CONFUCIUS – THE MOST INFLUENTIAL CHINESE PHILOSOPHER

The Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius was the founder of the school of philosophy known as the Ju or Confucianism, which is still very influential in China. He was born on 551 B.C.E in Tuo, China.

INFO OF HIS LIFE

Confucius is the Latinized name of K’ung Fu-tzu (Great Master K’ung). His original name was K’ung Ch’iu; he is also known as K’ung Chung-ni. The most detailed traditional account of Confucius’s life is contained in the Records of the Historian (Shih chi) by Ssu-ma Ch’ien, who lived from 145 B.C.E. to 86 B.C.E. Many modern scholars have dismissed this biography as only legend. Nevertheless, from this manuscript one can reconstruct a satisfactory outline of the philosopher’s life and influence.

According to the Records of the Historian, Confucius was a descendant of a branch of the royal house of Shang, the dynasty (a family of rulers) that ruled China prior to the Chou, and a dynasty which ruled China from around 1122 B.C.E. to 221 B.C.E. His family, the K’ung, moved to the small state of Lu, located in the modern province of Shantung in northeastern China.

It was believed that Confucius’s father divorced his first wife at an advanced age, because she had borne him only daughters and one disfigured son. He then married a fifteen-year-old girl from the Yen clan, who gave birth to Confucius. Ssu-ma Ch’ien refers to the relationship as a “wild union,” which very possibly indicates that Confucius was an illegitimate child, or a child born out of wedlock.

In the Analects, Confucius’s book of teachings, he writes that during his youth he was poor and was forced to acquire many different skills. It is clear that even though the fortunes of his family had declined, he was no commoner. Confucius unquestionably belonged to the aristocratic (ruling) class known as the shih. In the time of Confucius most shih served as court officials, scholars, and teachers. Confucius’s first occupation appears to have been as keeper of the Lu granary. Later he worked as supervisor of the fields. Both were low positions but consistent with his shih status.

CAREER AS A TEACHER

It is not known exactly when Confucius began his teaching career, but it does not appear to have been much before the age of thirty. In 518 B.C.E. he is said to have met the famous teacher Lao Tzu (sixth century B.C.E. ), who reportedly bluntly criticized Confucius for his stuffiness and arrogance. Confucius eventually returned to Lu around 515 B.C.E. For several years after his return he does not appear to have accepted a governmental position. Instead it appears he spent most of his time studying and teaching, gathering a large number of students around him. Although one can only guess about the school’s exact course work, it undoubtedly included instruction in ritual, music, history, and poetry.

Around 498 B.C.E. , Confucius decided to leave his home in Lu and embark on a long journey throughout eastern China. He was accompanied by several of his disciples (followers). They wandered throughout the eastern states of Wei, Sung, and Ch’en and at various times had their lives threatened. Confucius was almost assassinated (killed) in Sung. On another occasion he was mistaken for the adventurer Yang Hu and was arrested and held until his true identity became known.

Confucius was received with great respect by the rulers of the states he visited, and he even seems to have received occasional payments. He spent much of his time developing his ideas on the art of government, as well as continuing his teaching. He acquired a large following, and the solidification of the Confucian school probably occurred during these years. Not all of his disciples followed him on his travels. Several of them actually returned to Lu and assumed positions with the Chi clan. It may have been through their influence that in 484 B.C.E. Confucius was invited back to Lu.

FINAL YEARS

Confucius was warmly received in Lu, but there is no indication that he was given a responsible position. Little is known about his last years, although this would have been a logical time for him to work on the many texts and documents he supposedly gathered on his journey. Much of his time was devoted to teaching, and he seems to have remained more or less distant from political affairs. This was an unhappy period for Confucius. His only son died about this time; his favorite disciple, Yen Hui, died the very year of his return to Lu; and in 480 B.C.E. another disciple, Tzu-lu, was killed in battle. Confucius felt all of these losses deeply, and his sadness and frustration must have been intensified by the realization that his political ideas had found no support among the rulers of his own state. Confucius died in 479 B.C.E in Qufu, China. His disciples conducted his funeral and observed a mourning period for him.

CONFUCIUS’S TEACHINGS

Although we cannot be certain that Confucius wrote any of the works he is credited with, it is still possible to know something about the general nature of his philosophy. Shortly after his death his disciples compiled a work known as the Lun yü, commonly translated as the Analects but more accurately rendered as the Edited Conversations. This work consists of conversations between Confucius, his students, and an occasional ruler. The primary emphasis of the Lun yü is on political philosophy. Confucius taught that the primary task of the ruler was to achieve the welfare (well-being) and happiness of the people of his state. To accomplish this aim, the ruler first had to set a moral (good character) example by his own conduct. This example would in turn influence the people’s behavior.

