Confucio on rites

«Confucius argued that under law, external authorities administer punishments after illegal actions, so people generally behave well without understanding reasons why they should; whereas with ritual, patterns of behavior are internalized and exert their influence before actions are taken, so people behave properly because they fear shame and want to avoid losing face. In this sense, “rite” is an ideal form of social norm.»

Re-reading some notes on Creation, by Gore Vidal. One of the best novels I’ve read.

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