Love to Learn

Confucius’s answer to the chaos of his era was the “Way” of the just and harmonious society, which, he taught, had once been realized before—in a distant Chinese golden age. Mankind’s central spiritual task was to re-create this proper order already on the verge of being lost. Spiritual fulfillment was a task not so much of revelation or liberation but patient recovery of forgotten principles of self-restraint. The goal was rectification, not progress.

Learning was the key to advancement in a Confucian society. Thus Confucius taught that [l]ove of kindness, without a love to learn, finds itself obscured by foolishness. Love of knowledge, without a love to learn, finds itself obscured by loose speculation. Love of honesty, without a love to learn, finds itself obscured by harmful candour. Love of straightforwardness, without a love to learn, finds itself obscured by misdirected judgment. Love of daring, without a love to learn, finds itself obscured by insubordination. And love for strength of character, without a love to learn, finds itself obscured by intractability.

–  From On China by Henry Kissinger

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