Reflections on Life: A Man of Insight Must Be Moral and Resolute

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Nowadays, schools are teaching more technical knowledge but less morality. However, it is believed that a person who does not have a strong will and a high standard of morality is unable to reach a higher attainment, no matter how intelligent he is. People who are broad minded and self-disciplined are more likely to bear the heavy responsibilities that benefit the whole society.

Zeng Zi was a sage in ancient China. He once remarked that a man of insight must be equipped with a high level of morality. Such a person must be compassionate, have lofty goals, be resolute and steadfast in order to undertake the major responsibilities that benefit society. Without obtaining a high level of morality, it is impossible for him to fulfill these responsibilities. He would withdraw half way and might give up his responsibilities when encountering hardship.

Zeng Zi's famous remark later became an idiom: Everyone has a duty to his nation. In Chinese culture, it means that one must cultivate his virtue and maintain the well-being of society when he is poor and lowly, while one must look after and contribute to the society when he is wealthy and in the upper class.

The idiom later became a moral principle that greatly influenced the Chinese people throughout history.

During ancient times in China, many sages followed this principle no matter if they were rich and highly educated or poor and lowly. They always placed the matter of their nation as paramount over their personal matters. These sages were always the first ones to bear the hardships and the last ones to enjoy comforts. In Chinese history, there are many stories about how they were concerned about the welfare of the nation, even when some of them were still living in hardships. Many sages made the greatest contributions toward the prosperity of society without selfishness. Thus, a nation can become developed and be saved from any disasters.

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