OF MINDS & MEN : On Universal History & The Creation of Aristocratic Men (Part I of IV)

Sometimes, anecdotes can be incredibly revealing.

AN INDIAN : Look at the 135 Indian CEOs managing American companies.

A CHINESE : Look at the 135 (in 2023) Chinese corporations on the Fortune Global 500 List created, owned and managed by the Chinese.

For the Chinese, the gentlemen are perfectly healthy when desiring the enjoyment of the senses & having fun, wealth, power, prestige but they are also very often and enthusiastically invited to aspire to higher ideals. Wealth, power and a dazzling reputation are mere tools for higher and nobler purposes.

There are 2 words in Chinese which are translated as ‘face’ in English.

The gentleman is the person having his 2 faces integrated.

That ideal is perfectly expressed by the following 6 Chinese characters : 君 子 和 而 不 同 : Jun1 Zi3 He2 Er2 Bu4 Tong2 : The gentleman interacts harmoniously with all but does not conform.

The first ‘face’ in Chinese is LIAN 脸 (Lian2) :

The first ‘face’ is your Original Face, the one the Whole granted you before your parents were born. Expressed otherwise : Being or using the Chinese lexicon : THE UPPER TRIGRAM. That is the Timeless Reality made of the axial Timeless Forms of Truth :Goodness : Beauty. On the plane of Time, if self-cultivation is real, Beauty will give rise to the inner sense of Justice; Goodness to Valor & Humanity (Moderation); Truth to Wisdom. Justice:Valor:Humanity:Wisdom were called by the Greeks and the Chinese the Four Cardinal Virtues.

There is a more down-to-earth reading of Lian 脸 (Lian2), simply meaning your social reputation. For me, that understanding is part of the second ‘face’.

The second ‘face’ in Chinese is MIAN ZI 面 子 (Mian4 Zi)

It is simply about your lineage, your social status, your reputation, your health, your wealth, your power, your prestige, your networks. It also concerns your technical and professional knowledge, the information you master for navigating within your society. Your social skills, you being streetwise enough & capable of an easygoing attitude when interacting with others and creating consensus when needed. In 3 words : THE LOWER TRIGRAM.

The vignette at the very beginning of the article is, for me, about the essential difference between the Mind of a Sovereign people & the mentality of a subjugated/enslaved/enthralled/controlled/mesmerized people having been ruled for most of the millennium before 1947 by foreigners : to be precise, by the Mongols, by the Turks from Central Asia, by the Pathans meaning the Afghans and the Iranians, by the British and to a lesser degree by the Frenchmen.

The American component of the Kakistocratic Feudal Conglomerate of the Anglo-Zio-American EstabLishment (KFC-AZAEL) is keeping on the job the British component of the same gang APPARENTLY relinquished 76 years ago, in 1947.

Sovereignty is first and foremost the Sovereignty of the MIND. And MIND Sovereignty is deeply correlated with the epistemological Journey, personal & collective. All the other forms of Sovereignty (political, economic, social, financial, scientific, technological, diplomatic, artistic, etc.) are simply the natural and expected consequences of the essential and central Sovereignty of the MIND, at the personal and collective levels.

There is a direct CAUSAL relation between the achievement of THE PERSONAL EPISTEMOLOGICAL JOURNEY and the PERSONAL MIND SOVEREIGNTY. The personal epistemological Journey is potentially achieved with the right role models and going through a Classical Education. A Classical Education is also called a Timeless Education or an Aristocratic Education.

For the people born in the upper class or the upper middle class, that Classical Education is most of the time given by their families and even in their cases, success is not guaranteed at all *** THE EXISTENTIAL ACHIEVEMENT of the epistemological Journey ***, far from it. For the others, they need a fair & powerful State capable of maintaining order, creating wealth and also offering the epistemological Journey (the Classical Education) for all.

Please don’t mix up the Classical/Aristocratic/Timeless Education and the professional

training. They are perfectly distinct.

I don’t need to give any explanation concerning the professional training, the learning of a trade.

The Classical/Aristocratic/Timeless Education is not the learning of a trade. It is the epistemological Journey/Overture to the Timeless Reality of the Eternal/Timeless Forms of Beauty : Goodness : Truth.

