Opinion / From the Press

Money cannot buy real Confucianism philosophers

By Li Yang ( Updated: 2015-04-16 10:22

Money cannot buy real Confucianism philosophers

Performers participate in a spring homage ritual at the Confucius Temple of Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan, March 22, 2015. A spring homage ritual was held here on Saturday to honour Confucius (551-479 BC), a Chinese teacher, politician and philosopher. [Photo/Xinhua]

Simply brandishing material benefits will not attract truly distinguished philosophy scholars, says an article of Excerpts:

Jining city government, Shandong province, is looking for outstanding Confucianism scholars from around the world to fill the institutes and universities in the province, which is the hometown of Confucius.

The salary and perks are very attractive. Each scholar will receive an annual salary of more than $70,000, research funds of up to $350,000 every year, along with housing and medical care. The government will find jobs for the scholar's families and send their children to the best local schools. This may be the best treatment that a Confucianism scholar has enjoyed in the 2,000 years since the philosopher was born.

In fact, true Confucianism scholars, if they really believe in what they study, would not care that much about money. They would attach more importance to spiritual values than the possession of material wealth.

The city government should first understand Confucius' attitude to material wealth before posting the recruitment advertisement.

After his famous student Yan Hui died in poverty, Confucius said if a man wants to be great, but feels shameful about being poor, it is not necessary to talk with him about knowledge.

Confucius stresses that money should be earned in a proper manner, and whether a scholar or philosopher can accept wealth depends on if the wealth comes from a legitimate and proper source.

There is a big difference between attracting scientific and engineering experts with good treatment and attracting philosophers in the same way. The scientists and engineers can help local industries, while the philosophers can help the people conduct more serious thinking on some fundamental issues. The philosophy scholars are also different from the other humanistic and social science scholars because of their special personal charm.

Regretfully, personality charm is fragile and vulnerable to the invasion of fame and wealth. It is unreasonable to use government funds to invite philosophy scholars, and it is very difficult to find a legal basis or justification for the enticements offered by the government.

Good material wealth will not necessarily appeal to the real philosophy scholars that the government wants to find.

The teachings of Confucius also indicate that good Confucianism scholars do not stay in one place for a long time, but go around the country to serve more people.

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