End of a dream

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子曰:「甚矣吾衰也!久矣吾不復夢見周公!」
Confucius said: “I am becoming terribly weak. It has been a long time since I last saw the Duke of Zhou in a dream.”

Although he didn’t directly acknowledge it, it is clear that Confucius long held out the hope that he would be able to emulate the legendary Duke of Zhou and return the country to its former glory by restoring the institutions and cultural rites that were established by his role model in the twelfth century BC.

When he finally realized that he would never have the chance to achieve his dream, Confucius directed all his efforts towards study and teaching and – thanks to the diligence of his disciples who collected his sayings in the Analects – he succeeded in leaving a much greater legacy than would probably have been possible if he had achieved success in the political world.

Unfortunately for him, of course, he wasn’t around to enjoy it…..

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