If you reach the age of forty and….

子曰:「年四十而見惡焉,其終也已。」
Confucius said: “If you reach the age of forty and are still disdained by others it’s all over for you.”

This passage has a similar theme to Chapter XXIII of Book 9 of the Analects, in which Confucius points out that “if a man reaches the age of forty or fifty and has not made a name for himself, he is no longer worthy of reverence.”

There’s a chance, too, that Confucius is lamenting his own failure to achieve a high official position by the age of forty and the bleak future that awaits him.

On this rather ambiguous note, Book 17 of the Analects comes to an end.

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