Doctrine of the Mean - Center Unchangeable 中庸 Translation and Commentary 12
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Doctrine of the Mean 中庸
Zhong Yong - Center Unchangeable
Translation and Commentary - Part 12
(PD) Zhong Yong on Winter Forest
Photograph enhancements and wording by Larry Neal Gowdy
Copyright©2018 June 01, 2018
Doctrine of the Mean Final Part
I will make this as brief as is reasonable (spoken with a sharp breathy laugh of laughing at myself that it is more likely that my 'brevity' is pregnant of ever-expanding correlations, but after several rewrites of attempting to shorten the text, I have decided to give-up and finish this page regardless of 'style', simply because I need permanent closure on this topic).
I had pages 12 and 13 ready to upload, and I had begun page 14 when I chose to investigate and to translate portions of several other Confucian books that included Li Ren, Analects, and The Great Learning.
My initial estimation of the title to be Center Unchangeable was likely not much close to being correct. If 中庸 were a book that retained focus on the qualities of junzi centeredness, then yes my choice of Unchangeable might have been relatively adequate, but, as a whole, and if the book's contents are related to the title, then the book suggests that the title ought to be something different.
Popular dictionary definition: 中 (zhong) = amidst, among, center, during, in, in the course of, middle, while (doing sth) :or: hit (the mark): adjective = central, medium: noun = mid, middle.
Popular dictionary definition: 庸 (yong) = common, commonplace, inferior, mediocre, need, ordinary, require, reward, second-rate, stupid, to use, usual: verb= use.
A book's title is whatsoever the assembler of sentences wishes to name a book, and, so, the title of 中庸 does not mandate that the book's sentences must relate to what the title might imply. If 中庸's sentences were all very similar to the first sentences, then the title might be translated as Center Use (applied-unchangeable), but as the sentences change direction to begin pointing at different and conflicting behaviors, then the title also changes meaning to imply something closer to Middle Use or Middle Common, which in modern English-speaking cultures implies 'conformity', 'mediocrity', and 'normalcy', which contradicts the concept of a quality man's 'fist fist to chest' stability of standards.
Numerous different translations have been offered for the title, including "Centrality and Commonality", "Mean-in-Action", "The Central Harmony", "The Unwobbling Pivot", "The Central Ordinary-practice", "Bring Centered in Ordinary Practice", "Middle Constancy", "Mean", and, of course, the most popular western title of "Doctrine of the Mean".
Since many languages reverse the order of sequencings as compared to English, then the title might as easily be worded as Center Use or Use Center, or perhaps Middle Common or Common Middle.
Perhaps the core conclusion of the book is that the ideas do not point to a ⦿ center, but rather the 中庸 book (and the other books) points to an externally-measured middle-ground of reasoned behavior, and, so, therefore, the title word middle is favored over center. Regardless of whether the 中庸 author might have intended 中 to imply center, the book's topic more closely infers conformity.
Due to some Chinese words being combined as a phrase of cultural slang, it is plausible that 中庸 may have had a fully different original meaning than all known translations.
Two words, only two words, and yet there is no consensus of what they might mean in English; no consensus by English scholars, nor by known Chinese scholars. If the title's two words cannot be translated, then why should anyone believe that a hundred-thousand other words can be translated? There are several strong and good reasons of why translations cannot agree, but the focal point is to recognize, to realize, and to accept the reality that the book's original meanings cannot be adequately translated into modern English.
Reliance Upon Undefined English Synonyms
As I have often spoken of in my other articles of different topics, English words like virtue and ethics are still undefined unknowns within western philosophy, which, obviously, renders all coherent translations of Chinese words into English to be impossible because the English words themselves have no meaning.
Of the papers that I have recently viewed, one 1,100(+-)-word scholarly brief of 中庸 used the word virtue five times, with each use having a different meaning, and yet the scholar claimed that Chinese words like 仁 (ren) mean "virtue".
Another scholarly paper used the word virtue eleven times, and again the word was used with a different meaning each time, as well as the paper stating "virtues" and 'multiple virtues'.
Another scholar's paper stated that 'faith is a virtue', then used "virtue" as a synonym of 'relative contrast', then spoke of 'natural and supernatural virtues', then stated that 'wisdom has virtue', then talks about 'gods have perfect conformities of virtues', and on and on and on the author rambled incoherently.
James Legge's The Chinese Classics--Volume 1: Confucian Analects (Project Gutenberg's EBook #4094 last updated: March 29, 2004) used "virtue" over 100 times regardless of whether there may or may not have existed a Chinese word in the Analects to be translated into "virtue". Legge stated: "CHAP. III. The Master said, 'It is only the (truly) virtuous man, who can love, or who can hate, others.'" Legge used the word "hate" 32 times in the same paper, with each use being absurd of meaning while contradicting the surrounding text. It would seem as though, surely, only a few humans could be so grotesquely ignorant to not cross-light the absurdity that "virtue" allegedly implies some sort of 'good thing' while also implying a 'bad thing', but, unfortunately, all of the scholars' papers are similar of grotesque contradictions and absurdities.
