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In the 大略 荀子 requires:

君臣不得不尊,父子不得不親,兄弟不得不順,夫婦不得不驩,少者以長,老者以養。故天地生之,聖人成之。

My dictionary says this word 驩 is

  1. a term for horse breeding
  2. A form of 歡

I am thinking, it must be the second meaning implied above. But 歡, too, carries so many meanings! There is:

  1. Happy, merry
  2. Sweetheart, love, as in 另覓新歡

And some dialect meanings are listed as well. I was tempted to think 荀子 means husband and wife must be sweethearts, but it sounds very extroverted for ancient Chinese; I am probably missing the real meaning.

  • ludi, 驩 is not a relationship, it's a verb. have a look of my answer :) – 水巷孑蠻 Aug 18 '17 at 2:34
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君臣不得不尊﹒父子不得不親﹒兄弟不得不順﹒夫婦不得不驩﹒少者以長﹒老者以養﹒故天地生之﹒聖人成之

i think that there's severe misinterpretation.

the text is to emphasise the importance of saint's etiquette (聖人之禮法)

the scanned copy in internet archive: https://archive.org/stream/06072285.cn#page/n45/mode/1up

enter image description here there's a remark "不得謂不得聖人之禮法" and "驩與歡同" after the verse "老者以養"

the orthodox way of interpretation should be:

君臣不得不尊

--> 君臣﹒不得聖人之禮法﹒不尊

[in the relationship of] a ruler (君) and his minister (臣), [if] saint's etiquette (聖人之禮法) is not (不) learnt (得), the minister would not (不) respect (尊) the ruler.

in this type of relationship, respect (尊) is one way only, a proper behaviour performed by a minister (臣, aka the lower strata one) to his ruler (君, aka the upper strata one).

夫婦不得不驩

--> 夫婦﹒不得聖人之禮法﹒不驩

[in the relationship of] a husband (夫) and wife (婦), [if] saint's etiquette (聖人之禮法) is not (不) learnt (得), the wife (婦) would not (不) please (驩) her husband (夫).

in this type of relationship, please (驩) is one way only, a proper behaviour performed by a wife (婦, aka the lower strata one) to her husband (夫 aka the upper strata one).

the remark stated 驩 (u+9a69) is equal to 歡 (u+6b61). i would interpret it to "please", as a verb.

about how can a wife "please" her husband, you may imagine it freely :)

have fun  😼

  • I up voted your post because you provided the remark that's not in the OP's post. That clear thing a lot. But I disagree the one way street interpretation about 父子, 兄弟 and 夫婦. In saint's etiquette, both 父 and 子 need to love the other; both older and younger brother need to be agreeable to each other. And it is as much a husband's responsibility to please his wife as a wife's responsibility to please her husband. As for 君臣, it is possible that the demand of respect is on the retainers only. – Tang Ho Aug 18 '17 at 3:32
  • well, in ancient patriarchy society, it's very unlikely that, a male would be advised to please his wife :( further, in a autocracy society, people would be "conditioned" to have an obedient attitude; such socialisation is started in family, when they're young, as a son (子), or younger brother (弟), then later, when they gained the post of government official (臣). that's the rationale why i think that the four proper behaviour (尊, 親, 順 and 驩) suggested by saint's etiquette, are one way only. these're not mutual. – 水巷孑蠻 Aug 18 '17 at 8:53
  • well, i must declare that, i think these are prejudices, or stereotypes; an negative side of the culture. but, at the same time, using nowadays liberal, free mindset to interpret ancient text; would miss, or distort the original underlying assumptions. have fun  😼 – 水巷孑蠻 Aug 18 '17 at 8:57
  • I understand in practice, people of higher status tend to demand to be respected, loved, followed and pleased by the people in the lower status, but that is corrupted interpretation of the saint's words by the people in power. Saints taught rulers to be respectful, father to be loving, older brother to be agreeable with younger brother and husband to treat his wife well too, However, the power was in the hands of the ruler, the father, older brother and husband. Saint's lessons were there for their convenience. – Tang Ho Aug 18 '17 at 10:06
  • Just like bible told us that we are the care taker of the world. But people just conveniently interpreted it as "we own the world and can do whatever we please to all living things in it." – Tang Ho Aug 18 '17 at 10:08
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水巷孑蠻 wrote:

there's a remark "不得謂不得聖人之禮法" and "驩與歡同" after the verse "老者以養"

Edit:

聖人之禮法 saint's etiquette

君臣不得不尊,without it, retainer would not respect the ruler

父子不得不親,without it, father and son would not love each other

兄弟不得不順,without it, brothers would not be agreeable to each other

夫婦不得不驩(),without it, husband and wife would not please each other

In saint's etiquette, both 父 and 子 need to love each other; both older and younger brother need to be agreeable to each other. And it is as much a husband's responsibility to please his wife as a wife's responsibility to please her husband. As for 君臣, it is possible that the demand to respect is on the retainers only.

My original post before knowing there's a remark:

君臣不得不尊,ruler and retainer must respect each other

父子不得不親,father and son must love each other

兄弟不得不順,brothers must be agreeable to each other

夫婦不得不驩(),husband and wife must please each other

少者以長,grow the young

老者以養。take care of the old

故天地生之,that's how the world is formed

聖人成之。saint is created

荀子's words mentioned 'mutually respect, love, follow and please' ; but in practice, a retainer is expected to respect his ruler, a son is expected to love his father, a younger brother is expected to follow his older brother and a wife is expected to please her husband. The expectation on the other end is more often, treated like a suggestion.

0

说文解字:

(歡) 喜樂也。从欠。雚聲。呼官切。十四部。孟子借驩爲歡。

Just means 'happy'

0

http://www.zdic.net/z/1c/js/6B22.htm

(2) 欢: 欢爱。指男女交合之事

Maybe it means 'husband and wife must have sexual relations'. Seems odd to say 'husband and wife must be happy'. You can't force happiness! 'Please' on the other hand could mean 'sexually please each other'

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