道 : 势 : 历 史 (Dao4 : Shi4 : Li4 Shi3)

aka

TEMPUS : KAIROS : CHRONOS

aka

TIMELESSNESS (TRUTH-Goodness-Beauty) : epistemological JOURNEY : TIME (FACTS & MYTHS)

aka

BEING (Truth:Goodness:Beauty) : epistemological OVERTURE : BECOMING (Wisdom:Valor:Humanity:Justice)

If you visualize the 3 realities (BEING : OVERTURE : BECOMING) with a triangle, the epistemological Journey is at the center of the figure dynamically connecting TRUTH (The Timeless Forms of Beauty : Goodness : Truth) at the top vertex, MYTHS (narratives, storytelling) at the left vertex and FACTS (measures in space-time-energy-matter) at the other end of the Time Line (Becoming) at the right vertex. The bottom segment of the triangle is for HERMENEUTICS. The left segment is for THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE. The right segment is for HEURISTICS.

The aristocratic men living at the mental center of the axio-epistemo-political triangle make perfectly the distinction between TRUTH, MYTHS and FACTS, thus are capable of orienting their decisions to the right direction of Universal History.

The collective Sovereign MIND of a given Sovereign Nation is mostly the co-existent EXISTENTIAL SHINING FORTH of the personal Sovereign Minds coming from all the members of its OPEN ARISTOCRATIC OLIGARCHY working together for realizing the common endeavor, The Common Good (Res Publica).

君 子 和 而 不 同 : Jun1 Zi3 He2 Er2 Bu4 Tong2 : The gentleman interacts harmoniously with all but does not conform.

In the case of China, President Xi Jinping offered the Timeless Idea expressed as 人 类 命 运 共 同 体 (Ren2 Lei4 Ming4 Yun4 Gong4 Tong2 Ti3) or The Human Community with a Shared Future. This Timeless Idea is translated in Time by 4 interrelated endeavors :

1- The Global Development Initiative

2- The Global Security Initiative

3- The Global Civilization Initiative

4- The Global AI Governance Initiative

Hopefully, that open aristocratic oligarchy will expand with time, including worthy people from all walks of life having achieved existentially their own personal epistemological Journey and capable of contributing to the Common Good.

As I already wrote many times but a deep and encompassing Truth deserves to be repeated on numerous occasions. THE NUMBER ONE SCOURGE ON EARTH IS THE NON SOVEREIGN PERSON, THE PERSON DEVOID OF A SOVEREIGN MIND.

All the woes having happened on Earth during the last 2 centuries had at their center a non Sovereign person, a group of non Sovereign persons or groups of non Sovereign persons.

I want to focus on the 2 Centuries of Darkness (1839-2022), the 2 centuries which were monopolized by the KFC-AZAEL (Kakistocratic Feudal Conglomerate of the Anglo-Zio-American EstabLishment); the 2 centuries during which happened the 2 World Wars, 1914-1918 & 1939-1945.

What is happening right now in Ukraine, in Palestine, in Japan, in South Korea, in India, etc., is essentially because of the non Sovereign persons manipulated by the KFC-AZAEL’s kakocrats for their own questionable goals, needless to say.

At the risk of offending people which is not my intention, except for the last 3 Sovereign Civilizational States on Earth (China, Russia, Iran) & I add North Korea in extremis, all the other countries (because of different weaknesses and deficiencies not so easy to correct) are not sovereign and I control myself for avoiding discourteous words.

For helping me put some order in my desultory considerations and having a thread uniting my musings, I will essentially use Confucius’ Selected Sayings (Lun Yu 论 语 Lun2 Yu3), better known with the Anglicized Greek word Analects (from the Greek word ‘Analekton’ meaning precisely Selected Sayings). Confucius (551 to 479 BCE) is the Latinized version of Kong Fu Zi 孔 夫 子 (Kong3 Fu1 Zi3, Noble Master Kong). His given name is Qiu 丘 (Qiu1). His social name (字 Zi4 in Chinese) is Zhongni 中 尼 ( Zhong1 Ni2).

●●● The Analects : one of the Four Books addressing the epistemological growth from the perspective of the Ru Jia 儒 家 (Ru2 Jia1, the School of the Scholars) written during Confucius’ time and the time of his immediate disciples; the Analects have been edited many times by the Confucian scholarchs between 479 BCE (the year Confucius died) and the year having witnessed the destruction of the Lu Principality, meaning 249 BCE.

The other 3 are :

●●● The Great Learning 大 学 (Da4 Xue3) written by a young student of Confucius, Zeng Shen 曾 参 (Zeng1 Shen1) (505-435 BCE).

●●● The Doctrine of the Mean 中 庸 (Zhong1 Yong1) written by Confucius’ grandson, Kong Ji (483-402 BCE) better known by his social name, Zisi 子 思 (Zi3 Si1).

