"An ugly man who has a son born to him in the middle of the night will hurry up with a light, in dread lest the child should be like himself.
"An old tree is cut down to make sacrificial vessels, which are then ornamented with colour. The stump remains in a ditch. The sacrificial vessels and the stump in the ditch are very differently treated as regards honour and dishonour; equally, as far as destruction of the wood's original nature is concerned. Similarly, the acts of Robber Chê and of Tsêng and Shih are very different; but the loss of original nature is in each case the same.
"The causes of this loss are five in number; viz.—The five colours confuse the eye, and the eyes fail to see clearly. The five sounds confuse the ear, and the ear fails to hear accurately. The five scents confuse the nose, and obstruct the sense of smell. The five tastes cloy the palate, and vitiate the sense of taste. Finally, likes and dislikes cloud the understanding, and cause dispersion of the original nature.
"These five are the banes of life; yet Yang and Mih regarded them as the summum bonum.
- As attainment of Tao. For Yang Chu and Mih Tzŭ, see chs, ii and viii.
They are not my summum bonum. For if men who are thus fettered can be said to have attained the summum bonum, then pigeons and owls in a cage may also be said to have attained the summum bonum!