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Bad Horse


You shall love your crooked neighbor with your crooked heart. -- W. H. Auden

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Jan
20th
2016

Confucius on "show, don't tell" · 4:52pm Jan 20th, 2016

From "Confucianism and Chinese Art":

Confucius asked his students their ambitions. The first to answer said that he wanted to help weak countries get stronger. The second said he wanted his people to live a well-off life. The third said he wanted to be a master of ceremonies.

The last student said, "In Spring, having put on my spring clothes, I would like to bathe in the Qihe River with a group of adults and children and, after bathing walk back together, singing as the wind blows our hair dry. This is my ideal, teacher."

Confucius made no comment on the first three grand ambitions but commended the last. The sage could see from the carefree scene the student described his social ideal and political ambition – of people living and working happily in a peaceful and harmonious social environment.

Hey, this is my 500th blog post! :twilightsmile:

... what have I done with my life? :facehoof:

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Comments ( 18 )

The third said he wanted to be a master of ceremonies.

This cracks me up. I'm guessing, based on my knowledge of Confucianism, that this carries a very different meaning in the Confucian context.

3700162
The Behind the Music made Confucius look like a dick.

I'd like to be able to walk on the waters of the Qihe river.

Jesus! Already granted :rainbowwild:

If you equate the first three ambitions with the theme of a story, then yeah, like many writers they try to straight up tell you their theme. The fourth conveys it through experience--bathing in the river and singing. That's what showing really is. It's a story-wide endeavor. It's showing with the plot.

What it isnt is avoiding explicit description of emotion or strict adherence to communication through only body language and other external information.

Also, for funsies:

...whereupon the third student said "Whoa, shock upset here in Round One, folks! But Contestants One through Three get a free copy of our home game, Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom!"

...whereupon the second student questioned the ambitions of grown men who wanted to bathe with little children.

...whereupon the first student said nothing, but secretly pissed in the fourth student's tea at suppertime.

N.B.: the first student went on to become a high-ranking civil servant, after the usual castration.

Bathing in the river and walking back home is my ambition as well. Anybody got an ice auger I can borrow?

3700215
I was just thinking of that video.

and then the fifth student said, "Crush my enemies. See them driven before me. Hear the lamentations of their women."

3700511
It's been stuck in my head for a week :P

3700215

What it isnt is avoiding explicit description of emotion or strict adherence to communication through only body language and other external information.

Twilight flicked her tail. Then twitched her ears. Then rapidly blinked her eyes nine thousand times. Her body temperature lowered by 0.5 degrees.

I'm not a "cold reader", none of this means anything to me!

Make a bunch of blog posts, apparently.

3700162 Maybe, maybe not. Confucians are big on ritual ceremonies, but I get the impression they're only quasi-religious. They aren't required to believe that spirits really exist, or that their sacrifices have any effect other than on the people doing the sacrificing. They're supposed to support harmonious social relations. Maybe they aren't all that different from what masters of ceremonies do today.

Hey, this is my 500th blog post!
... what have I done with my life?"

Well, for starters, you've given a bunch of people 500 different insightful things to think about. That, and used the hypnotic subtext generator in FimFiction to implant command words in their brains for your eventual rise to power. :twilightoops:

3700982
Oh yeah, I wasn't shooting for a religious interpretation. But Confucian philosophy is grounded in the idea that ritual guides people toward right action, or at least that it should be constructed to do so. When I think of a master of ceremonies in my own cultural context—assuming I'm not trying to like impromptu dis tracks like 3700192—I think of someone who organizes and/or leads celebrations. I do not particularly think of "someone who has achieved mastery in the rituals underlying proper social order", which I'm guessing is closer to what the phrase is intended to mean here.

Then again, maybe some people will feel like my semantic distinctions here feel awfully legalistic, which would sort of undermine the point.[1]


[1] Or it would, if anyone was familiar with Chinese philosophical schools of the Spring-and-Autumn period and the early Qin dynasty, since Legalism was a direct competitor to Confucianism, and was the system on which Qin Shihuang-di based his rule. The prominence of Confucianism dates to the following Han dynasty, of course, when Legalism was demonized to help justify the transfer of the Mandate of Heaven. But Legalism did kind of suck, and Confucianism is pretty sweet—at least if you ask me.

3701681
He's probably just annoyed that it's taking more than 500 blog posts for the subtext generator to take effect. Probably expected to be grand king of us before post 350 came around.

3701832 You deny that sick beats underlie our social order? :pinkiegasp:

Or it would, if anyone was familiar with Chinese philosophical schools of the Spring-and-Autumn period and the early Qin dynasty, since Legalism was a direct competitor to Confucianism, and was the system on which Qin Shihuang-di based his rule. The prominence of Confucianism dates to the following Han dynasty, of course, when Legalism was demonized to help justify the transfer of the Mandate of Heaven. But Legalism did kind of suck, and Confucianism is pretty sweet—at least if you ask me.

I'm an old man. Please don't write footnotes for me in 6-point font. :fluttershysad:

3700888

Then rapidly blinked her eyes nine thousand times.

And then her eyes seared off from the friction. :twilightoops:

The way I see it, if you want to stick to external cues only, awesome. If you don't, awesome. Saying one way is all-the-time-always-better is just limiting your tools to create expressive art. And every reader has their own preferences, too.

3701985
Readability upgraded! I'll try to be nicer about my sinohistoric rants in the future.

They're supposed to support harmonious social relations. Maybe they aren't all that different from what masters of ceremonies do today.

Well....not quite.

Confusianism is, like, arch-conservatism. Lots of pointless ceremony to induce people into unquestioning obedience to their father and the social status quo, stuff like that. Making sure people ritualistically grieve for three years, instead of however long it takes a person to cope. It's a lot like Catholicism or Orthodox Judaism, all about the cultural ritual instead of the individual, only with the religious aspects toned down.

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