Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Though there should be tactics in war, courage is fundamental. Though there should be ceremonies for mourning, grief is essential. Though a scholar should be learned, he must first of all exhibit good conduct. When the seeds are not well sown, there is no use in laboring for a good harvest. When the people near-by are not befriended there is no use of endeavoring to attract those at a distance. When one's relatives are not submissive, there is no use in endeavoring to establish contacts with the outside world. When one cannot accomplish a single task from beginning to end. there is no use of attempting many things. And when one is ignorant of a commonplace that is pointed out, there is no use of pursuing wide knowledge. Therefore, when the early kings administered the empire, they would investigate what was within reach and attract those at a distance. Investigation of a locality by the superior men means its orderly government. When they discovered misconduct or depravity, they corrected themselves. Thus all complaints disappeared and conduct became regulated (by itself). When the superior men do not listen to treacherous words or utter any threatening sound, or entertain any idea of injuring somebody, then even if there were underhanded persons they would lose support. Therefore the superior men are daily more energetic in performing their duty, but weaker in their desires, and more stately in their appearance. The way of the superior man makes the individual incorruptible in poverty and righteous when wealthy; it makes him love the living and mourn the dead. These four qualities of conduct cannot be hypocritically embodied in one's personality. There is nothing in his mind that goes beyond love; there is nothing in his behavior that goes beyond respectfulness, and there is nothing from his mouth that goes beyond gentility. When one pursues such a way until it pervades his four limbs and permeates his flesh and skin, and until he becomes white-haired and bald-headed without ceasing, one is truly a sage. His wisdom will not be far-reaching whose purpose is not firm. His action will not be effective whose promises are not kept. He who will not share his possessions with others is not worthy to be a friend. And he who does not stand firm on principles and has neither wide knowledge nor penetrating judgment, is not worthy to be a companion. Just as a weak trunk will have but small branches, so, mere bravery without cultivation will result in dissipation. And just as a dirty source will issue in an impure stream, so unfaithful conduct will unfavorably affect one's fame. For, fame does not spring up out of nothing, nor does praise grow by itself. Fame follows upon success and is not obtainable by hypocrisy. He will not be listened to who talks much but is slow in action, even though he is discerning. He will not accomplish anything, who is capable but likes to boast of his feats, even though he drudges. The wise discerns all in his mind but speaks simply, and he is capable but does not boast of his deeds. And, so. his name is exalted the world over. In speech, not quantity but ingenuity, not eloquence but insight, should be cultivated. If one is not wise and without insight, breeding only dissipation in one's personality, this is just the contrary of what should be cultivated. Any virtue that does not spring from the heart will not remain and any (result of) action that is not aimed at by one's self will not stay. There is no short cut to fame and there is no trick to praise. The superior man regards his body but as the vehicle for his character. None who places much importance on personal gains but lightly sacrifices his fame has ever become a gentleman in the world.
Although fear is one of the crucial evolutionary mechanisms for individual survival, in certain situations psychologically normal humans can behave without feeling fear, with a total neglect of potentially lethal risk. A classical situation is when a child is attacked by a predatory animal (or an armed human), and a parent starts an all-out fight against the much stronger attacker, totally neglecting his or her personal safety. This mechanism is present among many species, most notably when a mother behaves fearlessly towards much stronger opposition in order to save her offspring. Ethnomusicologist Joseph Jordania uses the term aphobia for the temporary loss of fear, induced by the release of neurochemicals in the brain which leads to a specificaltered state of consciousness. Jordania calls this state the battle trance. According to him, aphobia supersedes the individual's instinctive fear for selfish survival and well-being, when more evolutionarily important subjects than that individual's own life are in danger. These can be the life of a child, family members, or members of a soldier's unit. Sometimes saving unknown humans or animals can also trigger the temporary loss of fear. Strong religious feelings can also induce aphobia (for example, when martyrs sacrifice themselves without the feeling of fear or pain).Jordania suggested that battle trance and associated loss of fear and pain (known as analgesia) were designed in the course of evolution by forces of natural selection as a survival mechanism, as individual hominids were too weak to stand against the formidable African ground predators after they descended from the relatively safe trees to the ground. The state of battle trance, which can be induced by rhythmic drumming, singing, dancing, body painting, and the use of certain substances, allowed them to lose their individuality, obtain collective identity, and to fight together as a unit without feeling fear and pain, neglecting their personal safety for the evolutionarily more important reason. Unlike the feel of pain, which can be fully absent in some human conditions, there is no such condition as congenital absence of fear (although psychopaths are known to have a much lessened feeling of fear).