Back when we were university students aspiring to have a worldly sense of humor, a friend and I decided to randomly start sentences with, ‘Well, Mao Zedong said….’ We would insert some outlandish and completely made-up phrase here – the likes of: ‘…A rock is only a stone if it believes it can move a mountain.’
‘I don’t know which outfit to wear tonight!’
‘Well, you know what Mao Zedong once said… “A turtle without its shell is a salamander happy.”’
The point is that we were mistaken. Our inspiration should have actually been a far more ancient Chinese figure, the philosopher Confucius. And our sentences should have been starting with, ‘Well, Confucius said…’ It was Confucius who has gone down in history leaving behind such profound remarks as, ‘Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves,’ versus Mao, who is better known for such practical statements as, ‘We shall heal our wounds, collect our dead and continue fighting.’
I was reminded of these past silly antics after seeing Confucius making headlines this week in the news…with his family tree. In 2006, females were made eligible to claim Confucian ancestry. Now, on the 2,560th anniversary of his birth, an astounding 2 million have been recognized and documented as descendents of the famous thinker.