All the threes

Confucius said: “Three kinds of friends are beneficial to you; three kinds of friends are harmful to you. Friends who are straightforward, sincere, and wise are beneficial. Friends who are devious, insincere, and superficial are harmful.”

Confucius said: “Three kinds of pleasure are beneficial to you; three kinds of pleasure are harmful to you. The pleasure of performing the rites and music properly, the pleasure of praising the qualities of other people, and the pleasure of having many wise friends; these are all beneficial. The pleasure of wild extravagance, the pleasure of idle wandering, the pleasure of lavish feasting; these are all harmful.”

These two passages are very formulaic with their forced symmetry, but useful advice nonetheless: choose your friends wisely and enjoy simple and fulfilling pleasures rather than extravagant and empty ones.

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