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Confucius quote: 温故而知新

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: September 21, 2022

Editor's Note: The Analects, a collection of Confucius' sayings from over 2,000 years ago, still has significant influence on the Chinese way of thinking and the cultural values in modern times. The book's philosophical passages are increasingly quoted by officials and dignitaries from around the world. We share some of examples in this series as follow to celebrate the 8th Nishan Forum on World Civilizations, which will be held from Sept 26 to 28 in Qufu, a county-level city in Jining, East China's Shandong province.

Consider the past and you shall know the future.


This saying from Book 2 of The Analects is an integral part of Confucianism.

Confucius emphasized the importance of history. By looking back at history, future problems can be foreseen and solved.

Likewise, in the modern world, the lessons and experiences learned from history still guide the way forward for people and also nations, influencing future choices.

This saying of "温故而知新" was once cited by Barack Obama, the former US President, in his speech at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum on Nov 16, 2009.

"But the notion that we must be adversaries is not predestined - not when we consider the past," Obama told students in Shanghai during a town-hall meeting. "Indeed, because of our cooperation, both the United States and China are more prosperous and more secure."


File photo: The then-US President Barack Obama delivers a speech at a dialogue with Chinese youth at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum in Shanghai on Nov 16, 2009. [Photo/Agencies]