Confucius, Habits, and Rituals
Manner words aren't bad
Why do we say please and thank you?
Why do we go to school? To work?
And why do some of us refuse?
We love someone who refuses to say please and thank you. We also love someone who has please and thank you completely ingrained into their personality. One refused the ritual of learning manner words and the other maybe embraced it a little too much.
In Chinese philosophy Confucius talks a lot about the self and the assumptions that we make about our selves and we’ll say that “we’re trying to find ourself.” Rituals like manners are part of what he touches on, but it goes a lot deeper than that.
Michael Pruett says in a class for HarvardX,
“So if I'm speaking of myself, I would often say, I just need to look within, find myself, find my true self, find who I really am. And often, we'll think about this in terms of a life arc.
“So oftentimes, we'll say to children, particularly maybe high school age, moving into college, look within.
“Once you've found yourself, then learn to love yourself and embrace yourself for who you are.”
Habits, he says, are the surface of things, and we often think they can give clues to what/who your true self is. If you buy too many books that you don’t have time to read, your true self might be that you love to read.
But what if that’s wrong? What if thinking that way is limiting us, he asks?
Confucius believed this way of thinking was dangerous.
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