Mao on ethics

Perhaps one of the most important texts by the young Mao is comprised of the extensive notes to the Chinese translation of Fredrich Paulsen’s A System of Ethics. Obviously, it pays close study, but it is not so easy to find. A few moments from over 100 pages of notes:

Paulsen writes:

A lover goes out on business and quite unconsciously passes by the home of his love, much to his surprise, whereupon he realizes that his reason for going out on business was a means, a deception by which his impulses anticipated the objections of his reason.

To which Mao replies:

This is not a common event (Revolutionary Writings 1912-1949, p. 216).

Then in a passage by Paulsen on ideals, Mao writes:

I would say that the human race has only a spiritual life, and not a bodily life. It is clear that though the spirit has changed frequently, the body has remained unchanged for thousands of years (p. 222).


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