●●● The Mencius 孟 子 (Meng4 Zi3, Master Meng), the eponymous book created by Meng Ke 孟 轲 (Meng4 Ke1), the Confucianist philosopher born in 372 BCE and who died in 289 BCE.

The Five Classics come from the direct cultural legacy of the Kings of the Zhou 周 dynasty (1046-256 BCE) aka the Ji 姬 Royal House.

1- The first Confucianist Classic is the Book of Change, Yi Jing 易 經 (Yi4 Jing1 for the pin-yin, the official and international transliteration system; I Ching for the older Wade-Giles transliteration system).

The other Confucianist Classics are :

2- The Book of Documents 书 經 (Shu1 Jing1) also known as The Venerated Documents 尚 书 (Shang4 Shu1).

3- The Book of Songs 诗 經 (Shi1 Jing1)

4- The 3 Books on Rituals counted as one : a. The Zhou Rituals 周 礼 (Zhou1 Li3) b. The Records on Rituals 礼 记 (Li3 Ji4) c. Rituals & Ceremonies 礼 仪 (Li3 Yi2)

5- Spring & Autumn 春 秋 (Chun1 Qiu1) : The Lu 鲁 Principality Annals covering the period from 722 to 481 BCE. Three interpretations : 1- ‘Gongyang’ upholding Universal History. 2- ‘Zuo’ for the geopolitical perspective 3- ‘Guliang’ for the ritualistic view. Confucius is a Philosopher King in the ‘Gongyang’ interpretation & the end goal of Universal History is to achieve Da Yi Tong 大 一 统 (Da4 Yi1 Tong3), the Great Unity of the cosmological and human orders or the Upper & Lower Trigrams integrated.

The School of the Scholars is called Confucianism by the Westerners in Confucius’ honor. That School for Aristocrats has been created by the Ji 姬 Royal House, aka the Zhou 周 dynasty (1046-256 BCE). The original purpose of this School for Aristocrats was for educating the children of the King & those of the King’s companions. The King’s companions are precisely the aristocrats. When Confucius stated that he did not invent anything but only transmitted the Classical Education coming from the Zhou dynasty, it was not false modesty, but simply the plain truth. Confucius decided to give that Classical/Aristocratic/Timeless Education to all. That was his immarcescible glory.

True knowledge being really difficult but not impossible to achieve, I also wish to invoke the aegis of the following 4 men :

** Socrates (469-399 BCE) having upheld the unity of the virtues and the unity of knowledge and action.

** Plato (427-347 BCE) having written around 40 dialogues addressing all the major philosophical topics. I will name here his 7 dialogues focusing on true learning, on the epistemological growth. The second to the fourth dialogues form a trilogy. The 7 dialogues constiture a philosophical septuor with the first dialogue as a general introduction and ascending from the second to the seventh dialogues the stages of the epistemological adventure.

1- Euthyphro : On Holiness or the Wholeness of the Mind, of the 6 layers of the Mind.

2- Theaetetus : the epistemological growth at the first three stages of the Mind development : A. Eikasia I (Shadows I) : the senses-perceptions B. Eikasia II (Shadows II) : the intellect (wording,imaging, conceptualizing) C. Pistis (Belief/Convention) : emotional intelligence, capable of consensus. Also called a Psyche : being streetwise, skillful socially, knowing the game but not inhabited by Beauty.

3- The Sophist : the epistemological growth explained but centered on the distinction between the third stage and the fourth stage. The third stage is called the psyche (the inchoate soul) or the Sophist’s stage aka the fake timocratic man’s stage. Confucius called the Sophist the Magician. I cannot resist mentioning the Wizard of Oz. More importantly, this dialogue is also about how to ascend to the fourth stage, the stage of the true timocratic man motivated by Justice, the first station of the Timeless Reality corresponding to the Timeless Form of Beauty, its associated Cardinal Virtue is Justice.

4- The Statesman : the fifth stage corresponding to the Timeless Form of Goodness. That is the station of the aristocratic man, endowed with creativity, inventivity, bold imagination, discovery and playful exploration : those qualities represent one of the 4 Cardinal Virtues and are subsumed with one word, Valor, which is far to be limited to physical courage or prowess. The other Cardinal Virtue associated with The Timeless Form of Goodness is Humanity or Moderation.

5- Crito : The last 3 dialogues of the septuor are devoted to the ultimate Timeless Form of Truth, corresponding to the Cardinal Virtue of Wisdom. As a man, Crito was kind of the existential & ontological perfect opposite of Socrates. Plato was also a playwright, he knew how to captivate the attention of his audience.

