Original citation Over the past century Western industrialized nations have attempted to reorganize the rest of the planet to live by their understanding of the natural and social world. In many ways they have been very successful in this endeavor. Over the period a world economic system has emerged with which communities must increasingly interact. Successful interaction seems to depend on internal reorganization of the political, economic and social lives of people, and so communities find themselves compelled, by their need to compete in the world system, to 'develop'.
Those five are the duties of universal obligation.
Knowledge, magnanimity, and energy, these three, are the virtues universally binding. And the means by which they carry the duties into practice is singleness.
Some are born with the knowledge of those duties; some know them by study; and some acquire the knowledge after a painful feeling of their ignorance. But the knowledge being possessed, it comes to the same thing. Some practice them with a natural ease; some from a desire for their advantages; and some by strenuous effort.
But the achievement being made, it comes to the same thing. Confucius If a Western person is not aware of the very different relational presumptions built into Confucian ideas of reciprocal duty, he or she is likely to presume that the independent pursuit of needs and wants is central to involvement in such relationships.
Robert Westwood does this when he sums up the Confucian position from a Western perspective. He assumes that all individuals are 'free actors' who 'lose freedom' when they are required to accept super-ordinate or subordinate hierarchical status. It is this that allows him to speak about relative 'power' in hierarchical, interdependent relationships: Challenges to authority and the 'natural' order are not countenanced.
This is encapsulated in the Confucian precepts of the so-called 'Five Cardinal Relationships' or wu lun, which delineate a hierarchical power structure over key societal relationships.
The wu lun are dyadic sets of unequal, mostly hierarchical relationships between emperor - minister, father - son, husband - wife, older brother - younger brother, friend - friend.
Although the power structure is differentiated and unequal except for the lattermutual obligations and reciprocities are inherent in the relationships. The person in the dominant position expects and receives obedience, deference and compliance, but in return should respect the dignity of the lower party and provide appropriate care and concern.
Chinese often view themselves interdependent with the surrounding social context, and it is the 'self in relation to other' that becomes the focal individual experience. This view of an interdependent self is in sharp contrast to the Western view of an independent self.
The latter sees each human being as an independent, self-contained, autonomous entity who a comprises a unique configuration of internal attributes e. This divergent view of self has implications for a variety of basic psychological processes e.
It is very easy for a researcher or commentator to apply his or her own understandings of the nature of relationships to those observed in other communities. Westwood does this when he assumes that hierarchical relationships must involve dominance and subservience, relative power and powerlessness.
These are features of relationships between individuals who define themselves as 'free actors'. They see relationships of dependence in terms of costs and benefits and degrees of loss of independence The independent self is quintessentially Western.Ebook "The Pyramid Principle" Logic in Writing and Thinking by Barbara Minto download MOBI file format.
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