An award-winning Harvard professor shares his popular course on classical Chinese philosophy in “The Path.” Author Michael Puett shows how these ancient ideas can guide you on the path to a good life today.
Puett's course Classical Chinese Ethical and Political Theory has become the third most popular course at Harvard University. In fact, the only classes with higher enrollment are Intro to Economics and Intro to Computer Science.
What Harvard Students Are Saying
You may be wondering why the course at Harvard on ancient Chinese philosophers is one of the most popular. It’s because the course challenges all modern assumptions about what it takes to flourish and advance. In fact, many students say that the ideas they encounter during this course are life changing.
The Path Proves to be Life Changing
Two thousand years ago, Chinese scholars explored how humans can improve themselves and their society. Their ideas were not only astonishing but quite frankly were counterintuitive, too.
These scholars found that good relationships come not from being sincere and authentic, but from the rituals we perform within them.
Influence comes not from wielding power but from holding back.
And, excellence comes from what we choose to do, not our natural abilities.
The Path explains that these Chinese scholars find that a good life emerges not from planning it out and making calculated decisions, but through training ourselves to respond to small changes. It’s about transforming yourself by creating conditions that produce new possibilities.
Small Actions have Profound Ramifications
Puett urges his students to become more self-aware and to notice how small things, like holding the door open for someone or smiling at a stranger on your walk to work, change the course of the day by affecting how we feel.
Decisions are from the Heart
Modern day Americans tend to believe that humans are rational, making calculated decisions logically. However, Chinese philosophers have found that the heart and mind are not mutually exclusive. Instead, they are inextricably linked, with one not existing without the other. Puett teaches that when we make decisions, we will make better ones that integrate the heart and mind, letting our rational and emotional sides blend into one.Posted: Thu Apr 7th 2016 7:20pm 5 years ago
“Ohhh Deborah, I had to write this down, with gratitude, love, and an opened heart. Yes, I felt and feel a shift in my awareness and responses, almost immediately after our session” -Sue S.