Man Is Both Good-natured And Bad-natured According To Yan Hiung


According to Yang Hiung and his followers, good is no less real than

evil, and evil is no more unreal than good. Therefore man must be

double-natured-that is, partly good and partly bad. This is the

reason why the history of man is full of fiendish crimes, and, at the

same time, it abounds with godly deeds. This is the reason why

mankind comprises, on the one hand, a Socrates, a Confucius, a Jesus,

and, on the other
a Nero and a Kieh. This is the reason why we find

to-day a honest fellow in him whom we find a betrayer to-morrow.

[FN#163] Yan Hiung (died A.D. 18) is the reputed author of Tai Huen

(Tai-gen) and Fah Yen (Ho-gen). His opinion in reference to human

nature is found in Fah Yen.

This view of man's nature might explain our present moral state, yet

it calls forth many questions bard to answer. If this assertion be

true, is it not a useless task to educate man with the purpose of

making him better and nobler? How could one extirpate man's bad

nature implanted within him at his origin? If man be double-natured,

how did he come to set good over evil? How did he come to consider

that he ought to be good and ought not to be bad? How could you

establish the authority of morality?