6- Apology of Socrates is featuring the eternal Philosopher King having to explain himself to the mob. A heart-wrenching cosmic drama but paradoxically uplifting at the same time.

7- The Phaedo : In this last dialogue, Socrates gave to everyone the dazzling secret or better worded, the dazzling arcane because it is an open secret for those willing of making the effort to learn : something in us stays unwaveringly the same notwithstanding the bodily, intellectual and emotional changes we experience through our lives. Before leaving, Socrates kindly offered his ultimate advice for all of us :Take care of your Self.

** Zhu Xi (1130-1200) having also upheld the inseparability of true Knowledge & Action. The exact expression Zhu Xi used was : Knowledge & Action are the indivisible components of truly intelligent activity.

He also offered this dazzling recommendation : 格 物 致 知 : Ge2 Wu4 Zhi4 Zhi1

Explore exhaustively the phenomena for reaching to the comprehensive understanding of reality thus achieving true knowledge.

His Deer Grotto Academy (Jiangxi Province) lasted 7 centuries (1185-1898).

Zhu Xi insisted more on the general epistemological growth, meaning a focus on The Four Books rather than the Five Classics, the direct cultural legacy of the Zhou dynasty. It doesn’t mean that the Five Classics were neglected.

** Lyndon Larouche (1922-2019)

American economist and philosopher, a man for all seasons and having created a multi-faceted work, I just want to limit myself to 2 of his declarations :

●●● Genius can be taught

I paraphrase by : The Complete Man is the union of Timelessness & Time. That integration is possible by achieving existentially the undying teachings of a Classical Education.

●●● Substance is Effective Cause & Effective Cause is Substance. Perfect verbal synthesis on the interaction of Being & Becoming.

There is an enlightening conversation between Confucius (551-479 BCE) and his close student Zigong (520-456:BCE) that has been recorded in The Ten Wings or Shi Yi 十 翼 (Shi2 Yi4), the indispensible philosophical appendix of the I Ching, the Book of Change.

子 贡 (Zi3 Gong4) is the aristocratic name of Duanmu (family name) Ci (given name) : 端 木 赐 (Duan1Mu4 Ci4). He was a wealthy merchant and a prominent diplomat having resolved successfully many interstate entanglements during his time. He served as a high official in several states. He even saved the State of Lu 鲁 (Lu2), home state of Confucius, when the much more powerful neighboring State of Qi 齐 (Qi2) was to attack it. When Confucius died, most of his students remained near their Master’s grave, mourning for three years. Zigong prolonged his mourning for 3 more years.

The Book of Change 易 經 (Yi4 Jing1/I Ching) is essentially a theoretical & practical manual guiding people on their epistemological Journey to Justice : Valor : Humanity : Wisdom, meaning the 4 Cardinal Virtues, manifestations in Time of The Timeless Forms of Truth : Goodness : Beauty. It is not primarily a book on divination.

Before diving into the Timeless Conversation between Confucius and Zigong, I need to remind everyone on the stages of the epistemological growth symbolized by the Hexagram because the Idea will be used in the aforementioned conversation.

The Hexagram has 6 horizontal lines stacked vertically with a space between the first three ones, the bottom line being the first one (1-2-3) and the last three ones (4-5-6). Each of these 6 levels is composed by a broken line or a plain line. A broken line means ‘becoming, receptivity or passivity’ and a plain line signifies ‘being, activity or dynamism’. The archetypical illustration is the pair made of the Sun, BEING naturally & dynamically radiating light & heat and the Moon, passively receiving the light from the Sun and thus BECOMING luminous. Broken lines (Becoming) and plain lines (Being) present across the six levels of the epistemological growth powerfully symbolizes the absolute organic inter-penetration of Being & Becoming or of Timelessness & Time. The Cosmic Mind in Timelessness & The Human Mind manifest in Time but deeply united to the Cosmic Mind.

As explained in the paragraph 2.4 of the Analects using SYMBOLIC AGES (The Upper Trigram : Lines 6-5-4 & The Lower Trigram : Lines 3-2-1) :

LINE 6 : At 70, I can act spontaneously without violating the Universal Laws : TRUTH With right self-cultivation, Timeless Truth is Wisdom manifesting in Time.

LINE 5 : At 60, I hear the Will of Heaven without complaining : GOODNESS With right self-cultivation, Timeless Goodness is Valor & Humanity in Time.

