Original Analects Supplement
LY 13

Passages: 11

Prefatory Note. In continuation of the Prefatory Note to LY 12, we may add here that the contacts of LY 13, not only with the Gwandz (TOA p229), but with less well preserved thinkers like Shvn Dau (13:6), are in our view a decisive argument for an 04c date for this chapters. The focus on getting orders obeyed reflects the chief dilemma of the new bureaucracy: How can the ruler still exert personal control over this larger and more resistant structure? If that issue existed in the times reflected by LY 4-9, those chapters are curiously unanimous in not reflecting it.

13:11. Again, the idea that punishments will eventually lead to no punishments, and so are ultimately kind rather than cruel in their social intention, is not unique to this passage; it is a common Legalist motif, also found in the Shang-jywn Shu, reflecting western rather than eastern social theory. The theory that a burdensome new state will eventually "wither away" leaving a more humanly inhabitable situation is recurrent in situations where the state is expanding at the expense of the people; it was conspicuous in early Soviet Communism. The presumption is that once lawfulness is habituated, law as such will not be necessary, and custom will suffice to keep order, just as it does in simple societies. The root issue is whether, and if so how and how quickly, human nature can be habituated in a desired direction. The entire "human nature" question in Warring States times really grows out of these considerations of social engineering. For a recent error in the predicted rate of socially engineered habituation, recall the "Hundred Flowers" episode.

These police-state considerations are not nearly as pretty as the orthodox view of the benevolent Confucius. This we cannot help; the evidence tells us that this is what was going on behind the texts, and this, accordingly, is what we report.

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

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