In my life, I have tried to distinguish between healthy and tasty foods. The quote can also be taken symbolically, to refer to our ability to discern. Confucious is suggesting that we learn how to discern between ethical actions and even between people.” Another quote from The Doctrine of the Mean, which applies to my life, is as follows: “The way which the superior man pursues, reaches wide and far, and yet is secret.” I have never wanted to become famous, but have wanted to achieve great things. The most important thing is to achieve goals with an ethical foundation and not to become a celebrity.
Confuciuss writings teach us how to best hone our minds and behaviors. The teachings also illustrate what Chinese culture was like during the time of Confucius. For example, in The Great Learning, Confucius refers to kingdoms and rulers. He refers to specific rulers: “Yao and Shun led on the kingdom with benevolence and the people followed them. Chieh and Chau led on the kingdom with violence, and people followed them.” Confucius also refers to Chinese gender roles. Women were in charge of household duties, while men were in charge of politics: “This girl is going to her husbands house.
She will rightly order her household. Let the household be rightly ordered, and then the people of the state may be taught,” (The Great Learning). However, Confucius also suggests that the relationship between the man and the woman was presented as a friendship: “It is said in the Book of Poetry, Happy union with wife and children is like the music of lutes and harps. When there is concord among brethren, the harmony is delightful and enduring. Thus may you regulate your family, and enjoy the pleasure of your wife and children,” (The Doctrine of the Mean). Therefore, reading the texts of Confucius lends insight into Chinese culture, history, and society. The teachings of Confucius remain strikingly relevant several thousand years after they were written.
Confucius (500 BCE). The Doctrine of the Mean. Retrieved on the Internet Classics Archive. http://classics.mit.edu/Confucius/doctmean.html
Confucius (500 BCE). The Great Learning. Retrieved on the Internet Classics Archive. http://classics.mit.edu/Confucius/learning.html.