All posts by Richard Brown

Analects of Confucius Book 6: why is it that nobody follows the way?

why is it that nobody follows the way?

Having put his followers under the microscope in the first half of Book 6 of the Analects, Confucius laments in 6.17, “Who would leave a house except through the doorway? Why is it that nobody follows the way?”

Confucius, in other words, finds it impossible to understand why his followers are either unable or unwilling to fully embrace the “way” (道/dào) that he has charted for them and worked so hard to lead them along. He is mystified and no doubt frustrated that they find it so difficult to follow what he sees as the natural and obvious path for anyone who aspires to be a leader (君子/jūnzǐ). Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 6: why is it that nobody follows the way?

Notes from the field: gentrified Cyberpunk in Agency?

gentrified cyberpunk

As a huge fan of William Gibson I feel a little guilty in confessing that I’m having a hard time working my way through his latest novel, Agency. Although the writing is of the usual high quality, it lacks the sharp edge and raw energy of the prose in his earlier works. Perhaps I’m being a little harsh here, but I can’t help feeling as if it’s a gentrified Cyberpunk. Sure, in places the book is clever and witty, but it tastes more like a cup of caffeine-free latte than a mug of freshly-roasted coffee.

Or, to borrow from 6.18 of the Analects of Confucius, it has a little too much cultural refinement (文/wén) and not enough native substance (質/zhì). For all his love of ritual and propriety, even the great sage himself believed that it was better to err on the side of the latter rather than the former lest you become too fake and foppish. Continue reading Notes from the field: gentrified Cyberpunk in Agency?

Analects of Confucius Book 6: awkward encounters

awkward encounters

Confucius has more than his fair share of awkward encounters with his followers in Book 6 of the Analects. The most notable one is with Zilu of all people. In 6.28, he is extremely unhappy when he learns about the sage’s visit to Nanzi, the allegedly depraved and scheming consort of Duke Ling of Wei. Although Confucius protests that nothing untoward happened during the audience, Zilu is rightly incensed that at the very least his master has sullied his reputation by meeting with her.

The young follower Zai Yu, of rotten wood and dung wall fame, attempts to put Confucius on the spot in 6.26 when he asks if a good person should jump into a well if he hears that someone is lying at the bottom of it. Confucius manages to bat the question away with relative ease by explaining that while it’s possible that a leader can be enticed down the wrong path, he wouldn’t be gullible enough to fall into a trap. So much for Zai Yu’s cunning plan to bamboozle the sage with a trick question. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 6: awkward encounters

Notes from the field: views of Leopard Mountain

Leopard Mountain

A couple of views of Leopard Mountain from my morning hike in the Four Beasts Scenic Area. I took them from the YongChunPi Wetland Park (永春陂生態濕地公園), a former military camp that is being converted into an ecological zone. Very impressive work by the Taipei City Government.

It’s quite amazing how much progress has been made in improving the quality of life in the city over the past twenty-five years. The construction of the subway has of course played an important part in this process, but so too has the imaginative urban planning that has complemented it. Holistic is a horribly overused adjective to describe this kind of approach, but in the case of Taipei I think it’s appropriate. Officials of other cities looking to improve mobility and livability in dense urban environments can learn a lot from the work that has been done here. Continue reading Notes from the field: views of Leopard Mountain

Analects of Confucius Book 6: a rocky relationship with Ran Qiu

rocky relationship with Ran Qiu

In stark contrast with the totally devoted Yan Hui, Ran Qiu isn’t that bothered about following the teachings of Confucius and adhering to the sage’s strict moral principles. In 6.12 he unrepentantly tells him: “It’s not that I don’t enjoy the way of the Master, but I don’t have the strength to follow it.”

Although Confucius attempts to encourage Ran Qiu to stay on track, his response that he can give up half-way if he doesn’t have enough strength to go on suggests that the sage understands that he is pursuing a lost cause. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 6: a rocky relationship with Ran Qiu

Analects of Confucius Book 6: Confucius and Ran Yong

Confucius and Ran Yong

Confucius has a high regard for Ran Yong, otherwise known as Zhonggong, judging by his opening comment in Book 6. By declaring that “Ran Yong could take a seat facing south”, he is saying that he is fit to be a feudal lord, who traditionally sat in that position while presiding over the his court and ritual ceremonies.

The sage expresses his admiration for Ran Yong using a much more colorful metaphor in 6.7 while imploring people not be prejudiced against his lowly origins and focus on his abilities. “Some might hesitate to choose the offspring of a plow ox for a sacrifice,” he says, “but if a bullock has fine horns and sports a ruddy coat would the spirits of the hills and rivers reject it?” Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 6: Confucius and Ran Yong

Notes from the field: key trends in the vehicle safety market

vehicle safety market

What are the key trends that are driving the development of the vehicle safety market? This is a question we’ve thought a lot about over the past few months as we’ve finalized our plans and roadmaps for 2020 and beyond.

Technology is by far the most important one. Thanks to the massive proliferation of camera sensors in vehicles, we are seeing millions upon millions of new eyes appear on the road that are making it possible to capture ever greater volumes of video data about general road and weather conditions and specific events such as collisions and congestion. Just as significantly, rapid advances in AI are starting to make it possible to sift through the mountains of data collected by these cameras to both prevent possible collisions from happening by issuing alerts to drivers and to find evidence of the causes of accidents that have occurred. Continue reading Notes from the field: key trends in the vehicle safety market

Analects of Confucius Book 6: Confucius laments the loss of Yan Hui

loss of Yan Hui

In Book 6 of the Analects, Confucius expresses his devastation at the loss of Yan Hui, his protégé and favorite, on three occasions. When Duke Ai, the nominal ruler of the state of Lu, asks him in 6.3 which of his followers love learning, he laments: “There was Yan Hui who loved learning; he never vented his anger; he never made the same mistake again. Sadly, his life was cut short and he died. I have not heard of anyone else with such a love of learning.”

It’s important to note that rather than talk about the intellectual knowledge that Yan Hui has accumulated as a result of his love of learning, Confucius focuses on demonstrating how he exhibits this knowledge though his conduct, including keeping his temper under control and never repeating previous mistakes. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 6: Confucius laments the loss of Yan Hui

Notes from the field: VIA Events Calendar for 2020

VIA 2020 Events

Writing my preview of Embedded World  yesterday reminded me that we have quite an intensive VIA  events calendar for 2020. Not to mention a heavy travel schedule for yours truly as straight after the show in Nuremberg I head to Indianapolis for the Work Truck Show 2020 and then go on to Las Vegas for CONOXPO-CON/AGG 2020.

I’m particularly looking forward to going to the Work Truck Show 2020 because this will be my first ever visit to Indianapolis and the first time I’ve ever attended a commercial transportation exhibition as opposed to a technology tradeshow. I’m sure it’s going to be a hugely enjoyable and educational experience. Continue reading Notes from the field: VIA Events Calendar for 2020

Analects of Confucius Book 6: by numbers

Analects of Confucius Book 6 by numbers

Book 6 of the Analects continues along the same lines as Book 5 with more comments from Confucius about his followers and historical and contemporary figures. 15 followers, 7 contemporary figures, and the legendary sage kings Yao and Shun are featured.

The followers Ran Yong, Ran Qiu, and Yan Hui each receive three mentions, while Zilu and Zigong get two. All the others are only featured once. Among these, Yuan Xian, Min Ziqian, Ran Geng (Boniu), and Tantai Mieming make their debut in the Analects. Continue reading Analects of Confucius Book 6: by numbers