LINE 4 : At 50, I hear the Will of Heaven : BEAUTY With right self-cultivation, Timeless Beauty is Justice manifesting in Time

A SPACE denoting a QUANTUM LEAP from TIME to TIMELESSNESS

LINE 3 : At 40, I’m no more confused : PSYCHE (being streetwise, with emotional insight)

LINE 2 : At 30, I take my stand : INTELLECT (wording, imaging, conceptualizing)

LINE 1 : At 15, I devote myself to learning : SENSES-PERCEPTIONS or CONFUSION

*** The Timeless Conversation manifesting in Time & recorded in the Ten Wings :

Zigong said : Does the Master believe in divination using the yarrow stick ?

Confucius : As for the Book of Change, I do indeed put its prayers and divination last, ONLY OBSERVING THE TEACHINGS FOR ACHIEVING VIRTUE & JUSTICE.

Having intuition to make an Hexagram, and understanding the Hexagram for reaching virtue, is to embody true humanity, HAVING TRUE HUMANITY IS TO PUT YOUR TRUE UNDERSTANDING INTO RIGHT ACTION.

IF THE *HEXAGRAM* DOES NOT LEAD TO *RIGHT ACTION*, THEN ONE ACTS AS A MAGICIAN.

(A Magician is Confucius’ word for the fake timocratic man or the Sophist [level 3 of the Hexagram, the highest stage of the Animal Kingdom or the Lower Trigram] using Plato’s lexicon. I will address briefly later on about the shenanigans of a famous or maybe infamous Magician called Bertrand Russell (1872-1970).

IF THE *HEXAGRAM* DOES NOT LEAD TO *RIGHT ACTION*, THEN ONE ACTS AS A SCRIBE.

(A Scribe is Confucius’ word for the plutocratic man, having a powerful intellect [level 2 of the Hexagram] but utterly devoid of Beauty:Goodness:Truth, even devoid of the natural animal emtional intelligence as the Magician is capable of. I will try to understand a well known Scribe, John Dewey (1859-1952).

The divinations of the Scribes and the Magicians tend toward it but are not yet there, delight in it but are not correct.

Perhaps it will be because of the Book of Change that gentlemen of later generations will doubt me. I SEEK ITS TEACHINGS TO ACHIEVE TRUE HUMANITY AND NOTHING MORE.

I AM ON THE SAME ROAD AS THE SCRIBES AND THE MAGICIANS BUT END UP DIFFERENTLY.

THE RIGHT BEHAVIOR COMING FROM THE GENTLEMAN’S TRUE HUMANITY IS TO SEEK BLESSINGS FOR ALL . That’s why he sacrifices, but little.

THE JUSTICE COMING FROM HIS TRUE HUMANITY IS TO SEEK FAVORABLE CONFIGURATION FOR HIS ACTION. That is why he divines, but rarely.

I would like to adumbrate the Platonic Cosmogenic Cycle relevant here as correlated with Classical Greek Architecture.

Imagine The Divine Cosmos (Cosmos means Harmony in Greek, so The Divine Plan) as a Circle. Within that Circle are inscribed vertically three smaller circles perfectly fit in the big Circle : the three smaller circles are hypostases of the One Divine Plan, co-existent and co-manifest. The three small circles are aligned along the axis of their respective diameters. The three circles share common areas as in a Venn diagram. The Divine Cosmos is the Whole, the Totality in Holomovement, using the word coined by the physicist David Bohm (1917-1992).

Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464) explained perfectly that the Reality of the Circle, the true Cause of the Circle is not the series of imaginary concatenated points but the dynamic action continuously generating the Circle. The dynamic action soaring on the Eternal Forms or Timeless Principles of Truth-Goodness-Beauty is Being or more precisely Dynamic Eternal Being Booming In Entelechy (D.E.B.B.I.E) and the Circle manifest in Time is Becoming.

The realm of the Timeless Forms (Eidos ::: Aleitheia : Kagathos : Kallos/ Truth : Goodness : Beauty) is the Cosmic Mind (nous in Greek, hence the noosphere or noetic sphere in English); it is the highest of the three small inscribed circles. Architecturally manifest in Time, the epistemological Journey is symbolized first by returning to Kallos (Beauty) corresponding to the Corinthian Order, proceeding in Kagathos (Goodness) corresponding to the Doric Order and stabilizing in Aleitheia (Truth) corresponding to the Ionic Order. Correlating with the Hexagram, it’s about the Lines 6-5-4, The Upper Trigram.

Same in The Great Learning 大 学 (Da4 Xue3) 3 Principles or Guiding Lines from the Cosmic Mind. ●● Make your inner Virtue bright ●● Renew People ●● Abide in the highest Good.

