On Benevolent Government and Social Harmony (Master Kong and Mencius)

The account of the Confucian vision of a benevolent government and social harmony…

Master Kong (aka Confucius; 551-479BC) was a teacher of the children of the elite of his day.  The times of Confucius were turbulent, that time period being known to the Chinese as The Warring States period.  And such it was, the area now known as China then being a region of fragmented regions whose process of existence was that of constant war and domination by those with the means of warfare, and hardship and oppression for the common folk.

Confucius realized that the problems were being instigated by those in power.  Thus he spent his life in the noble effort of trying to change the thinking of those who were creating the hardships by appealing to their sense of humaneness.  His years of private teaching were followed by decades of traveling the land in search of the ear of any leaders open to the concept of benevolence and kindness in lieu of war and domination.

Although Confucius did gather a following among his fellow philosophers, the numbers were but a few dozen and his influence to the intended end of the creation of a benevolent government and peaceful society never saw fruition during his lifetime.  Sadly, Master Kong died thinking he had failed; and such was the general perception of the idealist, nomadic teacher in the years that followed….

However few might have been his followers, those that remained faithful to his ideology passed his general teachings along.   Consequently, his  vision of social harmony fostered by benevolent government never completely died out.  Then, about 100 years after Confucius’ death, one was born who would take the torch of his dream so to speak, and not only continue the quest of Master Kong, but would furthermore qualify the concept of benevolence to a level of thinking heretofore unknown and unrealized.

Meng Ke (aka Mencius; 372-289BC) was an avid follower of the Confucian ideology, to the extent that he continued Master Kong’s mission in much the same fashion.  Like Confucius before him, Mencius traveled the land in an effort to gain the ear of those in power, in hopes of softening the hearts of the leaders of the land towards those whose meager living was dependent upon peace and harmony.

Mencius’ main teachings were those of the benefit of a benevolent government for leader and commoner alike, and he referenced such by a unique appeal to the basic qualities of human nature.  Indeed, although Master Kong had made references to the goodness of human nature (“Man is born with uprightness”; Analects of Confucius 6.17), Mencius based his entire case by appealing to the rulers of his day based upon the concept of the goodness of human nature.  Consider these references from “The Book of Mencius”:

“All men have the mind which cannot bear to see the suffering of others” (2A.6)

“The great man is one who does not lose his originally good child’s heart” (4B.12)

Based upon this notion of the basic goodness of humanity, Mencius built a case which he powerfully presented to the leaders of his day, challenging them to rule in accord with their own natural goodness.  In ways, his method was to shame the leadership into ruling in accord to goodness by being ashamed to do otherwise (Note: Oh what a message for our leaders today!!).  Consider the following dialogues which are alleged to have taken place between Mencius and several Kings of his day (references from The Book of Mencius):

“Mencius went to see king Hui of Liang.  The king said: ‘Venerable sir, since you have not counted it far to come here, a distance of a thousand li, may I presume that you are provided with counsels to profit my kingdom?’  Mencius replied:  ‘Why must your majesty use that word “profit?”  What I am provided with, are counsels to benevolence and uprightness, and these are my only topics” (1A.1)

“King Hsuan of Chi said: “I have a weakness.  I love wealth.”  Mencius replied, “If your majesty love wealth, let your people enjoy the same, and what difficulty then will there be for you to become true king of the empire?” (1B.5)

“Duke Wen of T’eng asked Mencius about the proper way of governing a kingdom.  Mencius said: “The business of the the people should not be delayed.  The way of the people is this:  If they have a secure livelihood, they will have a secure mind.  And if they have no secure livelihood, they will not have a secure mind.  And if they have no secure mind, there is nothing they will not do in the way of self-abandonment, moral deflection, depravity, and wild license.  When they fall into crime, to pursue and to punish them is to entrap them.  How can such a thing as entrapping the people be done under the rule of a benevolent man?” (3A.3)

Clearly, Mencius held the rulers of the land accountable to establish a society of provisions and peace.  In his mind the people were of primary importance, the land was of secondary importance, and the rulers were only third in terms of significance to society.  In fact, it would seem that in his opinion, the rulers were basically a necessary means to a desirable end; that end being a society of peace and harmony.  And he most assuredly maintained that such an end was possible only by means of a benevolent and kind government.

