”Interview” With china’s great teacher Confucius

The teaching Confucius. Posthumous portrait by Wu Daozi (685–758), Tang dynasty.
This print is based on a now lost original
Source: Wikipedia

On September 28, 2021, China’s great teacher Confucius would have turned 2572! 

Still considered among the most influential individuals of history, his philosophy and teachings form the basis of East Asian culture, and his many wise words about learning are still widely known and respected. 

We bring here an interview with the birthday boy (though the interview is fictional, the answers are Confucius’ own quotes): 

You are widely considered the greatest teacher of all time. Can you still learn from others? 

– When I walk along with two others, from at least one I will be able to learn. 

So do you really mean that you can learn something from anyone? 

– When you see a worthy person, endeavour to emulate him. When you see an unworthy person, then examine your inner self. 

How do you define knowledge? 

– The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance. Knowledge is recognizing what you know and what you don’t. 

And how do you recommend acquiring knowledge? 

– Learn as though you would never be able to master it; hold it as though you would be in fear of losing it. 

What learning methods would you recommend? 

– By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. 

What learning style works the best for you? 

– I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. 

What if I’m a slow learner? 

– It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. 

What is your advice to someone, who would like to become a teacher themselves? 

– Acquire new knowledge whilst thinking over the old, and you may become a teacher of others. 

Wow, you’ve really given these things a great deal of thought. I bet you could teach me anything! 

– Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three. 

Last but not least: Why is education important? 

– Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.