Next is the extended psyche. The bridge between the Realm of Reality, of the Timeless Forms and the Realm of Phenomena symbolized as a space in the Hexagram, is the second inscribed circle in the Platonic Cosmogenic Cycle.

Last is the third inscribed circle, the Realms of the Shadows, of the Phenomena or Lines 3-2-1 of the Hexagram corresponding to the faculties of senses-perceptions, intellect and psyche, the Lower Trigram.

There is a natural hierarchy between the 3 inscribed circles but all 3 are within the Divine Cosmos, all 3 three participate to the Divine and for those willing of making an effort, there is nothing occult or occulted to them because the Arcanes of Reality are open to all those willing to start their epistemological Journey. That is precisely the meaning of ‘arcanes’, open secrets for those willing to learn.

The Tetractys is a powerful universal symbol for the unveiling of the Arcanes, the desire for true learning & self-knowledge. The Tetractys is an equilateral triangle made by 10 dots arranged on 4 ascending layers . Let’s take the Idea of Beauty.

The bottom layer is made by 4 dots on the same horizontal plane representing the element Earth and bodily Beauty. It’s the first epistemological stage coming from the senses-perceptions.

The second layer is made by 3 dots on the next higher plane and denoting the element Water and the Beauty of ideas. It’s the second epistemological stage from the intellect (wording, imaging, conceptualizing).

The third layer is made by 2 dots on the next higher plane and expressing the element Fire and the Beauty of Virtue. It’s the third epistemological stage coming from the Psyche (emotional intelligence, being streetwise, friendly attitude with everyone and capacity for mutually satisfactory consensus because of mind openness). Let’s not forget that even if the psyche is still in the Animal Kingdom, it’s an inchoate Soul, so the psyche is capable of appreciating the Beauty of virtue notwithstanding not always having the fortitude of truly embodying virtuous conduct in specific difficult existential situations.

The highest and fourth layer, denoting the element Air, the one dot symbolizing the One shining blazingly in Timelessness, the Eternal Form of Beauty.

From the TETRACTYS to GU HONGMING 辜 鸿 铭 Gu1 Hong2 Ming2 (1857-1928)

The Tetractys unveiled the Arcane of Beauty in the example above. Beauty is the inner sense of Justice in everyday life, inter alia. The Eternal Form of Beauty has been dazzlingly embodied by Gu Hongming, philosopher, statesman, polymath, polemist, lecturer, polyglot (he was fluent in English, Mandarin Chinese, Hokkien, German, Russian and French. He understood Italian, Ancient Greek, Latin, Japanese and Malay), one of the most original Chinese Scholars notwithstanding having received first a Western Education : M.A. in Emglish Literature at 20 years old (University of Edinburgh 1873-1877), he earned a diploma in Civil Engineering at the University of Leipzig and studied Law in Paris. Living at the end of the Chinese Empire and having unwaveringly kept unsullied his heartfelt confidence in the eternity and the glory of the Chinese Civilization in the midst of the Century of Humiliation (1839-1949).

“Gu Hongming was born in Penang, Malaya. His family has its roots in the town of Tongan 同 安, Fujian Province, China. Gu was probably the first Chinese having received a comprehensive European education. In 1885 (at 28 years old), in recognition of his linguistic capacities and knowledge of Western culture, Zhang Zhidong 张 之 洞 (1837-1909), viceroy and leading Confucian scholar-official, employed Gu as his secretary in charge of foreign documents and affairs. Under Zhang’s guidance, along with the influence of a number of leading Confucian scholar-officials at Zhang’s office, Gu progressed steadily with his study of the Chinese language and the Confucian Classics. By the turn of the century, Gu had not only acquired a respectable expertise in Confucian learning, but also established himself as a major spokesman for Chinese culture in the Western World.”

The paragraph just above is a quotation from Professor Huaiyu Wang, Georgia College.

I will now quote 3 long passages on Gu Hongming insights from an excellent article called “The Lost Confucian Philosopher : Gu Hongming and THE CHINESE RELIGION OF GOOD CITIZENSHIP” by Professor Huaiyu Wang (Department of Philosophy, Religion, and Liberal Studies; Georgia College and State University). His article has been published by the University of Hawai’i Press : Philosophy East & West, volume 71, Number 1, January 2021, pp. 217-240.