Conclusion:

Inasmuch as Master Kong (551-479BC) and Mencius (372-289BC) were allowed a certain hearing among the leaders of the land, there is little evidence of any major changes amongst the ruling class of their era.  What is abundantly clear to me is that the basic challenges which they issued to the leaders of that time dealt with problems and issues pertinent to any and all societies since.

The influence of the message of the need for a kind and benevolent government was mixed for the ensuing 400-500 years after the death of Mencius.  In another post, I shall discuss the radical reactions of the two regimes which ruled a newly unified China during that general time period, and how that such shaped the philosophy of Confucianism from that time even to the present.

“When wealth is equally distributed, there will not be poverty; when there is harmony there will be no problem of too few people, and when there are security and peace (for the people), there will be no danger to the state”  (Analects of Confucius 16.1)

Davey Lee

On Humanness and Rightness (The Book of Changes)

“The way of nature is to change and transform, so that everything will obtain its correct nature and destiny; and the great harmony of natural forces will be self proficient”

(The Book of Changes; Ancient Chinese Classic)

In my initial commentary regarding this quote, I noted that most every aspect of the universe functions so naturally in accord with its respective principle, that the correct nature of almost everything is achieved so naturally as to be predictable.

In my most recent post, I noted that the correct nature of humanity with regards to social relations is an exception to the general principle noted above, in that humanity is free to choose whether or not to so function as to achieve our correct nature.

I further noted that in light of the perpetual state of hostility known to global relations, that it seems to me that humanity is not evolving in such a way as to achieve our correct nature, as the correct nature of most every aspect of the universe leads to a general harmony.

As the correct nature of most every aspect of the universe leads to general harmony, then when humanity transforms so as to achieve our correct nature, then a general global harmony (aka “world peace”) will be experienced.

Humanness and rightness are the correct nature which potentially can and should lead humanity to achieve our correct nature.  Humanness is a feeling; rightness is the necessary function in accord with the feeling of humanness.

Humanness is the natural feel of connection with every other aspect of the universe.  Unless and until the individual realizes a harmony based upon a relationship with every other aspect of the universe, then humanness will be but a concept rather than an experience.  Unless and until the individual accepts the reality that we of humanity are a part of the universe, instead of being apart from the universe, then the feel of connection with all that is will be hindered by our own ignorance.  On the other hand, when the individual realizes humanness (jen in Chinese), then rightness is but a natural function based upon the feeling so realized.

Rightness (yi in Chinese) is a sense of obligation which results from the natural feeling of humanness (jen); based upon the reality of the innerconnected nature of all things.  This obligation is a self imposed voluntary call of duty to respond in a proper way to anyone and everyone, based upon the principle of reciprocity.

The principle of reciprocity is natural when one feels humanness, yet will only be natural under that specific circumstance.  Though similarly stated as the Western “Golden Rule”, the principle of reciprocity, which was taught several hundred years before the time of Jesus of biblical fame in both “THE GREAT LEARNING” and “THE DOCTRINE OF THE MEAN” (Chinese Classics); is a deeper concept than the Christian rule of social conduct.  The reason being that the Golden Rule is a code set by an external standard, whereas the principle of reciprocity is but a natural function based upon the actual inner connected relationship of every aspect of the universe.

When the individual realizes humanness, then there is a respect for every aspect of the universe which knows no bounds, for there are no bounds.  The universe is one living organism, and when the individual realizes this truth, then there is a natural feeling of connection to all things which renders the principle of reciprocity as merely experiencing life.

When the individual experiences true humanness, then the individual extends the principle of reciprocity to everything and everyone else.

