Sunday, December 03, 2006

Why Speak of Profit? I give you benevolence and righteousness.

Mencius: 1A:1

1. Mencius went to see king Hûi of Liang.

2. The king said, 'Venerable sir, since you have not thought it far to come from such a long distance, you must have some good advice to profit my kingdom.'

3. Mencius replied, 'Why must your Majesty use that word "profit?" My advice has only to do with benevolence and righteousness.'

4. 'If your Majesty say, "What will profit my kingdom?"
the ministers will say, "What will profit our families?"
and the people will say, "What will profit me?"
In such a case, from top to bottom, everyone will try to snatch this profit from each other, and the kingdom will be endangered.

In a kingdom of ten thousand chariots, the murderer of his sovereign shall be the family of a thousand chariots. In a kingdom of a thousand chariots, the murderer of his prince shall be the family of a hundred chariots. To have a thousand in ten thousand, and a hundred in a thousand, is still a large allotment, but if righteousness be put last, and profit be put first, people will not be satisfied without snatching all for themselves.

5. 'There never has been a benevolent man who abandoned his parents. There never has been a righteous man who made his sovereign an after thought.

6. 'Let your Majesty say, "Benevolence and righteousness are what matter most." Why must you use that word -- "profit?"'

When the emphasis is profit, people will be selfish and greedy and only think of themselves--Scrooge. When the emphasis is benevolence and righteousness, people will be caring and generous and work for the well-being of all--Mr. Fezziwig.