Professor Huaiyu Wang on the polymath Gu Hongming, first quotation :

“Drawing upon classical Confucian teachings and the aesthetic ideals of modern Romantic thinkers, Gu proposed that the ultimate solution to the major problems of modernity, such as decaying social and international solidarity, destructive materialism and commercialism, and abusive racial and nationalistic prejudices, must be a moral and cultural solution. In essence, Gu held that truth, understood in its deepest and broadest sense as THE SENSE OF HONOR AND TRUTHFULNESS IN ONE’S ENGAGEMENT WITH PERSONS AND THINGS, is of universal and eternal appeal among all humankind. AS A LIVING TRADITION, the value of the traditional Confucian social order consists in its continuous PERSONIFICATION OF THE LAW OF THE GENTLEMAN, which inspires ordinary persons to realize this sense of honor and truthfulness by fulfilling their individual roles and responsibilities. The Confucian ideal of civilization is not “infinite happiness” or “self-indulgence” for everybody, but the complete and perfect realization of true moral being – the sense of obligation – and moral order in Mankind so that the Universe shall become a Cosmos and all things can attain their full growth and development. Remarkably, many scholars today, including leading Confucian scholars like Henry Rosemont, have regarded it necessary to stay away altogether from the ideas of truth, the universal, and the absolute in order to remedy the hegemonic dimensions of modern Western colonialism, imperialism, and enlightenment universalism. In light of Gu’s insights, however, the true crisis of modernity is not what Rosemont has pinned down as the belief in ‘the one true morality’ that has to be established with the greatest number of machine guns. As everyone with a basic moral sense can see, to advocate ‘the one true morality’ with machine guns would have implicated a fundamental inconsistency with the basic principles of that morality already, such as Kant’s notion of the autonomous self who must treat the humanity in oneself and others as an end in itself. To all appearances, what accounts for the modern crisis of morality is not the utter falsity or irrelevancy of ‘the one true morality. “It is rather THE LACK OF A GENUINE BELIEF IN HUMANITY, which brings about AN ATMOSPHERE OF HYPOCRISY THROUGHOUT”. It is what Gu described as THE MORAL BANKRUPTCY OF THE CAPITALISTIC POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC SYSTEM. Indeed, when neither the social and political leaders nor the masses take any truth or moral principles of right and wrong as an absolute with binding power under all circumstances , ‘the one true morality’ can easily be manipulated by individuals to sanction their selfish interests through ‘legitimate’ violence and dominance. In Gu’s view, the answer to the modern crisis of morality consists in the Confucian Religion of Good Citizenship, in the aesthetic appeal of the gentleman, who may inspire ordinary people in a society to fulfill the law of their being and enable them to become what Walt Whitman envisioned as ‘ a law, and series of laws, unto himself, surrounding and providing for, not only his own personal control, but all his relations to other individuals, and to the State’. In my view, the Confucian Religion of Good Citizenship synthesizes what Henry Rosemont and Roger Ames call role-based contextual ethics and Kant’s deontological ethics. As I will show, Gu’s theses on a universal truth of humanity predicated on a poetic temperament and the aesthetic appeal of the gentleman may bring new insights to current Confucian and comparative moral and political studies and the relation between ethics and society. They promise a new vision to move beyond moral universalism and relativism, a key problem of cross-cultural discourse against the backdrop of the ‘clash of civilization.’ “

Second quotation from Professor Huaiyu Wang’s long article on Gu Hongming :

” However, while most modern Chinese have taken Gu to be ‘behind the Times’, I believe Gu’s visions and ideas, which were inspired by both classical Confucian teachings and the aesthetics of the modern Romantic period, were really ahead of his Times. THEY MAY EVEN BE TIMELESS. Not only are Gu’s interpretations of Confucianism still relevant to current Confucian and comparative studies, but many of Gu’s theses and arguments, with timely modification and expansion, would prove valuable and constructive in solving a range of difficult social and political problems today. One of Gu’s greatest insights was his critical understanding of and cultivated response to the then prevalent racist, colonial, and imperialistic ideologies, as he envisioned a way beyond the Scylla of a false universalism and the Charybdis of parochial nationalism (relativism). In Gu’s view, THE REAL CAUSE of the Revolution was the intense feeling of humiliation and resentment toward the racist attitudes of fireigners who ‘ think we are only Chinese and look down upon us.’ The Chinese Revolution was not a revolt against a corrupt or tyrannical government, it was a revolution against THE WEAKNESS OF THAT GOVERNMENT ‘for allowing foreigners to treat us like that.’ In other words, THE REAL CAUSE OF THE REVOLUTION WAS A FAKE UNIVERSALISM (which takes every European standard as universal) COMBINED WITH FANATIC NATIONALISM. Just as ‘The Boxer outbreak in 1900 was a fanatical explosion of hurt national pride, so the present revolution is a fanatical outburst of national vanity.’ Remarkably, because the Revolution stemmed from a world of pathos entangled with a false universalism, and fanatic nationalism, it was doomed to fail. In Gu’s view, the racial prejudice of the Europeans would not and could not be changed just because the Chinese decided TO IMITATE the Europeans by cutting off their queues and putting on European clothes. Instead, the only way to win true respect was to show ‘WHAT WE CHINESE TRULY ARE, a people with a somewhat different civilization but as wonderful a civilization as theirs and not a whit inferior.’ Hence, the one reform which China needs above all others, is not queue-cutting or constitution-making but … to send our good people, the best of the Chinese, to show the people of Europe and America what we are. In short, IT IS BY JOINING THE BEST WITH BEST THAT WE CAN EVER HOPE TO BREAK DOWN THE DIVIDING LINE OF EAST AND WEST. “

