Confucius said “Perfect is the mean. For a long time, few people have been able to follow it.” Confucius was referring to centrality and universality when he spoke of “the mean.” Wing Tsit Chan defined the mean as equilibrium or harmony. The mean, whether we adhere to it or not, is an important part of everyday human life.
In modern terms, Confucius was basically saying that perfect is having centrality and universality or being balanced and having harmony, but few people are able to find the right balance in their lives. Confucius felt that if equilibrium could be restored to the individual, then order could be restored to the family, to other relationships, to the state, to the world, and to the universe. He described the superior man as being one who could maintain centrality and universality. According to Confucius, “When a man pursues the Way and yet remains away from man, his course cannot be considered the Way.” I believe this means that if one attempts to pursue balance to better their own life, then they must also seek to improve life for the people around them. Balance is being able to maintain peace and happiness in life based on what one presently has, as well as maintaining a degree of peace with the outside world.
Today, we live in a nation where 3.4% of Americans suffer from major depression and 9% report feeling occasionally depressed. 75% of the American population reported feeling at least a little stress every two weeks. We live in a society where money is power, where material things reign almost supreme over spiritual beliefs and moral values. Everyone is constantly trying to get ahead or be the next best thing, and it is so consuming! How can the executive manager find peace if she is working 80 hours a week so that he may step up to the General Manager position that just came available? How can a high school student find balance if he’s practically killing himself to maintain a 4.0 grade point average so that he may be accepted into...
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