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Daoism -> Zhuangzi -> Inner Chapters -> Man in the World, Associated with other Men -> 3

葉公子高使Zi Gao, duke of She, being about to proceed on a mission to Qi,
仲尼asked Zhongni, saying,
使The king is sending me, Zhu Liang, on a mission which is very important.
使Qi will probably treat me as his commissioner with great respect, but it will not be in a hurry (to attend to the business).
Even an ordinary man cannot be readily moved (to action),
諸侯 and how much less the prince of a state!
I am very full of apprehension.
You, Sir, once said to me
that of all things, great or small,
there were few which, if not conducted in the proper way, could be brought to a happy conclusion;
that, if the thing were not successful,
there was sure to be the evil of being dealt with after the manner of men;
that, if it were successful,
there was sure to be the evil of constant anxiety;
。』and that, whether it succeeded or not, it was only the virtuous man who could secure its not being followed by evil.
In my diet
I take what is coarse, and do not seek delicacies
- a man whose cookery does not require him to be using cooling drinks.
This morning I received my charge, and in the evening I am drinking iced water;
am I not feeling the internal heat (and discomfort)?
Such is my state before I have actually engaged in the affair;
I am already suffering from conflicting anxieties.
And if the thing do not succeed,
(the king) is sure to deal with me after the manner of men.
The evil is twofold;
as a minister, I am not able to bear the burden (of the mission).
!」Can you, Sir, tell me something (to help me in the case)?'
仲尼Zhongni replied,
天下 'In all things under heaven there are two great cautionary considerations:
the one is the requirement implanted (in the nature);
the other is the conviction of what is right.
The love of a son for his parents
is the implanted requirement,
and can never be separated from his heart;
the service of his ruler by a minister
is what is right,
and from its obligation there is no escaping anywhere between heaven and earth.
These are what are called the great cautionary considerations.
Therefore a son finds his rest in serving his parents without reference to or choice of place;
and this is the height of filial duty.
In the same way a subject finds his rest in serving his ruler,
without reference to or choice of the business;
and this is the fullest discharge of loyalty.
When men are simply obeying (the dictates of) their hearts,
the considerations of grief and joy are not readily set before them.
They know that there is no alternative to their acting as they do, and rest in it as what is appointed;
and this is the highest achievement of virtue.
He who is in the position of a minister or of a son
has indeed to do what he cannot but do.
Occupied with the details of the business (in hand), and forgetful of his own person,
what leisure has he to think of his pleasure in living or his dislike of death?
You, my master, may well proceed on your mission.
But let me repeat to you what I have heard:
In all intercourse (between states),
if they are near to each other, there should be mutual friendliness, verified by deeds;
if they are far apart, there must be sincere adherence to truth in their messages.
Those messages will be transmitted by internuncios.
But to convey messages which express the complacence or the dissatisfaction of the two parties
天下 is the most difficult thing in the world.
If they be those of mutual complacence, there is sure to be an overflow of expressions of satisfaction;
if of mutual dissatisfaction, an overflow of expressions of dislike.
But all extravagance leads to reckless language,
and such language fails to command belief.
When this distrust arises, woe to the internuncio!
Hence the Rules for Speech say,
"Transmit the message exactly as it stands;
do not transmit it with any overflow of language;
。』 so is (the internuncio) likely to keep himself whole."
Moreover, skilful wrestlers
begin with open trials of strength,
but always end with masked attempts (to gain the victory);
as their excitement grows excessive, they display much wonderful dexterity.
Parties drinking according to the rules
at first observe good order,
but always end with disorder;
as their excitement grows excessive, their fun becomes uproarious.
In all things it is so.
People are at first sincere,
but always end with becoming rude;
at the commencement things are treated as trivial,
but as the end draws near, they assume great proportions.
Words are (like) the waves acted on by the wind;
the real point of the matters (discussed by them) is lost.
The wind and waves are easily set in motion;
the success of the matter of which the real point is lost is easily put in peril.
忿Hence quarrels are occasioned by nothing so much as by artful words and one-sided speeches.
The breath comes angrily, as when a beast, driven to death,
wildly bellows forth its rage.
On this animosities arise on both sides.
Hasty examination (of the case) eagerly proceeds,
and revengeful thoughts arise in their minds;
they do not know how.
Since they do not know how such thoughts arise,
who knows how they will end?
Hence the Rules for Speech say,
"Let not an internuncius depart from his instructions.
。』 Let him not urge on a settlement.
If he go beyond the regular rules,
he will complicate matters.
Departing from his instructions and urging on a settlement imperils negotiations.
A good settlement is proved by its lasting long,
and a bad settlement cannot be altered
- ought he not to be careful?"
Further still, let your mind find its enjoyment in the circumstances of your position;
nourish the central course which you pursue, by a reference to your unavoidable obligations.
This is the highest object for you to pursue;
what else can you do to fulfil the charge (of your father and ruler).
The best thing you can do is to be prepared to sacrifice your life;
。」 and this is the most difficult thing to do.'

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