posted 17 Mar 2013, 13:48 by Jim Sheng
[A philosopher of the Sung State in 4th and 5th centuries B.C., who flourished in the days between Confucius and Mencius, and who propounded a doctrine of "universal love," in opposition to the "selfish" school of Yang Chu, as the proper foundation for organized society. He showed that under such a system all the calamities which men bring upon one another would altogether disappear, and that the peace and happiness of the Golden Age would be renewed. He was vigorously denounced by Mencius, who exhibited the unpractical side of an otherwise fascinating doctrine. } 


THERE are two men, one of whom discriminates in his love for his fellows; the other loves all men equally. The former argues, "I cannot feel for my friend so strongly as I feel for myself, neither can I feel for my friend's parents so strongly as I feel for my own parents." As a consequence of this, he may see his friend hungry, and will not feed him; he may see him cold, and will not clothe him; he may see him sick, and will not nurse him; he may see him dead, and will not bury him. Not so the latter; he will not argue thus nor will he act thus, but he will say, "He who wishes to attain distinction among men, will feel for his friend as he feels for himself, and for his friend's parents as for his own." Therefore, when he sees his friend hungry, he will feed him; cold, he will clothe him; sick, he will nurse him; and dead, he will bury him. Such will be the language of one who loves all men equally, and such will be his behaviour. 

Of old, Duke Wen liked his soldiers to wear coarse clothes; and therefore all his Ministers wore sheepskin robes, leather sword-belts, and caps of rough silk, both when having audience and when on duty at Court. Why did they do this? The Duke liked it, and therefore his Ministers did it. 

Of old, Duke Ling liked his soldiers to have small waists; and therefore his Ministers made it their rule to have only one meal a day. They drew in their breath before buckling on their belts; they held on to the wall to help themselves to get up; and by the end of a year they were all in danger of turning black from starvation. Why did they do this? The Duke liked it, and therefore his Ministers did it. 

Of old, Prince Kou Chien liked his soldiers to be brave, and instructed his Ministers to train them accordingly. When they had followed out these orders, the Prince set fire to a ship in order to test the soldiers, crying out, "All our State jewels are on board!" He then beat the Drum for advance; and when the soldiers heard its irregular rattle, they rushed headlong to trample out the fire, about a hundred men losing their lives in the attempt, whereupon the Prince beat the gong for retreat. 

Now, to achieve fame by scanty food, or coarse clothes, or loss of life, is repugnant to the feelings of people in general; but if they are ready to face such trials merely to gratify their sovereign, how much more could they not achieve if stimulated by mutual love and by mutual interests? 


If we do not do that which God wishes us to do, but do that which God wishes us not to do, then God too will not do that which we wish Him to do, but will do that which we wish Him not to do. What are those things which men wish not to suffer? -disease, misfortune, and bewitchment. Now, if we do not do what God wishes us to do, but do that which He does not wish us to do, we shall drag the myriad people of the empire along with us into misfortune and bewitchment.