The word 仁 (ren) is often translated to infer 'benevolence', which is then often further confused by the scholars as they claim that 仁 also means "virtue". And, so, then, a benevolent 仁 person "hates"??? Where, where precisely is the logic of such an outrageously nonsensical statement by the scholars'?
'Benevolence' is a different word than 'virtue', but, of course, no scholar knows what 'benevolence' means either, and since it has been reported that Asian scholars are still debating the meaning of 仁, then perhaps the scholar problem is global and not merely limited to western scholars.
And what about the word "love"? It is a well-known fact that no scientist, no philosopher, and no scholar knows what love is, and yet the scholars continue to translate Chinese words into "love" as if the translations should then have meaning.
One of the most outrageously absurd statements from scholars is that all humans share the identical same emotions. The scholars' claims are so screamingly asinine that I usually simply choose to turn and walk away rather than attempt reason with the loons. Believe it or not, all humans are different, all humans have different emotions, and all cultures and eras of cultures produce different emotions. It is absolutely and eternally impossible for an English-speaking European individual of today to know what emotions the Chinese people had 2,600 years ago. No scientist and no scholar knows what emotions are, oh but yes the scholars still claim omnisciently to know which emotions Confucius himself felt and expressed.
If a scholar does not know what an emotion is, then why why why does the scholar still claim to know which emotions other people feel???
Simply stated, due to English words not having definitive definitions, then, therefore, no Chinese word can be translated with meaning into an English word that itself has no meaning.
Reading a scholarly paper is much too akin to enduring the agony of trying to reason with a feeble-minded individual who has dementia, autism, and Alzheimer's, an agony that no one should permit themselves to endure.
Negative Influence of Western Philosophy
I had entered into the investigation of eastern ideas as a means and hope of having something new to read that is not related to western thought. Unfortunately, a reliance upon western dictionaries and western research materials resulted in an increase of being subjected to negative western behaviorisms, which to me, is depressing, unwanted, and ought not have to be endured.
Legge's negative translations within 中庸 were harmful to the texts as well as to the readers, but the third sentence of 里仁 (Li Ren) — as previously stated — was the one that convinced me to let-go of the research, and to walk away: "The Master said, "It is only the (truly) virtuous man, who can love, or who can hate, others."" How is it possible that an act of 'virtue' can embrace and express "hate"? Again the topic slides back down into the rancid mire of Legge's and western philosophy's negativity and absence of definitions of words. According to the philosophers, scholars, and most all translators, virtue can mean anything that an individual wants it to mean, including love, hate, and violence.
Yes, the Aristotelian claim of 'virtue' is that of 'virtue' being a 'reasoned balance between uncontrollable mental extremes (bipolar-like)', but to adequately touch upon Aristotle's 'doctrine of the mean' requires an in-depth wallowing within western philosophy's negativity as well as Aristotle's mental problems within his Nicomachean Ethics:
Next we must consider what virtue is. Since things that are found in the soul are of three kinds- passions, faculties, states of character, virtue must be one of these. By passions I mean appetite, anger, fear, confidence, envy, joy, friendly feeling, hatred, longing, emulation, pity, and in general the feelings that are accompanied by pleasure or pain...
...Again, we feel anger and fear without choice, but the virtues are modes of choice or involve choice.
Aristotle — as defined by his own words — was mentally and spiritually defective, and yet he is one of the leading fathers of western philosophy. Western philosophy is very ill, and does not have enough mind to know it.
Again, neither western philosophy nor western science know what an emotion is, nor can describe an emotion, but western scholars are quick to claim that 惡 (wu) means "hate", and to only mean the kind of violent "hate" that the scholars express themselves. Of the English translations of Confucian books that I looked at, the word "hate" was used at least once every one to four pages.
If 中庸 and the other Confucian books were to in fact use wu to infer an uncontrollable European-like bipolar-like emotional outburst, then Confucianism is as dark, demented, hypocritical, and intellectually inferior as western philosophy.
For myself, I am assuming that 惡 wu refers to a range of emotional responses that were unique to Confucius' era and culture, and it is quite impossible for an individual today to experience and to understand what the word might have truly implied. I want to believe that 惡 wu implies a reasoned 'rejection' that might carry a mild emotional intolerance that is felt within 'downward tones'. Confucianism frequently speaks of 'junzi', 'benevolence', and other terms that suggest the natures of individuals who are kind, mindful, and aware, and it is outrageously absurd to believe that virtue, benevolence, and mindfulness could also be accompanied with a European-like rage of mindless hate.
