Tag Archives: Ji Jangzi

Wind and grass

Ji Kangzi asked Confucius about governance, saying: “What would you think if I were to execute people who don’t follow the Way in order to help the people who do follow the Way?” Confucius replied: “You are here to govern; what need is there to execute people? If you desire goodness, the people will be good. A leader’s virtue is like the wind; the virtue of the common people is like the grass. When the wind blows over the grass it will surely bend.”

The “wind and grass” metaphor that Confucius finishes this passage with was seized upon by generation after generation of the ruling classes in China to justify their hold on power: the duty of the people was simply to bend to their will. Continue reading Wind and grass