Chinese philosopher Confucius.


(551 BC - 479 BC)

Although little is known for certain about the life of Confucius, it is believed that as a young man he held minor official posts as a bookkeeper and stable manager, married at the age of nineteen, and embarked upon his influential teaching career in his thirties. The philosopher’s thoughts on education, filial piety, and public service led him to be deemed divine during the Han dynasty, some few hundred years after his death.

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If law and justice do not attain their ends, the people will be unable to move hand or foot.

—Confucius, c. 500

Without virtue, both riches and honor, to me, seem like the passing cloud.

—Confucius, c. 350 BC

Because the newer methods of treatment are good, it does not follow that the old ones were bad: for if our honorable and worshipful ancestors had not recovered from their ailments, you and I would not be here today.

—Confucius, c. 515 BC

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