Thursday 20 October 2022

Confucianism and the Three Timeless Truths Part II

From The Philosopher, Volume CX No. 2 Autumn 2022
Confucius, Buddha and Laozi
A Ming period scroll depicting Confucius handing over an infant Gautama Buddha to an elderly Laozi

Confucianism and the Three Timeless Truths

A Study of the Chinese Concept of Order 

By Abhilash Nath and Abhilash Babu


In medieval England, particularly in rural areas, punctuality was almost unknown. Timekeeping such as there had to be done using sundials! The idea of a linear progression of time, that is, minutes into hours, hours into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years, according to a calendar, was not formal yet. The rhythm of the years was built mainly around a sense of twelve months and four seasons organised around practical knowledge and some formal church calendars and rituals. Hence “the perception of past and future would be blurred. History would be almost unknown, especially further back in time.” And the imagination of the future was determined by a fixed form of the past, materialised in language, customs and traditions. For peasants, the daily rounds were task-oriented and, to this extent, flexible.  

Nevertheless, a rigorous regime of timekeeping was followed in many churches, monasteries and towns. With industrialisation, timekeeping became a necessity. Activities such as organising work, collecting rent, and so on., induced a new sense of time in the populace, particularly in the urban population. Eventually, money would become the defining interest of the time. And managing time would then become one of the preoccupations of money. Here, time, an outcome of a material process, starts to reflect upon its material value, transforming time itself to become a value – money.  

Medieval Europe, from the end of the 17th century, witnessed a reorganisation of power, an outcome of what Foucault would call an épistémè rupture; this would transform power from a means of collecting resources for the sovereign through appropriation and taxation to a means of taking from the subjects their time and labour in the interest of production. The temporal organisation of modern bureaucracy is also an outcome of the Judaeo – Christian concept of time. Modern organisations that are consistent, systematic and rational in the sense of the word employed by Max Weber are always oriented temporally towards the future. They estimate the time required to finish current projects, anticipate timetables for future projects and work according to fixed schedules. The rigidity of the modern bureaucracy is a consequence of this orientation towards the future.  

Time is also at the heart of the Confucianist principle of structure, or li. However, the ancient Chinese were not, in fact, interested in our passive reflection of time but in how time is created as a phenomenon. Their interest extended from the metaphysical understanding of its origins to how time grows out of communal life as a category of understanding created through shared customs and rituals, values, worldviews and the temporal organisation of social and private life. This is true after the revival of Confucian philosophy and political culture associated with neo-Confucianism, which began in the middle of the 9th century and reached its peak in the 11th century in the Northern Song Dynasty. Following neo-Confucianism insight, time grows from within itself by differentiating the undifferentiated element, chi.  

A lecturer to the emperor on Confucian classics, and cofounder, with his brother Cheng Hao, of the neo-Confucian school of principle (li), which dominated Chinese thought for many centuries, Cheng Yi (1033–1107) expressed these dynamic patterns in time as the principle of structure, or li, describing them as “the pattern which runs through all things and joins man to the universe”, to defend the goodness of human nature. Cheng explained Heaven and Earth as aspects of li, restating the problem of human nature in terms of the reoccurring patterns that connect everything under heaven. These patterns become real sensations and expressions in people, who are, by nature, good because they are connected to, and follow these patterns in time.  

In such a worldview, modes of perception, interpretation and recognition of reality arise within endlessly unfolding dynamic patterns. Objects do not appear in isolation but rather, interactions develop significance. Thus, dynamic patterns lead to the concept of a universe behaving like an organism, with the parts reflecting the structure of the whole. Other neo-Confucianists of the 11th century, like Chu Hsi, even took principles as logically and ontologically prior to the primordial energy or ch’i that creates the universe (though they are inseparable). As the Slovenian sinologist, Jana S. Rošker, puts it in Traditional Chinese Philosophy and the Paradigm of Structure:  
“Structure is essential, and its influence appears in the principles of everything that exists in nature. Natural events are not the result of some divine will or higher power but the spontaneous manifestations of the “adjustment” of all that exist to the fundamental constitution of the natural or heavenly structure.” 
As an elaborate pattern or structure, li may hierarchically organise itself alone, a series of relationships between one entity and several others, or unfold in a network of horizontal connections between sets of diverse entities. For Wing-tsit Chan, the Chinese scholar and professor best known for his studies of Chinese philosophy and his translations of Chinese philosophical texts, li, described as ritual, natural law, or the feeling of respect and reverence, exists in the middle of ch’i. In its broader sense, li, as the principle of contact and the sense of what is proper, is none other than ch’i in its constant movement. 

So, the ancient Chinese had faith in ordered change. However, the order was not imposed from without but was intrinsic to change—included in the concept of ch’i. This prioritisation of “change” over solidity, firmness and stability shows that the Chinese never sought permanence. Instead, their metaphysical assumptions emphasise and value the liveliness, flexibility, and nimbleness of modern adventure sports like big wave surfing or air gliding while dealing with the demands of the world. Recent Chinese advances in the realms of economy, finance, science, and technology draw on such metaphysical insights.  

Prominent writers of the Sung period argued that the re-establishment of an integrated human order, the one that had once prevailed in antiquity, was the real task of the new intelligence. Ou-yang Hsiu, an advocate of reform of the bureaucratic system during 1043-1044, for instance, argued:  
“In antiquity, ‘ritual’ was made into the single basis for all aspects of life. The ritual forms of daily life were also the forms through which the affairs of government were conducted and a moral socio-political order maintained. Social life and work were defined by ritual, and ethics were inculcated through the forms of life and work.” 
This relativistic worldview transformed society from above and unified the values and customs below. The reforms of the Sung bureaucracy, an outcome of its economic and political success, introduced the examination system, an effective mechanism for drawing local elites to the state. The new examination system gained credibility as it was based on merit and presented a vision of learning. The elite class was expected to be skilful in composing poetry according to exacting formal criteria and writing prose essays. The consolidation of such a cultural order also promoted a new vision of ethics, in which one would no longer be judged by blood but by virtue.

Confucianism is a political philosophy: its metaphysical assumptions point towards practical reforms. Morality is embedded in the order of the universe so that a good government would promote social harmony and general well-being. Yet, for Confucius, some things are outcomes of what he calls “destiny.” He defined destiny as if it had a heavenly design beyond human understanding. Thus, the human condition is a product of a play of unconscious and conscious forces. These metaphysical assumptions would set Confucianism as a force seeking reforms rather than radical change. As a political ideology, it reinforces a hierarchical order.  

Along with ‘culture’, the concept of ‘self’ has played a key role in shaping the philosophical debates in modern China. Various attempts have been made either to liberate the “self” or to propose its absorption into a collective consciousness; comparative studies have been undertaken to differentiate the ‘moral’ and ‘aesthetic’ self, seen as a choice between the ideas of Confucius and Zhang. But the newfound fervour for the idea of ‘self’ itself is primarily a response to China’s encounter with Western culture, philosophy, literature, and social sciences. 

The concept of ‘self’ attains significance in classical Chinese as part of the problem of self-transformation, while the central preoccupation of Chinese civilisation is ethics. Hence the Confucian school is not an exception. In the Chinese tradition, the question of “what is man?” is not linked to any mystic revelations. Instead, it is explained from a humanist standpoint.  

In the Confucian tradition, man is essentially man-in-society – a social animal. We are already in relations, so we exist in a network of duties and obligations. Goodness is in this world and of this world. Studying the lives of emperors like Yao and Shun, the Duke of Chou, and the past sages is enough to know what goodness is. 

Confucius hardly ever addressed human nature directly. In The Analects, a businessman and philosopher, Zigong said: “One can get to learn about the Master’s accomplishments in literature and the cultural tradition but not his views on human nature and the way of Heaven.” The Analects mention the only time Confucius spoke about human nature: The Master said, “People are similar by nature; they become distinct through practice”. Some would see this statement as a forerunner to Mencius’s much-pronounced posture that “human nature is good.”  

