How to Pursue the Truth (13) Part Two

Last time we also discussed another topic—that of letting go of the conditioning effects that your family exerts on you. The conditioning effects of a person’s family begin right from when the person is young. As the person reaches adulthood, they gradually start applying these conditioned thoughts and views in their life. By the time they have gained a certain amount of life experience, they are freely putting into practice these various thoughts and views that have been conditioned into them by their family, and on this basis they have accumulated various principles, ways, and tricks for dealing with things that are even more sophisticated, more specific, and more beneficial to themselves. It could be said that the conditioning effects exerted by family serve as a person’s primer as they make the transition into society and into their communal groups, and which enables them to freely use various ways and tricks for dealing with things when living among others. Since these conditioning effects exerted by family are a primer, they are ingrained and deeply rooted in the heart of each person. These things influence people’s lives, the way they comport themselves and act, and also their outlook on life. But as these conditioning effects are not positive, they are also things that people should let go of in the process of pursuing the truth. It doesn’t matter whether or not the thoughts and views that such conditioning instills into you are formed in the innermost depths of your heart, or whether or not they occupy a dominant position deep within—and it certainly doesn’t matter whether such thoughts and views have already been confirmed to be true or practiced by you in the course of your existence—these conditioning effects will affect your life to varying degrees, both now and in the future, influencing your choice of life path, and affecting your attitude and principles by which you deal with things. It can be said that the vast majority of families provide people with the most basic tricks and philosophies for worldly dealings, so that they can live and survive in society. For example, we fellowshipped last time about things that parents always say, such as “People need their pride just as a tree needs its bark” and “A man leaves his name behind wherever he stays, just as a goose utters its cry wherever it flies,” as well as “You have to endure great suffering in order to come out on top” and “The bird that sticks its neck out is the one that gets shot.” What else was there? “Harmony is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance,” and “He who talks a lot errs a lot.” These various ideas and views that are conditioned into you by your family, no matter whether you explicitly apply them or practice them in your life, are your primer. What do I mean by “primer”? I mean something that inspires and pushes you to accept Satan’s philosophies for worldly dealings. These sayings from your family have instilled into you a most basic way of dealing with the world and a most basic way of surviving, so that after entering this society, you will work hard to pursue fame, gain, and status, endeavor to disguise and package yourself better, and to protect yourself better, and strive to become preeminent among people, and to come out on top, and to stay at the top of the pile. For you, these things that your family conditions into you are rules and tricks for dealing with the world that push you to enter into society and assimilate into evil trends.

Last time we fellowshipped on the conditioning effects that family exerts on people. There are far more conditioning effects than these, so let us continue fellowshipping on them. For example, some parents tell their children, “Among any three people walking together, there is at least one who can be my teacher.” Who said this? (Confucius.) This is indeed what Confucius said. Some parents tell their children: “You must learn skills wherever you go. Once you learn them, you will have a skill in a specialized field, and you’ll never have to worry about not having a job, and you will be the go-to authority in any situation. One of the ancient sages said it well, ‘Among any three people walking together, there is at least one who can be my teacher.’ Whenever you are around others, look to see who has a skill in a specialized field. Learn it secretly without letting them find out, then once you have mastered it, it will become your skill, and you will be able to earn money to support yourself, and you will never want for life’s basic necessities.” What is your parents’ aim in making you learn skills when you are among others? (To get ahead in the world.) The aim of learning skills is to strengthen yourself, come out on top, learn to secretly pick up skills from others, and gradually bolster your own strength. If you have great strength among people, you will have a livelihood and also fame and fortune. And when you have both fame and fortune, people will think highly of you. If you don’t have real skills, no one will think highly of you, so you must learn to secretly pick up skills from others, learn other people’s strong points and skills, and gradually become stronger than them—only then can you come out on top. Some parents tell their children, “If you want to appear dignified when people are looking, you have to suffer when they aren’t,” still with the aim of making their children earn the appreciation and high regard of others. If you work hard and diligently and endure great hardships to learn skills when others aren’t looking, then once you have acquired them, you can impress everyone with your brilliance, and whenever people look down on you or bully you, you can show off your talents, and no one will dare to bully you anymore. Even though you might look ordinary and unremarkable, and don’t say much, you will have some skills, in the form of technical abilities that are beyond the grasp of ordinary people, so others will admire you for this and feel smaller in your presence, and look to you as someone who can help them. In this way, is your worth among people not increased? And as your worth increases, does it not make you appear dignified? If you want to strive to earn distinguished status among others, you have to endure hardship and suffering when they aren’t looking. No matter how much hardship you endure, just suck it up and keep going, and all of your suffering will prove worthwhile once people see how capable you are. What is your parents’ aim in telling you this saying, “If you want to appear dignified when people are looking, you have to suffer when they aren’t”? Their aim is for you to gain distinguished status among others and earn their high regard, rather than being discriminated against or bullied, so that not only will you be able to enjoy the nice things in life, but you will also win respect and support from others. Not only are people with this kind of status in society not bullied by others, but for them things go smoothly wherever they go. Whenever people see you coming, they will say, “Oh it’s you, to what do we owe the pleasure of your visit? It’s such an honor to see you! Do you have some business to take care of? I’ll sort it for you. Oh, you’ve come to buy tickets? Well, there’s no need to queue. I’ll get the best seat for you. We are buddies after all!” You take this on board and think, “Wow, this celebrity label I have really does work wonders. Elders are right when they say, ‘If you want to appear dignified when people are looking, you have to suffer when they aren’t.’ Society really is like that, it’s so reality-centered! If I didn’t have this reputation, who would pay me any attention? If you queue up like a normal person, others might look down on you and put the boot in, and might not even sell to you when you get to the front of the line.” When you are queuing up to see a doctor at the hospital, someone spots you from across the hall and says, “Aren’t you so-and-so? What are you waiting in line for? I’ll find you a specialist straight away so you don’t have to queue.” You reply: “I haven’t paid yet.” And they say, “No need to, I’ll foot the bill.” You ponder on this and think, “It’s good being a celebrity. Enduring all that suffering when no one was looking wasn’t in vain after all. I really can enjoy special treatment in society. This society is so reality-centered, you only have to be a celebrity to be well-received. It’s great!” Once again, you rejoice that your suffering wasn’t all in vain, and think that it was worth going through all that hardship and suffering when others weren’t looking! You constantly marvel at this: “I needn’t queue up to see a doctor at the hospital,” you think. “I can get good seats whenever I buy plane tickets, and special treatment wherever I go. My influence can even get me in through the backdoor. It’s great! This is how society should be, there’s no need for equality. People should get back as much as they put in. If you don’t suffer when others aren’t looking, can you appear dignified when they are? Look at me, for instance. I suffered when others weren’t looking, so that when they are I can get special treatment like this, because I deserve to.” This being the case, what do people depend on if they want to associate with others and get things done in society? They rely on their talents and skills to support their ability to do things. Whether or not someone succeeds in their endeavors or how good they are at getting things done in society is not based on that person’s talent or humanity, nor on whether they have the truth. There is no fairness or equality in society. And as long as you are diligent enough, can endure suffering when others aren’t looking, and are sufficiently tyrannical and fierce, you can earn high status among others. Just like in the past when people competed to become master of the martial arts world, they would endure great suffering and practice for days and nights on end, until finally they had mastered all the styles of the different martial arts schools and come up with a unique style of their own, which they practiced to perfection until they became invulnerable. And what happened in the end? In the martial arts tournament, they defeated fighters from all the major schools and earned the status of master of the martial arts world. In order to appear dignified in front of others, they were prepared to endure any kind of suffering, and would even practice some dark arts behind closed doors. After eight to ten years of practice, they became so expert that no one in the martial arts world could defeat them in the ring, or assassinate them outside of it, and even if they drank poison, they could expel it from their body. Thus they cemented their position as master of the martial arts world and no one could threaten their position—this is what appearing dignified to others is all about. In order to appear dignified in front of others, people in ancient times took imperial exams and won scholarly honors. Nowadays, people go to college, take postgraduate entrance exams, and study for a Ph.D.—they too persevere in their studies despite hardships, and slave away learning useless knowledge from dawn to late at night, year after year. Sometimes they are so tired that they don’t want to study any more, and long to take a break, but are scolded by their parents who say, “When are you ever going to show an ounce of promise? Do you still want to appear dignified in front of others? If that’s the case, how can you do it without suffering when they aren’t looking? It’s not like you’ll drop dead if you miss out on a short break, is it? Go study! Go do your homework!” They say, “I’ve finished my homework and reviewed today’s lessons. Can you let me relax a while?” But their parents reply: “Absolutely not! If you want to appear dignified when people are looking, you have to suffer when they aren’t!” They ponder on this and think, “My parents are doing all this for my own good, so why am I so headstrong and preoccupied with having fun? I must do as I’m told. It is said that you ignore your elders at your peril, so I must listen to my parents. They will be like this for the rest of their lives. If I don’t do them credit, I’ll be letting them down. Besides, I still have a long way to go in life, so what’s a little suffering in the long run?” At this thought, they put all their energy into studying, reviewing their lessons, and doing their homework. They stay up past midnight studying and no matter how tired they feel, they manage to overcome it. On their life’s path, people are constantly indoctrinated by the conditioning effects of their family, in the form of ideas and expressions such as “If you want to appear dignified when people are looking, you have to suffer when they aren’t,” which keep encouraging and motivating them. For the sake of their future and prospects and to appear dignified around others, they constantly learn skills and knowledge when people aren’t looking. They arm themselves with knowledge and various skills to make themselves stronger. They also look to the exploits of various ancient figures or successful people to give themselves a boost and rouse their fighting spirit. They do all this with the aim of casting off poverty, mediocrity, and lowliness in their future, and changing their destiny of being discriminated against, so that they become a superior person, a member of the elite, and someone that others look up to. These conditioning effects from their family keep running through their mind over and over again, until gradually, these remarks and sayings become their entrenched ideas and views, their set ways of dealing with the world, and also become their intrinsic outlook on existence and the goal they pursue.

