Apr 03

Kung Fu Exercise Book #10

10) The great man does not lose his child’s heart.

Out of all of these proverbs and statements, this is one of my favourites.  When read out loud, there are two meanings that immediately pop into my head – That a great man does not lose the love of his children, but also that they do not lose the innocence of their youth.

Remember what I spoke about in KFEB #9 regarding the fundamental Confucian belief that human nature is inherently good, and that children are inherently innocent, etc?  Well, Mencius seems to have a double feature here – this quote is also attributed to him…

It is this fundamental ideal that permeates through both interpretations of the quote – A child is inherently good, and if you lose their heart it is probably because the “great man” has fallen short of this ideal and has been less than great… and/or caused enough harm that corrupts the child to the evils of the world…

On the other hand – If you grow old and let the evils of the world steal your goodness, and then you have lost the thing that ties you to your humanity…

Just a short one, and food for thought.

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