Confucian confusion

子張問「崇德,辨惑。」子曰:「主忠信,徒義崇德也。愛之欲其生,惡之欲其死;既欲其生,又欲其死,是惑也!」誠不以富,亦祗以異。
Zizhang asked about the phrase “accumulate virtue, resolve confusion”. Confucius said: “Place loyalty and trust above everything and follow the path of righteousness to accumulate virtue. When you love someone, you want them to live; when you hate someone, you want them to die. But if you want someone to live and to die at the same time, that is confusion.”
It may not be just because she is wealthy,
It may also be out of a need for variety.

There’s certainly plenty of confusion in this passage, starting with the source of the quote that Zizhang asks Confucius about (崇德,辨惑/accumulate virtue, recognize confusion). The simple answer is that we don’t know.

We also have no idea why the two lines from Poem 188 of the Book of Songs are included at the end, though given that they comprise the words of a woman who is trying to figure out why her husband is thinking of taking a new wife they may just about make sense.

At least Confucius provides a clear definition of confusion in the most black and white terms possible. Assuming of course, you are of a murderous disposition.

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