After a little while, Hsu Wu-kuei said, "Let me try telling you about the way I judge dogs. A dog of the lowest quality thinks only of catching its fill of prey -- that is, it has the nature of a wildcat. One of middling quality seems always to be looking up at the sun. But one of the highest quality acts as though it had lost its own identity. And I'm even better at judging horses than I am at judging dogs. When I judge a horse, if he can gallop as straight as a plumb line, arc as neat as a curve, turn as square as a T square, and round as true as a compass, then I'd say he was a horse for the kingdom to boast of. But not a horse for the whole world to boast of. A horse the whole world can boast of -- his talents are already complete. He seems dazed, he seems lost, he seems to have become unaware of his own identity, and in this way he overtakes, passes, and leaves the others behind in the dust. You can't tell where he's gone to!"Look, we all judge things and others. The individual who does not know how to discriminate between, say, safe and dangerous would tend to lead a very short life. Where we get into trouble is that we tend to judge through the lens of the ego and the ego has a way of distorting our judgments.
Marquis Wu, greatly pleased, burst out laughing.
~ Burton Watson translation ~
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