Page:Zhuang Zi - translation Giles 1889.djvu/81

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cap. iv.]
Man Among Men

"But I have yet more to tell you. All intercourse, if personal, should be characterised by sincerity. If from a distance, it should be carried on in loyal terms. These terms will have to be transmitted by some one. Now the transmission of messages of good- or ill-will is the hardest thing possible. Messages of good-will are sure to be overdone with fine phrases; messages of ill-will with harsh ones. In each case the result is exaggeration, and a consequent failure to carry conviction, for which the envoy suffers. Therefore it was said in the Fa-yen,

Name of an ancient book.

'Confine yourself to simple statements of fact, shorn of all superfluous expression of feeling, and your risk will be small.'

"In trials of skill, at first all is friendliness; but at last it is all antagonism. Skill is pushed too far. So on festive occasions, the drinking which is in the beginning orderly enough, degenerates into riot and disorder. Festivity is pushed too far. It is in fact the same with all things: they begin with good faith and end with contempt. From small beginnings come great endings.

"Speech is like wind to wave. Action is liable to divergence from its true goal. By wind, waves are easily excited. Divergence from the true goal is fraught with danger. Thus angry feelings rise up without a cause. Specious words and dishonest arguments follow, as the wild random cries of an