Literally: bend – study – flatter – society
Alternately: Twisting knowledge or reason in order to fit in with a trend or pander to some powerful element of society. Perverting truth in favor of social or political expediency.
Notes: This all-too-timely phrase comes to us from our friend, the Records of the Grand Historian, in the chapter on 儒林 (Rulin, in Japanese pronounced Jurin).
It’s possible, although less common, to reverse the order of the halves and say 阿世曲学.
Today’s media example isn’t Japanese, but it does have global consequences: