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Word Count: 1,377
The spiritual cornerstone of the oldest living and most populous civilization on Earth The Analects by Confucius has inspired people all over the world with its strong humanistic ideals The book seems to be a record of various conversations between Confucius and his disciples and with the rulers of his time These sayings laconic and aphoristic are difficult to interpret yet have shaped the culture of East Asia for thousands of years Although The Analects are brief and often confusing a clear picture is painted of Confuciuss views on Propriety Religion and Politics In a modern world Confuciuss staunch belief in propriety can be difficult for one to understand to relate to than any other aspect of his teaching In ancient times however society was fairly uncivilized Without a certain code of conduct the threat of barbarism becomes all the more real Propriety offered a code of conduct that although possibly outdated had shown to work in the past These traditions also showed a society of gentlemen and cultured individuals that would be projected to the rest of the world In the first book of The Analects Yu Tzu offers an account for the value of propriety in a society Among the functions of propriety the most valuable is that it establishes harmony The Way of the ancient kings from this harmony got its beauty It is the guiding principle of all things great and small If things go amiss and he who knows the harmony tries to achieve it without regulating it by the rules of propriety they will still go amiss112 Confucius himself warns of the dangers that can surface with the lack of propriety He explains Courtesy not bounded by the rules of propriety becomes tiresome Caution not bounded by the rules of propriety becomes timidity daring becomes insubordination straightforwardness becomes rudeness82 As much as Confucius adored ceremonial traditions he believed that extravagance detracted from the emotion of the actual ceremony He
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