Fan Chi asked about goodness. Confucius said: “Love all people.” He then asked about wisdom. Confucius said: “Know all people.” Fan Chi didn’t understand. Confucius said: “Raise the straight and place them above the crooked, so that they can straighten the crooked.” Fan Chi left. When he met Zixia he asked: “A short while ago when I saw Confucius I asked him about wisdom. He said: ‘Raise the straight and place them above the crooked, so that they may straighten the crooked.’ What does this mean?” Zixia said: “These are rich words indeed! When Shun ruled the world and was choosing from among the masses, he selected Gaoyao and those without goodness disappeared. When Tang ruled the world and was choosing from among the masses, he selected Yi Yin and those without goodness disappeared.”
The Emperor Shun (舜) was one of the legendary sage kings that ruled China in the dawn of its history during the 23rd or 22nd centuries BC. Gaoyao (皋陶) was a member of the emperor’s court and was said to have been responsible for judicial affairs and music.
Tang (湯) was the founder of the Shang Dynasty (1600 BCE – 1046 BCE); Yi Yin (伊尹) was his principal aide.