Three random thoughts by a Hong Kong millennial.
At a family dinner, my 5-year-old nephew was unwillingly reading a children’s book that explains the entire Di Zi Gui, an ancient teaching by Chinese philosophy Confucius. The name Dai Zi Gui literally means ‘the rules of being a son and pupil,’ and because I wasn’t even required to read this at school, I silently thought this was next-level monster parenting.
But after I spent one-third of the family dinner reading Di Zi Gui, I actually grew quite fond of it. It’s a hilarious and weirdly specific piece of ancient teaching. The first section about filial piety is definitely the semi-foolish kind, dictating that you need to answer your parents RIGHT AWAY and obey them without hesitation. But only semi-foolish, because it later says you can actually disagree with your parents, only you have to do it with a really gentle voice.
Things also get very specific, especially with the personal hygiene section. As it turns out, ancient Confucianism believes you need to wash your face and brush your teeth first thing in the morning, as well as washing your hands regularly. You also need to wake up early — that’s predictable — but you shouldn’t go to bed that early, because finding time for self-improvement is more important than sleep, duh!
Di Zi Gui also includes some really bizarre teachings. An amazing gem: if you’re making a turn, make it really wide, so that you don’t run into the corners of things or knock anything over. I guess people were a little clumsy back in Confucius’ days. Whoa.
My favorite is this one: Even if you’re entering an empty house, you should do so as if someone is inside. While I don’t agree, I think Confucius is really onto something here. There IS a big difference as to how I enter my place when it’s empty compared with when my family’s around.
But, to be fair, there are also a lot of insightful and practical ideas in Di Zi Gui. For instance, the only thing that matters with clothes is that they’re clean and presentable, not how expensive they are. And that we need to respect all human beings, as we’re all the same regardless of things like race and religion. Anything that lives on earth and under the sky, Confucius says, belongs to one big community.
It’s really quite fun to read.
People are getting paid to take selfies! And it’s actually an interesting way to go about doing your market research:
“’The selfies are a good way for companies to obtain information that people can’t or don’t articulate in focus groups or other traditional research methods’, said Ravi Dhar, director of the Center for Customer Insights at the Yale School of Management. ‘For example, they could lead to an understanding of which rituals go along with certain types of consumption,’ he said.”