Confucius Analects – careful speech and conduct
2.12 Careful speech and action
The Master said, ‘Hear much and put aside the points of which you stand in doubt, while you speak cautiously at the same time of the others:– then you will afford few occasions for blame. See much and put aside the things which seem perilous, while you are cautious at the same time in carrying the others into practice:– then you will have few occasions for repentance.
5.3 Think twice before acting
Ji Wen [Chi Wan] thought thrice, and then acted. When the Master was informed of it, he said, ‘Twice may do.’
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In this information world, we hear and see alot everyday. Market studies found that, in a single trip, on average we receive 1000+ messages through various forms of media, such as from newspapers, mails, television, radio, musics, movies, and various forms of commercial advertisements. Apart from the above, we also interact with family members, schoolmates, colleagues, business partners, friends, and other people in our life: conscious and unconscious, feelings thinkings and actions. How do we process all these information? How should we, with our limited minds, differentiate, filter, and contextualize them?
Laozi recommends bypassing the self-centered mind all together, and listen, so we can be at one with the universal wisdom and flow with it for understanding and contextualization. Confucius, speaking from a personal perspective, recommends caution. When we are not sure of something, whether from hearing or seeing, we accept those that we are sure, and put aside those we are not sure until it becomes clear. Therefore, Confucius recommend to think twice before speaking and acting. When we are cautious, then we are less prone to blame and repent (for acting on questionable message/information).