To be constrained in will, lofty in action, aloof from the world, apart from its customs, elevated in discourse, sullen and critical, indignation his whole concern - such is the life favored by the scholar in his mountain valley, the man who condemns the world, the worn and haggard one who means to end it all with a plunge into the deep. To discourse on benevolence, righteousness, loyalty, and good faith, to be courteous, temperate, modest, and deferential, moral training his whole concern - such is the life favored by the scholar who seeks to bring the world to order, the man who teaches and instructs, who at home and abroad lives for learning. To talk of great accomplishments, win a great name, define the etiquette of ruler and subject, regulate the position of superior and inferior, the ordering of the state his only concern - such is the life favored by the scholar of court and council, the man who would honor his sovereign and strengthen his country, the bringer of accomplishment, the annexer of territory. To repair to the thickets and ponds, living idly in the wilderness, angling for fish in solitary places, inaction his only concern - such is the life favored by the scholar of the rivers and seas, the man who withdraws from the world, the unhurried idler. To pant, to puff, to hail, to sip, to spit out the old breath and draw in the new, practicing bear-hangings and bird-stretchings, longevity his only concern - such is the life favored by the scholar who practices Induction, the man who nourishes his body, who hopes to live to be as old as P'eng-tsu.A theme that Scott addresses frequently -- one that I wholeheartedly concur with -- is that life, by its very nature, is messy. No matter how hard or diligently we try (and readers should know by now that autistic me often tries harder than most), we fail again and again when we vainly attempt to order life to fit our whims and preferences.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
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