Learning to Think Like Mencius in a Time of Crisis



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Since ancient times, philosophers have sought the remedy to humanity’s recurrent plunges into war, division, chaos, ignorance and all the moral, temporal and spiritual ills that accompany those disharmonies.

In ancient Greece, this effort was spearheaded by Plato (427-347 BCE) and his school of disciples that applied the methods of their master Socrates (470-399 BCE) to unlocking not only scientific mysteries in astronomy, mechanics, geometry and medicine, but also natural law in the form of the Plato’s ongoing effort to organize philosopher kings capable of raising society to a standard of excellence whereby all citizens and rulers alike could finally access the pathway towards awakening self-understanding, agapic love of truth, beauty and the good and ultimately true happiness.

Paralleling this development many thousands of miles across the world island, the followers of Confucius (551-479 BCE) were engaged in an identical combat but with Chinese characteristics. By the 4th century BCE, this fight was spearheaded by Mencius (372-289 BCE) who worked tirelessly to organize a philosopher king during the dark days of the warring states period who would be capable of uniting the people under a unified state governed by Li (principle), Ren (agape/benevolence) and the Mandate of Heaven (Tian Ming).

Like Plato, whose efforts to educate Dionysius I and II to the status of Philosopher Kings of Syracuse were thwarted in his lifetime, so too did Mencius watch his efforts come undone by lesser souls incapable of seeing a higher reality beyond the limits of their senses. Yet despite these set-backs both philosophers established powerful schools of thought that endured far beyond the bookends of their lives which transmitted their teachings over many generations and which resulted in the greatest leaps of progress, peace, and creativity ever recorded among both eastern and western civilizations.

It is in this spirit that The Rising Tide Foundation is proud to present a new study group led by Dr. Quan Le which plunges into the geopolitical history of ancient China while also exploring the diverse philosophical currents, personalities and more in the form of a series of dialogues composed by the students of Mencius and translated by Professor Robert Eno.

To access the original text of Robert Eno’s translation of the Mencius, click here.

To access Dr. Quan Le’s class: “Plato and Confucius: Spiritual Brothers at Two Ends of the World Island”, click here.

Write to info@risingtidefoundation.net to participate in future lectures and readings

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