A horse to water

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子曰:「民可使由之,不可使知之。」
Confucius said: “The common people can be made to follow the Way, but they cannot be made to understand it.”

In other words, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

Some modern commentators have found it difficult to come to terms with Confucius’s elitist attitude here. His opinion of the common people doesn’t quite fit with his belief in universal education.

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