Confucius said (3)

In part 2, we brought up the following topic.
子貢問曰:“有一言而可以終身行之者乎”?子曰:“其恕乎!己所不欲、勿施於人。” Zi gong (a disciple of Confucius) asked: “Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?”
The Master replied: “How about ‘shu’ [reciprocity]: never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself?”

Well, Kong zi(孔子) didn’t mention how people can build “reciprocity” mind. Is this behavior/habit easy to achieve? I don’t think so and at least i still cann’t apply this pricipal to guide my every action towards to others. And its importance as “one word that could guide a person throughout life” indicates that it really needs efforts to cultivate to become our habit.

Let’s dig more about what Kong zi said here and prod it from different aspects.
Q1: Why is reciprocity not altruism?
Q2: Why is hard to achieve? Because its application is against our own interest? Does everyone tend to behave egoistically?
Q3: If people are selfish, how could altruism or reciprocity be achieved?
Q4: Will Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs give the solution since reciprocity can be managed to achieve by individuals at their different level of needs?
I’ll address my understanding to above questions in chinese.

我们需要从更多的角度来理解孔子的这句话。 “自己不希望发生在自己身上的事情,不要强加在别人。”
这个作为人类社会的道德操守来宣传,希望大家在多数情况下去遵守,这个是没有问题的。但是正如“经济学”所讨论的,是在研究有限资源的条件下的最优配置。倘若发生利益冲突,零和游戏,这时候是维护自己利益(剥夺别人的利益),还是按照孔子的理论,我不希望自己的利益被剥夺,所以我也不要剥夺别人的利益(自己利益受损害)?
这个时候我觉得有必要引入马斯洛的人类需求5层次理论。
我的基本构思就是说 尽管在某一层次的需求出现冲突,但是放在不同的层次看,各自需求可能会出现差异化,而导致不再是零和游戏。

举一个简单的例子。工作中我们经常需要求助他人或者被别人求助,这里存在最简单的利益冲突,就是时间。比如说,A和B的工作目标不一致,B向A求助,若A帮助B(付出时间),A的工作进度就要延后。什么情况下A会愿意帮助B呢?A牺牲了时间,但一定有其他获益(在不同需求层次的,即不在时间维度),A才会选择帮助。这个其他获益可以很多,比如个人关系的改善,将有求于B等等。
所以我认为单纯的利他主义是不存在的,最现实和客观的情况就是从不同的维度去实现 互利。

举个人的例子,我因为要申请MBA,而top的学校都要求申请人展示leadership的experience。这个时候我的需求在“自我实现”的层次,为了实现,我可以在其他层次妥协,比如我牺牲自己的时间来帮助同事,我参与非营利组织等等 可能发展并展示leadership的机会。

后面我还会分析到business school究竟在寻找什么样的candidate,什么特质才会被青睐。也许跟孔子的互利理论也是相关的。

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4 Comments to “Confucius said (3)”

  1. Non comprehendo

  2. I’m trying to write in chinese in some topics that my chinese friends may feel easy to read.

  3. I can use Google translate 🙂
    No problem.

    I think Confucious adds an interesting dimension to the problems you are facing.
    It goes back to the roots of traditional chinese thinking, still important despite modernization.

    Can you use this thinking to set up your basic parameters for selection of a school ?

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