Cultural China: Restraining oneself to comply with social norms
Web Editor:國際日報 International Daily News
BEIJING, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- The ability to follow social norms has long been commended as propriety in China, as is reflected in the Chinese idiom "Ke Ji Fu Li," which means restraining one's words and deeds to comply with social norms.
Proposed by ancient philosopher Confucius (551-479 B.C.), the term is recorded in The Analects, a collection of teachings and thoughts of him. It is the fundamental method that Confucius recommended for achieving benevolence, a key idea in his thoughts.
Confucius' disciple Yan Yuan once asked him about benevolence. "To restrain yourself and practice propriety is benevolence," Confucius replied.
Confucius' thoughts have had a profound influence on later generations in China and some other Asian countries.
In modern days, littering, spitting, cursing, cutting in line and smoking in public venues are considered uncivilized and contradictory to the Confucian doctrine of practicing propriety to conform to social norms.