Posts Tagged ‘friends’

The Cardinal Obligations Continued: Mutual Help

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

What do all six Cardinal Relations have in common? They all have in common the fundamental feature of human society: mutual help.

Reflecting the fundamental property of human society, the Cardinal Relation between government and subjects is but a relation of mutual help: the government is there to help its subjects by protecting them and keeping order, and in turn the subjects help the government by cooperating with the government so as to make order possible, and by paying taxes to sustain the government.

Also, the Cardinal Relation between parents and offspring is a relationship of mutual help: the parents help the offspring survive, grow up, and learn (become educated). When still immature the offspring help the parents by cooperating with them in the upbringing by obeying and respecting the parents, and when grown up, the offspring help the parents by providing sustenance and care to them in their old age and debility.

The Cardinal Relation between older and younger siblings is a relation of mutual help: the siblings help and cooperate with each other.

As for the Cardinal Relation among spouses, the husband and wife help and cooperate with each other in building a life together.

Of course, mutual help is clearly the real link underlying friendship. Never mind encouraging and admonishing each other, even when it comes to just friends mutually entertaining and amusing each other, that is a form of mutual help.

Feng Xin-ming


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The Cardinal Obligations Continued

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

Continuing from my last blog, the fourth Cardinal Relation is that between husband and wife. They are to unite their hearts as one forever, cooperate to build a life together, and respect each other so much that at every meal they “raise their trays up to the eyebrows to salute each other before eating.”

The fifth Cardinal Relation is that between friends. They are obliged to help each other, to encourage each other to do right, and to dissuade each other from doing wrong. There is no truer friend than one who will frankly tell you when you are making a mistake.

Of course, I think it is necessary to add a sixth Cardinal Relation: that between buyer and seller. The buyer is obliged to pay on time and in the amounts promised for the good or service bought. He’s also obliged to make clear what he wants and expects. The seller is obliged to deliver the good or service on time and in the amounts and quality promised. This Cardinal Relation includes the relationship between employer and employee; the employer is the buyer and the employee is the seller. When it comes to the teacher and the student (or parent), the student (or parent) is the buyer and the teacher the seller.

Feng Xin-ming


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