Endless worries


Confucius said: “Failure to nurture my virtue, failure to discuss what I have learned, failure to follow what I know to be right, and failure to correct my faults: these are the worries that plague me.”

There’s an intensity to these words that sounds almost hollow in an age when bureaucrats glibly talk about “lessons learned” from one fiasco before promptly moving on to preside over another, and all badly-behaving celebrities and athletes have to do in order to achieve absolution is to make a ritual, preferably tear-filled, apology on TV or the Internet.

Judging by the small number of disciples he attracted during his lifetime, Confucius must have scared off most of his contemporaries too with his intensity. Even if we know the right path, not many of us have the strength to do what is necessary to actually follow it.

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