We learned this sentence in the New Year’s Eve of 2009. Prof. Shieh teaches book review in our PhD students seminar. In the last day of 2008, he mentioned one important saying of 孟子 (Mencius):
“When confronting Mr. Big, you should look down upon him/her, never take the authority & power as it is." 「孟子曰：說大人，則藐之，勿視其巍巍然。」
The “confronting", some translate into “lobbying", some others translate that into “mentioning" and else “negotiating". I think confronting is better than mentioning, then negotiating, and then lobbying. The best literal meaning of 「說」 is mentioning, because it suppress the general context of saying something. But my favorite explanation would be “confronting", which emphasizing the intentional action toward the object, which later shows up in the stage of the Chinese cultural context: Mr. Big.
We have numerous, uncountable, infinite Mr. Bigs in our common Chinese / Taiwanese culture. For the hierarchical, universal socio-political-somatical-symbolic order system, the “I" is situated in the middle of infinite circles around him. The world/universe is unfolded followed various social distance / collective social-psychological topology. So everyone above you, is your Mr. Big (sorry, not like Sex and The City :P) Everyone need to learn how to deal with Mr. Big.
So Mencius had proposed a very good attitude and behavioral guideline: 「說大人，則藐之」 . When you confront any one of your Mr. Bigs, you should always not take it as it is. If you need to look up to see him, then all you need is to look down upon him and start your ordinary work. Criticize him and penetrating the beautiful outlook and decoration, to find the real inner essence you would like to deal with.
When I watch the video interview of our President of Taiwan, the Republic of China, I thought about Prof. Shieh’s teaching immediately. If you want to see the real value of any Mr. Big, you must practice it very often. At the moment of morality reincarnation, the political re-mobilization of Taiwanese society, we need to re-interpret it in our own language and own thoughts. Then to discover the real us and the real him/her, before you want to initiate any action.
Share that with all my friends and readers of ilyagram.org.
(I am now practicing Isaac’s principle to extend the balance of freedom of speech and political resistance sustainability. Ha :P)