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C O U R S E 
Chinese Thought: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science
Edward Slingerland, University of British Columbia
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Non-Coercive Comportment, Virtue, and Charisma of the Zhou
Notes taken on January 2, 2016 by Edward Tanguay
non-coercive order
important theme in the Analects
the Confucian rule through the power of his de, or charismatic power, can bring about order in a non-coercive way
connected to theme: anti-militarism
one of the important arts that the Confucian gentleman is trained in
not valued for its military effectiveness
not military training
Analects 3.16
"In archery, one does not emphasize piercing the hide of the target, because people's strengths differ."
archery is about comportment, aim, learning the ritual, explicitly non-military
if you were learning archery to use in war, you would be strengthening your arm
this use of archery is part of a broader suspicion of the use of force, and a denigration of military force that we see throughout the Analects
Analects 15.1
Confucius comes to visit the Duke Ling of Wei
he asks Confucius about military formations (chen)
Confucius says, "I know something about the arrangement (chen) of ceremonial stands and dishes for ritual offerings but I have never learned about the arrangement of battalions and divisions.
the way you are going to get political order is through ritual order, or becoming ritually correct
the Zhou dynasty ruled through virtue rather through force
true order is achieved by power of Virtue, emanated by a person in the wu-wei state
Book of Documents
on Zhou history
the famous battle of mu-yeah
when King Wu showed up on the battle field of the evil king of the Shang
the opposing army saw how virtuous and splendid he was
and they just threw down their weapons and surrendered
he didn't even have to fight, it was the power of his de which caused them to submit to him
you see this farther back in history with the sage king Shun
Analects 15.5
"Is Shun not an example of someone who ruled by means of wu-wei? What did he do? He made himself reverent and took his proper ritual position facing South, that is all."
the goal is to get your de in order, acquire it and hang on to it, you don't need to exert force to rule
Analects 2.1
"One who rules through the power of Virtue is analogous to the Pole Star: it simply remains in its place and receives the homage of the myriad lesser stars."
all people fall into place in the gravitational pull of his duh, or virtue, and take their proper ritual positions around him, and that's how order comes to the world
the strategy of salvation
Confucian's soteriology is tied up with the political soteriology
we are a fallen people living in a fallen state
it's chaotic, nothing is being done right
the strategy is:
become an wu-wei gentleman
transform a ruler into an wu-wei ruler
this is an odd element of Confucianism, since Confucius doesn't seem to think that he, himself, can become this ruler
he's somewhat conservative in that he feels that someone from the Zhou royal house will have to become this ruler
when you become this gentleman, you will then use your de to transform this ruler into a proper ruler
then he is going to be this pole star at the center of this concentric circle radiating order that is going to go out through the universe
so you're going to transform yourself and through transforming yourself, you're going to transform the world so that once again its in harmony with the order of tian, i.e. heaven or heaven's will
minor tweaks, major payoffs
while all this sounds very mystical, there is a kernel here that we can bring into the contemporary world
from the standpoint of social psychology, we are becoming increasing aware of the power of the situation
the physical environment
also the social situation
so the power that small changes in the tone of voice, posture, the way you great someone, can have a powerful effect on others which can cascade out socially through different iterations
Hagop Sarkissian
you can see the power of de as harnessing these types of social effects
ethical bootstrapping
me taking it upon myself to be more virtuous than you makes it easier for you to be more virtuous in return, and this can radiate out
ethical bootstrapping enables a resonance you can set up based on small details of your comportment
paying attention to details can be very important
modern example: pharmeceutical representatives
1991: pharmeceutical representatives would give gifts to doctors
they made a law that gifts could not be above $100
so representatives were reduced to giving doctors a little pen with the brand's name on it, etc.
it turned out that many of these little gifts were more effective than a few large, expensive gifts
minor gestures over time can have a powerful effect on people's behavior
modern example: emotional contagion
it's quite clear that emotions are contagious
joy and respectfulness and spread through populations
this can be shown with yawning as well
emotions engage our empathy
in a way that it causes us to reproduce behavior
good or bad moods can spread
studies have been done on how moods can get propagated through social networks
Friedman and Riggio 1981
modern example: prestige vs. dominance in social hierarchies
two ways which humans establish control over others
1. dominance
being bigger, stronger, or more powerful than others
either make others do what you want, or have others make you do it
2. prestige
Cheng et al. 2013
people who share the values that you share
people who sincerely commit to the values that you have
causes emulation
a valid social pathway for people being successful within large groups
this is Confucius' idea of wu-wei and de
Adam Grant
"In the Company of Givers and Takers"
giving vs. taking
people in the workplace who are givers
will put down their own project
in a group project won't try to grab all the credit
will give credit around to other people
these people actually end up doing better than takers
the reason is because
people admire givers
they feel a drawn to givers
the irony to watch out for, and an irony which Confucius was conscience of with his concepts of wu-wei and de, is that takers are tempted to act as givers in order to get the payoff that givers often get
if we can believe Confucius, giving only works in the long run if it's sincere
this gets to the heart of the paradox of someone who doesn't love the Confucian way in a genuine sense to really come to love it