Confucius Analects – Superior Man vs. Mean Man (1) – 孔子论语 – 君子与小人(一)

2.8 The superior man concerns the whole and does not compare. The mean man compares and does not concern the whole.’

-> Superior man sees the benefit of all and live his life towards it, Mean man is self-centered, busy comparing him/herself with others, and live his/her live only on one’s own interest.

4.4 The mind of the superior man is conversant with righteousness; the mind of the mean man is conversant with gain.’

-> Having know the benefit of all, a superior man see what is right and what is wrong (towards the collective good); the mean man strives for gain regardless of morality and the collective.

7.6 The superior man is composed and at ease; the mean man is always nervous and distress.’

-> When one aligns his/her live to the collective good, he is at peace internally.  While when one is stuck in one’s self-interest and center, he/she is stuck in the nervousness of competition, and distress of attacks and revenge from others.

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Confucius introduced the concepts of Superior Man and Mean man.  Superior man is the ideal he calls us to follow, one who see and aligns one’s life towards the collective good; and the Mean man, the inherent animal and self-centered tendencies that focus on selfish gains from others and the world.  In these first three chapters, Confucius called us to see the collective good, aligned with the collective right, which leads to internal peace.  Next three chapters on Superior man and Mean to be continued next week.

Bilingual version of original text:

2.8 君子周而不比


-> 君子看到的大家的利益而向着它努力,小人喜欢比较,自我中心,繁忙的争取自己的利益,而看不到大家的情况。

4.4 君子喻於義


-> 在知道所有人的利益后,君子人看到什么是对与错(对集体利益);小人不理道德和集体利益,只求个人收益。

7.6 君子坦蕩蕩

子曰、君子坦蕩蕩、小人長戚戚 。


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