be simple and slow in speech — 8/24/17

Today’s encore selection — from Zhu Xi’s Reading of the Analects by Daniel K. Gardner. Confucius (551 – 479 BCE), a Chinese thinker and social philosopher whose influence extends to the present, attempts to define goodness. In the Analects, his definition of goodness starts with the “golden rule,” but he takes his concept further, famously stating that to be good one must be “resolute and firm, simple and slow in speech.” [Note: Most current historians do not believe that any specific documents can be said to have been written by Confucius]:
Confucius
“The Master said, ‘To be resolute and firm, simple and slow in speech, is to approach true goodness.’ (Analect 13.27 [17]). Commentator Wang Su said, ‘Gang [resolute] is to be without desire; yi [firm] is to be determined and daring; mu is to be [simple]; na [slow] is to be slow in speech. To be possessed of these four qualities is to approach true goodness.’ …
” ‘Simple and slow in speech’ becomes almost a refrain in the teachings of Confucius. For instance, in 12.3 he says, ‘The person of true goodness is restrained in speech.’ Throughout the text he repeatedly cautions his followers not to mistake eloquence for substance as in 1.3: ‘The Master said, Artful words and a pleasing countenance have little, indeed, to do with true goodness.’ …
“Zhu … wants to understand why this is so. The answer for him is partly that restraint in speech indicates a general self-restraint, which, in turn indicates that one’s original mind-and-heart with its endowed true goodness has been preserved and not won over by selfish desires. … For Zhu, words that are not simple but, rather, are ‘artful’ are evidence that one has become interested in ‘adorning oneself on the outside in an effort to please others, a matter of human desire’s having grown dissolute.’ “
To subscribe, please click here or text “nonfiction” to 22828.
Author: Daniel K. Gardner
Copyright 2003 Columbia University Press
Pages: 75-76
If you wish to read further: Buy Now
 
 
All delanceyplace profits are donated to charity and support children’s literacy projects.
About Us
DelanceyPlace.com is a brief daily email with an excerpt or quote we view as interesting or noteworthy.
Advertisements

hymns work better than sermons — 9/16/15

Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer

Author: Scott H. Hendrix
Publisher: Yale University Press
Copyright 2015 Yale University
Pages 198-199

If you wish to read further: Buy Now
All delanceyplace profits are donated to charity and support children’s literacy projects.

Steve Martin Tries to Write

Today’s encore selection – from Born Standing Up by Steve Martin. A young Steve Martin, still struggling for even modest success and confronted by the striking originality of contemporary comedians Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Lenny Bruce and Tom Lehrer realizes that he will have to try to write original material to succeed:
“In logic class, I opened my textbook — the last place I was expecting to find comic inspiration — and was startled to find that Lewis Carroll, the supremely witty author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, was also a logician. He wrote logic textbooks and included argument forms based on the syllogism, normally presented in logic books this way:
All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
Lewis Carroll self portrait

“But Carroll’s were more convoluted and they struck me as funny in a new way:

1) Babies are illogical.
2) Nobody is despised who can manage a crocodile.
3) Illogical persons are despised.
Therefore, babies cannot manage crocodiles.
“And:
1) No interesting poems are unpopular among people of real taste.
2) No modern poetry is free from affectation.
3) All your poems are on the subject of soap bubbles.
4) No affected poetry is popular among people of taste.
5) Only a modern poem would be on the subject of soap bubbles.
Therefore, all your poems are uninteresting.
“These word games bothered and intrigued me. Appearing to be silly nonsense, on examination they were absolutely logical — yet they were still funny. The comedy doors opened wide, and Lewis Carroll’s clever fancies from the nineteenth century expanded my notion of what comedy could be. I began closing my show by announcing, ‘I’m not going home tonight; I’m going to Bananaland, a place where only two things are true, only two things: One, all chairs are green; and two, no chairs are green.’ Not at Lewis Carroll’s level, but the line worked for my contemporaries and I loved implying that the one thing I believed in was contradiction.”
Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life

Author: Steve Martin
Published: Scribner a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Copyright 2007 by 40 Share Productions, Inc.
Pages: 74-75

If you wish to read further: Buy Now
 
All delanceyplace profits are donated to charity and support children’s literacy projects.

Later Never Comes

O when the tables turn

As a meal is served

It is proclaimed

The earth a stage

That later never cometh

To be given peace and promise

And hope for another day

Night doth fall upon it

And none shall see at all

Keep thy words short

For a siren’s spell is certain

Calling from the rocks

Even those built by man

O heaven! O earth!

Hear my cry and see me

Late shall never be

It is as always hath been, they sayeth

But, lo, this is false

Time shalt heal

Even as it strips away

Ever silent; forever speaking

Later never cometh

For the lowest slave

Nor the highest king

Speaketh again, do I

Her voice beckons

And she giveth no answer

AN OPEN LETTER

Dear Santa Claus,

I regret to inform you that your delivery is now exactly one month late. I have not yet received the new car I ordered, nor has the million dollars been deposited into my account. The absolute deadline is my birthday. At that time, the interest rates will have increased drastically. I must insist on the prompt delivery of all items on my list, and please include a partridge in a pear tree and some reindeer jerky. If you are unable to deliver in person, an elf, leprechaun, Cupid or the Easter Bunny are required for official holiday representation. If they have not arrived by my birthday, I will report you the Tooth Fairy for collections (Remember, they call her “Tooth Fairy” because she “collects teeth”).

Regards,

Grown-ups everywhere

Sing Anew, O Freedom

O, hark! Let Freedom sing

Of times anew, times to be

Of days forgotten, days lost

O, see her embark, taking wing

Flying upon all that lives

“Joy!” She exclaims!

Dark clouds near, now disappear

Light shines in heaven

Let the earth be illuminated!

Freedom and Justice, her friend

Liberty her companion

And more gather in the skies

To sing a new, yet familiar tune.

She is not satisfied,

For Mankind has abandoned Truth,

Her closest confidant.

O, hark! She sheds tears as diamonds.

Joy continues to be silent to her cry

Happiness left the land long ago,

But has promised to return.

“O, Love! You abound in hearts and minds

Perhaps Hope will heal Mankind.”

She sighs again, with Liberty at her side

Patience shows her face;

She is followed by Grace,

And finally Strength,

The legend that trampled Evil to its grave.

Strength lifted up her voice

“O, hark! Today is the day!

Let us join once more

We may face War,

We will serve with Honor,

We will uphold Peace,

And Joy will follow in our wake.”

Freedom stood, looking to the North

“Verily, Strength has proclaimed

And lamented words heard before,

From the voice of Truth itself.”

Thus was the resurrection of Truth,

And it came forth

From the heights and depths

To reclaim its rightful place.