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

Below are the hyperlinks for parts I & II published on December 9 & December 14, 2023.

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

And here’s part II :


Part III :

First the 3 types of Mind limited to Time, hence the word ‘compulsive’ in bold letters. It is Time without Timelessness; Becoming without Being, thinking without meta-representation, mentation without the IMMARCESCIBLE Presence of Awareness.

1 ●●● THE DEMOCRATIC MIND (and the corresponding City) is centered on the COMPULSIVE seeking for the pleasures of the senses and their inevitable counterparts, pains. Also tribal affinities and lex talionis.

2 ●●● THE PLUTOCRATIC MIND (and the corresponding City) is centered on the COMPULSIVE seeking for profits, wealth and power for their own sake and not as the mere tools of power for higher purposes.

3 ●●● THE FAKE TIMOCRATIC MIND (the Sophist, the Magician and their City) is centered on the COMPULSIVE making of a fake Justice through social consensus, an apparent Justice and its elaborate justifications, a very fragile edifice to say the least.


Now the 3 types of Mind endowed with the IMMARCESCIBLE Presence of Awareness. Hence ‘consciously’ in bold letters. In Plato’s dialogue called ‘The Phaedo’, Socrates kindly told everyone that something remains unwaveringly present in all the bodily, the conceptual and the emotional experiences we went through in life. That something is The IMMARCESCIBLE Presence of Awareness, always present, shining, unwavering, eternal, a guiding light never extinguished. When that Presence is at the center of one’s mental life and never lost in all circumstances, one is uplifted to the Timeless Reality while living in Time, and that is the only Eternity granted to a Mortal Man. There is a Greek word for that transition if you prefer not to use ‘Quantum Leap’. That Greek word is ‘METANOIA’ : conversion. True conversion is not conversion to Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Jainism, Confucianism, Christianity or whatsoever religion or doctrine. True conversion is when the inner gaze is SPONTANEOUSLY & NATURALLY centered unwaveringly on the living IMMARCESCIBLE Presence of Awareness in our daily life aka R.I.G.P.A : R.eal I.nner G.rounded P.ure A.wareness.

4 ●●● THE TIMOCRATIC MIND (and the corresponding City) is CONSCIOUSLY centered on The Idea, The Timeless Form of BEAUTY, incarnated as being motivated by true Justice, honor, glory.

5 ●●● THE ARISTOCRATIC MIND (and the corresponding City) is CONSCIOUSLY centered on The Idea, The Timeless Form of GOODNESS, embodied as being driven by Valor and Humanity and motivated by discovery, inventivity, creativity, playful exploration.

6 ●●● THE PHILOSOPHICAL MIND (and the corresponding City) is CONSCIOUSLY centeted on The Idea, The Timeless Form of TRUTH, with an existence lived as uplifted by Wisdom and motivated by the creation of timocratic men & aristocratic men.

Before going to the series of axio-epistemo-political Principles as expounded in the Analects, I want to offer some ideas coming from another Chinese thinker, Professor Qin Hui 秦 晖 (Qin2 Hui1). Those ideas will be A DEFINITELY HEALTHY ADVERSARIAL PERSPECTIVE for my piece in which the Confucian Ideal and the Platonic Ideas are pervasive. I will, after presenting Professor Qin Hui’s concepts, explain why the nobler Weltanschauung is still the preferable one, especially when teaching children because according to my understanding, if certain lofty ideas are not offered during very early childhood, notwithstanding not impossible to absorb & to digest them later in life, but not as easily and spontaneously as during the first years of life and they will thus always be present in the deepest layers of one’s Mind.

Professor Qin Hui’s axial idea is thus expressed : 连 续 的 历 史, 循 环 的 怪 圈 (Lian2 Xu4 De Li4 Shi3, Xun2 Huan2 De Guai4 Quan1) meaning ‘Recurring History, Cyclical Loop’. It’s undoubtedly a realistic & practical disquisition on the systematic imperially appointed bureaucratic supervision promoted throughout Chinese History and it stems from the Legalist Worldview, 法 家 (Fa3 Jia1). I suggest my own personal translation for 法 家 :the acronym PPSA for Principles & Practices of Statecraft & Administration, the shorter version would be Statecraft & Administration. ‘The Art of the Ruler’ is an interesting alternative for translating 法 家2 (Fa3 Jia1).

Here is the long quotation coming from Professor Qin Hui (How China takes to perfection the art of checks and balances : Qin Hui on the cyclicality of Chinese History), shortly presented by Jia Yuxuan. The short introduction is not quoted here, I go directly to Professor Qin Hui’s ideas :

” After the collapse of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), some intellectuals of the time, deeply affected by the circumstances, critiqued Legalist bureaucracy from a Confucian standpoint. In addition to quoting the grand Confucian principle of 天 下 为 公 (Tian1 Xia4 Wei4 Gong1 meaning “All under Heaven belongs to the collectivity”), the critics also delved into governance methods. HUANG ZONGXI’s (1610-1695, Chinese naturalist, political theorist, philosopher and soldier) insights were particularly noteworthy in this context : ” The law of later generations (as opposed to legendary times of wise and virtuous kings) deems the entire realm as within the pocket of the sovereign. No benefits are to be shared with the common people; all fortunes are amassed for the rulers alone. The appointment of one official is met with suspicion, leading to the appointment of another to oversee them. The implementation of one policy raises doubts about potential deception, necessitating the introduction of another policy as a safeguard. Throughout the land, it is widely understood that the world’s bounty is concealed within the sovereign’s grasp, and that the sovereign, day and night, is plagued by concerns for their own private interests. Consequently, they are compelled to enact stringent decrees. Paradoxically, the more stringent the laws become, the greater the tumult that besets the world — this is what we term the paradoxical jurisprudence of an unjust legal system.” As illustrated above, this is the practice of checks and balances. Pitting individuals against one another and institutions against institutions, is deeply ingrained in the Chinese belief in THE INNATE EVIL OF HUMAN NATURE. It bears a resemblance to the Western concept of the balance of power, which originates from the recognition of the flaws in human nature. While the Confucian tradition emphasizes THE INHERENT GOODNESS OF HUMAN NATURE, in practical Legalism in China, people’s true perspective on human nature aligns more closely with that of Han Fei 韩 非 (Han2 Fei1 c. 280-233 BCE, a political theorist and a Prince of the Han 韩 State during the Warring States Era which lasted from 453 to 221 BCE). HAN FEI was the greatest Legalist in China who recognized that all people, commoners and elites alike, are inherently selfish and covetous. Hence, he advocated for the strict enforcement of laws and severe punishment for wrongdoing, without discrimination, to manipulate human desires and align them with the needs of the state. Here is a short excerpt from the Writings of Master Han Fei, translated by Burton Watson : ” THE RULER OF MEN HAS TWO WORRIES; if he employs only worthy men, then his ministers will use the appeal to worthiness as a means to intimidate him; on the other hand, if he promotes men in an arbitrary manner, then state affairs will be bungled and will never reach a successful conclusion. Hence, if the ruler shows a fondness for worth, his ministers will all strive to put a pleasing facade on their actions in order to satisfy his desires. In such a case, they will never show their true colors, and if they never show their true colors, then the ruler will have no way to distinguish the able from the worthless”. AS A RESULT, the inclination toward suspicion, and the art of checks and balances, in Chinese culture, have grown to an extent that, if not unique, are at least exceptionally rare in the various civilizations of humanity. Those who are interested in this regard might do well to look beyond the classics of the “Four Books and Five Classics” (Confucianist Canon) and explore traditional children’s mengxue works (蒙 学, Meng2 Xue2, a combination of nursery rhymes and textbooks) which often embody the genuine outllook on life and have a more widespread and palpable impact on society. The Confucian Classics teach that the purpose of reading and governance is *to cultivate oneself *regulate one’s family *govern one’s state correctly *and the whole kingdom is made tranquil and happy. (from Daxue 大 学 Da4 Xue3, also known as The Great Learning, attributed to one of Confucius’ disciple, Zeng Shen 曾 参 Zeng1 Shen1 505-435 BCE). However, in Shen Tong Shi 神 童 诗 (Shen2 Tong2 Shi1, meaning Poem for Prodigies) of the mengxue tradition, the plain truth is expressed with phrases like : ●● A thousand pounds of grain, referring to the rich salaries of high-ranking officials, emerge from the books ●● A mansion of gold emerges from the book ●● A jade-like bridge emerges from the book. While the classics advocate the inherent goodness of human nature, the practical and honest wisdom in the mengxue work Zeng Guang Xian Wen 增 广 贤 文 (Zeng1 Guang3 Xian2 Wen2, meaning Augmented Edition of Wise Words) tells us ‘To know a face is plain to see, yet to know the heart is an elusive feat’, ‘Never let your guard decline’, ‘When meeting others, share just three in ten thoughts’ and offers proverbs such as ‘In mountains off stand upright trees, the world ne’er sees one upright man’, ‘Relationships are as brittle as paper’, ‘None escapes the tongues of shame, still none resists a word of blame’, ‘Kind souls are oft exploited, like gentle steeds are ever heavy-weighted’, etc. “

For those wishing to read the whole piece by Professor Qin Hui and the historical comparisons on the governmental structures of the different Chinese imperial dynasties : https://www.eastisread.com/p/how-china-takes-to-perfection-the

We see that Professor Qin Hui was addressing what I labeled at the very beginning of my article as Mian Zi 面 子 (Mian4 Zi), the Face of the Lower Trigram and socially corresponding to being streetwise, at the third epistemological stage of the Magician or the Sophist. Nothing wrong being streetwise, on the contrary and wholly enjoying the senses-perceptions, the intellect and the psyche and being successful in life as long as your success has been obtained correctly, but let’s not be fooled that being streetwise is having achieved one’s epistemological growth. And that is the biggest trap that a Magician or a Sophist can make to catch the naive persons not having been introduced to a Classical Education. I push as far as to say that a person, having lived all his life at the highest stage of the Animal Kingdom (the third stage out of the six levels of the epistemological growth) might die with the false impression that his life has been a fulfilled one. An absolute and abysmal human tragedy to be avoided at all costs !!!

Never forget that you have a deeper/higher Face, the one the Whole gave you before your parents were born, the one having the same structure than the Whole, made of the Timeless Forms of Beauty, Goodness, Truth and once activated, being Just, Valorous, Humane and Wise will be as natural and spontaneous for you as for the Sun to radiate light and warmth. I really wanted to show Qin Hui’s article because it is very welll articulated at the intellectual level but abysmally lacking in Being, abysmally lacking in Beauty, Goodness, Truth, abysmally lacking in the PRESENCE of the Sun of the Absolute. Funny fact, his given name, 晖 (Hui1) means “Sunshine” … Well, let’s assume it’s the sunshine from the physical Sun, not the eternal radiance of the Sun of the Absolute.

Going to the top of the epistemological Journey will not prevent you being streetwise. A balanced human being is STREETWISE & WISE. He has his ETERNAL FACE & his TEMPORAL FACE. His Lower Trigram is integrated with his Upper Trigram as in the Star of David, the Upward Pointing Triangle is intimately nested with the Downward Pointing Triangle, different symbols for the same total Reality : Being & Becoming, Timelessness & Time, Principles & Phenomena.

I repeat, because of the utmost importance of THE TRINITY, what I wrote at the first page of my disquisition.

BEING : epistemological OVERTURE : BECOMING


TIMELESSNESS (Timeless Forms/Beauty-Goodness-Truth) : Classical Education : TIME (Myths & Facts)

道/DAO4 : 势/SHI4 : 历 史/LI4 SHI3

And that is the vital nexus coupling the Classical/Aristocratic/Timeless Education to the complete and definitive cessation of History obstinately alternating between tragedies and farces (Might is Right) but rather resolutely racing to the end goal of Universal History : MIGHT SERVES RIGHT or POWER SERVING JUSTICE or THE LOWER TRIGRAM INTEGRATED WITH THE UPPER TRIGRAM.

From here to the end of the article, I will be guided by the Principles enunciated by Confucius (551-479 BCE) as transmitted by the text of the Analects. I will try to shed some light on the paragraphs coming from the Analects I think contribute most powerfully to the creation of the Junzi 君 子 (Jun1 Zi3, the gentleman) that Plato called the aristocratic man, motivated by justice, honor, glory, discovery, inventivity, creativity, playful exploration. The English translation I offer here is the one by Professor Robert Eno. I took the liberty of changing some words occasionally. It’s essentially when he kept the Chinese word Tian 天 for ‘Heaven’, I decided to use ‘Heaven’. I followed him concerning ‘Junzi’ that I did not translate as ‘gentleman’.

I mention at the very beginning of this section the paragraph 2.4 of the Analects which is the Confucian expression for THE HEXAGRAM as the symbol for the epistemological growth I already explained. The first text on this topic comes from the Shi Yi 十 翼 (Shi2 Yi4) The Ten Wings, the epistemological appendix to THE FIRST CONFUCIAN CLASSIC, the I Ching 易 經 (Yi1 Jing1), The Book of Change.