Some parents tell their children, “You must learn to make friends with others. It’s like the saying goes, ‘Just as a fence needs the support of three stakes, an able man needs the support of three other people.’ Even the reviled Song dynasty politician Qin Hui[a] had three friends. Wherever you go, learn to get along with others and maintain good interpersonal relationships. At the very least, you must get yourself some close friends. Once you enter society, you will encounter all kinds of difficulties in life, work, and when going about your business. If you don’t have friends to help you, you will have to face all kinds of difficulties and awkward situations alone. If you know some tricks for making a few close friends, then when you come up against these awkward situations and difficulties, those friends will step forward to get you out of trouble and help you succeed in your endeavors. If you want to achieve great things, you should get off your high horse and make friends. You should be able to keep all sorts of powerful people on your side in order to support your endeavors and your future life and existence. You must be able to take advantage of various people to help you get things done and to serve you.” Parents generally won’t explicitly communicate this kind of idea or view, or tell their children directly that they need to learn to make friends, take advantage of people, and be able to find friends to help them succeed in their endeavors. However, there are some parents with status and standing in society, or who are particularly artful and scheming, and who influence their children through both their words and their conduct. Besides, whenever their children see and hear their ideas, views, and ways of dealing with the world through the things they say and do in everyday life, this exerts a conditioning effect on the children. Under the condition that you do not correctly judge and discern between positive things and negative things, you are inadvertently influenced by your parents’ words and actions and accept their ideas and views, or these ideas and views are inadvertently implanted deep within your heart, and become the most basic foundation and principle by which you do things. Your parents may not directly tell you to “make more friends, learn to get people to do things for you, and to leverage people’s strengths, and learn to take advantage of those around you.” Nevertheless, they infect and condition you by practicing through their actions the ideas and views that they preach. Thus your parents become your first teachers in this matter, initiating you as regards how to deal with things, how to get along with people, and how to make friends in this society, and also initiating you as regards the purpose behind making friends, why you should make friends, what kind of friends you should make, how to gain a foothold in society, the basics and methods for gaining a foothold, and so on. Thus, your parents condition you by practicing what they preach. Unwittingly, as you grow from childhood to adulthood, these ideas and views gradually take shape, from a simple consciousness to concrete thoughts, views, and actions so that, step by step, they become deeply implanted in your heart and soul and become your way of and philosophy for worldly dealings. What do you think of the saying “Just as a fence needs the support of three stakes, an able man needs the support of three other people” as a way of dealing with the world? (It’s bad.) Is there such a thing as a true friend in this world? (No.) Why then does a fence need the support of three stakes? What’s the point of having three stakes? Just to make it more stable. It wouldn’t be stable with two stakes, and one stake wouldn’t do at all. So what is the principle for dealing with the world involved here? Even an able man, no matter how capable he is, cannot clap with one hand, and will get nowhere. If you want to achieve something, you need people to help you. And if you want people to help you, you need to learn how to conduct yourself and deal with the world, and to make friends widely and assemble a force in order to get things done. In order to achieve anything, great or small, whether it be carving out a career, or gaining a foothold in society, or accomplishing something even greater, you must have people around you whom you trust or think highly of, and whom you can use to help you achieve the endeavors you want to undertake, otherwise it will be like trying to clap with one hand. Of course these are the rules for doing anything in this world, because there is no fairness in society, only scheming and struggle. If you walk the correct path and undertake just causes, no one will approve, it won’t work in this society. No matter what kind of endeavor you undertake, you must have some people to help you and to accumulate a force in society. Wherever you go, if there are people who yield to you and are afraid of you, then you will have a firm foothold in society, it will be much easier for you to undertake your endeavors, and there will be people who give you the green light. This is an attitude and a way of dealing with the world. No matter what you want to do, your parents will always tell you “Just as a fence needs the support of three stakes, an able man needs the support of three other people.” So, is this principle for dealing with the world right or wrong? (Wrong.) What’s wrong with it? (Whether a person can accomplish things depends not on their power or talent, but on God’s sovereignty