Steve Woods

How to Gain a Following : A Confucius Tale

In What Day is it? on September 29, 2009 at 1:17 pm

speakerListen to this post while working!

“How would you like to get thousands of followers…..”

Today, like many other days on Twitter, I glanced over my new followers, and saw one telling the World that I could rapidly gain tons of new followers with little or no effort, by simply visiting a website and providing my login information….

Confucian Temple Ceremony

Confucian Temple Ceremony

This year in Taipei, Kung Tsui-Chang returns to Taiwan from college in Australia with an ancient purpose. The 79th lineal descendant of Confucius, Kung will oversee ceremonies as the Sacrificial Official at the Confucian Temple. This temporary title is ancient, held exclusively by male descendants; however, with the passing of the Gender Equality Act in 2004, someday we shall see a woman holding this post and overseeing the celebrations on this momentous day. Although Kung is 24 and has only recently procured a job in Taiwan, he will likely follow in his departed grandfather’s footsteps as Senior Advisor to the Taiwanese President Ma Ying-Jeou.

“With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my bended arm for a pillow – I have still joy in the midst of these things.”

Born on October 18, 551 BCE to a family that had recently fled the turmoil in the Song Province of China to the community of Qufu, Confucius grew up in extreme poverty and hardship. As a young man, he took on menial tasks such as herding livestock, while fervently studying Daoist philosophy and the lute. He learned the value of hard work and perseverance, qualities that would take him far later in life…

“He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.”

Confucius in a traditional painting

Confucius in a traditional painting

In his twenties Confucius began formulating his own personal philosophies, quietly expressing them to those he engaged in conversation. A group of devoted followers, or disciples, began to form around him. Enjoying his wisdom, they encouraged Confucius to go into politics, in order to more greatly help others in need in the community. Confucius was said to be a man of few words, living his life in a relatively unassuming manner, until an injustice pulled him to speak up politically on behalf of those he served. When he felt a need to express his thoughts at the temple or Court, he spoke strongly, albeit choosing his words with great care.

“Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.”

At the age of fifty, Confucius’ wisdom and political talents were recognized, and he was appointed Minister of Public Works for the Province of Lu. He did well at this position, and was promoted to the position of Minister of Crime. His pursuit of justice in this position offending many in power, and Confucius found himself forced into exile, his faithful disciples by his side on his travels, many of which became the stuff of legend and myth.

“I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there.”

Classes held by Confucius

Classes held by Confucius

In 484 BCE Confucius was able to return to Lu, founding the Ru School of Chinese thought. Although surrounded by a populace still held apart by an iron-clad ranking system, Confucius never refused a student based on societal status. All that a student needed to take part in learning was a deep desire to do just that. Considering himself to be a transmitter of ideals long-established before him, Master Confucius added to the traditional belief that our lives were predetermined, the additional warning that we are all responsible for our actions and treatment of others. The statement that he was merely passing on ancient and obvious values made his philosophy easy to accept; however, much of what Confucius taught was radical, an extreme departure from previous streams of thought.

“To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness.”

Confucius’ philosophy centered around the concept of Ren, or “compassion,” a philosophy lived best through self-deprecation, casting off self-aggrandizement for the mantle of simplicity in thought, action and speech. The society that embraced Confucius’ line of thinking was one wherein the most humble of men and women, the ones whose lives were lived in support of those around them and the greater society, were to be the most respected. Confucius taught that those in power must not oppress those they served, nor take them for granted.

Translated Confucian writing

Translated Confucian writing

Confucius began writing his most famous works: the Book of Songs, Book of Documents, and many others. It was during this latter period of his life that Confucius began to associate himself with an even deeper sense of spiritualism. He collaborated with many authors on a variety of spiritual topics, earning his position as spiritual leader and predecessor to countless Chinese philosophers, religious leaders, historians, scholars and teachers. Despite the largely-held belief of the time that knowledge was imparted to the people by wise ancient Spirits, Confucius held fast to the philosophy that true wisdom was achieved through voluminous study, discussion and experience. It is this ethic that has forevermore fastened the label of Sage under his visage and memory.

Although largely ignored by the masses during his 72-year life, only after death was the value of Confucius’ wisdom truly noted. By the end of the 4th Century BCE, it was agreed that had Confucius’ wisdom been duly recognized during his lifetime, he would’ve been a king. Confucius’ influence on Eastern culture has been compared by scholars as comparable to that of Socrates on Western civilization. Confucianism was China’s state religion until 1912, with the birth of the People’s Republic of China.

“Since you yourself desire standing then help others achieve it, since you yourself desire success then help others attain it.”

There are a variety of methods to gain a following in one’s life, whether at work, at school, at play or here in social media. The one that contains the greatest reward is in supporting those you meet on your journey, helping them to grow and connect with others. Take guidance from Confucius himself, and be modest and supporting in your statements and actions, treating all equally. Make your friends successful; help them get a foothold in life, and they will follow you through any storm or fire….

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  1. […] Confucius Day « DÕPÕDÕMÅNÌ – view page – cached Today, like many other days on Twitter, I glanced over my new followers, and saw one telling the World that I could rapidly gain tons of new followers with little or no effort, by simply visiting a… (Read more)Today, like many other days on Twitter, I glanced over my new followers, and saw one telling the World that I could rapidly gain tons of new followers with little or no effort, by simply visiting a website and providing my login information…. (Read less) — From the page […]

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