"The gentlemen of old attributed what success they had to the people and what failure they had to themselves, attributed what was upright to the people and what was askew to themselves. Therefore, if there was something wrong with the body of even a single being, they would retire and take the blame upon themselves. But that is not the way it is done today. They make things obscure and then blame people for not understanding; l they enlarge the difficulties and then punish people for not being able to cope with them; they pile on responsibilities and then penalize people for not being able to fulfill them; they make the journey longer and then chastise people for not reaching the end of it. When the knowledge and strength of the people are exhausted, they will begin to piece them out with artifice, and when day by day the amount of artifice in the world increases, how can men keep from resorting to artifice? A lack of strength invites artifice, a lack of knowledge invites deceit, a lack of goods invites theft. But these thefts and robberies - who in fact deserves the blame for them?"The signs of a quality leader are those described above. Success is bestowed on the group collectively, while mistakes are accepted voluntarily by the head honcho. Of course, as the author above notes, we tend to do it the other way around!
~ Burton Watson translation ~
To view the Index page for this series, go here.