Posts tagged ‘philosophy’

May 18, 2010

Confucius said (4)

the topic about Reciprocity is complex and its full elabration requirs comprehensive knowledge. It’s very insufficient for me to address it with my limited knowledge of philosophy, history, economics and psychology. However it won’t prevent me from trying to achieve “reciprocity” through my own practice. And maybe in fact achieving reciprocity isn’t difficult at all because life is simle as long as you want it to be simple.

1. accept “reciprocity” as a principal to guide my daily behavior and interaction with others.
2. develop tactics to put it into action. Following steps are what i’m considering to help me to wear the hat of “reciprocity”. The goal is to enfore me to be more willing to help others.
I. Smile and show my respect(listen) when people approach/talk to myself. Key word: smile and listen
II. Promise to do one thing everyday for others without consideration of my own interests. Key word: one day one favor.
III. Review daily in the evening. Key word: review.

to sum up: always smile, be a good listener, one favor one day and daily reviw.

Remember the post i introduced before about happiness. Your positive relationship with others around you makes you happier. Always smiling makes you happier. I believe following above 3 steps will reinforce my relationship with others and make myself more happier.

Furthermore, i highly recommend to read the book “the 7 habits of highly effective people” written by Stephen R.Covey. Don’t get blind by its name. It is more about effectiveness. It really can change your outlook to life. I have read the book in chinese and i’m reading the english version. In my previous company and current company, a study of this book is necessary in the orientation trainning and it comes with an exam as well. 🙂

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May 17, 2010

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。

May 12, 2010

Confucius said(2)

Following is what we call confucius in China.

至聖先師,Zhìshèngxiānshī, lit. “The Most Sage Venerated Late Teacher”

至聖, Zhìshèng, “the Greatest Sage

先師, Xiānshī, literally meaning “first teacher”.

萬世師表,Wànshìshībiǎo, “Role Model for Teachers through the Ages”

Teaching Method

One of the deepest teachings of Confucius may have been the superiority of personal exemplification over explicit rules of behavior. His moral teachings emphasized self-cultivation, emulation of moral exemplars, and the attainment of skilled judgment rather than knowledge of rules, Confucius’s ethics may be considered a type of virtue ethics. His teachings rarely rely on reasoned argument, and ethical ideals and methods are conveyed more indirectly, through allusions, innuendo, and even tautology. This is why his teachings need to be examined and put into proper context in order to be understood. A good example is found in this famous anecdote:

This quote is my favourite and i believe it’s the right answer to “is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?”

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?”

“reciprocity” is the principal that everyone should cultivate in mind. A person who only concerns about himself would never have a positive impact on others, therefore no influcence has been created and everything about him is gone as he passes away.  But why there are always some exceptional people who can build long-lasting influence over decades or even a century.  It’s because they devoted themselves for public interests and of couse they have “reciprocity” in their mind or even other interests came first than their owns.

You cann’t name a counterexample of above principal not being applied. It’s always true. Therefore since today if you want to build an influcence, please consider other’s benefits and interests.  What you don’t wish for yourself, don’t do to others.


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