And so the correct nature of the individual has been achieved; not by an experience outside of the self, but rather by merely experiencing the self within the reality that the self is the universe, and the universe is the self.

And thus the correct destiny of the individual is realized on a daily basis.

The great harmony.

Davey Lee

On The Correct Nature (The Book of Changes)

“The way of nature is to change and transform, so that everything will obtain its correct nature and destiny; and the great harmony of natural forces will be self proficient”

(The Book of Changes; Ancient Chinese Classic)

Previously, I shared my thoughts on “change and transformation”.

As the classic states, “the way of nature is to change and transform, so that everything will obtain its correct nature and destiny”.

As we discussed previously, the process of change which renders correct nature for most every aspect of the universe is so natural as to be predictable.  Such is the case as evidenced by the physical sciences and by mere observation.  Everything has a principle, and most everything functions quite naturally in accord with their respective principle.

Except for the social function of the human being.

We are beings of an allegedly “higher intelligence”, yet by our function humanity all too often exposes our ignorance of  and/or our apathy towards our respective correct nature.  That which nature achieves by instinct renders that which humanity ever fails to achieve by intelligence:  The great harmony!

This is not to say that all within nature is harmonious, granted there is occasional conflict,and such is admittedly problematic.  Yet nature has a tendency to evolve towards a harmonic balance. Thus nature’s conflicts are but temporary, accompanied by a state of change into an inevitable  harmonic balance.

Nature’s way is thus to transform into a state of general harmony, while the way of humanity ever evolves toward perpetual hostility.  The state of our being is failing miserably to qualify as “correct nature” in comparison to the cosmic communion of the universe.

It seems to me that the reason for our failure is an ignorant and/or apathetic abuse of our freedom to choose.  We of the human species have the right to choose whether to achieve our correct nature, thus we are at the mercy of our own evolved state.

One of my greatest fears and frustrations on behalf of my own kind, is that our state of perpetual hostility towards one another may be assumed to be natural merely based upon being common place.  It seems to me that we must grasp the concept that our choices are not necessarily in accord with our correct nature, but rather that our freedom to choose how to function is merely a quality of our general nature.

Whatever the correct nature of humanity is; we can logically rule out that which prevails amongst our kind as we experience it now.  So long as the social relations of humanity renders perpetual hostility, then we are most definitely not achieving our correct nature.

There is a correct nature for everything in the universe.  The natural way of most every aspect of the universe is to evolve into the correct nature respective to its being.  The result is a general harmony among most aspects of the universe.

The only answer for humanity is to change and transform into our correct nature.  So long as perpetual hostility amongst us prevails, then we are evidently not achieving our correct  nature.

In my next post I shall elaborate further as to our correct nature, and offer my thoughts as to the process which in my mind we need to employ in order to achieve that which is our correct nature and our most desirable destiny.

Davey Lee

On Change and Transformation

“The way of nature is to change and transform, so that everything will obtain its correct nature and destiny; and the great harmony of natural forces will be self proficient”

(The Book of Changes;
Ancient Chinese Classic)

——————————————————————————-

The basic fundamental nature of all things is constant activity and change.  The entire universe is ceaseless action to some degree or another.  The never ending interaction of energy and material forces transforms everything. Such is the universe.

Most every element of the universe naturally functions in accord with the principles which assure that it will obtain its correct nature.  The instinctive response of most every element of the universe to the principles naturally associated with each respective element is so consistent and orderly that its correct nature is predictable and self evident.

The seed will develop so as to be transformed into the tree. The egg will develop so as to be transformed into the bird. The puppy will be develop so as to be transformed into a full grown dog.  A baby will develop so as to be transformed into an adult. The development of the physical aspects of most every element in the universe then is consistent, steady, and based upon observation; predictable.

The general activities of most every sentient being are similarly consistent based upon the innate knowledge which renders the instinctive activity of most every known sentient being.  The tree will remain implanted, and will not attempt to become mobile, for the latter would violate its basic principles of survival based upon the feeding upon the moisture of the subterranean elements. The dog will walk on all fours and bark, and will never bray as a donkey, for such would violate the principles associated with the exercise of kanine communication.  Indeed, the general activities of most every sentient being are likely as consistent and predictable as are the development of the physical elements of all that is our universe.

