思 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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sī 思

Reflecting / Thinking

心所具有的思考与辨别的能力。儒家认为“思”是人心所独有的重要功能。心能“思”,因此可以不像耳目之官一样被外物牵引或遮蔽。人只有通过心之“思”,才能发现内在于心的道德品性的根基,并由此通达于“天道”,从而确立人之所以为人的本质。如果缺少“思”的工夫,人将丧失其主体性与独立性。

The term means the ability to reflect and evaluate. Confucian scholars considered this a unique quality of the human mind. By reflecting, a person will keep himself from being led astray or getting confused by what he sees or hears. Through reflecting, a person will discover the foundation of morality. This leads to understanding natural laws, and eventually, the essence of being human. Without reflecting, humans will lose their individual consciousness and independence.

引例 Citations:

◎学而不思则罔,思而不学则殆。(《论语·为政》)

(只“学”而不“思”,则会迷茫昏乱;只“思”而不“学”,则会疑惑危殆。)

Learning without reflecting leads to confusion; reflecting without learning leads to danger. (The Analects)

◎耳目之官不思,而蔽于物,物交物则引之而已矣。心之官则思。思则得之,不思则不得也。此天之所与我者,先立乎其大者,则其小者不能夺也。(《孟子·告子上》)

(耳目这类器官不能“思”,因此为外物所蒙蔽,与外物接触便被牵引而去。心这一器官能“思”,“思”则有所得,不“思”则不能得。这是天赋予我的,先确立心作为大者的官能,如此则不会被耳目之官的欲望遮蔽。)

The eyes and ears cannot think, so they can be deceived or misled by external things. But the mind can think and reflect. Through reflection, cognition can be achieved, whereas without reflection nothing can be accomplished. This is the gift Heaven bestows on us. One should first establish the primacy of the mind, and then eyes and ears will not be misled. (Mencius)

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