"Tell me," said Lao Tzŭ, "in what consist charity and duty to one's neighbour?"
"They consist," answered Confucius, "in a capacity for rejoicing in all things; in universal love, without the element of self. These are the characteristics of charity and duty to one's neighbour."
"What stuff!" cried Lao Tzŭ. "Does not universal love contradict itself?
- If every one loves every one, there can be no such thing as love, just as absolute altruism only achieves the same result as absolute egoism.
Is not your elimination of self a positive manifestation of self?
- On the "Don't nail his ear to the pump" principle.
Sir, if you would cause the empire not to lose its source of nourishment,—there is the universe, its regularity is unceasing; there are the sun and moon, their brightness is unceasing; there are the stars, their groupings never change; there are birds and beasts, they flock together without varying; there are trees and shrubs, they grow upwards without exception. Be like these; follow Tao; and you will be perfect. Why then these vain struggles after charity and duty to one's neighbour, as though beating a drum in search of a fugitive. Alas! Sir, you have brought much confusion into the mind of man."
- The drum similitude occurs again in ch. xiv.