Original Analects Supplement
LY 4

Passages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 10 14 *15 16 17

Prefatory Note. Our use of the terms mentor/protégé rather than master/disciple is intentional. For our reconstruction of Confucius's client circle, see Appendix 4. For the possibility that this list reflects family tradition rather than disciple tradition about the disciples, see now the Note on LY 9:7.

4:1. This passage is the subject of Lesson 1 of our Classical Chinese Primer, which may be consulted by readers interested in the fine structure of the original text. For our interpretation of 4:1, see also the note on 4:6, below. Note meanwhile that if we are correct in our view of the evolution of the Analects, this line was intentionally placed first by whoever first organized the remembered sayings of Confucius.

4:2. This passage is the subject of Lesson 2 of the Classical Chinese Primer. Its disapproval of li4 "advantage, profit" is important as a symptom of transition to wealth as a measure of privilege. The same temptation of wealth is explicit in 4:5. By the time of LY 10, for example, almost a century later, the gentleman envisioned by the text will be much more comfortable with wealth, and increasingly focused on propriety rather than principle.

4:3-4. These two passages are the subject of Lesson 3 of the Classical Chinese Primer.

4:3. The idea that hatred is part of the gentleman's toolkit will be shocking to those who envision an exclusively "nice" Confucius. That idea was repugnant to Waley, who refused to attribute this saying to Confucius. But the evidence that right and wrong were different things to Confucius is very strong throughout this cluster of genuine sayings. His expectation that his students should show ardor, not merely industry, in pursuing the right goals, would be consistent with equally strong disapproval of the wrong goals. The question of how to respond to evil, as opposed to good, comes up much later, in *14:34 (TOA p168), in connection with the Dau/Dv Jing's advocacy of a version of the Golden Rule. The same two-valued logic of response is advocated there. The principle articulated here in 4:3 thus seems to be durable in Confucianism.

We might here provide the opening lines of the William James essay cited in our commentary to this passage. That essay is from "The Social Value of the College-Bred," from the collection Memories and Studies. The beginning runs thus:

Of what use is a college training? We who have had it seldom hear the question raised; we might be a little nonplused to answer it offhand. A certain amount of meditation has brought me to this as the pithiest reply which I myself can give: The best claim that a college education can possibly make on your respect, the best thing that it can aspire to accomplish for you, is this: that it should help you to know a good man when you see him.

And further on we have this remark:

The feeling for a good human job anywhere, the admiration of the really admirable, the disesteem of what is cheap and trashy and impermanent - this is what we call the critical sense, the sense for ideal values.

The balancing of "disesteem" with "respect" is crucial here. Disesteeming the right things is also a mark of the gentleman. LY 16:4-7, 17:16, and 20:2, admittedly from the Tswei Shu layer of the text and thus not the Analects at its best, all give lists of disestimable things.

4:4. The principle that the second of two paired sayings is to be reflected on together with the first, and may affect the meaning of the first, is very clear here. The general point is made, with special reference to LY 9, in our 2001 Word Philology paper. Waley has seen the problem (that LY 4:3/4 are incompatible), but not the answer (that meditating on the two together will produce a superior insight). His solution is that the first saying is quoted adversatively, and the second is meant to refute it. This does not go deep enough. See again the balance, in the William James quote above, between admiration for the admirable, and disesteem for its opposite. The one implies the other. Virtue is something more than niceness.

4:5. Compare the note on 4:10, below.

4:6. The phrase about not letting those who are not rvn come near one's person reinforces our reading of 4:1, which we take to be the complementary positive advice: to associate with those who are rvn.

4:10. This saying contains a surprise, and it is fruitful to search for the surprises in all these sayings. The first sentence implies a lack of fixed principles; the second sentence affirms a fixed principle. The surprise is in the contrast between the two. The deeper meaning is that the old set of personal loyalties (we have sometimes called them "feudal") is no longer operative. It is being replaced by a quite different value: loyalty to principle. Loyalty to principle is directly affirmed in 4:5.

4:14. This is the earliest in date of a group of four very similar Analects sayings; the other three are all interpolated in later context; they are *1:16 (TOA p171; from the year c0270), *14:30 (p140; c0299), and *15:19 (p141; also c0299). It is a nice exercise to try to distinguish any different nuances of emphasis which may be present in the group, and to explain why this genuine 05c maxim was so repeatedly invoked at the end of the 04c and in the early 03c). Duplication through scribal error is not a credible explanation, given the variations in the saying, and the lack of that sort of scribal confusion elsewhere in the text.

*4:15 (TOA p149). The asterisk marks this saying as a later interpolation. When was it written? From its content, evidently when the separate maxims of the Confucius wisdom tradition were rethought and restructured as a philosophy, that is, as a systematic and homogeneous value system. The evidence of the uninterpolated passages is that this, occurred toward the end of the 04c. This was a moment of great importance in the history of Chinese thought. A similar transition, adjusting to the idea of a governing order, is reflected, in different ways, in all the preserved texts of that period. See also LY *15:3 (p136) and the note on 4:16, following.

4:16. This saying is closely related to 4:14, above. Note that both concentrate on the gentleman's concern with what is right, to the exclusion of all other considerations. Neither of them has any very obvious relation with *4:15. It is this pattern of relationship that makes leads us to conclude that 4:14/16 were originally adjacent in the text, where they complemented each other, and that *4:15 was inserted later, interrupting that earlier pattern. The fact that *4:15 in its content relates to tendencies visible in LY 14 and LY 15 confirms this conclusion, which was reached in the first instance purely on formal grounds (for a map of LY 4 in formal terms, see TOA Appendix 1, p209). The compatibility of *4:15 with LY 14-15 also provides an approximate date for the probable creation of *4:15, and its interpolation here.

4:17. This passage is the precursor of, and was probably the model for, 7:22, in the Confucius portrait drawn by Dzvngdz in LY 7. More generally, it is useful to regard LY 4 (that is, the original LY 4) as the prototype for LY 7.

Reflections. To the comment on 4:2, above, we would add here the general reflection that the embattled character of Confucius's social and personal values in this chapter prefigures the onset of a quite different culture of the gentleman in the 04c. Later on, when that battle against social intruders had been lost, protocol tended to replace principle as the focus of gentlemanly concern. This second phase, as we interpret the evidence, is the age of Dz-sz. Dz-sz, unlike Confucius, is not an outsider; he is invariably portrayed as the intimate advisor of Lu Mu-gung, at the end of the 04th century. So also the independent "Lu Mu-gung" text of c0288 which was found among the Gwodyen 1 tomb furnishings.


This Supplement is Copyright © 2001- by E Bruce and A Taeko Brooks

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