Famous Chinese Quotes and Sayings, Meaning and Origin

Origin: Mozi, Book 4; Universal Love III

Meaning: Criticism without constructivism is pointless.

非人者必有以易之,若非人而無以易之,譬之猶以水救火也,其說將必無可焉。

Whoever criticizes others must have something to replace them.
Criticism without suggestion is like trying to stop flood with flood
and put out fire with fire. It will surely be without worth.

Mozi (墨子, 480-390 BCE) was a Chinese philosopher during the Hundred Schools of Thought era in the early Warring States Period.

During the Qin Dynasty many Mohist classics were destroyed when Qin Shihuang carried out the burning of books and burying of scholars, and the importance of Mohism further declined when Confucianism became the dominant school of thought during the Han Dynasty.

Mozi was a native of one of the small feudal states of the central plain, and was the head of a large school characterized by a rigid hierarchical structure, whose members come from the artisan class.

Original text:

Mozi continued: Whoever criticizes others must have something to replace them. Criticism without suggestion is like trying to stop flood with flood and put out fire with fire. It will surely be without worth. Mozi said: Partiality is to be replaced by universality. But how is it that partiality can be replaced by universality? Now, when every one regards the states of others as he regards his own, who would attack the others’ states? Others are regarded like self. When every one regards the capitals of others as he regards his own, who would seize the others’ capitals? Others are regarded like self. When every one regards the houses of others as he regards his own, who would disturb the others’ houses? Others are regarded like self. Now, when the states and cities do not attack and seize each other and when the clans and individuals do not disturb and harm one another — is this a calamity or a benefit to the world? Of course it is a benefit. When we come to think about the several benefits in regard to their cause, how have they arisen? Have they arisen out of hate of others and injuring others? Of course we should say no. We should say they have arisen out of love of others and benefiting others. If we should classify one by one all those who love others and benefit others, should we find them to be partial or universal? Of course we should say they are universal. Now, since universal love is the cause of the major benefits in the world, therefore Mozi proclaims universal love is right. And, as has already been said, the interest of the magnanimous lies in procuring benefits for the world and eliminating its calamities. Now that we have found out the consequences of universal love to be the major benefits of the world and the consequences of partiality to be the major calamities in the world; this is the reason why Mozi said partiality is wrong and universality is right.

子墨子曰:「非人者必有以易之,若非人而無以易之,譬之猶以水救火也,其說將必無可焉。」是故子墨子曰:「兼以易別。然即兼之可以易別之故何也?曰:藉為人之國,若為其國,夫誰獨舉其國以攻人之國者哉?為彼者由為己也。為人之都,若為其都,夫誰獨舉其都以伐人之都者哉?為彼猶為己也。為人之家,若為其家,夫誰獨舉其家以亂人之家者哉?為彼猶為己也,然即國、都不相攻伐,人家不相亂賊,此天下之害與?天下之利與?即必曰天下之利也。姑嘗本原若眾利之所自生,此胡自生?此自惡人賊人生與?即必曰非然也,必曰從愛人利人生。分名乎天下愛人而利人者,別與?兼與?即必曰兼也。然即之交兼者,果生天下之大利者與。」是故子墨子曰:「兼是也。且鄉吾本言曰:『仁人之事者,必務求興天下之利,除天下之害。』今吾本原兼之所生,天下之大利者也;吾本原別之所生,天下之大害者也。」是故子墨子曰:「別非而兼是者,出乎若方也。

Quote about criticism, Mozi philosopher quote

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