"If I am walking with two other men,
each of them will serve as my teacher.
I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them,
and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself."
[Kung Fu-tse] (551-479 B.C.) Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher
Bookmark and Share  
Reader comments about this quote:
With this quote, Liberty Quotes is bringing forth my favorite catagory of quotes. Those that inspire development of the Higher Self.
 -- Me Again     
    Thank goodness for both the good and the bad where would we be with out them.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
    excellent concept
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    So, what defines good and bad? Are we all basically "good" or are we basically "bad"? One culture, group, religion, sect, creed, or individual will define different terms to good and bad-- So what then? My good is Waffler's evil, while my evil Waffler generally praises (sorry for pickin' on ya-- just for example sake). Are there any eternal/infinite absolutes whereby we may lay a "moral" judgment? Are ethics arbitrary? Society's views of good and evil derive from the evolution of religiosity within the group; the greatest of these being Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. China still says that it bases much of its political philosophy on Kung Fu-tse's teachings (even after Mao's redefinitions), but the rest of the world still looks at China as a human rights violator. Many of the "persecuted" of China actually stand up for Communism and their political regime, even though western civilization condemns the treatment of these citizens by a Communist lead tyranny. The perception of right and wrong is not quite so black and white as what we would wish. This statement, on its own, is arbitrary to what a "good" and "bad" man can associate to himself; it's what is known as a "philosophical Twinkie" (something that sounds, looks, and tastes good, but is completely void of any nutritional substance).
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
    Logan makes a good point. In the end, it is the individual that makes the judgement, right or wrong, for better or worse. And that is where the responsibility should lay. Conscience is indeed the guide of virtue. We may be told from the pulpit what is right and wrong, but in the end it is weighed in the human heart, is it not? And that is what guides a person, group, and nation. At least Confucius owns up to his responsibility with humility, rather than force his will upon others.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Logan and Archer you are missing the point - Confucius was referring to himself only. It is irrelevant if the thought is good or bad outside of him. The substance is there for those to grasp - it is always subjective, everything is. Twinkie or no Twinkie, what matters is in your heart, is it good or is it bad and that's all one can ever hope for. You can apply your logic, though misguided, to any subject - who is to say your love is good or bad or your ethics moral or immoral - Excellent quote.
     -- RobertSRQ     
    Robert, even on a personal level -- let's say for Confucius himself -- the perceived "good" and "bad" is arbitrary-- as you said, everything is always subjective. What is in a person's heart is also subjective -- who is to say what is in the heart is good or bad? When a lion kills its prey, do we ask "was his heart good or bad?" Hitler's personal intent (heart) of good and bad is different than another's good and bad. Hitler may choose that Jesus Christ's teachings are bad while Machiavelli's are good, or that Judaism maybe is the one true religion under Jehovah while Hinduism is bad -- and while he may be in the minority, the line is still arbitrary. Simply stating "good" and "bad" is rubbish unless terms of what is good and bad are defined. A general catch-all of good and bad is elementary; of course we should choose the good and reject the bad -- as a society we try to do this already (As I would say even the globalists that we often criticize on this blog operate on the best of intentions of doing "good" -- even though they are off base); but the real substance and wisdom is found in what we define as good and bad-- both for ourselves and what that means for the collective.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
    We may be missing the salient part of this saying. Most of us would try to correct the "bad" in the other guy as we often do on this site. Confucius however said he would analyse whether or not he had the same "bad" in himself and if so correct it. He was apparently not into criticizing the "bad" in the "bad" guy.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
    Deciding what is a good or bad point is often the trick. The value of cultural norms is that in five thousand years of civilization many people have thought about the questions of right, wrong, good, and evil before us. It may not be superficially obvious why some things are or are not in society, but there usually is a reason. When deciding what is a good point or not, consider your conscience first, then the culture of which you're a part, then the opinion of those people that you respect.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
    Libertarian thinking in its most basic form. Our rights and responsibility's end where the next persons begin. And the mutual respect required, (combined with laws of "justice") in a relationship of this nature cannot help but bring society to its most eloquent and prosperous form. Or maybe the Hillary's, Gore's and Bush's of the world really do know what's best for each and every one of us. No rights and no freedom....
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Sorry, logan, I just went back and saw your excellent reply - well done. Thanks, Robert P.s it's an intersting debate "The Good the Bad and the Ugly" have you read Cicero's "On the Good life"?
     -- RobertSRQ     
    Good for essays.
     -- Bob, Weston,FL     
    Rate this quote!
    How many stars?

    What do YOU think?
    Your name:
    Your town:

    More Quotations
    Get a Quote-A-Day! Free!
    Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box.
    RSS Subscribe
    Quotes & Quotations - Send This Quote to a Friend

    © 1998-2023 Liberty-Tree.ca