Analects 6:16

Confucius said

Excess native substance and deficient wen results in an uncultivated person.

Excess wen and deficient native substance results in a superficial person.

Only a proper blend of native substance and wen can result in a chun tzu.

Where the solid qualities are in excess of accomplishments, we have rusticity; where the accomplishments are in excess of the solid qualities, we have the manners of a clerk. When the accomplishments and solid qualities are equally blended, we then have the man of virtue. L

When the solid outweighs the ornamental, we have boorishness; when the ornamental outweighs the solid, we have super­ficial smartness. Only from a proper blending of the two will the higher type of man emerge. G

Nature outweighing art begets roughness; art outweighing nature begets pedantry. Art and nature well blent make a gentleman. H

Where plain naturalness is more in evidence than polish, we have—the man from the country. Where polish is more in evidence than naturalness, we have—the (town) scribe. It is when naturalness and polish are equally evident that we have the ideal man. J


A person must proactively cultivate himself—but not the point of overwhelming his native substance.

A person must accumulate goodness through artifice—but not the point of not aiming for complete self sincerity and naturalness.

A person must emulate others’ hsien—but not to the point of neglecting his unique individuality

Without wen, a person cannot reach the level of a chun tzu.

True self sincerity begets educated wisdom, and educated wisdom begets true self sincerity.