Western philosophers and scholars spew their negativity upon the public while expecting us all to accept the negativity upon the grounds that the self-proclaimed 'experts' believe of themselves to be above reproach: no, that does not work for me.
Nevertheless, it is useful and interesting to observe how different people have translated 中庸, because the translations themselves are the expressions of the translators' own personalities, life histories, and firsthand understandings of the topics. The scholarly translations cannot and do not approach the topic from a positive point of view, and, so, the translations reflect the translators' own dark hearts and minds, which renders the translations as being unfit for reading.
Legge is said to have been a Christian missionary to Asia: so maybe that might partially explain why his translations were vulgar and mean, and why Christianity is loathed by some Asian nations. It is expected that a translator will color his translations relative to his own religion, which all of the scholars have done within their religion of Science, but it was hypocritical and violent for the scholars to have been so mean and hateful.
A quick self-test: do atoms have electrical charges? Is all matter formed upon atoms? Are all biological organisms formed of atoms? Does the human brain function with electrical currents? Does the electrical current within the brain enable thoughts, memories, sensory perceptions, dreams, and emotions? Anyone who does not believe all of the above to be true facts, that person is deemed by society to be an idiot.
It is very common for scholars to negatively speak of 中庸's tian (heavens) and gui (spirits) as being "mystical" and "superstitious". It is popularly believed that modern man is not as superstitious as the ancient Chinese might have been, but if a person exchanged the noun Tian (heavens) for Science - big bang, and exchanged gui (spirit) for electricity, then there would be no notable difference of superstitions. It is an utter fact that modern man does not know how Creation was created, nor does man know what electricity is, but man rapidly flaps his tongue to profess his full superstitious faith that Science has proven that electricity resides within and animates all things of Creation. For the scholars to have not known that they are profusely ignorant of the most simplest facts of life, the scholars' claims of 'mysticism' only served to be useful for briefly humored groans as well as being evidence that the scholars are frauds.
The Empire State Building cannot be balanced upon a plastic drinking straw. The reason is obvious: a tiny plastic straw is not strong enough to support that much weight. Modern man enjoys claiming that his Science knows all about Nature's laws, but when Confucius spoke of Nature's laws existing within all objects, the scholars strongly object and claim that Confucius' words are "mystical".
Nature rules man, man does not rule Nature. Nature's laws exist within everything that exists within this Reality, and nothing that exists within this Reality exists without Nature's laws. Regardless of whether a man chooses the noun of law, electricity, spirit, or essence, the nouns still point to the real thing that really exists within this Reality. For the scholars to have not recognized the obvious, it was sufficient evidence that the scholars know nothing of the topic itself, and the scholars ought not to have been permitted to write translations of things that the scholars have no understanding of, nor of what scholars are incapable of thinking about.
If an organic brain did indeed function upon 'electricity', then a person's mind would be completely erased, drastically altered, or completely shut-down each time that the person was near an electrical field. It does not happen, and, so, therefore, the 'mind' is not based upon 'electricity'. According to science — and socially-approved peer review — all consciousness, thoughts, memories, emotions, sensations, and all other 'acts of living beings' are solely based upon the acts of electricity. Confucianism claims that 'thinking spirits' reside within all things, while Science claims that 'thinking electricity' resides within all things. What is the difference? This is not a difficult thing to grasp, but the Sciencians and scholars cannot grasp it. The useful thing to observe is how the superstitions of Science and western philosophy invent mermaid events, and the public religiously believes the superstitions to be true facts.
Sorry, but this Reality is not based upon electricity, and the popular socially-mandated belief is fully imaginary, wrong, and ignorantly superstitious.
If a person answered 'yes' to any of the above self-test questions, then that person is no less superstitious than the most primitive of people.
Modern man is absolutely no less superstitious than anything written within Confucian books.
Within my region, mystic and mystical used to imply the general idea of 'fake mumbo-jumbo techniques of drawing supernatural beings or events'. My concept of 'mystics' are 'fraud individuals who claim to be able to make unnatural (anti-Natural-laws) things happen'. The names of Rasputin and Asian shamans are first to come to mind. My use of the word mystic is similar to the definition given by The Winston Dictionary (© 1942): "Mystic: (1) beyond human understanding, (2) involving some secret meaning...,  hidden; secret:..."
The scientific theories of the brain, consciousness, thoughts, memories, dreams, and sensory perceptions being the 'product of electricity' is itself a form of mystical mysticism as spouted by 'fraud individuals who claim to be able to make unnatural (anti-Natural-laws) things happen'.