and arrangements.) It depends on God’s sovereignty and arrangements, this is one aspect. In addition, what is people’s aim in wanting others to help them in society? (To enable themselves to rise above the rest.) That’s right. The aim behind having these three stakes to support you is to carve out a place for yourself and gain a firm foothold. That way, no one can kick you down, and even if one stake does get kicked over, the other two stakes will be there to support you. People who have a certain degree of power can do things with ease in this society, without worrying about the law, people’s feelings, or public opinion. Is this not people’s aim? (Yes.) That way, you can become someone who calls the shots and has a voice in society, and neither the law nor any public opinion can shake your footing or unsettle you. You will have the final say in the trends of this society and in any social group. You will be the go-to authority. So then, can you not do as you please? You can rise above the law, rise above people’s feelings, rise above public opinion, rise above morality, and rise above the condemnation of conscience. Is this the aim that people want to achieve? (Yes.) This is the aim that people want to achieve. This is a basic foundation for people’s actions that enables them to achieve their ambitions and desires. You see, some people become sworn brothers in society. Among them, an elder brother is the CEO of some corporation, a younger brother is the president of some group, and some others are politicians or underworld bosses. Some people have friends who are hospital directors or chief surgeons or head nurses, and some people make some good friends in their own line of work. Do people really make these friends because they share the same views and interests? Or because they truly want to uphold just causes together? (No.) Then why do they do it? They do it because they want to accumulate a kind of force, and expand and enhance this force, and ultimately rely on it to gain a foothold and survive in society, live at the top of the pile, and enjoy a life of luxury and indulgence; no one will dare to bully them, and even if they have committed crimes, the law will not dare to punish them. And if they do commit crimes, their buddies will step forward to help them. One friend will speak on their behalf, another friend will help smooth things over in court and lobby senior politicians for clemency, so they will be out of the police station in less than 24 hours. No matter how serious the crime they committed, nothing will come of it and they won’t even have to pay a fine. Eventually, common folk will say: “Dear me, that person is really something. How did they get themselves off the hook so quickly after committing such a serious crime? If that were us, we’d be done for, wouldn’t we? We’d end up in jail, wouldn’t we? Look at the friends they have. Why can’t we make friends like that? How come people like that are beyond our reach?” And people will be envious. These matters are all caused by social injustice and the continuous emergence of evil trends in society. People do not have any sense of security in this society. They always want to curry favor with certain forces and compare each other’s forces. Particularly for those living at the bottom of society, even if they have some means of making a living, they don’t know when they will encounter danger or difficulty, and are most afraid of meeting with some unexpected disaster, or encountering some mishap, especially when it comes to anything that involves the law, so they go through life never wanting to have anything to do with the police or the courts. Because people have no sense of security in this society, they constantly have to make friends and find powerful allies to rely on. You see, when young children are in school, they have to make two or three friends to play with. Otherwise, they always end up getting bullied when they’re on their own. And they daren’t tell the teacher about getting bullied, because once they do that, they will definitely be beaten up on their way home from school. Even if the teachers are nice to you and your academic performance is fairly good, if you don’t know how to make friends or gang up with the thugs around you, you’ll end up in hot water if you get on the wrong side of them. And sometimes, even if you don’t get on the wrong side of them, they will try to lead you astray when they see you studying well, and if you don’t listen to them, you will get beaten up or bullied. Even school environments make people feel insecure, so this world is really scary, don’t you think? Therefore, the conditioning effects of family on you in this respect come in one sense from the influence of your parents setting an example, and in another sense, also from people’s insecurities about society. Because there is no fairness in this society, nor any force or advantage that can protect your human rights and interests, people are often beset with dread and fear of this society. As a result, they naturally accept the conditioning effects of the idea that “Just as a fence needs the support of three stakes, an able man needs the support of three other people.” Because in the real environments in which people exist, ideas and views like this are needed to support their survival, enabling them to switch from a life of solitude and loneliness to one of reliance and a sense of security. Therefore, people regard reliance on a force and reliance on friends in this world as something very important.

