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Xun Zi Quotes


A Chinese Confucian philosopher.
(c. 310 BC - 237 BC)

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A person is born with a liking for profit.
 

A person is born with desires of the eyes and ears, and a liking for beautiful sights and sounds. If he gives way to them, they will lead him to immorality and lack of restriction, and any ritual principles and propriety will be abandoned.
 

A person is born with feelings of envy and hate. If he gives way to them, they will lead him to violence and crime, and any sense of loyalty and good faith will be abandoned.
 

An insolent disregard for one's own person creates therewith calamity and misfortune.
 

Human nature is evil, and goodness is caused by intentional activity. A person is born with a liking for profit. If he gives way to this, it will lead him to quarrels and conflicts, and any [acquired] sense of courtesy and humility will be abandoned. A person is born with feelings of envy and hate. If he gives way to them, they will lead him to violence and crime, and any [acquired] sense of loyalty and good faith will be abandoned. A person is born with desires of the eyes and ears, and a liking for beautiful sights and sounds. If he gives way to them, they will lead him to immorality and lack of restriction, and any [acquired] ritual principles and propriety will be abandoned. Thus, anybody who follows this nature and gives way its states will be led into quarrels and conflicts, and go against the conventions and rules of society, and will end up a criminal. Therefore, a person should first be changed by a teacher's instructions, and guided by principles of ritual. Only then can he observe the rules of cour
[Human Nature]
 

Human nature is such that people are born with a love of profit If they follow these inclinations, they will struggle and snatch from each other, and inclinations to defer or yield will die.
[Human Nature]
 

Human nature is what Heaven supplies.
[Human Nature]
 

Human nature refers to what is in people but which they cannot study or work at achieving.
[Human Nature]
 

I once tried standing up on my toes to see far out in the distance, but I found that I could see much farther by climbing to a high place.
 

I once tried thinking for an entire day, but I found it less valuable than one moment of study. I once tried standing up on my toes to see far out in the distance, but I found that I could see much farther by climbing to a high place.
 

If knowledge and foresight are too penetrating and deep, unify them with ease and sincerity.
 

If the blood humor is too strong and robust, calm it with balance and harmony.
 

If the gentleman has ability, he is magnanimous, generous, tolerant, and straightforward, through which he opens the way to instruct others.
 

If the impulse to daring and bravery is too fierce and violent, stay it with guidance and instruction.
 

If the quickness of the mind and the fluency of the tongue are too punctilious and sharp, moderate them in your activity and rest.
 

If what the heart approves conforms to proper patterns, then even if one's desires are many, what harm would they be to good order?
 

In antiquity the sage kings recognized that men's nature is bad and that their tendencies were not being corrected and their lawlessness controlled.
 

In order to properly understand the big picture, everyone should fear becoming mentally clouded and obsessed with one small section of truth.
 

Mencius said that human nature is good. I disagree with that.
 

Music is a fantastic peacekeeper of the world, it is integral to harmony, and it is a required fundamental of human emotion.
[Music]
 


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