Today marked the start of a new book for me, one that was recommended by one of my mason friends, Jamie York, people join the masons for all kinds of reasons, some join to help the less fortunate and others join for a sense of fraternity and one mindedness, I however joined with the idea that it would be a step towards becoming a better person. With this in mind Jamie put forth his recommendation of “The Analects” by Confucius- since I already owned a copy and I’d yet to read it I didn’t really have an excuse not to give it a go.
Initially I believed that he might have had a passing interest in philosophy and recommended the book on the grounds that I was simply trying to become a better person, however I now realise that the book seems to fit me perfectly.
The highest edict in Confucian philosophy is that “The most noble thing a man can pursue and attain is the betterment of the self, this much not be pursued with either success or failure in mind and must be undertaken for its own sake” Does that not sounds ‘exactly’ like what I’m striving to achieve?
The copy of the book I have is printed by the firm “Penguin” and is part of their Penguin Classics range, they’re perfect for the scholar who needs to write about the books in great detail as they have a hugely expositional introduction at the start of each book that extrapolates many key points and gives them context, written by a highly qualified and experienced expert on the subject.
The downside to that is that if you’re just reading them for a passing interest there introductions tend to be roughly fifty pages long and worthy of a documentary novella, so you feel somewhat obligated to drudge through the, sometimes long winded, exposition before actually getting to the book. Sometimes the wordy introduction can leave you somewhat at a loss however and you can read a good two or three pages without taking in any information at all and will sometimes spoil revelations that you might otherwise discover on your own.
It’s a double edged blade, sometimes it’s good that it’s there and other times it’s best to skip to the actual book itself. Just something you’ve got to decide for yourself, though I personally tend to favour skipping to the book myself and then returning, rather oddly, to the introduction at the end to get context on what you’ve read whilst it’s still fresh in your mind.
The goal for reading this book still stands at reading twenty pages a day, hopefully with a little effort this should enable me to get through the book with relative speed whilst still managing to retain the teachings; fortunately for me this translates to reading roughly one book a day with regards to The Analects as it is a compendium of all of Confucius’ works- this should split it up into easy to digest chunks.
That’s the blog for today though, things are still slow around here and whilst I do in fact have an induction at college in three days time it’s still difficult to get the ball rolling without any form of income. Hopefully when I acquire some more money I will be able to splash out and give this blog some more colour.
The clock is ticking and I, in stark contrast to the teachings of Confucious, need to make myself look good for universities in a year and a half, the clock is ticking.