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National Days


ConfuciusWho can deny that Chinese proverbs demand acquiescence by beginning with “who can deny?” None can deny that no one wrote more Chinese proverbs than Confucius, the reason we celebrate


Born Kong Qiu in 551 BC in Zou, the renowned teacher Confucius is known among philosophers as The King of One Liners. A groundbreaker in the Telling The Rest Of Us We’re Worthless school of philosophy, Confucius was the first guy to figure out that a journey of a thousand li begins with a single step. And who can deny that? No word on what is a “li” yet.

It was also his idea to count to ten before speaking when one is angry, in order to give him time to draw his famous jade-handled dagger, settler of many a “philosophical dispute.” Confucius was also an early master of stating the obvious (“You cannot open a book without learning something.”), and was convinced that the highest form of existence was sitting around and contemplating stuff.

Fortunately for the rest of us, he wrote it all down in an instruction manual called “Letters From My Couch, Volume 1: Who Can Deny? You Unenlightened Drones!” Here’s to the Henny Youngman of deep thinkers.

•Suggested Activities: Wondering what it all means, and how to get one of those sweet philosopher jobs.

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