Regarding the ways in which people are conditioned by their family, in addition to the saying we mentioned just now, which was “Just as a fence needs the support of three stakes, an able man needs the support of three other people,” there are some more specific ways in which people are educated by their family. For example, parents tend to educate their daughters by saying things like: “‘A lady will make herself beautiful for those who admire her, while a gentleman will sacrifice his life for those who understand him.’ Also, ‘There are no ugly women in the world, only lazy women.’ Women must learn to love themselves, and dress themselves up, and make themselves all pretty. That way, wherever you go, people will like you, and more people will do things for you and give you the green light. If people like you, then naturally they won’t give you a hard time or make things difficult for you.” Some parents tell their daughters: “Girls must learn to dress up well, put on makeup, and even more importantly, they must learn to be gentle.” What they are really saying is that you need to learn to show yourself off. They also say things like: “Don’t be a strong woman. What use is it for a woman to be so strong and independent? Such women never dress themselves up, but live like men, and hurriedly bustle around all day long, and they’re not gentle either. Women are born to be doted on by men. They don’t need to be independent or learn any skills. They just need to learn to dress themselves up, learn how to please men, and do what a woman should do well. A woman who is liked and cherished by men will be happy all her life.” Some women are conditioned by their parents in this respect. In one regard, they look at how their mothers behave as women. In another regard, after being conditioned by their parents they turn themselves into women who are truly pleasing to the eye, by constantly dressing up and beautifying themselves. Do people like this exist? (Yes.) Women who grow up in this kind of family environment attach great importance to their appearance, their clothing, and their feminine identity. They won’t leave the house without first putting on makeup and changing their clothes. Some women, no matter how busy they are with work, absolutely must wash their hair, take a shower, and spray on some perfume before leaving the house, otherwise, they just won’t go out, and when they have nothing to do, all they do is look in the mirror and fix their hair. Who knows how many times these women look in the mirror each day! They are profoundly conditioned by ideas and views such as “A lady will make herself beautiful for those who admire her, while a gentleman will sacrifice his life for those who understand him,” so they pay great attention to their figure and how their face looks. They won’t go out if their complexion looks even slightly the worse for wear, and they won’t show their face in public if there is acne on it. If one day they aren’t in the mood to put on makeup, they won’t go out. Or, if they’ve had a haircut but it doesn’t look that nice, and they don’t look so pleasing to the eye, they won’t go out to work, in case people think less of them. Such women spend all day long living for the sake of these things. If they have a mosquito bite on their hand, they’ll keep their hand hidden out of view, or if it’s on their leg they’ll keep their leg covered up because they won’t look pretty in a skirt, and also they won’t go out, and can’t perform their duty. Every little thing is liable to put them off and stop them in their tracks, so life then becomes extremely hard and tiring for them. In order to maintain the dignity of a lady and avoid becoming ugly women, they take great pains and effort to look after their face, figure, and hairstyle, and in order to avoid becoming ugly women, they cast off their previous bad habits and laziness. No matter how busy they are at work, they must dress up and adorn themselves meticulously and exquisitely. If their eyebrows aren’t drawn well, they redo them. If their blusher isn’t applied evenly, they reapply it. Unless they’ve spent at least an hour or two putting on makeup, they won’t go out the front door. Some women, as soon as they get up in the morning, start this whole charade of showering, dressing up, and changing clothes. They think and rethink, trying on this and that, until it gets to midday and they still haven’t left the house. It must be so difficult for them, having their limited time and energy taken up by these senseless things. They don’t get around to doing anything serious at all, and as soon as they open their eyes, all they think about is dressing themselves up and making themselves beautiful. Some of these people are influenced by their mother’s ideas and views, while others are explicitly told by their mother what they should be doing, and some learn from the example that their mother sets by her actions. In short, these are all ways in which people are conditioned by their family.

Some families hold the view that “Daughters should be raised like rich children, and sons like poor children.” Have you heard this saying? (Yes, I have.) What does this saying mean? They are all children, so why should girls be raised like rich kids, and boys like poor kids? Traditional culture generally values males and attaches less importance to females, so why does this saying seem to value girls over boys? If a daughter is raised like a rich kid, what kind of daughter will she become? What kind of thing will she become? (Someone who is rather spoiled, conceited, and domineering.) One who is willful, fragile, unable to bear any hardship, incapable of caring, irrational, unreasonable, and unable to differentiate between good and bad—what can such a person amount to? Is this the right way to educate someone? (No.) Raising someone this way will ruin them. If you raise your daughter like a rich kid, although she will grow up in a family environment that meets her every basic need, and she will have a modicum of sophistication, will she understand the real principles of comportment? If she doesn’t understand, then this kind of parenting approach is hurting her and harming her, rather than protecting her. What is parents’ motivation for raising their daughters based on this principle? A daughter raised this way will be sophisticated and won’t easily fall for men who buy her nice dresses, give her a bit of spending money, or ply her with paltry gifts and favors. Therefore, the average man won’t sweep her off her feet. He would have to be extremely