My concept of religiosity is ' worshipping a non-religious thing as a god and religion, and  hypocritically claiming that the worshipped thing is the only true truth, and yet the individual does not himself do what his 'religion' says that he must do'. To me, religiosity infers people who are hypocrites, who externally mouth the claim that they believe in their fake religion, but the people do not inwardly change themselves to become the 'good' people that their fake religions claim will happen to all who believe in the fake religion. The false religion of Science is a good enough example, that of science knowing that negative emotions harm all people, and yet the believers in Science (e.g. Legge and scholars) continue spewing their negativity.
Numerous university professor scholars are now claiming that self-improvement is both 'mystical' and 'religiosity'. The scholars cannot so much as spark an imagination of what self-improvement might be, which much too strongly infers that the scholars have never self-improved themselves, which again mandates that the scholars are frauds who have no qualification to speak of the topic. Again the scholars' words are as if from people with dementia and Alzheimer's, and so I will not further attempt to give logic to the scholars' words that have no logic.
In less than fifty years it has become impossible to communicate even when using the same language within the same nation — scholars using the word "she" instead of the unisex word "he", plus the many other words that have recently been twisted and perverted to mean things that the words previously did not mean — and so much greater is the impossibility of Confucius' culture to communicate to today's English cultures.
I demand to read the full dialogs of which the quotes were taken from. Reading a quote out of context is fully unacceptable. Whensoever it is possible for a scholar to twist a man's words into a negativity, so will the scholar do so. Scholars assembled Confucian quotes, which in so doing, permanently harmed Confucianism.
From what I observed, it appeared to be valid of what Confucius allegedly said: "Confucius said: The way, of why the way is not followed, I know it: those of knowing exceed the way, and the ignorant do not reach it. The way, of why it is not understood, I know it: the quality man exceeds it, and the non-quality man does not reach it."
Quality individuals choose quality inward traits which exceed the Confucian middle-way, and the quality individuals instantly recognize why the middle-way is inadequate, while disquality individuals cannot so much as produce an outward appearance of following the Confucian middle-way, nor can the disquality individuals mentally grasp what the middle-way is. The middle-way is as the IQ bell curve; the greatest number of people are the 'average' — the mathematical middle — with many individuals above and below the imaginary 100 mark. As the several Confucian books appear to suggest, the Confucian middle-way purposefully fits the greatest number of people — the 80% to 90% of the population — while not being suitable for individuals whose inward qualities are too high, which is a valid approach to social structuring.
The Confucian way is as the idea of king Shun, of whom chose what was useful for the people of his era, while not teaching ideals that are beyond the abilities of the typical citizen. The Confucian way appears to have a goal (national social stability), and then weighs which behaviors best suit the goal. To scholars, the 'weighing' implies an external 'middle-median-mean-balance-center', but in the reality of real life and real choices, the mental weighing of choices is merely the mental act of choosing which action best serves the goal.
A man of quality may have a goal of inward quality, and his choosing of his own behavior will disregard the public's choices of behaviors. Selfish people may have a goal of possessing many material objects, and the selfish people do not choose behaviors based upon what the public chooses nor what quality individuals choose. If the general public could share a similar goal of national stability, then the choices would likely have similarities to the Confucian choices.
Nevertheless, the 'middle way' is an externally-observed and externally-judged behavior, not an internal behavior, which nullifies the idea of 'middleness' because — similar to Aristotle's judging of his own uncontrollable emotions and uncontrollable thoughts — external 'middleness' is never stable, never the same from one day to the next, and the 'middleness' must constantly be changing to adapt to the changes of societies and man.
The Confucian 'middle-way' appears to be very good for the social stability of common people, but, that is exactly what it appears to be, a common social practice for common people. I myself think well of Confucianism, but, it is not a dao that I would choose for myself.
And so, at present, and based upon the book's contents, my translation of the book's title is now closer to Common Middle.
Cultures change, but Nature does not change. The ideals of Confucianism would have to be modified to fit today's cultures, but the good things within Confucianism are still good and always will be good. What was good 2,600 years ago is still good today, because Nature rules man, Nature is always correct, Nature is honest, and Nature is unchangeably centered. If a thing is truly good, then the thing is judged good by Nature's laws, and since Nature's laws do not change, then the same goodness always remains good regardless of culture, regardless of language, and regardless of era.
Confucianism has elements of goodness within it.
The emotion of frustration rose and became disheartening as I read the many scholars' dark translations, and, so, now it is time for me to let-go of this series of articles, and to step further away from the absurdities of scholars'. I am considering reworking the series with a different title while arranging the words to best fit the topics of centeredness and inward qualities within a positive tone, but if I do create the pages, I will place them on a different website that has no references to western philosophy nor of western scholars.
A good thing of Confucianism is that now I can ponder Confucius' words, of his style of approaching the task of creating a common social behavior for the common people, and I can smile with the knowledge that he did pretty good considering his circumstances.
The full list of available articles in this series can be found on the home page at Doctrine of the Mean 中庸 Zhong Yong Translation and Commentary.
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