Sunday, February 6, 2011

Confucius – “It is only the Superior Man who can know music.”

Reproduced from: “The Wisdom of Confucius”
Peter Pauper Press, Mount Vernon, New York.1963.

The inner nature of man is the province of music; that of ceremonies is his exterior. The result of music is perfect harmony; that of ceremonies the perfect observance of propriety. When one’s inner man is harmonious, and the outer man thus docile, the people see it in his face and do not quarrel with him; they look at his behavior and they become neither rude, nor indifferent. Hence the saying – “Carry out perfectly ceremonies and music; and give them their outward manifestation and application, and there will be nothing under Heaven difficult to manage.”

Let music attain its full results, and there will be no dissatisfied minds; let ceremony do so, and there will be no quarrels. If courtesies and bowings marked the government of the Kingdom, there would be what might be called music and ceremony, indeed. Violent oppression would not take place; the princes would appear submissively at the court as guests; there would be no occasion for the weapons of war, and no employment of the five punishments; the common people would have nothing to complain of; and the Son of Heaven no cause of anger. Such a state of things would be universal music.

All modulations of sound take their rise from the mind of man; and music is the inter-communication of them in their relations and differences. Hence even beasts know sound; and the masses of the people know the modulations; but they do not know music. It is only the Superior Man who can know music.

© Peter Pauper Press: Mount Vernon, New York. 1963

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