Mozi and Mohism – 07/17/11

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

For Your Entertainment (FYE) and Some Food For Thoughts………;+)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohism

“In a perfect governmental structure – where the ruler loves all people benevolently, and officials are selected according to meritocracy – the people should have unity in belief and in speech. His original purpose in this teaching was to unite people and avoiding sectarianism. However, in a situation of corruption and tyranny, this teaching became a tool for oppression.”

“Should the ruler be unrighteous, seven disasters would result for that nation. These seven disasters are:

(1) Neglect of the country’s defense, yet there is much lavished on the palace.
(2) When pressured by foreigners, neighbouring countries are not willing to help.
(3) The people are engaged in unconstructive work while useless fools are rewarded.
(4) Law and regulations became too heavy such that there is repressive fear and people only look after their own good.
(5) The ruler lives in a mistaken illusion of his own ability and his country’s strength.
(6) Trusted people are not loyal while loyal people are not trusted.
(7) Lack of food. Ministers are not able to carry out their work. Punishment fails to bring fear and reward fails to bring happiness.”

“A country facing these seven disasters will be destroyed easily by the enemy.”

“Rather than standards of national wealth which are rationalized in terms of first-world development, industrialization, capital and assets appreciation, trade surplus or deficit; the measure of a country’s wealth in Mohism is a matter of sufficient provision and a large population. Thriftiness is believed to be key to this end. With contentment with that which suffices, men will be free from excessive labour, long-term war and poverty from income gap disparity. This will enable birth rate to increase. Mozi also encourages early marriage.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Battle_of_Wits_(2006_film)

A Battle of Wits (rōmaji: Bokkō or Bokukō; literally: “Mohist Attack”) is a 2006 Hong Kong film based on a Japanese historical novel of the same title. A manga series was written by Hideki Mori, also based on the novel. Directed by Jacob Cheung, the film starred Andy Lau, Ahn Sung-ki, Wang Zhiwen, Fan Bingbing, Nicky Wu and Choi Siwon.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lu_Ban

“Mozi’s moral teachings emphasized self-reflection and authenticity rather than obedience to ritual. He observed that we often learn about the world through adversity (“Embracing Scholars” in Mozi). By reflecting on one’s own successes and failures, one attains true self-knowledge rather than mere conformity to ritual. (“Refining Self” in Mozi) Mozi exhorted people to lead a life of asceticism and self-restraint, renouncing both material and spiritual extravagance.
Like Confucius, Mozi idealized the Xia Dynasty and the ancients of Chinese mythology, but he criticized the Confucian belief that modern life should be patterned on the ways of the ancients. After all, he pointed out, what we think of as “ancient” was actually innovative in its time, and thus should not be used to hinder present-day innovation (“Against Confucianism, Part 3” in the Mozi). Though Mozi did not believe that history necessarily progresses, as did Han Fei Zi, he shared the latter’s critique of fate (, mìng). Mozi believed that people were capable of changing their circumstances and directing their own lives. They could do this by applying their senses to observing the world, judging objects and events by their causes, their functions, and their historical bases. (“Against Fate, Part 3”) This was the “three-prong method” Mozi recommended for testing the truth or falsehood of statements. His students later expanded on this to form the School of Names.”

“Mozi tended to evaluate actions based on whether they provide benefit to the people, which he measured in terms of an enlarged population (states were sparsely populated in his day), a prosperous economy, and social order. In many ways paralleling Western utilitarians, Mozi thought that actions should be measured by the way they contribute to the “greatest societal good for what we have agreed to in a social contract.” With this criterion Mozi denounced things as diverse as offensive warfare, expensive funerals, and even music and dance which he saw as serving no useful purpose. Mozi did not object to music in principle — “It’s not that I don’t like the sound of the drum” (“Against Music”) — but only because of the heavy tax burden such activities placed on commoners and also due to the fact that officials tended to indulge in them at the expense of their duties.”

“Mozi tried to replace what he considered to be the long-entrenched Chinese over-attachment to family and clan structures with the concept of “impartial caring” or “universal love” (, jiān ài). In this, he argued directly against Confucians who had argued that it was natural and correct for people to care about different people in different degrees. Mozi, in contrast, argued that people in principle should care for all people equally, a notion that philosophers in other schools found absurd, as they interpreted this notion as implying no special amount of care or duty towards one’s parents and family. Overlooked by those critics, however, is a passage in the chapter on “Self-Cultivation” which states, “When people near-by are not befriended, there is no use endeavoring to attract those at a distance.” This point is also precisely articulated by a Mohist in a debate with Mencius (in the Mencius), where the Mohist argues in relation to carrying out universal love, that “We begin with what is near.” Also, in the first chapter of the writings of Mozi on universal love, Mozi argues that the best way of being filial to one’s parents is to be filial to the parents of others. The foundational principle is that benevolence, as well as malevolence, is requited, and that one will be treated by others as one treats others. Mozi quotes a popular passage from the Book of Odesto bring home this point: “When one throws to me a peach, I return to him a plum.” One’s parents will be treated by others as one treats the parents of others. In pursuing this line of argument, Mozi was directly appealing to the idea of enlightened self-interest in social relations. Also of note is the fact that Mozi differentiated between “intention” and “actuality,” thereby placing a central importance on the will to love, even though in practice it may very well be impossible to bring benefit to everyone.”

“In addition, Mozi argued that benevolence comes to human beings “as naturally as fire turns upward or water turns downward”, provided that persons in positions of authority illustrate benevolence in their own lives. In differentiating between the ideas of “universal” (jian) and “differential” (bie), Mozi said that “universal” comes from righteousness while “differential” entails human effort. Furthermore, Mozi’s basic argument concerning universal love asserts that universal love is supremely practical, and this argument was directed against those who objected that such love could not be put into practice.”

Big Hugs and Kisses to All! ;+)

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