Single Idea 8235

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / e. Honour]

Full Idea

If two soldiers were fleeing from a battle, and one stopped after a hundred paces and the other stopped after a fifty paces, what would you think if the latter, as one who only ran fifty paces, were to laugh at the former who ran a hundred?

Gist of Idea

Should a coward who ran fifty paces from a battle laugh at another who ran a hundred?


Mengzi (Mencius) (The Mengzi (Mencius) [c.332 BCE], 1.A.3)

Book Reference

Mencius: 'Mencius', ed/tr. Lau,D.C. [Penguin 1970], p.51

A Reaction

A nice illustration, in my view, of the universality of truths about human virtue. In no culture would this laughter be appropriate. Nevertheless, there must be degrees of dishonour. Better to flee than join in with the likely winners.