I wanted to review the Doctrine of the Mean and the Analects because I think they are full of amazing wisdom. Confucius is, in my opinion, on par with some of the greatest Greek philosophers. Having now read more of Plato’s work, I would compare these works to something like the Symposium or Republic. The question-and-answer style is very engaging and I think makes for a good demonstration of how to discuss ideas.
The Wisdom of The Analects
This is a readable, short discourse on morality, propriety, and virtue. It is an incredibly insightful work that delves into a range of topics, each one focused on making people better. Also, it has a familiar form of discourse where Confucius’ students ask him questions and he answers. To those who’ve read works by Plato or the Gospels, this techniques will be familiar and, in my opinion, inviting.
“The superior man is catholic, not partisan.”-Confucius
Although Confucius is from China, his ideas are incredibly similar to what we find in western philosophy. Furthermore, I believe the ideas expressed give a unique perspective since they don’t come from the West. Despite the similarity, there are differences that come out of this work in comparison to one from Aristotle or Thomas Aquinas. But, there is tremendous wisdom in this for anyone who is seeking truth.
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What is the Doctrine of the Mean?
The mean is an idea that exists in both in the East and West, and has a number of expressions. Different expressions of the Doctrine of the Mean are due to the fact it’s hard to pin down exactly. Aristotle, Confucius, Lao Tzu, and others have sought to explain the mean. Basically, the mean boils down to how to act morally and ethically.
“Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.”Confucius