good Confucians? | Main | Dr. Hwang, Meet Mencius »

December 28, 2005


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Hear, hear [and hear him] for Chuang Tzu!

In the menatime, I'm grateful and glad that my little barbs helped to stimulate such a thoughtful post from you.

Once correction, though. I don't think it's impossible (or unuseful) to take Confucianism out of its Chinese or Korean (or Vietnamese, etc.) context(s).

My point was that, if you wish to do so, you'd do better just to get on with it, rather than tussling with issues such as whether or not the Hwang stem-cell fiasco (and all the elements of Korean society that produced it) has any roots in Confucianism, and whether in that case, the Confucianism in question is "authentic" or not.

Given the way, as you describe it, in which Confucianism became many ConfucianismS - some of which arguably were effective adaptations to circumstance, but took Conficianism pretty far afield from its roots -- its quite a daunting task.

Here's a little provocation for you, stimulated by my recent reading of Weatherford's "Ghengis Khan and the Making of the Modern World": Was Ghengis Khan the best Confucian of them all?

That probably needs to be unpacked, but I'm just going to leave it out there for now.

My original post on Dr. Hwang was in anticipation of critics who would tie his failings to some notion of "Confucianism." Perhaps I jumped the gun. I have not yet seen such criticism. Have you? Still, it has been a productive exchange, helping to develop my ideas on how to apply Confucius to our times.
As to Ghengis Khan, I have not seen that book. My first response to your first suggestion is: no, Ghengis is not Confucian. Too much killing. All the death overshadows the prolific extension of his Y chromosome.

A marvelous article as expected from a Confucian scholar. Keep up the good work, Sam.

As the year is coming to a close, perhaps some time for a bit more ‘confusion’.

Of the four cardinal virtues it seems that only propriety/mores (Li) can be adapted to changes in time. It is rather difficult to water down or modernize benevolence (Ren), righteousness/justice (Yi) and wisdom (Zhi)?

Therefore a thousand or more years ago, some learned Neo Confucians, Neo Daoists and Chan Buddhists decided to have an integrated study of the three Doctrines to return to Tao. After all they had first studied the four books and five classics before taking up Daoist and/or Buddhist studies.

Happy New Year!

Hey, I just found this link to my site and I was quite impressed with what you write.

I think the problem might be that there's a little impetus, and that anyway, whatever adaptation Confucianism gets in the West is going to be so different from the original that one might as well create a new system from whole (Western) cloth if one wants something specific as an outcome.

As an example, Protestant Christianity in Korea is a rather different beast that anything I've even encountered in Canada. Okay, there are tons of Protestant nutjobs in America, but they tend not to be Presbyterians. In Korea, you see a kind of acceptance of absolutely cult-like behaviours in mainstream religions. Some of these Protestant churches are among the most judgmental, materialist organizations in the country, and they're very powerful, too. This misapplication of Christianity is just an example of the weird stuff that can happen when a foreign "philosophy" is imported into a society.

(One could argue the Classical importation of Middle-Eastern religion into Europe also involved an almost-complete loss of its fundamental tenets as it was institutionalized, as well as profound loss in Europe of what they'd had there previously.)

Of course, the last problem would be that I don't see a very big impetus for Westerners to adopt Confucian values. Korean Neo-Confucianism, like most major changes in culture, was embraced in a top-down manner, I recently was told. It was after Japan tried to invade Korea sometime in the 1500s, I think, that Korean rulers began to push the Neo-Confucian hardline. Christianity was adopted by Rome because of a vision, and maintained itself through sometimes very violent suppression of heresy. Islam didn't spread across much of the world by word of mouth alone, either. (I don't know if Buddhism is an exception.) I'm sure popular movements matter too, but I don't see a great impetus to embrace something new right now. I could, of course, be deeply wrong about this.

Anyway, I enjoyed your post very much and will return when I have time to read more.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Aidan's Way

  • :

    Understanding disability from a Taoist point of view