‘What makes a place beautiful is the humanity that dwells there’

For Confucius human intercourse is the life element. “The superior man does not neglect his neighbors.” But in our association with men, we encounter both good and bad. “Have no friend who is not your equal,” says Confucius, but rejects the maxim: “Associate with those who are worthy of it; as for those who are unworthy, keep them at a distance.” Instead he declares: “The superior man honors the worthy and tolerates all men.” But in his dealings with others the superior man keeps his wits about him: “He may let others lie to him but not make a fool of him. The superior man encourages what is beautiful in men; the inferior man, what is unbeautiful.” Thus the spirit of men living together develops in one direction or the other. “What makes a place beautiful is the humanity that dwells there. He who is able to choose and does not settle among humane people is not wise.”

–Karl Jaspers, Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus: The Paradigmatic Individuals, New York: Harcourt, 1962, p. 46.

Further Reading on Friendship

Andrew Taggart, “On Lovers and Libraries”

—. “Ivan Illich on Friendship as Conspiracy”

—. “On Epicurus’s Philosophy of Life”