Honesty is still the best policy

By Chen Peng-jen
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, August 19, 2010
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The close association of some businesspersons and celebrities with a Taoist monk has come to light on the Chinese mainland of late. These people are probably seeking spiritual solace after fulfilling their material needs and amassing huge amounts of wealth.

Whether or not a person lives feeling at ease with life depends largely on his/her own spirituality rather than external forces or factors. That is to say, if one wants to live a happy and healthy life, he/she should not be possessed by greed. Greed is the primary enemy of all human beings, proved by the prevalence of corrupt officials and profiteers on the mainland as well as Taiwan.

Proper education can eradicate the menace of corruption and make everyone aware that material wealth is not omnipotent. Man should live a life of purpose and contribute to society. And it's for the government, media and schools to shoulder the important and sacred responsibility of promoting a corruption-free life.

When society was predominantly agricultural, people went to work at sunrise and returned home at sunset, living a life free of corruption that depended more on nature. But since the Industrial Revolution, machines have taken the place of human beings, making people abuse their power to satisfy their greed. This greed has led to wars, with World War I and World War II being the best examples.

Rapid technological development has changed the nature of society. It has not only made companies and individuals use their advantages to monopolize their sectors, but also widened the gap between the rich and the poor and, hence, raise the level of crime across the world.

Whether the nature of a person is good or bad depends on what he/she derives from society. A quotation from Confucian philosopher Mencius (371-289 BC) best illustrates this: "All human beings have a heart which cannot stand the suffering of others and have a heart of commiseration The feeling of commiseration is essential to man, the feeling of humility and deference is essential to man, the feeling of modesty and complaisance is essential to man, and the feeling of right and wrong is essential to man. The sense of commiseration for others is the starting point of humaneness. The feeling of good and evil is the starting point of rightness. The sense of modesty and complaisance is the starting point of propriety and the sense of right and wrong is the starting point of wisdom."

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