rich, and a perfect gentleman, and extremely sophisticated, and extremely scheming and calculating, and extremely shrewd in order to win her heart, and to sweep her off her feet, and to earn her hand in marriage. Do you think it’s good or bad to marry off your daughter to someone like that? It’s surely not a good thing, is it? Besides, if you raise your daughter like a rich kid, then besides knowing how to enjoy herself, dress up, and eat nice food, will she be able to discern people for who they really are? Will she have any survival skills? Will she be able to live alongside others for a long time? Not necessarily. It may be that she will have trouble keeping her own life in order, in which case, people like this are useless. They are spoiled, imperious and domineering, willful and impudent, self-indulgent and overbearing, uncompromising and insistent, and they only know about eating, drinking, and having fun. Besides all that, she won’t even have the basic common sense needed to get by in life, which will imperceptibly cause trouble for her future survival and family life. It is not a good thing for her parents to educate their daughter in this way. They didn’t teach her principles of comportment, but only how to enjoy life. So if she can’t earn enough money in the future, won’t she have to endure hardship? Won’t she then find it difficult to get by? Will she be able to endure that? Won’t she be fragile whenever she encounters difficulties in the future? Will she have the perseverance needed to face all these hardships? Don’t bet on it. When it comes to people who enjoy the material life too much, and who are overly accustomed to a life of ease and luxury, and who have never suffered at all, what is the biggest problem with their humanity? It’s that they are fragile and don’t have the will to endure hardship, and people like this will come to ruin. So, the education that children receive from their family, whether via their parents or through social trends, essentially comes from among human beings. Whether these multifarious sayings form into an idea or viewpoint, or become a way of life or survival for people, they make people look at these issues from an extreme, prejudiced, and distorted perspective. In short, these sayings from family influence, to a greater or lesser degree, the way in which people view people and things, and the way in which they comport themselves and act. And since these things influence you, they will also influence your pursuit of the truth. Therefore, regardless of whether these sayings, ideas and views from one’s parents are noble and high-minded, or lowbrow and idiotic, everyone should re-examine them, reassess them, and learn to discern them for what they really are. If they come to exert a certain influence on you, or cause a disturbance in your life and in your pursuit of the truth, or make your life a total mess, or impede you from seeking the truth and accepting the truth whenever you face people, events, and things, then you should just let them go.

There are also claims circulating in society regarding the concepts of emotional quotient, or EQ, and intelligence quotient, or IQ. These claims suggest that people don’t need to have a high IQ, but only need to have a high EQ. IQ is more to do with a person’s caliber, whereas EQ is more to do with the tricks by which a person deals with the world. This is My basic understanding of these two terms. Maybe your intelligence quotient is quite high, and you are really academic, really knowledgeable, and a great communicator, and your ability to survive is quite strong, but your emotional intelligence is not high, and you have no tricks for dealing with the world, or even if you are a bit tricky, your means are not very sophisticated. In cases like this, your knowledge, skills, and proficiency in a specialized field only enable you to scrape by in society and earn a basic livelihood. People with high emotional intelligence are particularly good at being crafty. They will make use of various forces in society, advantageous geographical environments or favorable opportunities, and advantageous information to create hype and manipulate things, exaggerating something that is unremarkable into something with a certain impact in society or within a community, so that they themselves become famous, and ultimately stand out from the crowd and become a person of fame and status. This type of person has high emotional intelligence and tricks. Tricky people are essentially cunning demon kings. Today’s society advocates high emotional intelligence, and some families may often condition their children in this way, by saying: “It’s a good thing that you have a high IQ, but you also need to have a high emotional intelligence. You need it when interacting with your classmates, colleagues, relatives, and friends. What this society advocates most is not your strength, but being tricky, knowing how to package yourself, knowing how to promote yourself, and how to take advantage of all the various forces and advantageous conditions in society and make them work in your own favor and serve you—whether you do this in order to seize the opportunity to make a fortune, or to become famous. Such people are all people with high emotional intelligence.” Some particular families or some parents with fame and prestige in society often educate their children this way, by saying: “A man with emotional intelligence is liked by both men and women, whereas a man without emotional intelligence is disliked by everyone. A woman with emotional intelligence will be liked by a whole host of men and women, and many males will pursue her. Whereas, if a woman has no emotional intelligence, few will pursue her no matter how beautiful she is.” Living in today’s society, if people don’t have any discernment of these claims by their families, they will become unwittingly influenced by these ideas and views, and will often measure their own IQ, and more especially, often check themselves against certain standards to determine whether they have emotional intelligence, and how high their EQ actually is. Regardless of whether or not you have a strong or clear awareness of these things, suffice it to say that the conditioning effects from your family in this regard will have already begun to influence you. They might be imperceptible, and they might not occupy a prominent place in your thoughts. But when you hear these things and have no discernment of them, you will already have begun to be conditioned by them to a certain extent.

