“What is necessary is to rectify names.”
Bruce Fingerhut began a press blog in 2012, entitled Rectifying Names. In it he discussed all manner of things, but always from the perspective of truth-telling. Some days he explained the publishing industry, other entries dismantled bad political thinking. His literary commentary brought contemporary and practical questions to broader levels of relevancy.
The posts on the new site will continue Bruce’s intention to remain steadfast and clear in his own thinking and presentation of the truth. Some of the posts here will venture into cultural and literary critiques, others will simply announce authors and projects that pop up in the news. It will no longer contain all the wisdom of the art of publishing, but we promise at least to exclude all nonsense.
Bruce’s inspired reason for the press––that is, to publish the books we want to read and civilization requires––lives on. And so does his refusal to use language to unwrite history or maim nature. In his prescience, he placed the following excerpt on the main page of his old blog, ancient wisdom that he believed was indispensable for publishing. Indeed, indispensable for living.
1. Tsze-lu said, “The ruler of Wei has been waiting for you, in order with you to administer the government. What will you consider the first thing to be done?”
2. The Master replied, “What is necessary is to rectify names.”
3. “So, indeed!” said Tsze-lu. “You are wide of the mark! Why must there be such rectification?”
4. The Master said, “How uncultivated you are, Yu! A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve.
5. “If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
6. “When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music will not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.
7. “Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect.”
Analects of Confucius, XIII Tsze-lu, Chapter 3, James Legge, translator