A careful balance


Ran Yong asked about Zisang Bozi. Confucius said: “He has a simple approach. That makes him acceptable.” Ran Yong said: “Taking a sophisticated approach to your duties while implementing simple measures: is this not the right spirit in which to govern the people? But taking a simple approach to your duties while implementing simple measures: isn’t this going too far?” Confucius said: “That is correct.”

Robustness is a prized yet rare quality among politicians. That is why Confucius says that Zisang Bozi is “acceptable” for high office.

However, as Ran Yong points out in his response, even if you take a robust approach to policy implementation you still need to take a sophisticated one towards its formulation.

The identity of Zisang Bozi is unknown. Some commentators suggest he was a Daoist sage, but there is no evidence to support this claim.

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