In Confucianism, all of us - men and women - are born soldiers. The soldier is the universal individual. No matter what you do for a living - doctor, lawyer, fisherman, thief - you are a fighter. Life is war. The war is to maintain personal integrity in a world that demands betrayal and corruption. All behavior is strategy and tactics. All relationships are martial. Marriages are military alliances.
All of our controlling behavior - our anger, blame, pouting, teaching, explaining, caretaking, compliance, and denial - comes from believing that we can control what others think of us and how they treat us, and that how they think of us and treat us defines us.
Many are the natures of men, various their manners of living, yet a straight path is always the right one; and lessons deeply taught lead man to paths of righteousness; reverence, I say, is wisdom and by its grace transfigures - so that we seek virtue with a right judgment. From all of this springs honor bringing ageless glory into Man’s life. Oh, a mighty quest is the hunting out of virtue.
The relationship between moral action and spiritual knowledge is circular, as it were, and reciprocal. Selfless behavior makes possible an accession of knowledge, and the accession of knowledge makes possible the performance of further and more genuinely selfless actions, which in their turn enhance the agent’s capacity for knowing... A man undertakes right action (which includes, of course, right consciousness and right meditation), and this enables him to catch a glimpse of the Self that underlies his separate individuality. Having seen his own self as the Self, he becomes selfless (and therefore acts selflessly) and in virtue of selflessness he is to be conceived as unconditioned.
Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners, and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere, and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner. No one was quick with a question, no matter how important, and no one was pressed for an answer. A pause giving time for thought was the truly courteous way of beginning and conducting a conversation.
There is no outward sign of politeness which has not a deep, moral reason. Behavior is a mirror in which every one shows his own image. There is a politeness of the heart akin to love, from which springs the easiest politeness of outward behavior... Politeness is not always a sign of wisdom, but the want of it always leaves room for the suspicion of folly.
If only man could be induced to laugh more they might hate less, and find more serenity here on earth. If they cannot worship together, or accept the same laws, or tolerate the wonderful diversity of thought and behavior and physique with which they have been blessed, at least they can laugh together.
The laws of conscience, which we say are born of nature, are born of custom. Each man, holding in inward veneration the opinions and the behavior approved and accepted around him, cannot break loose from them without remorse, or apply himself to them without self-satisfaction.