Confucius is also of the position that the environment determines nature. Our actions, feedback, and revisions determine who we are. Likewise, he often denied that he possessed a rare stock of knowledge. And would not even admit that any such abilities are innate. Instead, he would regard anything exceptional in him as the product of his love for ‘learning’, that is to say, self-improvement. Indeed, Confucius saw himself as a transmitter of ancient wisdom, not a genuine creator. 

However, his followers never felt the need to restrain themselves from directly addressing human nature. The leading one was Mencius (372–289 BC), who pursued ‘the continuation of the moral order, the preservation of the classics, the vitality of the tradition of sages, the well-established rituals and good common sense of the people, the respect for teachers, and the stability of the political order. Mencius wanted to direct the attention towards the internal resources for spiritual growth. We have enough internal resources to become a sage, a buddha, or a good person. But it demands ceaseless effort and self-cultivation.  

For Mencius, human nature is essentially good. His position is settled around a deeper insight: human beings are intrinsically evaluative animals – that is, “we are not just creatures who desire food and sex. We desire to feel worth, to be esteemed, to lead lives with moral values”. Mencius considered this a significant part of human nature and maintained that we must attend, through steady concentration, to what we desire to do. We must nurture moral values. Great people would follow this aspect of human nature, our desire for acceptance and respect, and transform themselves, sprouting a moral heart through work. Mencius insisted on self-transformation through hard work.  

The third of the three great classical Confucians, after Confucius and Mencius, is Xunzi, active in the third century BCE. For much of imperial Chinese history, however, he was a bête noire – a Confucian who had been led astray after rejecting key elements of Mencius’s philosophy. Only in the last few decades has Xunzi been gradually rehabilitated. 

Xunzi offers a different picture of human nature in which self-cultivation begins when one self-consciously overrides one’s desires. That is, one must not do what one desires to do but rather what one approves of doing. For Xunzi, all desires are thoughts out of control. If put in Freudian language, they result from a mistaken super-ego. For that reason, individuals are supposed to overcome their ego and wholly identify with the persona, the culturally given identity, or the mask. It enables individuals to connect with themselves and channel their energies to connect with others.  

In this way of understanding, human nature is such that we are, by birth, oriented towards making a profit. We are born evil. If men were allowed to follow their desires and indulge in their emotions, they would violate all forms and rules of society. A rigorous hierarchical order in Xunzi callously separates emotions from conscious activities. For Xunzi, each of us must be initiated by the instructions of a teacher and guided by ritual principles to become good.  

Ancient sages create rituals. However, the sages did not possess rituals by birth. They are really not different from any ordinary men. Instead, rituals are a product of their conscious activities. Since rituals are not part of human nature, even those revered sages had to transform their nature into conscious activities. The creation of rituals demands the cultivation of reflective observation and listening. The sages produced ritual principles and set forth laws and regulations by gathering their thoughts and ideas together and experimenting with various conscious activities. In Xunzi: Basic Writings, we read: 
“A potter may mould clay and produce an earthen pot, but surely moulding pots out of clay is not a part of the potter’s human nature. A carpenter may carve wood and produce a utensil, but surely carving utensils out of wood is not a part of the carpenter’s human nature. The sage stands in the same relation to ritual principles as the potter to the things he moulds and produces.” 
Neither Mencius nor Xunzi denies the human capacity for self-transformation. However, Mencius suggests that the environment determines moral cultivation:  
“In good years, the young men are mostly lazy, while in bad years, they are mostly violent. Heaven has not sent down men whose endowment differs so greatly. The difference is due to what ensnares their hearts.”  
A dialogue between Mencius and a contemporary named, Gaozi offers further insight. Gaozi argues that human nature is morally neutral and that it is the influence of the environment that finally determines whether someone’s nature is good or bad. 

