When I was a child, China equated an almost mythical remoteness. If you dug a hole, allll the way to other side of the world, China is where you ended up. And of course I'd heard about Confucius: he worked in a fortune- cookie factory. Now here I am, threading through the crowd at the Confucian Temple in Qufu, Shandong province, wondering: can a man who lived in China 500 years before Christ tell us anything useful now?

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