The source rests with the superior, the trivia with the inferior; the essential resides in the ruler, the details in his ministers. The blandishments of the three armies and the five weapons - these are the trivia of Virtue. The doling out of rewards and punishments, benefit and loss, the five penalties - these are the trivia of public instruction. Rites and laws, weights, measures, the careful comparison of forms and names - these are the trivia of good government. The tones of bell and drum, the posturings of feather and tassel - these are the trivia of music. Lamentation and coarse garments, the mourning periods of varying lengths - these are the trivia of grief. These five trivia must wait for the movement of pure spirit, for the vitality of the mind's art before they can command respect. The study of such trivia was known to antiquity but the men of old gave them no precedence.There IS a certain order to our universe, though I wouldn't define it as a hierarchy. As we view it, birth precedes life and life precedes death.
The ruler precedes, the minister follows; the father precedes, the son follows; the older brother precedes, the younger brother follows; the senior precedes, the junior follows; the man precedes, the woman follows; the husband precedes, the wife follows. Honor and lowliness, precedence and following are part of the workings of Heaven and earth, and from them the sage draws his model.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
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