For this reason, Confucian scholars universally agreed upon the role of ‘ritual’ in cultivating the self. Every human act is perceived as a repetition of a time-honoured ritual. There is, therefore, a proper way of doing everything. And the essence of every act and human growth, in general, is realised in the proper conduct of ritual. Thus, one realises the meaning and purpose of life through participation in a social process organised around ritualised relationships.  

Confucian ethics grows out of a series of constitutive concentric circles: self, family, community, society, nation, world, and cosmos. It replaces the calm and dispassionate adventure of reason in Western modernity with “compassion” and “shared concern.” In such a worldview, the whole is always larger than the totality of its parts; collective interest always outshines self-interest. Nevertheless, the question of right and wrong is addressed by choosing those in our circle, considering those closer to us, not in space but along other axes. For this reason, Confucian morality is precisely the opposite of what Plato suggested in Euthyphro. The system demands an atonement of self-interest to fit into the collective articulation of interest as a community. Order is built out of a sense of duty and responsibility. And the system functions around values like empathy and compassion, where the individual earns rights as reverence. 

Ever since the nineteenth-century French sociologist, Marcel Mauss, redefined the scope of anthropology, many thinkers have often insisted that the self, or the sense of ‘I’, is a post-Cartesian, Western cultural construct. Modern conceptions of ‘the person’ and ‘identity’, juxtaposed against the perceived world, are seen as being shaped, in numerous unconscious ways, by the tenacious rationality of this imposing signifier – ‘the self’. Making ‘self’ into a noun, preceded by a definite or an indefinite article, speaking of ‘the’ self or ‘a’ self has become a sign of the modern sense of agency. By contrast, Confucian teaching undermines the significance of such agency and instead focuses on the connections, interconnections, networks, patterns, and relationships that create a society. 

Since Confucius, it has been accepted by Confucian scholars that men and women require initiation: learning, reflecting, and realising. The initiation removes ego from them, and through learning the Chinese classics and history, they embody the traits of the ideal King, teacher, father, mother, brother, friend and so on. Hence, to embody the traits of an ideal ruler, one is expected to study Chinese history and the classics. The superior man is made, not born. However, learning is not exactly a one-way process, a mere appropriation of past values. Rather, it is determined by the specific historical conditions that shaped the present.  

Confucianism unifies life around rituals that are flexible, dynamic procedures. Proper rituals are relationship-oriented and situation-dependent expressions of care, kindness, compassion, appreciation, and social harmony. The neo-Confucianists resolved the problem of human nature by elevating li – ritual – as the dynamic pattern that connects heaven and earth to the realm of humanity. Rituals are concrete means for an ultimate end: emancipation through communal participation.  

In such a system, the problem of the immortality of a person is addressed in two ways. The Taoist teachings guide us to identify with the source of creativity, the essence of change. We attain a form of immortality by attuning ourselves to the vitality and rhythm of nature. The Confucian way of achieving immortality, however, is through communal participation.  

The Confucian gentleman is a well-balanced character who follows reciprocity as a working principle. This principle introduces checks and balances in daily contacts – that “what you do not want done to yourself, should not be done to others.” The principle assumes that everyone has a similar propensity. And therefore, an honourable person can use them to gauge other people’s likes and dislikes. They can use li or ritual as a regulative principle to govern their behaviour towards others. Thus, the Confucian form of government replaced the old system of ‘nobility of blood‘ with ‘nobility of virtue’.  

The Confucian social order revolves around five cardinal bonds in particular. The relations between: 
  1. The ruler and ruled,  
  2. The father and son,  
  3. The husband and wife,  
  4. The elder and younger brothers,  
  5. And between friends.  
The individual is always conceived in relationships. Relationships endlessly transform him from within, and he reflectively knows his position in society through his social relationships. The ruler derives power and authority from the mandate of heaven; the magnificence and righteousness of this power attract and secure the people’s loyalty, and the ritualised contacts affirm the relative positions of actors. Nevertheless, power is hierarchically organised in all these relationships that constitute an order. At the level of each of these bonds, one of the actors is superior to the other. In addition, besides the five hierarchically indexed bonds mentioned, the Confucian order maintains a marked distinction between a scholar and a layman. To a large extent, the Confucian political order depended on an educated aristocracy. These relationships are organised around a sense of duties and not rights. 