Perhaps there is no more inconsistent and unpredictable element of all that is the universe, than the social functions of the human being.  The inconsistencies of our kind have lead to hostility amongst “the intelligent beings” which is so prevelant and predictable that one might theorize that human activity does indeed reflect human nature.

Such a theory might have an element of truth when considered from the frame of reference which regards our tendencies to exploit and dominate one another as natural.  Yet such does not address the thought of CORRECT NATURE.

Inasmuch as the natural way of everything is transform so as to achieve its correct nature, then humanity would do well to reflect upon what such is and how it can be achieved amongst our own kind.

Such will be my discussion in my next post.

Davey Lee

On The Seed and The Tree

The natural way;

Of the seed and the tree;

Is the natural way;

Even for you and for me.

The natural way of the seed;

Is to germinate;

And then to transform into a tree;

Though time it does naturally take.

And when that seed;

Becomes that tree;

Then its natural state;

Has come to be.

The natural way of the tree;

Which from the seed came to be;

Is to produce more seed;

Which takes time quite naturally.

And when that tree;

Produces that seed;

Then its natural state;

Has come to be.

Constant change;

Eventual transformation;

Is the natural way;

Of life and regeneration.

Constant change;

Eventual transformation;

Is the natural way;

Of death and regeneration.

The natural way;

Of the seed and the tree;

Is the natural way;

Even for you and for me.

Clyde Barrow: The Story Behind The Story

It was 79 years ago today, on a lonely Louisiana highway, that one of the most infamous of all executions took place.  On May 23, 1934 at a few minutes after 9 AM,  six gunmen ambushed and viciously shot to death a young couple who were driving down that lonely two lane road in Louisiana.  The first shot took part of the young man’s head off.  As he was the driver, the car went off the road.  When the young lady, who was the passenger screamed, the gunmen proceeded to fill the young couple with bullets.  The events so described are in my judgment among the most vile and vicious of deeds related to the account of BONNIE AND CLYDE…….

Most folk have heard of “Bonnie and Clyde”; mainly due to the 1967 film which told the story of their vicious and bloody two year crime spree which lead to the deaths of more than a dozen, and which terrorized the Southwest as never before.  Clyde Chestnut Barrow and Bonnie Elizabeth Parker are among the most famous of all Dallasites.  The story of their crime spree being so widely known, I would like to briefly address “The Story Behind The Story”, for as is so often the case with hardened criminals:  There is most definitely “a story behind the story”….

By no means do I wish to glorify or justify the deeds of this young Dallas couple.  Clyde Barrow, the leader of “The Barrow Gang”, was a hardened criminal and a cold blooded killer.  The role of Bonnie Parker in the violent deeds of the gang is oftentimes exaggerated to the point of femdom style glorification.  Her role was so depicted due primarily to pictures of her clowning around with a cigar in her mouth which were printed in most of the nation’s newspapers during the heat of the pursuit of local peace officers who were desperately attempting to capture the true killer of the group, her lover, Clyde Barrow.  The 1967 film further discredited and misrepresented Ms Parker, hence she will likely forever be characterized in folklore as a cigar smoking, gun toting murderess.  The truth is she may very well have shot no one, depending on whose account of certain events one consults.

As to Clyde Barrow himself, his life of crime reads like so many others who choose such a path:  1.  He was the product of extreme poverty, and 2.  He was hardened by prison life.

When Clyde Barrow’s family moved to West Dallas (no longer exists as an entity as such, incorporated by Dallas in 1954. Basically lies between west Dallas and the city of Irving), they were so poor they had no place to live.  Clyde’s father, like many other tenant farmers, was starving along with his family due to drought and famine.  The Barrow’s were so poor that upon their arrival to “the city” they lived out of his wagon under the Trinity River viaduct.  When Mr Barrow bought the family a tent, that was a social upgrade, for they then became citizens of “Tent City” which was a crowded dwelling place of the many homeless who migrated to West Dallas during the 1920’s.

