Tough love

子曰:「愛之,能勿勞乎?忠焉,能勿誨乎?」
Confucius said: “Can you truly love someone if you are not strict with them? How can you be truly loyal to someone if you refrain from admonishing them?”

Confucius doesn’t talk about love in the romantic sense at all in the Analects. Even when he talks about the family, his focus is on duty and mutual obligations.

Confucius did have a wife, but his marriage doesn’t seem to have been a close one given his long absences from home. About the only thing we know about her is that she was called Qiguan Shi (亓官氏).

He also had a son called Kong Li (孔鲤) as well (who was also known as Bo Yu). Confucius was not particularly close to him either, and he died before his father at the age of fifty.

Am I the only one who senses a pattern here? Perhaps it should come as no surprise that there isn’t a single mention of the word happiness throughout the Analects.

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