When you see what's good, examine yourself and cultivate the same. When you see what's bad, examine yourself, anxious that you might be the same. If you find goodness in yourself, commend yourself and hold to that goodness. If you find badness in yourself, reproach yourself and take it as your shortcoming.
Therefore, whoever correctly criticizes me is my teacher. Whoever supports me is my friend. But whoever flatters and inveigles me is my betrayer. Therefore, a noble one exalts his teachers and loves his friends, but avoids betrayers. They love goodness without end, and can accept admonishment and learn. Even if they didn't want to improve, they still would.
The inferior person is the opposite. They are disorderly and hate to be criticized. Although they are not, they still want others to regard them as worthy. They have hearts like a tiger or a wolf, conduct themselves like beasts, and they hate for anyone to think of them as traitorous. They favor those who flatter and inveigle them, and they dispute with those who admonish them. They laugh at cultivating correctness, and they consider it a loss to arrive at loyalty. Even if they don't want it, they still will be destroyed.
Accordingly, heaven is round without needing a compass, and earth is square without needing a ruler. We may speak of eternity as proceeding from ancient times to today or discuss the universe in terms of the four directions as well as up and down. Yet the Tao is within all of this, without anyone being able to understand where it is.
Therefore, without looking far, you cannot speak of the great. If you don't have extensive knowledge, you can't arrive at an opinion. Those of Tao let things be open and there is no blaming one another. Thus, the recorded laws of the Three Sovereigns and the Five Emperors may have varied, but they were all the same in gaining the hearts of the people.
We may refer to the compass, square, and hooked line, but we are referring to the tools of a skill rather than the skill itself. So a master cannot pluck an instrument that lacks its strings, nor can a student play sad music on a lone string. In the first case, the reason is the lack of strings, not the instrument. In the second case, the apprentice can play no believably sad music.
When it comes to a harmonious spirit that travels from heart to hand to release its ideas, to write of the spirit, or to speak of love in the form of the strings of a musical instrument--this is a skill that a parent cannot teach to a child and a child cannot receive from a parent. The Tao of it cannot be passed on to others.
That's why reduction is sovereign over form and silence is the master of sound.