One of Clyde’s first encounters with the law was when he was arrested as a teenager for stealing turkeys.  One is lead to wonder:  Why steal turkeys?  One is lead to speculate that perhaps he stole because he was hungry.  Why was young Clyde Barrow hungry?  And that brings us back to “the story behind the story”:  Clyde Barrow was the product of extreme poverty.  Yet poverty was but the beginning of the social demise of Clyde Barrow.

His deeds as a petty thief eventually lead to prison.  It was while in prison that Clyde Barrow became a hardened prisoner.  Clyde Barrow was a small young man, and his size and youth made him vulnerable to the extremely violent class within prison.  Clyde was repeatedly sexually violated by one particular prisoner.  Receiving no help from the authorities, Clyde took matters into his own hands, and at an opportune time,he beat his assailant to death.  This was a major step in Clyde Barrow’s social decline.  Several prisoners later attested to how his prison experiences hardened Clyde into a cold blooded killer.  So bad were his experiences in prison, that Clyde actually chopped of part of his foot in hopes of receiving a medical release!

Clyde Barrow, hardened criminal and cold blooded killer was a victim of society and the penal system.  Society turns its back on the poor and the uneducated.  Clyde Barrow was poor and uneducated.   The Penal System only serves to harden young offenders who are incarcerated within, Clyde Barrow being a specific case in point.

I have no answers to the social conditions which lead Clyde Barrow to his murderous crime spree.  I have no justification for the terrible deeds of Clyde Barrow.  But on this day, 79 years after the cold blooded murder of Clyde Chestnut Barrow and Bonnie Elizabeth Parker at the hands of “Peace Officers”, I ask this question:

Could society be at least partly to blame for the Clyde Barrows of the world?:

Sometimes I wonder,

What sort of fellow,

Might have become,

My fellow Dallas-ite Clyde Barrow.

If as a very young boy;

His family wouldn’t have lived under the Trinity River viaduct;

On account of the fact;

That at dirt farming; his daddy just could not make a decent buck.

Yeah I wonder what thoughts ran thru young Clyde’s mind;

As at night he may very well have been starin’;

From his family’s “home” in the old Tent City;

At the lights of Dallas as they were a glarin’.

Yeah I cant help but wonder;

If things would not have differed for the likes of Bonnie and Clyde;

If instead of growin’ up poor in old West Dallas;

They had grown up in a home with plenty to provide.

Would the death wish that characterized this dynamic duo;

Have developed within Bonnie and Clyde;

Would they have met such a violent end;

On that Louisiana ride;

If society could have seen fit;

To provide for the likes of Bonnie and Clyde?

And sometimes I wonder;

As I see the poor on the streets of my hometown Dallas;

If I am seeing a Bonnie or a Clyde in the making;

Who will bear against society a similar malice.

Yeah, as I see the poor on the streets of my hometown Dallas;

I cannot but these very thoughts ponder;

Yeah, as I see the poor on the streets of my hometown Dallas;

I cannot but think about my fellow Dallas-ite Clyde Barrow.

On Mr. John Lewis

Mr. John Lewis is a  highly respected man;

His public service now several decades spans;

Mr. John Lewis was raised in the Deep South;

A black man in Congress? Well, hush my mouth!

Mr. John Lewis, while still a young man;

Decided that for Social Justice, he would take a stand.

And to that end he has been true;

So I am proud to share his story with you.

Young John Lewis;

Way back in 1963;

Demanded equal rights for all;

While speaking in Washington D.C.

On that historic day;

When it was difficult to even visualize how;

Young John Lewis respectfully demanded:

“WE WANT OUR FREEDOM, AND WE WANT IT NOW!”.

About a year and half later;

In March of 1965;

John Lewis was beaten by a cop;

I tell you, it is a wonder he is alive!

