Those whose character is mean and vicious will rouse others to animosity against them.
In antiquity the sage kings recognized that men's nature is bad and that their tendencies were not being corrected and their lawlessness controlled.
When a man sees something desirable, he must reflect on the fact that with time it could come to involve what is detestable. When he sees something that is beneficial, he should reflect that sooner or later it, too, could come to involve harm.
In order to properly understand the big picture, everyone should fear becoming mentally clouded and obsessed with one small section of truth.
The petty man is eager to make boasts, yet desires that others should believe in him. He enthusiastically engages in deception, yet wants others to have affection for him. He conducts himself like an animal, yet wants others to think well of him.
If the impulse to daring and bravery is too fierce and violent, stay it with guidance and instruction.
Quarreling over food and drink, having neither scruples nor shame, not knowing right from wrong, not trying to avoid death or injury, not fearful of greater strength or of greater numbers, greedily aware only of food and drink - such is the bravery of the dog and boar.
Thus, that one can find no place to walk through the breadth of the earth is not because the earth is not tranquil but because the danger to every step of the traveler lies generally with words.
Human nature and deliberate effort must unite, and then the reputation of the sage and the work of unifying all under Heaven are thereupon brought to completion.
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 courtesy and humility, obey the conventions and rules of society, and achieve order.
Since the nature of people is bad, to become corrected they must be taught by teachers and to be orderly they must acquire ritual and moral principles.
When people lack teachers, their tendencies are not corrected; when they do not have ritual and moral principles, then their lawlessness is not controlled.
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.
When you locate good in yourself, approve of it with determination. When you locate evil in yourself, despise it as something detestable.
I say that human nature is the original beginning and the raw material, and deliberate effort is what makes it patterned, ordered, and exalted.
When you concentrate on agriculture and industry and are frugal in expenditures, Heaven cannot impoverish your state.
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 the quickness of the mind and the fluency of the tongue are too punctilious and sharp, moderate them in your activity and rest.
If knowledge and foresight are too penetrating and deep, unify them with ease and sincerity.