Before going to the third quotation from Professor Wang’s article, I would like to make a clarification. Gu Hongming decided to translate 君 子 之 道 (Jun1 Zi3 Zhi1 Dao4) as ‘The Chinese Religion of Good Citizenship’; the direct translation is : ‘The Gentleman’s Way’. A gentleman, 君 子 (Jun1 Zi3), according to the Confucian epistemological symbol called the Hexagram, is the man having achieved the fifth stage of the Journey to the Arcanes, the open secrets of God’s Plan for those truly willing to learn. At the fifth stage of the epistemological growth, a man is living for justice, honor, glory, discovery, inventivity, creativity and his life is utterly filled with playful exploration. The ‘gentleman’ was called by Plato (427-347 BCE) the ‘aristocratic man’. So the 君 子 之 道, The Gentleman’s Way, is the Way to activate what is from within : THE TIMELESS FORMS of Beauty, Goodness and Truth CREATING THE GENTLEMAN ONCE KINDLED. Once again, the word ‘education’ comes from the Latin word ‘educare’ meaning ‘to bring forth what is from within’, bringing forth Beauty, Goodness, Truth. Or the Gentleman’s Way is the eternal epistemological Journey, ASCENDING THE DIFFERENT DEGREES OF LEARNING, reaching to the Timeless Forms and THAT JOURNEY TO THE TIMELESS FORMS IS CALLED *TRUE LEARNING*

Interestingly, the word ‘mathematics’ comes from the Greek word ‘mathematica’, itself from ‘MANTHANEIN’ which has a very general meaning and precisely is at the center of our present discussion : LEARNING. Not so uncannily, the basic mathematical forms are at the lowest of the fourth epistemological stage, where the explorer has ITS feet in the Upper Trigram but in the antechamber of the Domain of the 9 Muses, the Domain of Beauty, the first Timeless Form. Arithmetics & geometry are at the entrance. The Numbers through Time is Music under the aegis of Euterpe. The Numbers in space-time are orchestrated by Urania as the Music of the Spheres or Astronomy. Also the Numbers manifested as human rhythms, meaning Dances supervised by Terpsichore. Let’s go deeper into the estate of the Muses but only after the last quotation from Professor Wang.

The third & last quotation from Professor Huaiyu Wang’s piece on Gu Hongming will be published with the second part of my article ‘ OF MINDS & MEN : On Universal History & The Creation of the mi Men’ in about a week.

6 Responses to “OF MINDS & MEN : On Universal History & The Creation of Aristocratic Men (Part I of IV)

  • Marcella
    7 months ago

    Truly Awesome writing from you Kwan.
    Thank you 🫶

    • Kwan Lee
      7 months ago

      Thank you Marcella for your kind words. 🔥Much appreciated.
      Kwan

      • Marcella
        7 months ago

        Kwan,you are most welcome and truly appreciated .I love your teachings in this writers’group and also on Rising Tide Foundation.
        Bless You
        PS,,,,,,
        I hope you would one day consider coming to Alberta with Matt and Cynthia when they visit.
        I have already been communicating with Matt on their planned trip .

        • Kwan Lee
          7 months ago

          Marcella, I accept your kind invitation. Coming to Alberta with Matt and Cynthia would be most exciting for me. I look forward to our discussions.

          • Marcella
            7 months ago

            Let us pray it will happen 🙏🫶🥰
            Matt has replied to me in my email saying he would let me know when he and Cynthia have confirmed the flight dates
            If you are in conversation with Matt he may remember ,,,.
            I am the person who works at Community Natural Foods ,,Crowfoot location in Calgary
            Wishing you a wonderful evening Kwan .

          • Kwan Lee
            6 months ago

            🔥🙏

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *