I’ve directed a good number of my friends and family here to this blog to follow along as I post my reflections on our semester-long stay in Beijing. After talking to Christie, she agreed that it might be best if the two of us posted our reflections at her blog, With Four You Get Eggroll (where Christie is keeping a record of her own reflections). My guest blogging over there seems to make sense — this way our friends and family can just go to one blog (hers) instead of having to go back and forth between the two. It also allows folks just interested in the trip stuff to avoid having to navigate through the boring academic posts on Chinese Philosophy here at my blog in order to find the trip-oriented posts. So if you’re looking to keep tabs on our China stay, make sure you go to Christie’s place. See you there!
Archive for February, 2009
I’ d like to take a second to give a shout out to the second reading group I’ll be partly hosting here at A Ku Indeed. This second group will focus on Herbert Fingarette’s thin (just over a hundred pages)– but marvelously complex and rich — work The Secular as Sacred (1972). Anyone interested in Confucianism, or Chinese Philosophy in general, is sure to walk away with a deep appreciation of Fingarette’s deeply provocative, and most certainly controversial, positions on Confucian thought. Some central questions dealt with by Fingarette: “is there a notion of choice in Confucianism?”, “how are rituals magical?”, “did the early Confucians think of the self as having an inner dimension?” For the pre-Qin geek, this is cool stuff, all around. Please click below the fold to see a list of the participants for this reading group and when it will start.
Hopefully many of you out there can pick up a copy, read along, and try to join in on the conversations!
Today my old cat Bear passed away. He had kidney failure, and I had him put down as he was clearly in a great deal of distress and my vet thought he just a few days to live. I didn’t want him to suffer. Afterwards, I buried him in my backyard. It was a sad day. He made it a long time (19 years old) and was a great cat. He saw me thought a lot of life changes. I’m sorry to see him go. It was also a sad day in another way. Bear was the last of three cats that I got in New York in 1990. Puff, the “mom” died just before I left for Missouri. Boopie, Bear’s “sister” died a month after we got here. Bear made it through our seven years here, and was the last to go. The end of an era, in a way. It’s also the first time I’ve not had a cat since, well, geez…30 years ago?
Below is the big list that combines your suggestions with the ones I started with. It’s a big, big list — I’ll have to make some strategic choices here (only so much can fit on one CD). But it’s an embarrassment of riches. If any one has any final thoughts, feel free to add them. Thanks!
Some of you are probably aware, but for those who are not: as well as running this blog, I am also a contributor to In Socrates Wake, a group blog on teaching philosophy. A group book reading has been underway for a while now, on Lang’s On Course. This week it’s my turn to discuss a chapter, “Students as Learners.” I’ve uploaded my post there, but figured I’d reproduce it here too, in case anyone is interested (though I’d encourage anyone to comment over there, but if you’d prefer to do it here, that’s fine). That said, let’s move on to the chapter of Lang called “Students as Learners”.
Zaiwo is not the only lazy guy in the Analects. Ran Qiu ranks up pretty close to him, perhaps better than Zaiwo simply in the sense that he isn’t always getting busted asleep in the daytime. Still, he doesn’t seem to do much, and the Master has some finger-pointing moments with him as well. Ran Qiu’s problem, however, seems a little more complicated, and it brings up some questions for me concerning the notion of yi (appropriateness).
In the last few posts I’ve put up, I’ve been trying to get to the bottom (or nearer to the bottom) of understanding what the basic components of Confucian self-cultivation are, and how the components interact with one another. These threads have led me to think more and more about the concept of Zhi, which in the sense that is important to my questions, means “basic stuff” or “natural substance.” Confucius seems to imply that Zhi is a central component of self-cultivation, perhaps even the ground floor or foundation of such efforts. So I’d like to spend more time on it here, using a curious aphorism about my old buddy Zaiwo as the springboard.