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Wang Meng and His New Book The World Turning to Benevolence:
Wang Meng Talks about the Analects
Met the Readers

Source: Guangming Daily Author: Li Yuan Date: 2015-01-19
            On 18, Wang Meng, with his latest publication “Tian Xia Gui Ren: Wang Meng Shuo Lun Yu” (or in English, “The World Turning to Benevolence: Wang Meng Talks about the Analects”), met with the readers in Beijing. Famous scholars Zhao Shilin and Qian Wenzhong had a relaxed dialogue with Wang Meng on the Analects of Confucius and Confucianism.

 In his new book, Wang Meng provides wise and incisive interpretation and comments on the Analects of Confucius, re-displaying the profound truth contained in subtle words of the Confucian canon. At the public meeting, Wang Meng said that he loved the concept of “li” (translated as propriety in English) in the Analects. Propriety means rules and order for the sake of balance. In other words, “harmony is the most valuable”. Talking about the origin, Wang Meng jokingly mentioned “comic dialogue”. What does “Learning without thought is labor lost” means? Wang Meng joked with the Chinese homonym “wang” in that sentence. Learn without thought and you will become a worm indulgent in the Internet (the homonym “wang” in Chinese). Wallowing in the Internet deprives you of time and energy for thinking. And so, learning without thought, one will stay at the level of an “Internet worm”. “Thought without learning is perilous” means that if one simply talks randomly on the Internet, with no knowledge as foundation and no research and verification, only utter nonsense will be produced.

The book contains a lot of what Wang Meng has gained from reading the Analects and classic interpretations. He reads and interprets the Analects as a living book that is relevant and close to life and society. It is noteworthy that the book provides a new perspective for readers to more systematically understand the best of Confucianism by restructuring the Analects according to contents instead of its original paragraph organization.