14) The Superior man understands what is right. The Inferior man understands what will sell.
Let’s have a quick look at this one – it’s attributed to Confucius from the Analects, so there’s not much more in the way history that I need to cover.
What I find interesting with this particular statement is that it fits, in my opinion, even more in today’s society than the time in which it was stated. Remember that Confucius is from the late 6th/early 5th century – although mercantilism was pretty entrenched in China during these times, it was by no means anywhere near the level that Capitalism and Globalization has brought to the world.
The more I think about this particular passage, the more I realize that our Western ideas of what is “right” are a little skewed – we focus on the commercial, the spotlight, and the resale value. We miss the moral of what is right so often that, when we see it, it’s almost a miracle.
As Martial Artists, I believe that we should hold ourselves to higher standards. When money makes decisions, the humanity is lost – and as Martial Artists, we learn not only how to defend ourselves, but others as well. This does not stop in the physical arena, but extends to the social arena in exercising pragmatism in the realms of ethics and morality.
Know what is right and be willing to stand up for it. If you only understand what will sell, it is likely that everything about you is for sale…