By Zhang Wei-Bin Zhang
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Extra info for Confucianism and Modernization: Industrialization and Democratization of the Confucian Regions
The superior man] acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions. Confucius once wanted to go and live among some wild tribes. He was told that these places were rude. He replied: If a superior man dwelt among them, what rudeness would there be? It is in this sense that Confucius did not look down on the poor man or look up to the rich man because he did not believe that an individual's social or economic situation had a definite relation to the mind in general. Obviously a virtuous and capable man may be economically poor in a corrupt social environment.
But each society intentionally or unintentionally allows some forms of interaction and forbids others. Various rational or religious bases have been used to explain and justify different forms of human interaction. For instance, socialism, capitalism, Taoism and Confucianism propose different institutional forms, based on their respective views of man's nature, conceptions of morality, and the laws of socioeconomic operations. It is generally agreed that morality is the basis of social order; but what morality actually means is defined differently.
40 Confucianism and Modernization Many sections in the Analects feature the gentleman and the small man. As has been said, Confucius used these two poles to illustrate the various types of men in real life. Similarly, he applied ancient and modern times as the bases to refer to the various social and historical circumstances and to contrast the ideal and the reality. He says: In ancient times, men learned with a view to their own improvement. Nowadays, men learn with a view to the approbation of others.
Confucianism and Modernization: Industrialization and Democratization of the Confucian Regions by Zhang Wei-Bin Zhang