Confucius Analects – Superior Man vs. Mean Man (2)
12.6 The superior man seeks to menifest the admirable qualities of men, and does not seek to manifest their bad qualities. The mean man does the opposite of this.
-> Everyone has strength and weakness. When we facilitates our goods and others’ goods, good is strengthened. When we facilitates our bads and other’ bads (e.g. fuel hatred, laugh at misfortune, blame others), we are mean to others and to our own selves.
13.3 The superior man maintains harmony in diversity; the mean man are similar in disharmony.
-> Great leaders embrace and allow for diversity. Chinese says “A prime minister heart is often so huge that one can row a boat within”. Confucius also recommends the cultivation of understanding and acceptance despite of difference. Even though others are different than our own, our heart is big enough to accommodate them, and not attempt to reject, attack, and eliminate, for if we do so (reject and attack), we would become Mean Man in aligning the bads. The mean man, on the other hand, looks all simiilar being drawn together by benefits and gain. See how often criminal form a gang, and after the crime attack each other to further their selfish gains.
13.4 The superior man has a dignified ease without pride. The mean man has pride without a dignified ease.
-> Dignified people is confident, self-sustaining, and is easy to be with, as they know, accept and respect themselves and others. Prideful people need to constantly be “higher” and “better” than others to sustain its pridefulness, and therefore is demanding to themselves and to others.
* * *
In these 3 chapters, Confucius further described the ideal Superior Man to be one who facilitates goods, allow for diversity, and is dignified and at ease with others. This is in contrast with the animalistic Mean Man, who delights in one’s and other’s bad, single minded in selfish gain, and driven be pride. Which of these qualities do you have? Which direction would you like to go?