With the Right Nourishment, We Can Make Anything Grow
“There was a time when the trees were luxuriant on Ox Mountain.
Because it is on the outskirts of a great metropolis, the trees are constantly lopped by axes. Is it any wonder that they are no longer fine? With the respite they get during the day and night, and with moistening by rain and dew, there is certainly no lack of new shoots which emerge, but then cattle and sheep come to graze upon the mountain. That is why it is as bald as it is. People, seeing only its baldness, tend to think that it never had any trees. But can this possibly be the nature of a mountain? Can what is in man be completely lacking in moral inclinations?
A man ‘s letting go of his true heart is like the case of the trees and the axes…
If, in spite of the respite a man gets during the day and night and of the effect of the morning air upon him, scarcely any of his likes and dislikes resemble those of other men, it is because what he does in the course of the day once again dissipates what he has gained…
Others, seeing his resemblance to an animal, will be led to think that he never had any native endowment. But can this be what a man is genuinely like?
Given the right nourishment, there is nothing that will not grow.”
–Mencius (a.k.a. Mengzi Meng-tse, Chinese Philosopher, c.370-284 B.C.)