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Fighting Corruption Is Like the Wind Blowing Away Dead Leaves . . . Or, the Mighty River Washing Away Dead Trees and Debris . . . and the Rhythm of the Wind and the Water Is Confucian Morality in the Heart of Each and Every Person.|
Successful political, economic and social movements follow the rhythm of the wind and water. Looked at at the microscopic level, all movement is simple. Everything seems to simply move in one net direction, even though some sway, like that of a pendulum may fool an observer into thinking nothing is really changing. This is the level of morality, which Confucius discovered from even earlier sages like Yao and Shun, that at the individual level, one only needs to follow one moral compass - do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you. Apply this to every simple action or inaction that you do, and immediately, society becomes alive. Looked from afar, you would say, the river ebbs and flows but relentlessly keeps moving in one purposeful direction. To a poet, the river is dancing. To a musician, the river is singing. To a social scientist, the river's apparently contradictory movements actually create harmony through the diversity of movements. This society is alive, is growing, and is moving steadily toward a better future.
To the engineer, this moving river can be made to do tremendous work, even when its energy is being stored only, as in a dam. Stillness is not necessarily stagnation, when the potential energy of the nation is being raised day by day. We see stillness in nature all the time. When the dam is filling up, it looks still, but only because we are looking in the wrong direction. We are looking for horizontal movement, when the actual movement being accomplished by the stillness is vertical in direction. To use stillness to store up energy is part of the art of statecraft. When the energetic youth is soaked up by the schools, requiring them to sit in class listening, writing, and thinking, ideas that will break all past barriers are being built up in their minds. When they train at a vocational school day in and day out, skills are being built up that when unleashed collectively becomes an aircraft carrier overnight. When lawmakers huddle in a chamber, and sit to discuss what laws would benefit their people the most, peace, order and progress are being stored up in words, sentences and paragraphs, that when implemented by the millions, move the entire nation out of its poverty, weakness and ignorance. But each of these huge actions, at the microscopic level, looks so simple and repetitive, albeit at times seemingly going back and forth accomplishing nothing. The unseen force that unites their individual seemingly random actions is their faith in their country, in their countrymen, and in their ability to change their future. Gravity is unseen, but it is the force that makes the rivers flow, that allows the dams to generate electric power when its gates are opened. Morality and trust are the unseen forces that move nations toward greatness.
In the great national battle against corruption, ordinary citizens, including children and the uneducated, may not be able to understand the broad designs of their capable leaders. But they can help achieve those designs by simply following a moral principle in everything they do. Do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you. Reciprocity is the true morality. Religiousness is not. Religion may teach people to do good, but it can also teach people to do unjust things, especially to non-believers. Reciprocity does not allow you to do unjust things to others, regardless of religion. China is very fortunate to have as a foundation of its civilization, the moral principle of reciprocity, which serves as the mortar that holds its 1.3 billion people together as a single edifice. In this sense, doing good in every small thing one does is the best way to help the country move forward.
Because when people follow the same moral principle in everything they do, one single principle of morality, rather than a dozen contradictory commandments that are subject to situational interpretation, then looked from afar, especially from the high heavens, they are basically all pushing in the same direction. They form not isolated water molecules milling around in Brownian boredom. They form instead the mighty Yangtze River that brings life, growth, strength, happiness and prosperity to all who are connected to it in any small or big way.