In the evening they returned, tired and sad. The sun was setting. Outside the village, near the river and sitting next to a rock, someone was playing a flute. Its sound was so musical and there were such waves of bliss arising from it that one of the ministers said, “Let’s ask this last person…maybe he is peaceful.”
They went to him and asked, “The sound of your flute, your song sounds so full of bliss and peace that we would like to ask you something. The king is sick and we need the coat of a man who is both peaceful and prosperous.”
The man said, “I am willing to give my life, but just look closely…I don’t have a coat.” They looked closely, it was dark – the man who was playing the flute was naked.
So the king could not be saved because the man who was peaceful was not prosperous, and the ones who were prosperous did not have peace. In the same way, this world can’t be saved because the cultures that have a legacy of peace don’t have prosperity, and the cultures that are prosperous don’t even think about peace. The king died.
Mankind will also die. The treatment that mankind needs is the same as what the king needed. We need the coat and we also need peace. Until now, our ideology has been incomplete. Until now we have thought about man in a very incomplete way, and we habitually move to the extremes. The human mind’s greatest disease is its tendency to go to the extremes.
Confucius was staying in a village when somebody said to him, “There is a very scholarly and thoughtful man, would you like to meet him?”
Confucius said, “First let me ask you why you call him very thoughtful, and then I will definitely come to meet him.”
The people said, “He is thoughtful because before doing anything he thinks three times – three times!”
Confucius said, “This man is not thoughtful; three times is a bit too much. Once is too little, twice is enough. An intelligent man stops in the middle, an ignorant man goes to the extremes.”
The first point of ignorance is if a person thinks himself to be only the body. The second point of ignorance, and to the same degree, is if a person thinks himself to be only the soul. The individuality of man is a synthesis: the culture of man will also be a synthesis.