Confucius is the first Chinese thinker to introduce concepts that became fundamental not only to Confucian philosophy but to Chinese philosophy in general. The most important of these are jen (benevolence), yi (propriety, or being proper), and li (ritual, or ceremony). Confucius believed that the chün-tzu, or “gentleman,” must set the moral example for others in society to follow. In the Lun yü jen, what has been translated as humaneness or benevolence (being kind) is a quality a chün-tzu should develop and attempt to encourage in others. Li is considered the rules and ritual that are observed in religious and nonreligious ceremonies and, as applied to the chün-tzu, composed rules of behavior. Yi represents what is right and proper in a given situation. The chün-tzu, by observing the ritual and because of his good nature, always knows what is right.

Confucius was basically a humanist and one of the greatest teachers in Chinese history. His influence on his immediate disciples was deep. His students continued to explain his theories until, in the first Han dynasty (206 B.C.E. –8 C. E.), the theories became the basis of the state ideology, the body of ideas reflecting the social needs of a culture.

RAFAEL NADAL – THE YOUNG SPANISH TENNIS STORM

Nicknamed “Rafa”, Rafael Nadal has took the tennis world by storm over the past 5 years as he has made his way on the professional tennis circuit to number 2 in the world with a staggering clay-court winning streak of 60 consecutive matches.
He was born June 3rd 1986 in Manacor, Mallorca to Sebastián and Ana María. He has great sporting heritage as his Uncle is former F.C. Barcelona footballer Miguel Ángel Nadal. Between 1986 and 2001 (the year in which he turned pro at only age 15) he developed a brilliant all round game playing left-handed despite being naturally right-handed.His rise since then has been a quick and exhilarating one. In 2002, he won his first ATP match at Majorca at the age of 15, defeating Ramon Delgado to become the ninth player in the Open Era to win an ATP match before his 16th birthday. One year later in 2003 he became the second-youngest player to be ranked among the world’s top 100 singles players and earned ATP Newcomer of the Year. At his Wimbledon debut, at only age 16, he became the youngest player to reach the 3rd round since 16-year-old Boris Becker in 1984 and in July 2003 he reached the Spanish championships where he lost to Lopez.

He continued to improve in 2004 and by 2005 had climbed the world rankings to number 5. This made him the youngest player to make it into the Top 10 since Andrei Medvedev in 1993. During this season he won two ATP Masters Series events in Monte Carlo and Rome and managed an astonishing winning streak of 25 consecutive matches.

Among his other historical achievements he became the fourth-youngest Roland Garros champion in the Open Era defeating Argentina’s Mariano Puerta in the final, the seventh player to win a Grand Slam in his first appearance at the event and the first teenager to win a Grand Slam since Pete Sampras won the 1990 US Open at age 19.

During this period the intense rivalry between Nadal and Federer continued to grow reaching a climax in 2006 where Nadal beat Federer four times. First, on March 4, 2006, at the final in Dubai, where he won 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Nadal then defeated Federer again at the Monte Carlo Masters 6-2 6-7 6-3 7-6 before meeting and beating him for a third time in this season at the finals in Rome where he won a close victory – 6-7 7-6 6-4 2-6 7-6.

Their last encounter came at the finals in the French Open. Federer now sought to turn around his dismal record against Nadal, while Nadal was seeking to defend his French Open title. In the least competitive of their 2006 matches Nadal won a 4 set victory and will enter the next French Open with a perfect 14-0 tournament record.

NADAL’S TITLES

Checkout the ASCII Art of Rafael Nadal that can be downloaded as a text file in the below link. Please use Lucida Console font to view the art in Notepad. Before that in Notepad go to Format and Uncheck the Word Warp and then Go to Font and Reduce the Font Size to 3 to 4 pt. Use only Lucida Console Font.

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MICHAEL JACKSON – THE KING OF POP

Michael Jackson was born on the 29th of August 1958 in Gary, Indiana. He was the 7th of nine children. (brothers: Sigmund “Jackie”, Toriano “Tito”, Jermaine, Marlon, Steven “Randy”, and sisters Rebbie, Janet and La-Toya Jackson.Michael began his musical career at the age of 5 as the lead singer of the Jackson 5 who formed in 1964. In these early years the Jackson 5, Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and lead singer Michael played local clubs and bars in Gary Indiana and moving further afield as there talents grew and they could compete in bigger competitions. From these early days Michael would be at the same clubs as big talented stars of there days, such as Jackie Wilson and would be learning from them even back then.

In 1968 the Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers discovered the Jackson five and from there they got an audition for Berry Gordy of Motown Records. The Jackson 5 signed for Motown and moved to California. Their first 4 singles, “I Want You Back”, “ABC”, “The Love You Save”, and “I’ll Be There” all made US No1 hits. The Jackson 5 recorded 14 albums and Michael recorded 4 solo albums with Motown.

