Confucius said, “Whoever said that Weisheng Gao was upright? When someone asked him for vinegar, he would go and beg for some from a neighbor and present it as his own.”
Confucius said, “A person lives by being upright. If they manage to get by while living a crooked life, it’s just luck.”
Confucius said, “People who are wild without at least being upright, simple-minded without at least being honest, tactless without at least being trustworthy—I just don’t get them.”
Zizhang asked what a scholar should do to be called prominent.
Confucius asked, “Prominent? What on earth do you mean by that?”
Zizhang replied, “To have your name known throughout your family and the state.”
Confucius replied, “You’re talking about fame, not prominence. Someone with an upright character who loves justice has prominence. They listen carefully to others and observe their countenances. They defer to others. This kind of person will have prominence in the family and the state.
To be famous, just put on a good show of humaneness while doing otherwise. Keep this con going without breaking and you’re sure to be famous among your family and the state.”
Confucius said, “Duke Wen of Jin was expedient and not upright. Duke Huan of Qi was upright, and not expedient.”
Confucius said, “How straight Shi Yu was! When the Way prevailed in the state, he was straight as an arrow. When the Way didn’t prevail in the state, he was still straight as an arrow.
“And Qu Boyu was noble. When the Way prevailed in the state, he served. When the Way didn’t prevail in the state, he could roll it up and hide it away.”
Confucius said, “There are three kinds of friends who can help you and three kinds of friends who can harm you. Friends who are upright, trustworthy, and learned—these will help you. Friends who are devious, brown nosers, and smooth-talkers—these will harm you.”