Confucius was once asked, “What is the first thing to be done in order to promote a renewal in disastrous circumstances?”
Confucius gave a remarkable answer: Words must be set aright.
What inheres in words should be brought out. The prince should be a prince, the father a father, the man a man. But language is constantly misused, words are employed for meanings that do not befit them. A seperation arises between being and language. “He who has the inner being also has the words; he who has words does not always have the inner being.”
If the language is in disorder, everything goes wrong. “If words (designations, concepts) are not right, judgments are not clear; works do not prosper; punishments do not strike the right man, and the people do not know where to set hand and foot.
“Therefore the superior man chooses words that can be employed without doubt, and forms judgments that can be converted into actions without fear of doubt. The superior man tolerates no imprecision in his speech.”