There are other conditioning effects that come from one’s family. For example, parents will often tell their children, “Whenever you’re around others, you don’t know how to keep your wits about you and you’re always stupid and clueless. As the saying goes, ‘When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice.’ So whenever people are talking to you, you must learn to listen to what they’re saying, otherwise you’ll end up being betrayed and paying for the privilege!” Do some parents often say this? What are they really trying to say? Don’t be an honest person, be more calculating. That is to say, always read between the lines of what the other person is saying, always listen out for the extra layer of meaning in their words that they aren’t saying, learn to guess what others actually mean, and then adopt corresponding measures or tricks based on this unspoken meaning. Don’t be passive, otherwise you’ll end up being betrayed and paying for the privilege. From your parents’ perspective, these words are all well-intentioned, and meant to protect you from doing stupid things, or from being sold down the river by others in this evil community, and to protect you from being taken for a ride or doing something foolish. But is this saying consistent with the truth? (No, it isn’t.) No, it isn’t. Sometimes people are able to listen out for the hidden meanings in what others say. Even if you don’t pay attention, you can still listen out for hidden meanings. So what should you do? According to this saying that your parents tell you—“When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice”—you should guard against others and be vigilant of them at all times, and at the same time as guarding against them, you should take protective measures before they harm you or trick you. Even more importantly, you should strike first and not put yourself in a passive situation or dilemma. Is this the ultimate goal that parents want to achieve by telling you this saying? (Yes.) It is that whenever you interact with others, no matter whether they harm you or not, you shouldn’t be passive. You should take the initiative in your own hands, and grasp the knife handle in your own hands, so that whenever someone wants to harm you, not only can you protect yourself, but you can also take the initiative by striking them and harming them, and being more formidable and ruthless than them. This is actually the aim and root meaning of your parents’ words. If analyzed in this way, it is obvious that this saying does not accord with the truth, and that it is completely inconsistent with what God meant when He told people “be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” The principles and wise ways that God tells people are to help them discern others’ cunning schemes, and protect themselves from falling into temptation and associating with evil people, and refrain from using evil ways to deal with evil, and instead use the truth principles to deal with any evildoing and any evil person. Whereas the method that parents tell their children—“When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice”—is about repaying evil with evil. So if the other person is evil, you should be even more evil than them. If their words harbor a hidden meaning, you are superior to them and can identify it, and at the same time, based on this hidden meaning, you can use corresponding methods and tricks to deal with them, counteract them, subdue them, and to make them fear you, submit to you, and to let them know that you are not to be bullied or messed with. This is what countering evil with evil means. Obviously, the path of practice and the criterion of practice that are communicated to you and the result that is achieved through this saying will lead you to do evil and to deviate from the true way. When your parents tell you to behave like this, they aren’t asking you to be someone with the truth or someone who submits to the truth, nor are they asking you to be a genuine created being. They are asking you to counteract and overpower evil using ways that are even more evil than those of the evil person facing you. This is what your parents mean to say. Is there any parent who says the following? “If an evil person attacks you, exercise restraint. You should ignore him and discern him for what he really is. Firstly, identify the essence of the evil person within him, and discern him for what he is. Secondly, recognize the evil deeds and corrupt dispositions in yourself that are similar to or the same as his, and then seek the truth to resolve them.” Do any parents tell their children this? (No.) When your parents tell you, “When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice. You must beware, otherwise you’ll end up being betrayed by others and paying for the privilege, and you must learn to strike first,” no matter your parents’ original intention in saying this, or the ultimate effect that is achieved, it makes you even more formidable, more powerful, more imperious, more domineering, and more vicious, so that evil people are afraid of you and they even avoid you when they see you, and dare not mess with you. Is this not the case? (Yes.) So, could it be said that your parents’ aim in telling you this saying is not to turn you into a person with a sense of justice, or someone who possesses the truth, and not to make you a wise person who is as “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves”? Their aim is to tell you that you have to be a powerful person in society, to be even more evil than others, and to be someone who uses evil to protect yourself, right? (Yes.) When your parents tell you “When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice,” whether it is their original intention or the ultimate effect that is achieved, and whether your parents tell you the principles and methods of practice for doing such things, or instead tell you their thoughts and views on such things, obviously none of this is in line with the truth, and it runs counter to God’s words. Your parents make you become an evil person, not an upright person, nor a wise person who fears God and shuns evil. Obviously, the teaching and conditioning given to you by your parents are not positive things, nor are they a correct path. Although your parents meant to protect you, and had the best of intentions in doing so, the effect they achieved is malignant. Not only did they fail to protect you, but they pointed you toward an incorrect path, causing you to do evil and become an evil person. Not only did they fail to protect you, but they actually harmed you by causing you to fall into temptation and unrighteousness, and to stray from God’s care and protection. From this point of view, the conditioning effects exerted on you by your family are more likely to make you selfish, hypocritical, and greedy for fame, gain, and social status, and to better assimilate you into evil trends, and to give you more sophisticated ruses for interacting with others, and to make you slippery, vicious, imperious, and domineering around others, so that no one will dare to mess with you or lay a hand on you. From your parents’ point of view, they have used these methods to condition you so that you are protected in society, or, to a certain extent, so that you become a dignified person. But from the perspective of the truth, they don’t allow you to be a true created being. They make you stray from God’s teachings and the methods by which God admonishes you to comport yourself, and they also make you stray further and further away from the goal that God tells you to pursue. No matter your parents’ original intentions in conditioning and educating you, ultimately these ideas that they conditioned into you have only brought you fame, gain, and emptiness, as well as all the evil deeds that you have lived out and revealed, and they have also provided you with further confirmation of the practicality of these conditioning effects in society, and nothing else.

