The Unwobbling Pivot
The Unwobbling Pivot is a simple quotebot created for Twitter, which tweets out selections from the Confucian Classics. Below are answers to a few questions people may have about it:
Who created this bot?
Richard Carroll, whose main twitter account is @CheshireOcelot
What’s the purpose of this bot?
Though Confucius is very well-known, his ideas generally aren’t, at least among Westerners. My goal, then, is to give people a sampling of Confucianism and encourage them to read the original works. There are some Confucius quotebots on twitter already, but all that I could find, like the vast majority of quotebots generally, exist primarily as a vehicle for advertising.
What are the sources for the quotations?
Currently, it has selections from The Analects of Confucius, The Doctrine of the Mean, The Great Learning, and Mencius, which comprise what are known as the Four Books, and The Book of Odes, one of the Five Classics. For the Four Books, about 2/3 are taken from James Legge’s translations, most of the rest from Ezra Pound, and occasionally Chichung Huang for the Analects and with occasional reference to David Hinton for Mencius. For the Odes, I used Arthur Waley's translation, from the edition edited by Joseph Allen as The Book of Songs, with occasional reference to Pound's version. Of course, all selections are edited to fit into 140 characters.
I will add selections from the rest of the Five Classics over time.
Why “The Unwobbling Pivot?”
The Unwobbling Pivot is the title of Ezra Pound’s translation of The Doctrine of the Mean.
Who is the account’s avatar?
That's Fr. Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit missionary to China. I chose him because he was among the first Westerners to become proficient in Chinese and the Confucian Classics, and he called himself a “Western Confucian.” I thought he'd be an appropriate avatar, then, for a Westerner sharing the Confucian Classics to an anglophonic, Western audience. That, and there aren’t many good pictures of Confucius himself that I could find.
The account’s banner, by the way, is a world map created by Fr. Ricci.