Louis CK and Mengzi

This clip (below) from Louis CK’s most recent interview on Conan made a splash on social networks.  The whole thing is pretty funny, but the first minute or so reminded me of Mencius 1A7.

Part of what prevents the king in 1A7 from becoming a genuine king in that passage is his disconnect from his subjects.  He feels the suffering of the ox and this tugs at his sprout of compassion.  By contrast, he doesn’t see the suffering of his subjects, so he feels no sympathy for them and fails to treat them benevolently.

Louis CK raises the same general issue for children today and cellphone use. He argues that slinging vicious and hurtful remarks to one another electronically (via text messages, for example) prevents children from witnessing the repercussions of their actions and the way they negatively affect others.  They are therefore free from the feelings of shame and guilt that arise from witnessing others’ pain and humiliation by one’s hand.  Here’s the link.


The clip garnered much discussion on the web, most of it filled with praise, though some of it critical.


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