Likewise, the persona, or a social mask, is heavily clothed in cultural values, rites, and rituals, often resulting from folk ideas. It is the product of a compromise between the individual and society at the expense of inner vitality. If the spiritual order (Taoism) rests on nurturing proper attention to the id, the moral order (Confucianism) relies on cultivating the super-ego. In his book investigating the origins of society and religion, called The Future of an Illusion, Freud demonstrated the importance of the super-ego in sustaining civilisations. According to him, cultivating the super-ego in individuals, which is the ethical component of our personality that provides the moral standards by which the ego operates, would reduce the need for repressive forces of the state.  

Similarly, rituals and rites in Confucianism prescribe to the general public what is moral. The rituals and rites enable them to conform to the demands of society, thereby reducing the need for repressive state power. The choice left for most rural, uneducated people of imperial China was to fully identify with their social role, whether to be a righteous husband or a kind brother. For most, life was a pure event with little choice. Confucian universalism presupposes a moral and quasi-religious design secured in a unitary, all-encompassing order. Consequently, moral doctrine and learning merge with political order. Its traditional purpose was to integrate different ethnic groups and populations using shared culture and rituals.  

In Confucianism, duties bind everyone. The recognition of duties and responsibilities indeed runs the entire system. The system requires the harmonious functioning of the five cardinal bonds. The ruler, father, wife, son, brothers, and friends are bound to do their duties according to their relative positions within the system.  

A Japanese folktale, “The Dream of Akinosuke,” offers insight into the Confucian view of order. Initially from Japan’s Edo period (1603 – 1867), shaped by imported Confucian values, it tells of Miyata Akinosuke, a gōshi, a freeholder farmer who dreams a dream under an old cedar tree in his garden while drinking wine with few of his friends. The folktale uses metaphors to remind us of the Confucian views of an ordered society – the ant colony, butterfly and the old cedar tree. Consider the metaphor of the ant colony. Human society is similar in being hierarchically structured with prearranged roles and codes of contact for each member.  

The ant colony metaphor serves to guide us to find our place in the larger order of things. At the same time, it uses the metaphor of the butterfly to remind us to take things lightly in our lives. The butterfly reminds us of the values of change, without which we cannot dance. While the image of a man resting in the shade of an old cedar tree with roots deep in the soil is life nourished by a civilisation with roots deep in the past, the wisdom of the metaphors of ant colony and butterfly is intended to settle all resentment and cultivate a sense of selfhood and subjectivity that would enable one to grow with the society.  

Under Mao, the Chinese Communist Party, during the early stages of its fight against Western Imperialism and Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government, utilised these available cultural capitals to attract the masses to their fold and empower them to feel the spirit of the communist dream. The Chinese cultural identities had effectively carried revolutionary ideas, generating new imaginations for the impending success. The American scholar of Chinese politics and history at Harvard University, Elizabeth Perry, for instance, has traced the culture of the Chinese revolution back to the days of the Chinese communist party’s campaigns at the Anyuan coal mine, Jiangxi province where the party learned its formative lessons. The methods and appeals used in Anyuan were later deployed nationwide to convert cultural capital into valuable revolutionary currency.  

At Anyuan, to forge new revolutionary inroads, Mao and his fellow ‘red literati’, people like Li Lisan, effectively used the pedagogical authority long associated with the Confucian elite of imperial China. In its early stage, the party effectively deployed the parallel pull of wen (literary attainment) and wu (martial prowess) to target sections of the Chinese public. Gatherings and parades were accompanied by traditional lion dance and martial art displays. Today, the communist party under Xi Jinping is trying to revive this revolutionary tradition of blending values.  

