Xun Zi or Hsün Tzu was a Chinese Confucian philosopher who lived during the Warring States Period and contributed to one of the Hundred Schools of Thought. Xun Zi believed man’s inborn tendencies need to be curbed through education and ritual, counter to Mencius’s view that man is innately good. He believed that ethical norms had been invented to rectify mankind.
Educated in the state of Qi, Xun Zi was associated with the Confucian school, but his philosophy has a pragmatic flavour compared to Confucian optimism. Some scholars attribute it to the divisive times.
Xun Zi was one of the most sophisticated thinkers of his time.
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Some quotes from Xun Zi
A person is born with desires of the eyes and ears, and a liking for beautiful sights and sounds. If he gives way to them, they will lead him to immorality and lack of restriction, and any ritual principles and propriety will be abandoned.
A person is born with feelings of envy and hate. If he gives way to them, they will lead him to violence and crime, and any sense of loyalty and good faith will be abandoned.
Human nature is such that people are born with a love of profit. If they follow these inclinations, they will struggle and snatch from each other, and inclinations to defer or yield will die.
If the gentleman has ability, he is magnanimous, generous, tolerant, and straightforward, through which he opens the way to instruct others.
If what the heart approves conforms to proper patterns, then even if one's desires are many, what harm would they be to good order?
In order to properly understand the big picture, everyone should fear becoming mentally clouded and obsessed with one small section of truth.
I once tried standing up on my toes to see far out in the distance, but I found that I could see much farther by climbing to a high place.
If the quickness of the mind and the fluency of the tongue are too punctilious and sharp, moderate them in your activity and rest.
Music is a fantastic peacekeeper of the world, it is integral to harmony, and it is a required fundamental of human emotion
If the impulse to daring and bravery is too fierce and violent, stay it with guidance and instruction.
I once tried thinking for an entire day, but I found it less valuable than one moment of study.
Human nature is evil, and goodness is caused by intentional activity.