Little Bits of History

Kǒng Qiū

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 28, 2010

Sculpture of Confucius

August 27, 551 BC: Confucius is born in the State of Lu, China. He was conceived out of wedlock with is father a 70 year old down and out noble and his mother an 18 year old woman. His father died when Confucius was three and his mother raised him in poverty. He married Qi Quan when he was 19 and their first child was born the next year. He worked as a shepherd and cowherd as well as a clerk and bookkeeper. By the age of 53 he was the Justice Minister of Lu. Two years later he resigned his position after becoming disenchanted with the political process.

He set about traveling through the small kingdoms of north-central China. He would endear himself to the local rulers and then impart the wisdom, hopes, and dreams he had formulated in the off chance someone would implement his political agenda. He would then be run out of town.

Some consider Confucianism a religion. However, it lacks an afterlife, deities, and concern with spiritual matters. It is an ethical and political or social philosophy based on three concepts: sacrificing to the gods; ethical, social, and political institutions; and personal daily behaviors. Confucius formulated an early version of the Golden Rule and felt that the world would be better if we moved from a sense of total self absorption to behaving in a moral or right manner concerned with the effects of our behavior on others and the world around us. His political beliefs flowed from this ethical base.

By the age of 67 Confucius returned to Lu to settle down. He spent the rest of his life teaching and writing. In his work, Analects, he calls himself “a transmitter who invented nothing.” He put great emphasis on study and opened his book with the Chinese character for this word. His name is a westernized version of Kǒng Fūzǐ that the Jesuits gave to the author as they translated his works. Fūzǐ means teacher; he was born with the name Kǒng Qiū.

“Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.”

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

“To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage.”

“When anger rises, think of the consequences.”

“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” – all from Confucius

Also on this day, in 1896 the world’s shortest war starts, and ends.
Bonus Link: In 1859. Edwin Drake strikes oil in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

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  1. […] on this day, in 1896 the world’s shortest war starts, and ends. Bonus Link: In  551 BC, Confucius is born. Comments […]

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