Public opinion in contemporary China is created through diverse institutions such as the party-state, mass media, internet, communication, surveillance technologies and AI, architecture, academia, cultural institutions, market and the capital. These are dynamic institutions with diverse experiences, commercial interests, loyalties, experts and skills, commentators, whistleblowers and critiques. And always, in this network of institutions and relationships, the Chinese Communist party is omnipresent. The Australian journalist and author Richard Mcgregor writes: “Throughout the system, the Party has positioned itself like a political panopticon, allowing it to keep an eye on any state or non-state agency while shielding itself from view at the same time”. These institutions, with specific logic and practices, function together as an organic unity, producing accepted patterns under the watchful eye of the CCP. Understanding their functioning is crucial in understanding the debate in China today over: “What does it mean to be Chinese?”  

Today, the Chinese media comprises many things, including emoticons, museum displays, traditional magazine displays, newspapers and journals, and television programmes of many different genres. China has the most significant internet users and is the world’s largest e-commerce market, with nearly a billion users. With over 1.3 billion smartphones, China bests every other country. More than 60% of those use smartphones to watch TV online. This vast market suggests that the Chinese should be at the forefront in areas, like cyber enterprises and Artificial Intelligence. Owing to government support, the Chinese have also developed significantly large tech-enterprise while innovating and offering services both in the domestic and global markets. Millions of Chinese people debate, complain and gossip on social media. This platform, therefore, gains considerable attention from authorities, who regularly listen carefully and adapt their policies accordingly. This bottom-up flow of ideas and values happens within a long tradition of whistleblowers. 

In a lecture titled ‘Seeing China Through Its Media’, Hugo De Burgh, the Director of the China Media Centre at the University of Westminster in London, has identified several interesting phenomena on social and screen media. Firstly, of how the Covid-19 pandemic produced a vast number of programmes in Chinese screen media. The celebrations of solidarity and community in the face of terrible threats were often the message presented in all these programmes. An official documentary of CCTV, ‘Fighting Covid-19’, showed the heroic and self-sacrificing work of every arm of the public service. The party-state’s claimed success in containing the disease reinvigorated the debate on the efficiency of the Chinese system. These debates, both on social and screen media, frequently turn into comparative claims citing constant criticisms of the Chinese system in Western media. Thus, the early success in containing Covid-19 evoked a new round of debate on one of the age-old concerns of the Chinese mind – “our system.”  

Such broad social themes frequently recur in reality shows and screen dramas. Notwithstanding the rise in the divorce rate, marriage and family are still taken seriously in Chinese society. The screen dramas often portray the family as the Chinese economic renaissance made flesh. Under harsh economic conditions, the family demands on each other increase, yet the bonds remain intact. In the popular TV series called National Treasure, nine national museums present three treasures each over ten episodes. Finally, nine winners are selected from twenty-seven treasures by public vote. The programme became a huge success, with 800 million requests on public television and video portal sites and over 1.7 billion online comments. The nine museums registered a 50% increase in visitors. What does this suggest? Perhaps that being Chinese today means pride in national culture, an aspiration to be educated and the consciousness of belonging to an influential country.  

In conclusion…

The ascendence of China onto the world stage has set Confucianism squarely against the liberal ideologies of the West. While liberalism stands for the autonomy of the individual and considers rational agents as an end and not a means, Confucianism considers the clan as the basic unit of society. And so, as a political philosophy, Confucianism emphasises responsibility. It deploys a top-down political strategy for development, whereas liberal economics orients itself towards a bottom-up approach. Likewise, liberalism follows a linear view of time, whereas the classical Chinese view of time is complex, even web-like and transformative. 

According to Confucianism, the present is always intricately connected to the past. Hence people are encouraged to learn from Chinese classical literature, history and the unique Chinese experience. However, Western liberalism opposes modernity with tradition, meaning that the liberal ethos is primarily oriented towards the future. In his essay, Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Aim, Immanuel Kant even argued that history, seen as the dialectical unfolding of human reason, is inevitable. The reason is that human beings cannot harness the full potential of reason in but a single generation.