John Lewis and others were marching that day;

From Selma to Montgomery;

That day is called Black Sunday;

And is a very bad social memory.

Of a time when young John Lewis;

Was active in the struggle for Civil Rights;

And the ensuing years have shown that Mr. John Lewis;

Has continued that struggle with all his might.

Then one day in 2010;

When Healthcare was under review;

Mr. John Lewis and others;

Wanted to supply such for me and you.

While leaving the Capitol on that March day;

Accompanied by a fellow diplomat;

Mr Lewis and Mr Carson;

Who are both registered Democrats.

Were confronted along the way;

By a group of Radicals whose angry rants;

Were pointed and direct;

As they heckled in chants.

Now this group of conservative radicals;

Did not confuse the issues with the facts;

But rather simply resorted to;

Good old fashioned personal attacks.

Others also harassed Mr. Barney Franks;

About choices of  his personal life;

Even there they did not stop;

But rather continued to stir up more strife.

Mr John Lewis and others heard words that day;

Shameful slurs from years gone by;

For Civil Rights may be the law;

But racism and bigotry have yet to die.

Yet in spite of the slurs and the slander;

From the lips of those who to the rich do pander;

Mr John Lewis and others did legislate Healthcare Reform;

Perhaps one day Healthcare for all will be the norm.

Yes, Mr John Lewis is a highly respected man;

On behalf of Social Justice; he continues to take a stand.

Several decades now he has served all people of this land;

Yes, Mr John Lewis is a highly respected man.

(I wrote these words in honor of this highly respectable public servant from Georgian after seeing a special about him on the daily news show DEMOCRACY NOW)

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

On The Investigation of Right and Wrong (Wang Yang Ming)

“In the original substance of the mind there is no distinction of good and evil. When the will becomes active, however, such distinction exists. The faculty of innate knowledge is to know good and evil. The investigation of things is to do good and remove evil.”
 
In this my final commentary (at least for the present) on the 4 Axioms of the doctrine of Wang Yang Ming, I shall comment as to his final phrase: “the investigation of things is to do good and remove evil”.
 
As previously discussed, our original mind is neither good nor bad.  No person is born (to our knowledge) with thoughts of actions which would classify as either, for we are seemingly born socially neutral.
 
Yet when the will arises then there is a definite distinction between the two, for once we develop desires we assert our will accordingly.  Hence, once a person develops desires then right and wrong thinking leads to right and wrong actions.  When the will initially develops, the young individual has a limited understanding of right and wrong, thus children require an adult to guide and direct them as to right and wrong.
 
Eventually, the individual develops to the extent that the innate knowledge of right and wrong is known intuitively, and thus the individual learns to distinguish right and wrong by their own experiences and intuition.
 
This is not to mean that morals and ethics are subjective in the sense that “anything goes”.  To the contrary, most everyone has a natural sense of right and wrong, and it is amazing how folks of all times and different cultures agree as to the basics of actual ethics and morals.
 
Once the intuition is developed, the individual spends every moment of every day assessing situations based upon the intuitive knowledge which inclines us at the most spontaneous of all situations.  Such is what Ming addressed when he spoke of “the investigation of things”.
 
The Chinese humanists have historically debated whether the investigation of things involves exterior learning, inner reflection, or both.  Yet the Chinese for the most part are agreed investigating the principles which render social harmony and applying such so as to remove evil and to do good to that end is the natural function of humanity; both as individuals and as a society.
 
Wang Yang Ming was a key proponent of the School of the Mind (in fact it is oftentimes referred to as the Lu-Wang  School in honor of not only Ming, but also of this predecessor in the theory in the person of Lu Hsian Shan (1139-1193).
 
The basic theory of the School of the Mind being that all that a person needs to know about right and wrong is already in the mind, and can be realized by the faculty of the intuition. 
 
By no means is this a theory of the supernatural or the mystical, for the theory is that the intuitive sense of right and wrong are natural to all people.
 