PARAGRAPH 2.4 (There are 20 books composing the Analects; 2.4 means the fourth paragraph coming from the Second Book) :

The Master said : When I was fifteen, I set my heart on LEARNING. At thirty I took my stand. At forty, I was without confusion. At fifty I knew the command of Heaven. At sixty I heard it with a compliant ear. At seventy I follow the desires of my heart and do not overstep the bounds.

THE LOWER TRIGRAM (Lines 1-2-3; 1 being at the bottom)

This is the basic structure for the Chinese Tradition concerning the epistemological growth. Symbolically, 15 years old corresponds to the first stage of the growth (senses-perceptions); 30 corresponds to the second stage (intellect : wording, imaging, conceptualizing); 40 to the third stage (psyche, an inchoate soul). Being without confusion means you’re streetwise, you know the game of the Animal Kingdom so metaphorically, you’re no more shackled within it, but you’re still in it (the Cavern); MORE IMPORTANTLY, you begin to understand that there is an Upper Trigram, THAT THERE IS A TIMELESS REALITY. Will you answer to the call & make the needed efforts, even the needed sacrifices or will you join the plutocrats (the Kings of the Animal Kingdom) on the platform according to Plato’s metaphor in the Republic, manipulating the puppets thus projecting Shadows on the walls mesmerizing the people still chained & not able to move (metaphor for those living at the first & the second stages) ?


THE UPPER TRIGRAM (Lines 4-5-6; The top Line of the Hexagram being Line 6)

Symbolically, when at 50 years old you are capable to hear the will or the command of Heaven, it means that you are capable of a HIGHER TYPE OF LEARNING, not related to the senses-perceptions, not related to the concepts & the images; not related to the social skills. You knowing the social game & being deft at it is not relevant here. Most of the Confucian scholars would not have rejected the 1936 book authored by Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People) but they will not assess it as the ultima ratio of the human understanding. The Confucian Tradition does not promote socially clumsy people, on the contrary but it does not see being socially skillful & successful in life (stage 3 out of six) as the apex of the human adventure & the human endeavor.

At 60 years old (symbolically), you’re capable to hear the will of Heaven without complaining , meaning you’re now attuned to that higher mode of learning, you’re at ease with it and it has spontaneously become a second nature. THAT FACE GIVEN TO YOU BY THE WHOLE BEFORE YOUR PARENTS WERE BORN IS FROM NOW ON YOUR NATURAL FACE, NOT THE FACE GIVEN TO YOU BY THE SOCIETY.

At 70 years old (symbolically), you can follow your desires without infringing the Universal Laws. Here, it is not easy to describe it, suffice it to say that at 60, you know that your true Face is not the one given to you by the Society, it is in the periphery & your true, real Face is at the center.


THE CORE MESSAGE OF THE SCHOOL OF THE SCHOLARS (Ru Jia 儒 家 Ru2 Jia1, called Confucianism in the West) IS :


In a few words, it’s the constantly renewed invitation to be a 君 子 (Jun1 Zi3).

THE WHOLE is made of Time INTIMATELY INTERWOVEN with Timelessness.

THE WHOLE is made of Becoming INTEGRATED with Being.

THE WHOLE is made of material and localized Harmonic Proportions NESTED with immaterial and non-localized Harmonic Proportions.

THE WHOLE is made of phenomenal right Actions GUIDED by the Eternal Principles; it reflects the inseparability of true Knowledge & Virtuous Actions or the Unity of the Virtues.

A Classic Book is a map with theoretical Principles & practical advices offered for the epistemological Journey. The Chinese character for ‘Classic’ is 經 (Jing1, the traditional graph; not the simplified one, which is this one :经).

On the left side of 經, we have the radical for ‘silk’, symbolically the fabric of Life as manifested on the Phenomenal Dimension or Becoming (Time). On the right side, we have the character for ‘warp’ 巠, symbolically the Reality of Being (Timelessness).

Time & Timelessness.

Becoming & Being.

Let’s develop this metaphor using the weaving technique. The lengthwise or longitudinal WARP yarns are held stationary in tension on a frame or loom while the horizontal WEFT (also written ‘woof’) is drawn through and inserted over and under the warp. The WARP is the Eternal Source being the Timeless engine, the true Cause at the level of Principles (D.E.B.B.I.E. : D.ynamic E.ternal B.eing B.ooming I.n E.ntelechy); it is the Vertical Dimension, like the loom, it is stationary meaning OUTSIDE OF TIME, outside of Becoming but dynamic because it’s the Eternal ENGINE and STRUCTURING FRAME for the WEFT, the Horizontal Dimension or the Time Dimension, being INTIMATELY INTERWOVEN with it. The WEFT (LIFE IN TIME) is guided by the stationary vertical structure of the WARP set on the loom (ETERNAL LIFE, outside of Time).

The 3 chevrons seen in the upper right component of 經 denote the 3 Timeless Forms, from left to right, of 道 (DAO4) for TRUTH, of 仁 (REN2) for GOODNESS, of 义 (YI4) for BEAUTY. With proper self-cultivation & appropriate guidance from the right role models, those 3 Timeless Forms are expressed on the Phenomenal Dimension as the 4 Cardinal Virtues : Wisdom for TRUTH, Valor & Humanity for GOODNESS, inner sense of Justice for BEAUTY.


The Master said, The Junzi seeks it in himself; the small man seeks it in others.

THIS SHORT SAYING IS VERY HIGH AMONG MY FAVORITE ONES. A BLAZING & RADICAL INVITATION TO PERSONAL SOVEREIGNTY. And how to be Sovereign ? By achieving the epistemological Journey. The small man is the skillful sophist/magician (the fake timocratic man), the brutal plutocratic man or the dumb democratic man. Those people will ingratiate themselves with others for getting what they want and provoking all kinds of entanglements locally and globally; 99% of the woes undergone in this World come from their unconscious and disorderly behavior.

Paragraph 15.21 is the central panel of a philosophical triptych. On the left panel are 15.19 & 15.20. On the right panel are 15.22 & 15.23. The central panel is a terse statement inviting to the epistemological growth (the Cause) and not loitering in the Animal Kingdom. The other 4 statements showcase some effects coming from the Cause.

PARAGRAPHS 15.19 & 15.20

The Master said, The Junzi blames himself for lacking ability, he does not blame others for not recognizing him.

The Master said, The Junzi is apprehensive that he may leave the World without his name remaining praised there.

PARAGRAPHS 15.22 & 15.23

The Master said, The Junzi bears himself with dignity but does not contend; he joins with others, but does not become a partisan.

The Master said, The Junzi does not raise up a man because of his words, and does not discard words because of the man.

PARAGRAPHS 2.1, 2.2, 2.3; also about the effects coming from the Cause.

The Master said: When one rules by means of virtue it is like the North Star — it dwells in its place and the other stars pay reverence to it.

The Master said: There are 300 songs in the Book of Poems, yet one phrase covers them all: Thoughts unswerving.

The Master said: Guide them with policies and align them with punishments and the people will evade them and have no shame. Guide them with virtue and align them with 礼 (Li3: Rituals well understood and being a second nature) and people will not be shameless and fulfill their roles.

PARAGRAPH 6.30 & 12.1, 15.24, 14.34

PARAGRAPH 6.30 The Golden Rule

Zigong said: If one were to bring broad benefits to the people and be able to aid the multitudes, what would you say about him ? Could you call him 仁 (Ren2, incarnating Perfect Humanity) ?

The Master said: Why would you call this a matter of 仁 ? Surely, this would be a sage ! Yao and Shun themselvexs would fall short of this. The 仁 person is one who, wishing himself to be settled in position to have access to the powerful, achieves access for others. To be able to proceed by analogy from what lies nearest by, that may be termed the formula for 仁。

In other words, do unto others what you wish to be done to you.


NOW THE CLEAREST DEFINITION GIVEN BY THE ANALECTS ON THE TIMELESS FORM AT THE CENTER OF CONFUCIANISM, the leitmotiv of the School of the Scholars, Ren 仁 (Ren2); my suggested translation is Perfect Humanity, also the Timeless Form of Goodness, corresponding to the Cardinal Virtues of Humanity/Moderation & Valor. Let’s not forget that Valor is not only physical courage or seeing in oneself without any trace of self-deception (already a truly immense faculty) but also going to the exploration of the inner Cosmos and the outer Universe. That is the banner and the inner engine of the Junzi 君 子,the aristocratic man whose life is full of playful exploration, motivated by justice, honor, glory and driven by discovery, inventivity and creativity. The type of man who will contribute to the utter acceleration toward the end goal of Universal History : from Might is Right to Might serves Right.

End of Part III.

Part IV will be published in about 3 weeks.

3 Responses to “OF MINDS & MEN : On Universal History & The Creation of Aristocratic Men (part III of IV)

  • Marcella
    7 months ago

    Dear Quan
    What a beautiful/great woven thread of knowledge,wisdom and spiritual nourishment .
    Bless you

  • Marcella
    7 months ago

    You are welcome Quan

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