Selected and Introduced for Short Work by Garrick Jones, musician, academic and founder of the Ludic Group.
The Great Learning by Confucius was written around 500BC and forms the basis of much of Chinese political discourse and philosophy. These books were required texts for admission to Chinese administration for over 1500 years. They seek to provide a framework that unites the spiritual and the material with higher goals through self-cultivation, inquiry and learning.
The books are influential today in Chinese thought, were relevant throughout the Communist era, and were used didactically during the reign of the Emperors – as such they are essential reading and provide powerful insight into this great Culture. They are essentially materialist and promote the agency of the individual within society.
The English composer Cornelius Cardew (1936–1981) famously used them as the libretto for his astonishing compositions – the forms of which were in turn uniquely inspired them. A set series of musical pieces which can be sung by any number of people, with any level of proficiency – and which, to my mind, demonstrate the emergent outcomes of complex, adaptive systems applying simple instruction sets.
Confucius (Master Kong/K’ung-tzu, 551-479 B.C.E.) is among the world’s most influential thinkers and teachers, his philosophical teachings guiding the Chinese Empire for over two thousand years.
Sourced from Sacred Texts: www.sacred-texts.com