I believe that for the most part the theory Lu-Wang school of the mind is sound and true. 
 
Regardless though of whether our sense of right and wrong is purely conditioned; or known from within and developed by way of self reflection (as I tend to believe); it seems sound and correct to state that the investigation of things is to remove evil thoughts from our minds, so that evil words and evil deeds towards others never come to pass.
 
On an individual level, I assert that if a person takes Mings 4 Axioms to heart , and puts their own intuitive sense of right and wrong into daily practice, that the sphere of influence of that person would render his/her life one of personal tranquility and social harmony with family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and even complete strangers.
 
On a social level, I assert that if leaders of all lands took Mings 4 Axioms to heart, and put such into practice in terms of policies, law, and global relations, then war would be a thing of the past, and social harmony on a global level (aka: world peace) would become a reality.
 
Davey Lee

On Innate Knowledge of Right and Wrong

“In the original substance of the mind there is no distinction of good and evil. When the will becomes active, however, such distinction exists. The faculty of innate knowledge is to know good and evil. The investigation of things is to do good and remove evil.”
The 4 Axioms of the doctrine of the Chinese humanist Wang Yang Ming (1472-1529) has been the subject of my commentary on two previous posts.  By way of review:
The original substance of our thinking is neither good nor bad, for we were all born socially neutral.  Then, there comes a time when the person develops desires and feelings, and it is then that right and wrong actions ensue from right and wrong thinking.   Yet when our desires and feelings initially arise, our knowledge as to right and wrong is so limited that we require the guidance and the direction of an adult to distinguish right and wrong on our behalf.
The development of every individual reveals innate qualities which require time and experience to develop, our senses of right and wrong being no exception.  For example, most every person is born with the innate ability to walk, yet that quality does not become actualized until our motor skills develop to the extent that we can take those first steps which are the experience of walking.  Even then, the toddler may require a supportive hand throughout those initial months before the skill of walking is fully developed.  Yet, with time and experience, the person is able to fully exercise their innate ability to walk, and then they no longer require the helping hand that aided them in their early developmental stages of the experience of walking.
In similar fashion, the innate ability to distinguish right and wrong requires time and experience to develop.  And, as previously mentioned, in the interim the young human  requires the guidance and direction of adults in order to distinguish right from wrong on their behalf. But just as the time comes when the person can let go of the adult hand, and walk on their own, so the time comes when the person can (and should) exercise their innate knowledge of right and wrong, and learn to distinguish such based upon the natural feel of their intuitive senses.
As to whether the natural sense of right and wrong can be developed separate from adult instruction, such is a matter of debate.
Regardless, it seems to me that Ming is correct in stating that the faculty of our innate knowledge is that by which we distinguish right from wrong. Hence, our intuitive sense of right and wrong is that by which the individual governs their desires and feelings.
In my final post, I will comment as to the practice and exercise of our intuitive senses of right and wrong.

On The Active Will (Wang Yang Ming)

Previously, I commented on the idea that the original mind is neither good nor bad, as taught by the Chinese humanist Wang Yang Ming (1472-1529).  The 4 Axioms of the doctrine of Ming are translated into English as follows:

“In the original substance of the mind
there is no distinction of good and evil.

When the will becomes active, however,
such distinction exists.
The faculty of innate knowledge
is to know good and evil.
The investigation of things
is to do good and remove evil.”
The original substance of the mind being neither good nor bad, there comes a time in every person’s life when desires and feelings arise.  When such occurs, right and wrong actions ensue from right and wrong thinking.
Initially, the young person who asserts their will based upon  desires and feelings is limited in terms of understanding the concepts of  right and wrong.  Thus, the young child requires the direction and guidance of an adult in order to distinguish right from wrong.
Eventually, the individual develops innate abilities to intuitively sense right from wrong.  Just as people require time to develop such innate abilities as walking and talking, likewise people need to time to develop their inborn ability to distinguish right from wrong.
The role of the innate senses which aid the individual to distinguish right from wrong will be discussed in another post.