Saturday, 9 February 2008

Rectifying names


Zilu asked : « if the Lord of Wei invited you to govern, what would you do first?” Confucius answered : “I would correct the language, undoubtedly!” Zilu said : “What? You are rambling ! Why correct it?” Confucius say: “You are a peasant, Zilu ! When a gentlemen does not know something, he cannot speak of it. If the language is incorrect, speech cannot follow. If speech does not follow, affairs cannot succeed. If affairs do not succeed, music and rites cannot flourish. If music and rites do not flourish, laws and punishments miss their goal. If laws and punishments miss their goal, the people doesn’t know where to stand. Therefore, a gentleman makes sure that his language can turn into speech, and that his speech can turn into acts. When it comes to speech, a gentleman leaves nothing to chance.”

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