The Ancient World (HUM 124 - UNC Asheville)/Texts/Analects/The Way

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Description and interpretation[edit | edit source]

The Master said: “To show the Way for a nation of a thousand war-chariots, a ruler pays reverent attention to the country’s affairs and always stands by his words.  He maintains economy and simplicity, always loving the people, and so employs the people only in due season.”

This quote, which is obviously talking about the dynasty of China, tries to enlighten it's readers to the Way. For a large country with a history of wars, violence and military might, it may seem difficult to teach morals to an absolute monarchy, Confucius certainly tried. And in this quote, he outlines exactly how a ruler of such a country can stay true to the Way. To stay in touch with the country's problems. To not lie to the people. To keep the economy stable, and putting the people first. And while the examples he may set seem tailored to a country's leader, these same philosophies can be applied to a normal person's life. Someone who can keep their priorities in order, speak the truth, maintain a respectable wealth and keeping their family and friends first in their mind, they too, follow the Way.

The Way is applicable to anyone of any background. Of any faith, country, government, or way of life. Keeping the Way is all about keeping one's priorities in order. If one can truly be selfless but not self destructive, strict but not overbearing, and kind but not naive, then all can follow and embrace the Way