Why David Cameron should read Confucius (Latinization of K’ung-fu-tze (Master King))

‘There are four things which the Master was set on eradicating [in himself]: A bias mind, arbitrary judgments, obstinacy, and self-centredness.’

‘A bad education breeds obedience. A good education exhibits a strong will, to overcome inhibitors and previous successors. Rotten wood is no good for carving.’

‘This swelling flood (of anarchy) spreading over the whole country – no one can change it. As for you, you put yourself under a leader who merely withdraws from the common ruck of men. You had much better put yourself under one who withdraws from the world altogether.’ – Chieh Ni

‘The governors of society should never need governing themselves…’ ‘if they be lovers of justice, then none of the common people can dare not to obey them. When a ruler is right in himself, things will get done without his giving orders; when he is not right in himself, he may give orders, but they will not be obeyed.’

The Master said ‘Do not hanker after quick results, nor visualize petty profits. If you do the first, you will not have any great influence. If you do the second, the important things will not get done.’

‘The Master said “I am a transmitter and not a creator. I believe in and have a passion for the ancients… in silence I get to know without being satiated: I go on teaching without being wearied. What more is to said of me? That I have not fully expounded what I have learnt, that I have been unable to visit just men of whom I have heard, that I have been unable to reform bad men of whom I have heard of”?

As a ruler, you ‘consume a center of hostility’, and ‘swallow your overwhelming sense of ineptibility.’

The seven causes of anxiety

  1. Bad city walls
  2. No allies
  3. Careless expenditure
  4. Incompetent officials
  5. Overconfidence of sovereign
  6. failure to recognize loyal officials
  7. crop failures