Yes, our forefathers were certainly inferior to the pre
sent generation in learning, civility, neatness and tidiness.
Yet they possessed two merits which we have not.
Overcoming, little by little, the shortcomings that we
inherited from our forefathers, we have lost those merits.
Had we possessed determination in our character and done
new qualities, we might have been the equal of other
nations. But since we lack resolve and force of character,
we have let the newly acquired qualities foster demonic,
rather than human, properties In us. This is one of the main
reasons why we have forfeited our national virtues.
What character traits do I have in mind? In olden
times there used to be people known as yel-basy and top-
bas, who judged disputes and governed the life of the
community. The common people somehow managed to
look after themselves. They were not accustomed to dis-
pute the rulings of the yel-basy and top-basy, or run from
one to another of these dignitaries with complaints. We
a bat. Or: When everyone is his own judge, people can
not live together even in a boundless land: when a com
munity has a chief, no one gets burnt even In a fire.
Acknowledging this truth, people would bring their offer
ings to the holy spirits and, having uttered their prayers,
would hand the reins of government to one they had al
elected, thenceforth supporting him in all his undertakings,
even to the extent of hushing up his faults and praising his
merits. They showed due respect for him, they heeded his
words and obeyed him without fail: then even influential
men did not transgress the bounds of reason. How could
they fail to care for people when all were brothers and
wealth was held in common?
And another point: our people treasured their unity as
the holy of holies. If someone called on others for help.
invoking the names of the forefathers, everyone would
rush in, forgetting all offences and quarrels, to lend a hand,
ready to make concessions and sacrifices. As people used
Не who cannot forgive the fault of his neighbour will
be offended by a stranger.
Brothers may quarrel, but not forswear each other
If six men are in conflict, they lose whatever they
have in their hands: but if four are in accord, heavenly
grace Will descend upon them.
Не who seeks the right path will find treasure, but he
who seeks quarrels will find woe
Where is that noble community spirit and concern for
These were safeguarded by staunchness, good conn
science and valour. We have them по longer
Among people today, friendship has nothing to do
with friendliness: it is but breach of trust and perfidy
Enmity stems not from the love of truth, but from our
inability to live in peace.