The virtuous and the good

子曰:「有德者必有言,有言者不必有德。仁者必有勇,勇者不必有仁。」
Confucius said: “The virtuous have a lot to teach others; but people who have a lot to teach others are not necessarily virtuous. The good are always brave; but the brave are not necessarily good.”

Confucius had a well-justified suspicion of people who talked the talk but didn’t necessarily walk the walk. He also expressed concerns about how individual virtues could become vices if they were not kept in balance by other qualities. Bravery, for example, can quickly turn into rashness or worse if it is not grounded in goodness.

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