i humbly pray that the ruler will
purify his heart,
minimize his desires,
restrain himself and love the common people, convey respect to the former ruler,
spread humaneness through the land,
promote conscientious individualists in order to get wise and good people
into positions of responsibility, and throw out traitors and calumniators
in order to make the manners of the people more substantial.[pg36,pp4]
to his nephew he wrote;
aspirations should remain lofty and far-sighted.
detach from emotions and desires; get rid of any fixations. elevate subtle feelings to presence of mind and sympathetic sense.
be patient in tight situations as well as easy ones; eliminate all pettiness.
seek knowledge by questioning widely; set aside aversion and reluctance.
what loss is there in dignity, what worry is there of failure?
if your will is not strong, if your thought does not oppose injustice,
you will fritter away your life stuck in the commonplace, silently submitting to the bonds of emotion,
forever cowering before mediocraties, never escaping the downward flow.[pg37 pp3]
to his son, he gave this advice;
the practice of a cultivated man is to refine himself by quietude and develop virtue by frugality.
without detachment, there is no way to clarify the will
without serenity, there is no way to get far.
study requires calm, talent requires study.
without study there is no way to expand talent,
without calm there is no way to accomplish study.
if you are lazy, you cannot do thorough research; if you are impulsive you cannot govern your nature.
the years run off with the hours, aspirations flee with the years.
eventually one ages and collapses.
what good will it do to lament over poverty?[pg38 pp1]
zhuge’s own motto illustrates a central quality for which he is especially honoured,
the quality of sincerity.
zhuge’s honesty and integrity in public and private life are legendary,
and his writings on social and political organization show that he considered sincerity fundamental to success in these domains.
he formulated the rule of his life in this motto;[pg38 pp2]
opportunistic relationships can hardly be kept constant.
the acquaintance of honourable people,
even at a distance,
does not add flowers in times of warmth and does not change its leaves in times of cold:
it continues unfading through the four seasons,
becomes increasingly stable as it passes through ease and danger.
[dedicated to rhett haverly, and all my teachers and friends past present and future in respect and gratitude..]