Books That Inspire 2004

The Analects of Confucius

“Is it not pleasurable having learned something to apply it?

Is it not delightful to have friends come from far away?”

(Opening lines of the Analects; Book one, Chapter one).

Confucius was the first person to publicly offer a classical education to all who brought even the most meager tuition. His purpose was to improve governance, to educate youth, and preserve culture. In The Analects, Confucius holds the mirror of our own humanity up to us across two and a half millennia. In it we see that our humanity is best expressed and developed not in solitary contemplation, but within the scope of our relationships with others. Here we learn that as human beings we are not defined simply by our physical and intellectual attainments, but by the quality of our participation in human society.
Alan Atkinson
Adjunct Professor
History and Art