The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius (551 BCE – 479 BCE) is one of the most influential figures in the culture of East Asia today, and his influence has spread to many parts of the world. The irony is that Confucius was not greatly revered by the authorities and sovereigns of his day. He did have a following of a number of disciples who he would mentor and guide on their journeys.
There are a number of schools of thought associated with Confucius and there is no record of any philosophical knowledge that he formally wrote down. The information that remains extant comes through texts from students and disciples; the most popular are the ‘Analects’, which means ‘discussion over Confucius’ words.’
There are many notable points that are made in the Analects including the ideas around Filial Piety which means to show reverence towards ones elders and ancestors.
In the Analects also appears a principle of reciprocity that has been used in practically every culture from the time of the Middle Kingdom in Ancient Egypt in the story of ‘The Eloquent Peasant’ circa 2000 BCE until the present day. From the Analects it translates to ‘What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.’ People from other cultures sometimes know this principle is as the Golden Rule.
Also the descriptions of the behaviour and conduct of Confucius is enlightening to help to build a more complete picture of the person behind the philosophical principles.
‘The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.’ – Confucius
Confucian Analects Audiobook by Confucius
Reading: Learn Out Loud