Comment critically on Confucius' saying: 'If you wish to know whether a country's government is well-regulated and its customs are pure, listen to its music'.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Confucius believed that music and dance were important indicators of virtue.  He believed that good music and good dance were, in a sense, indicators that their composers understood the order of the universe and were in harmony with that order.  To Confucius, a society that could produce good music was one whose culture (and therefore government) must be morally good.  A culture that could produce good music must be based on the same principles as heaven.

To modern ways of thinking, this seems like a strange idea.  Most in the West, at least, do not see the arts in this way.  There are, however, certainly people who believe that music and morality are connected.  They feel that some kinds of music tend to lead listeners toward immorality.  One could argue, then, that a country where immoral music is allowed is one with a bad government and bad values.  However, this is a very conservative point of view and would not be widely embraced in the West.

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