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Harmony and Differences

“君子和而不同”

Analects

As a traditional Chinese guy living in Europe, I am compromising and struggling with differences every day. Different people, different culture, different food, different ways of communication. Everything varies from what I am familiar with in my homeland. However, I am still happily living and studying here. One of the reasons is that I’ve learnt how to deal with variations in order to create harmony from the great Chinese sage Confucius.

harmonyAccording to my interpretation, the quote from Analects generally means that as virtuous persons, we should not merely accommodate passively to make ourselves identical as the others when disagreements occur. We should learn to accept and respect the differences in order to find a balance. The differences exist objectively while we can utilize them positively to create harmony.

As individuals, we are all unique and we have different thoughts and feelings. Communication is more like the process of balancing those differences. Normally we prefer to stay with the people who share the same thoughts or feelings or have something in common with us because this just makes the communication much easier. But actually the most fascinating part of communication is that it forces us to grab new knowledge to make ourselves more learned. It is also like a mirror which helps us reflect on ourselves and find the shortcoming and deficiencies.

Personally I am very willing to communicate with different people. I like to hear the stories  that happened in a country with only 300 thousand inhabitants from my Icelandic friend. I am curious about my African buddy who never sees snow in his life time. I enjoy my time with those Latin Americans who share their music and literature with me.

Differences and variations exist absolutely in the universe but we should not be afraid of.  From the wisdom of the ancient China , we know that there is a good way to cope with disagreements and benefit from them, which will help us create a better world.

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