The Jackson 5 stayed with Motown until 1976, wanting more artistic freedom they felt they had to move on and signed up with Epic. The group name Jackson 5 had to be changed as it was owned by Motown, so they reverted to The Jacksons as they had be known in the early days. Brother Jermaine married Berry Gordy’s daughter and stayed with Motown. Youngest brother Randy joined in his place. The Jacksons had a number of hit records and in total made 6 albums between the years of 1976 and 1984.

In 1977 Michael made his first film debut when he starred in the musical ‘The Wiz’ playing Scarecrow with Diana Ross in the lead role of Dorothy. It was at this time Michael met Quincy Jones who was doing the score for the film. Michael teamed up with Quincey Jones as his producer for his first solo album with Epic Records. The album titled “Off The Wall” was a big success around the world and the first ever album to release a record breaking 4 No1 singles in the US.

In 1982 Michael Jackson released the world’s largest selling album of all time, ‘Thriller’. This album produced 7 hit singles, breaking yet again more records, and went on to sell over 50 million copies worldwide. Michael was keen to use music video or short films as he called them to promote his singles from the album. He worked with the best directors and producers, using the latest technology and special effects for the hit song ‘Billie Jean’ The short film ‘Thriller’ used the latest make-up artists technolgy combined with fantastic dancing and cherography, to produce a 14 minute video, with a start, a middle and an ending. So successful was this video that ‘The Making Of Michael Jackson’s Thriller’ became the world’s largest selling home video combined with soaring album sales. In 1983 Michael performed the now legendary moonwalk for the first time on the ‘Motown 25 years’ anniversary show. This performance alone set Michael undoubtable into the realm of a superstar.

In 1984 Michael won a record breaking 8 Grammy awards in one night. The awards were for his work on the ‘Thriller’ album and his work on the narrative for the ‘ET Storybook’. On December 9th 1984 at the last concert of the Jackson’s Victory Tour, Michael announced he was splitting from the group and going solo. In 1987 Michael released his much awaited third solo album, titled ‘Bad’, and lauched his record breaking first solo world tour. 1988, Michael wrote his first autobiography, Moonwalk, talking for the first time on his childhood and his career. At the end of the 1980s Michael was named ‘Artist Of The Decade’ for his success off of his ‘Thriller’ and ‘Bad’ albums.

In 1991 Michael signed with Sony Music the largest ever recording contract and released his fourth solo album, ‘Dangerous’. He toured world again in 1992, taking his concerts to countries that had never before been visited by a pop/rock artist. Also Michael founded the ‘Heal the World Foundation’ to help improve the lives of children across the world. In 1994 Michael married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of rock legend Elvis Presley. The marriage only lasted for 19 months, as they divorced in 1996. In 1995 Michael release a fifth solo album, ‘History’, which was a double album, first half new material and second half half greatest hits. Michael toured again over a legs covering a 2 year period. In between legs of the tour on November 14th 1996, Michael married for his second time to Debbie Rowe who was a nurse that Michael had met in the treatment of his skin pigment disorder. Together they had their first child Prince Michael Joseph Jackson jr born on February 13 1997 and a daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson born on April 3rd 1998.

During his extraordinary career, he sold an estimated 750 million records worldwide, released 13 No.1 singles and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and “Thriller” as the Biggest Selling Album of All Time. Jackson won 13 Grammy Awards and received the American Music Award’s Artist of the Century Award.

In 1997 Michael released the remix album ‘Blood On The Dance Floor’ which also contained 5 new song linked with a 38min film “Ghosts”. This film Michael played 5 roles using the latest special effects and make-up artistry, combined with his dance and music. In September, 2001 Michael celebrated his 30th anniversary as a solo artist with two concerts to be held in New York, USA. Many artists such as Whitney Houston, Usher, Destinys Child, Shaggy and many more performed there own and Michael Jacksons past songs. Michael then reunited with all of his brothers and performed there biggest hits. Michael then went onto perform solo some of his biggest hits.

In October 2001 Michael released the album ‘Invincible’ releasing only 2 singles including the big hit “You Rock My World”. Shortly after the albums release there were rumours of a rift with Sony Music and a clear lack of promotion of the album. The second single “Cry” was released with a very poor music video which did not feature Michael and no other singles were released. In November 2003 a new single “One More Chance” was released as a single and was also a track on new compilaition album “Number Ones”.

In March 2009, Michael annouced a shock comeback tour at the O2 Arena in London to start in July 2009, intially for 10 dates but the total grew to a sold out 50 dates with over 750,000 tickets sold. All sold tickets sold out within minutes of being released. On June 25th 2009 Michael Jackson died suddenly of a reported cardiac arrest. He was 50 years old.

Checkout the ASCII Art of Michael Jackson in the below link. Please use Lucida Console font to view the art in Notepad. Before that in Notepad go to Format and Uncheck the Word Warp and then Go to Font and Reduce the Font Size to 3 to 4 pt. Use only Lucida Console Font.

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