As regards these sayings that come from the conditioning which your family exerts on you—such as “When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice”—if considered in isolation, you would think nothing of them. You would feel that these sayings are common and widespread, and that there are no major issues with such sayings, ideas, and views. However, if you compare them with the truth and use the truth to dissect them in detail, it becomes apparent that there are indeed major issues with these sayings. For example, if your parents always tell you “When someone beats a gong, listen to its sound; when someone speaks, listen to their voice,” and you utilize this mode of existence skillfully, then whenever you meet people you will constantly and subconsciously speculate without realizing it, about things like “What does he mean by this? Why did he say that?” And you will naturally speculate on other people’s thoughts, constantly listening to what they say and interacting with them in this habitual mode of thinking, so you will not be contemplating the truth, or how to get along with others, or what the principles are for interacting with others, or what the principles are for communicating with others, or how to deal with the implications that you identify in people’s words, or what the way is that God teaches, or how to discern people of this type, or how to handle them, and other such principles of practice that your parents never communicated to you. What your parents told you was to learn how to second-guess other people’s thoughts, and you have carried out this way of practicing very well; you have already reached the point where you have mastered it and can no longer stop yourself from doing it. Therefore, these issues require people to regularly settle themselves down, think carefully, and invest effort into figuring things out. In one sense, you should dissect and discern these issues clearly. In another sense, whenever these things occur, you should make an effort to change your way of thinking and also your way of viewing people and things. That is to say, you should change your thoughts and views on dealing with such matters. The next time you listen to someone speaking, and try to speculate on what they really mean to say, let go of this way of thinking and this way of handling people, and think it through: “What does he mean by saying this? He doesn’t speak directly and always beats around the bush. This person is deceitful. What on earth was that thing he was talking about? What is the essence of this thing? Can I perceive it clearly? If I can perceive it clearly, I will fellowship with him using arguments and views that are consistent with the truth, explaining the matter clearly, and making him understand the truth of this aspect. I will help him and correct his wrong thoughts and views. In addition, the way he speaks is deceitful. I don’t want to know what he means by that, or why he talks in such a roundabout way. I don’t want to spend effort and energy trying to speculate on what he really means. I don’t want to pay that price, and I don’t want to do anything in this regard. I just need to recognize that he is a deceitful person. Though he is deceitful, I won’t engage in deceit with him. No matter how much he beats around the bush, I will be straight up with him, say whatever should be said, and tell it like it is. As the Lord Jesus said, ‘But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no’ (Matthew 5:37). Addressing deceit with honesty is the highest criterion for practicing the truth.” If you practice in this way, you will let go of the ways your parents conditioned you and taught you, and your principles of practice will also change. Then you will be a person who pursues the truth. No matter which aspects of your parents’ conditioning you let go of, whenever related things happen again, you will change your wrong thoughts and views about them, by taking God’s words as the basis and using the truth as the criterion, and turning them into thoughts and views that are wholly correct and positive. That is to say, if you judge, view, and handle this matter with God’s words and the truth as your basis and as your criteria for practicing, then you are practicing the truth. On the contrary, if you still adopt the ways your parents taught you—or the ideas and views they instilled in you—as the criterion, basis, and practice principles for handling this matter, then this way of practicing is not practicing the truth, nor is it pursuing the truth. In the end, what people gain from pursuing the truth is appreciation and experience of the truth. If you don’t pursue the truth, you won’t gain an appreciation or experience of the truth. What you will gain is just an appreciation and experience of putting into practice this saying that your parents conditioned into you. So, while others talk about their experience and appreciation of God’s words, you can’t bring yourself to say anything, because you have nothing to say. All you have is a practical appreciation and experience of the ideas and views conditioned into you by your family. It’s just that you can’t bring yourself to say anything about them, and have no way to share them. Therefore, whatever you put into practice is what you will ultimately appreciate. If what you practice is the truth, then what you will gain is an appreciation and experience of God’s words and of the truth. If you put into practice the education and instructions given to you by your parents, then what you will appreciate is the experience of your family’s conditioning and traditional education, and what you will gain is only the ideas that Satan instills into you, and Satan’s corruption of you. The more profoundly you appreciate these things, the more you will feel that Satan’s corrupting ideas and views are useful and practical, and the more profoundly you will be corrupted by Satan. What if you practice the truth? You will have more and more of an appreciation and experience of the truth, and of the words and principles that God tells you, and you will feel that the truth is the most valuable thing, and that God is the source of human life, and that God’s words are people’s life.


a. The original text does not contain the phrase “the reviled Song dynasty politician.”

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