Harmony versus conformity

子曰:「君子和而不同,小人同而不和。」
Confucius said: “A leader strives for harmony but not conformity. A petty person strives for conformity but not harmony.”

The Analects is full of pithy comparisons between the behavior of a leader (君子/jūnzǐ) and a petty person (小人/xiǎorén). This is definitely up there among the best ones.

A leader embraces differences in opinion, while a petty person demands that everyone thinks the same. Achieving harmony is a lot more difficult than imposing conformity, but the long-term results are far more positive and lasting.

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