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Tsoi Dug Blog 才德博客 » Blog Archive » Professor Yu Dan’s Talk on Ideals 于丹教授谈理想

Professor Yu Dan’s Talk on Ideals 于丹教授谈理想

Sigh! I also admire Professor Yu Dan, whose books are wildly popular in China, for promoting Confucius, but in her talk on ideals she really is teaching people the wrong thing; according to her it’s bad to have high ideals, but good to be a hedonist! If you want to reform the country, to bring happiness to the country or peace to the world, then you lack humility. You are not good enough to talk about such things. You are only good enough to have as your ideals “down to earth” things, like going to the countryside in spring, having a party there, singing some songs and relaxing a bit. If this is not keeping the people foolish and enslaved then what is it? This is also putting down those who worry about their country and their people, and praising those hedonists who only think about enjoying themselves! And she talks about it with such conviction and self-righteousness - tsk, tsk!

唉!我也赞赏著书风行中国的于丹教授宣扬孔子,但她关于理想的谈话真是教坏人;依她说,怀抱着高尚的理想是坏的,做享乐主义者是好的!如果你想要改良国家,要治国平天下,那么你就是没有谦虚。你没资格谈这些东西,你的理想就只配是什么脚低下的东西,春天里跟朋友去郊外旅行,开一下party,唱一下歌,轻松一下… 这不是愚民和奴民是什么?同时,这也贬低那些虑国忧民的人,赞扬那些只顾寻求开心的享乐主义者!她还说得这么振振有词,哎呀!

Is everything in the classic Lun Yu always reliable, always correct? To me, this passage in Lun Yu is probably not accurate. Here Confucius is portrayed as a teacher who sneers at but wouldn’t come out and enlighten his student; when a student has high ideals he’s arrogant, yet when a student is more modest then he has denigrated the importance of The Rites. Only when a student obviously of noble birth, haughtily waiting until he has finished playing a lute that only nobles can play so well, give an answer from a hedonistic viewpoint that only a noble can fully appreciate from personal experience, promoting the kind of romantic activity that only a noble accorded a life of leisure can regularly enjoy, only then does Confucius endorse the answer. How could the “Teacher For All Generations” look down upon students of commoner origin and pander to students of noble origin?

《论语》的一切都可靠,都没有错误吗?我看,《论语》里这段,就可能不准确,把孔子描叙为一个嘲笑学生又不明言指点教导学生的老师,学生抱负远大就说他骄傲,学生谦虚一点就说他贬低了礼仪的重要性,唯有那个明明是贵族出身的学生,傲慢地等自己弹完那具只有贵族才会弹得这么好的琴,然后作出只有贵族才体会贴切的享乐主义观点的答案,推崇只有习惯悠逸生活的贵族才会常常欣赏到的风流活动,唯有这个学生孔子才赞同。万世师表,怎会这样藐视平民出身的学生而谄媚贵族出身的学生呢?

He couldn’t. Therefore, Mr. Ma Qian Li, a modern Confucian scholar who has written a whole book to criticize Yu Dan, interprets this passage as the student wanting, not for himself to go play in the countryside during spring, but for everyone in the world to be able to go play in the countryside during spring, to be able to enjoy such leisurely lives, and that Confucius thinks that this is the highest ideal. I think that this interpretation is a bit contrived and does not match the original text, but at least Mr. Ma hasn’t participated in glorifying hedonism, the way that Yu Dan has. I personally think that Lun Yu does have some things that are wrong, some things that cannot be what Confucius would advocate, and this passage is an example. I think that toward things in the Confucian classics, it doesn’t hurt to take an objective attitude - of course we shouldn’t say that everything is wrong, but neither do we need to blindly take everything to be right.

不会的,所以,写了整整一本书来批评于丹的现代儒家学者马千里,就把这篇对话解释为,不是那个学生要自己在春天到郊外玩,而是他的理想是,要天下所有人都能够在春天到郊外玩,享受到这种舒逸生活,同时孔子则认为这个抱负才最高尚。我觉得,这个解释比较勉强,不符合原文,但是最少没有像于丹那样,参加了对享乐主义的歌颂。我本人呢,我就觉得《论语》里面有一些不对的、不应该是孔子所提倡的东西,这段就是例子。我觉得,孔教经典里的东西,我们不妨用客观的眼光来看待,当然不应该全盘否定,但同时也不需要盲目地全盘肯定。

By the way, I think that the kind of thinking that Professor Yu Dan promotes belongs to the school of Confucian philosophical idealism, and follows the same lines as people such as Zhu Xi, which I don’t completely agree with. Moreover, I think their method of thinking is dangerous, and can lead to absolutes, excesses, arbitrariness, cultism and other bad things, of which this extolling of hedonism is just an example. At the same time, however, she is still promoting Confucius, courtesy and integrity and she is making people interested in Confucius and the Chinese intellectual heritage, so all that should be affirmed. I don’t agree with “The Ten PhD’s” who rudely attack Yu Dan,saying that she has no right to interpret Confucius in her own way, and saying that in carrying Yu Dan’s talks the media lacks a conscience and is endangering Chinese culture. If Chinese culture is so weak that it collapses when a professor popularizes it a bit, when ordinary people get to know it a bit, and that it has to be kept hidden in the hot houses of some elite school PhD’s, why do we need this kind of culture? Perhaps The Ten PhD’s are a bit lacking in respect for the Chinese intellectual heritage?

再说,我觉得于丹教授提倡的思想,是儒家的唯心学派别,是步朱熹等人后尘的思想,我并不完全同意,而且还觉得这是一种危险的思想方式,可以导致绝对、过分、专横、过分崇拜等弊端,这里推崇享乐主义便是例子。但是,她总算是提倡孔子,提倡礼义,引发人们对孔子、对中华思维传统的兴趣,这个是必须肯定的。所以,我不同意“十博士”等人那样对于丹作出无礼的评击,说她没权对孔子作出自己的解释,说传媒没良心,刊载于丹就是危害中华文化。如果中华文化这么脆弱,一旦被一位教授普及一下,让普通群众们认识一下,就会崩溃,而只能永远躲在高校博士们的温室里,这种文化要它来做什么?十博士们不会是对中华思维传统缺乏了一点尊敬吧?

The Chinese Cultural Renaissance has begun; no doubt a hundred flowers will bloom and a hundred schools will contend.

中华文化复兴开始了,必将是百花齐放、百家争鸣的。

Feng Xin-ming 冯欣明


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