The smartest and the stupidest

子曰:「唯上知與下愚不移。」
Confucius said: “Only the smartest and the stupidest people never change.”

Presumably they “smartest” people Confucius is referring to are ones like his favorite disciple Yan Hui. Because they were born with innate knowledge and understanding, they had no need to change.

As for the “stupidest” people, they are most likely the “common people” in Chapter IX Book 16 “who go through the trials and tribulations of life without ever learning anything.”

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