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CANTO LII

 

Mu chi fishing village in the evening glow

 

“In considering the Occident the Oriental should allow for a fact that I have not yet seen printed. Western contact with the Far East was made in an era of Western degradation. American contact with Japan was forced in the very middle of ‘the century of usury.’ Western ethics were a consummate filth in the middle of the last century.

You can probably date any Western work of art by reference to the ethical estimate of usury prevalent at the time of that work's composition; the greater the component of tolerance for usury the more blobby and messy the work of art. The kind of thought which distinguishes good from evil, down into the details of commerce, rises into the quality of line in paintings and into the clear definition of the word written.

If the editors complain that I am not confining my essay to Confucius, I reply that I am writing on the ‘need for Confucius.’ I am trying to diagnose Western disease. Western disease has raged for over two centuries.

[…]

Hence (leaping over a certain amount of barbed wire, and intermediary gradations), hence the Western need of Confucius, and specifically of the Ta Hio, and more specifically of the first chapter of the Ta Hio; which you may treat as a mantram, or as a mantram reinforced, a mantram elaborated so that the meditation may gradually be concentrated into contemplation. […]

In any case the need is a matter of emphasis. We in the West need to begin with the first chapter of the Ta Hio, not merely to grant a casual admission of it in some out-house of our ethics or of our speculations.

There is nothing in this chapter that destroys the best that has been thought in the Occident. The Occident has already done its apparent utmost to destroy the best Western perceptions.”

Ezra Pound. “Immediate Need of Confucius.” Aryan Path, August 1937. In P&P VII: 239-40, 241.

 

RELATED CANTOS

SIENA CANTOS [43-44] [economic policies should be based on and promote natural abundance to the benefit of the community; Peter Leopold and Lord Palmerston]

CANTO XLVII [Hesiod and the seasonal agrarian calendar]

CANTO XLIX [political power is natural - at its best, it is not felt and can be compared to clouds, or the rhythm of night and day]

CANTO LI [the degradation of the Western culture - usury, greed and fraud; ching ming [right name] as antidote]

 

A Draft of XXX Cantos

ship4 for c1

Eleven New Cantos

rsz guido cavalcanti