Mozi said: To make any statement or to publish any doctrine, there must first be established some standard of judgment. To discuss without a standard is like determining the directions of sunrise and sunset on a revolving potter's wheel. Even skilful artisans could not get accurate results in that way. Now that the truth and error (of a doctrine) in the world is hard to tell, there must be three tests. What are the three tests? They are the test of its basis, the test of its verifiability, and the test of its applicability.
Mozi said: At present, in governing the states the rulers all desire to have their countries wealthy, their population large, and their administration orderly. But instead of wealth they obtain poverty, instead of an increase they obtain a decrease in population, instead of order they obtain chaos; i.e. they lose what they like but obtain what they dislike. What is the reason for this? Mozi said: It is due to the large number of fatalists among the people. The fatalists say: "When fate decrees that a man shall be wealthy he will be wealthy; when it decrees poverty, he will be poor; when it decrees a large population, this will be large; and when it decrees a small population this will be small; if order is decreed, there will be order; if chaos, there will be chaos. If fate decrees old age, there will be old age; if untimely death, there will be untimely death.
Mozi said: The policy of the magnanimous will pursue what procures benefits of the world and destroy its calamities. If anything, when established as a law, is beneficial to the people it will be done; if not, it will not be done. Moreover, the magnanimous in their care for the world do not think of doing those things which delight the eyes, please the ears, gratify the taste, and ease the body. When these deprive the people of their means of clothing and food, the magnanimous would not undertake them.
Mozi said: With the passing of the sage-kings of the Three Dynasties, the world lost its righteousness and the feudal lords took might as right. The superior and the subordinates are no longer gracious and loyal; father and son, elder and younger brother are no longer affectionate and filial, brotherly and respectful, virtuous and kind. The rulers do not attend diligently to government and the artisans do not attend earnestly to their work. The people practise immorality and wickedness and become rebellious.
Mozi said: What is the reason for the disorder in the world? It is because the gentlemen of the world all understand trifles but not things of importance. How do we know they understand trifles but not things of importance? Because they do not understand the will of Heaven. How do we know they do not understand the will of Heaven? By observing the conduct in the family. If a man commits a misdemeanour in the family he still has other families in which to seek shelter.
Mozi said: Those gentlemen in the world who want to practise magnanimity and righteousness cannot but examine the origin of righteousness. Since we want to examine the origin of righteousness, then where does it originate? Mozi said: Righteousness does not originate with the stupid and humble but with the honourable and wise. How do we know it does not originate with the dull and humble but with the honourable and wise? For, righteousness is the standard. How do we know righteousness is the standard?
Mozi said: The gentlemen of the world all understand only trifles but not things of importance. How do we know? We know this from one's conduct in the family. If one should offend the patriarch of the family, there are still the homes of the neighbours in which to seek shelter. Yet parents, brothers, and friends all keep on reminding one to be obedient and careful. For, how can one offend the patriarch and stay in the family? Not only is this true about conduct in the family, but also in the state. If one should offend the lord of the state there are still the neighbouring states whither he may flee.
Mozi said: The magnanimous ruler takes care of the empire, in the same way as a filial son takes care of his parents. But how does the filial son take care of his parents? If the parents are poor he would enrich them; if the parents have few people (descendants) he would increase them; if the members (of the family) are in confusion he would put them in order. Of course, in doing this he might find his energy insufficient, his means limited, or his knowledge inadequate. But he dare not allow any energy, learning, or means unused to serve his parents. Such are the three interests of the filial son in taking care of his parents.
Mozi said: The ancient illustrious kings and sages ruled over the empire and headed the feudal lords because they loved the people loyally and blessed them with many benefits. Loyalty calls out confidence. And, when blessing is shown in addition, the people were not wearied during their whole life and did not feel tired until their death. That the ancient illustrious kings and sages could rule over the empire and head the feudal lords is just because of this.
When a sage rules a state the benefits of the state will be increased twice. When he governs the empire, those of the empire will be doubled. This increase is not by appropriating land from without. But by cutting out the useless expenditures it is accomplished. In issuing an order, taking up an enterprise, or employing the people and expending wealth, the sage never does anything without some useful purpose. Therefore wealth is not wasted and people's resources are not exhausted, and many are the blessings procured. In making clothing, what is the purpose?