Confucius Analects – Observing a person
15.8 Superior man is impartial, does not judge people merely by their speech or reputation
The Master said, ‘The superior man does not promote a man simply on account of his words, nor does he put aside good words because of the man.’
-> Don’t promote a man just because of what he/she says, nor denouncement completely the speeches of a man because of his poor reputation.
1.1 Careful with fine words and insinuating appearance
The Master said, ‘Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.’
-> Look at the TV commercials, all looks nice and sounds good. How often do the actual products match?
2.5 Observing a man
The Master said, ‘See what a man does. Observe his motives. Examine in where he abides. How can a man conceal his character?
-> To supplement the limitation of our superficial reliance on speeches and sight, which could be trained and deceiving, observe a man all-roundly before making a judgement.
* * *
Seek to look beyond words. Beautiful words and logical speeches are appealing, but could also be deceiving. Therefore Confucius would not look highly of a man just because of his/her speeches, nor would he ignore completely what a person has to say just because he/she had been labelled ‘bad’. Look at a person all-roundly, at his public and private life, his family, attitude, behaviors, in different situations, with different people, to have a good picture who the person is. This helps us to understand others, and understand ourselves.
When looking at our own self. Observe how your self appears and behaves in different situations. How consistent is your self or selves? Which self is you? And more ultimately, what are you?