About the authors

Abhilash Nath completed a PhD in philosophy at the JNU, New Delhi, and is at present teaching at the School of Gandhian Thought and Development Studies, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala. His area of interest includes Indian Philosophy, Chinese Philosophy, and Continental Philosophy, particularly the metaphysics of the nature of time and causation. His current research interest is, if things go well, to undertake a systematic study on the materialistic understanding of time.

Abhilash Babu has completed his PhD from The Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. He has more than 12 years of teaching and research experience and presently teaches at the School of Social Sciences, Mahatma Gandhi University Kerala. His areas of interest include Water Governance, Decentralisation, Risk communication and Political Ecology. Currently, he is working on the political ecology of floods in Kerala.

Address for correspondence

Dr Abhilash G Nath,
Assistant Professor,
School of Gandhian Thought and Development Studies,
Mahatma Gandhi University,
Kottayam 686560

Dr Abhilash Babu
Associate Professor & Director
School of Social Sciences,
Mahatma Gandhi University,
Kottayam  686560

Notes on Sources and Suggestions for Further Reading 

The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of the following texts in preparing this article, which following the longstanding conventions of The Philosopher, does not include direct sourcing of references and quotations. 

Baynes, C. F. (1967), The I Ching or Book of Changes, Princeton: Princeton University Press 
Bodde, Derk (Dec. 1942) “Dominant Ideas in the Formation of Chinese Culture” Journal of American Oriental Society Vol. 62, No. 4  
Bol, Peter K. (2008), Neo-Confucianism in History, Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center 
Chan, Wing-Tsit (1969), A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press  
Cheng, Chung-Ying (1974), “Greek and Chinese Views on Time and the Timeless,” Philosophy East and West, Vol. 24, No. 2 
Confucius (2014), The Analects, New York: Penguin Classic 
Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari (2010), Félix Nomadology: The War Machine, Seattle, WA: Wormwood Distribution 
Feger, Hans (2019), “Universalism vs “All Under Heaven” (Tianxia / 天下) – Kant in China,” Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy, 4 
Hassard, John (1990), The Sociology of Time, New York: Palgrave Macmillan  
Hillier, Jean and Cao, Kong (2013) “Deleuzian Dragons: Thinking Chinese Strategic Spatial Planning with Gilles Deleuze,” Deleuze Studies, Vol. 7, No. 3.  
Lau, D. C, trans., (1979), The Analects: Sayings of Confucius, London: Penguin Books 
Nath, Abhilash G (2018), “The Delirium of Appearance,” Indian Journal of Politics and International Relations, Vol. 11 No. 1 & 2  
Needham, Joseph (1977), “Time and History in China and the West,” Leonardo, Pergamon Press, Vol. 10 
Nordan, Bryan W. Van (1992) “Mencius and Xunzi: Two Views of Human Agency,” International Philosophical Quarterly 32 (2):161-184.  
Pankenier, David W (2004), “Temporality and the Fabric of Space-Time in Early Chinese Thought,” in Ralph M. Rosen (ed.) Time and Temporality in the Ancient World, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology  
Rošker, Jana S. (2012), Traditional Chinese Philosophy and the Paradigm of Structure, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing  
Smith, Kidder, Bol, Peter K., Adler, Joseph A., and Wyatt, Don J. (1990), Sung Dynasty Uses of the I Ching, New Jersey: Princeton University Press  
Tillich, Paul (1957), The Protestant Era, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press  
Tongqi, Lin, Rosemont Jr, Henry and Ames, Roger (1995), “Chinese Philosophy: A Philosophical Essay on the “State-of-the-Art,” The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 54, No. 3 
Wang, Ban (2017), Chinese Visions of World Order: Tianxia, Culture, and World Politics, Durham: Duke University Press  

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