Steadfast in virtue

子曰:「南人有言曰:『人而無恒,不可以作巫醫。』善夫!『不恒其德,或承之羞。』」子曰:「不占而已矣。」
Confucius said: “Southerners have a saying: ‘A man who isn’t steadfast isn’t fit to be a shaman.’ This is so true! The Book of Changes says, ‘if you’re not steadfast in virtue, you will suffer disgrace.’” Confucius added: “Not even a divination will be of any use for a person like that.”

This is, shall we say, a rather cryptic passage that is open to multiple interpretations. It also features one of the one of the very few references to the Book of Changes that can be found in the Analects in the form of a quote from Hexagram 32 (constancy or steadfastness).

The point of Confucius’s final comment seems to be that the oracle will only be of help to you if you are genuine in your desire to follow the right path of virtue. If you are just looking to have your fortune told it will provide no assistance to you at all.

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