Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Great Learning - The Testament of Confucious, 4 - 6


4. Wanting equilibrium in the empire, that light which comes from looking straight into her and acting, they first set up good government in their own states.

Wanting good government in their states, they first established order in their own families; wanting order in the home, they first disciplined themselves; desiring self-discipline, they rectified their own hearts; and wanting to rectify their hearts, they sought verbal definitions of their inarticulate thoughts (the tones given off by the heart); wishing to obtain precise verbal definitions, they set to extend their knowledge to the utmost. This completion of knowledge is rooted in sorting things into organic categories. 

When things had been classified in organic categories, knowledge moved toward fulfillment; given the extreme knowable points, the inarticulate thoughts were defined with precision (the sun’s lance coming to rest on the precise spot verbally).
Having obtained this precise verbal definition (aliter, this sincerity), they then stabilized their hearts, they disciplined themselves; having obtained self-discipline, they set their own houses in order; having order in their own homes, they brought good government to their own states; and when their states were well governed, the empire was brought into equilibrium.

5. From the Emperor, Son of Heaven, down to the common man, singly and all together, this self-discipline is the root.

6. If the root be in confusion, nothing will be well governed. The solid cannot be swept away as trivial, nor can trash be established as solid. It just doesn’t happen.

Ezra Pound translation


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