Selected texts from the ancient scripts of Confucius (Kong Zi, 551-479 B.C.), Mencius (Meng Zi, 390-305? B.C.) and Xun Zi (313-230 B.C.), and their students in particular Cheng Zi and Zhu Zi (1120-1300). I do not attempt a direct translation of these ancient ideas. Rather I cite below either other people's translation or well-known western ideas that I think are close in meaning or spirit.
"The supreme principle of the doctrine of virtue is: act in accordance with a maxim of ends that it can be a universal law for everyone to have. - In accordance with this principle a human being is an end for himself as well as for others, and it is not enough that he is not authorized to use either himself or others merely as means; it is in itself his duty to make man as such his end." Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) The Metaphysics of Morals, translated by Mary Gregor
"Many people consider Confucianism a religion. But Confucianism has no clergy and does not teach the worship of a God or gods or the existence of a life after death. Confucianism can more accurately be considered a guide to morality and good government. " -World Book Encyclopedia.
"Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ is really a special case of a more general law of survival of the stable." Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene 1976.
"The true ... is only the expedient in the way of our thinking, just as 'the right' is only the expedient in the way of our behaving." Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy 1926.
“人心惟危，道心惟微，惟精惟一，允执厥中。“ 舜之授禹者也。 子曰：“天下国家可平也，白刃可蹈也，爵禄可辟也，中庸不可能也。” 朱子曰： “盖尝论之：心之虚灵知觉，一而已矣。而以为有人心，道心之异者，则以其或生于形气之私，或原于性命之正，而所以为知觉者不同；是以或危殆而不安，或微妙 而难见耳。然人莫不有是形，故虽上智不能无人心；亦莫不有是性，故虽下愚不能无道心。二者杂于方寸之间，而不知所以治之，则危者愈危，微者愈微，而天理之 公卒无以胜人欲之私矣。精则察夫二者之间而不杂也，一则守其本心之正而不离也。从事于斯，无少间断，必使道心常为一身之主，而人心每听命焉，则危者安，微 者著，而动静云为自无过不及之差矣。”
"For the mind of man is far from the nature of a clear and equal glass, wherein the beams of things should reflect according to their true incidence; nay, it is rather like an enchanted glass, full of superstition and imposture, if it be not delivered and reduced." Francis Bacon.
"He shall see that the nature is the opposite of the soul, answering to it part for part. One is seal., and one is print. Its beauty is the beauty of his own mind. Its laws are the laws of his own mind. Nature then becomes to him the measure of his attainment. So much nature as he is ignorant of, so much of his own mind does he not yet possess. The ancient precept 'know thyself' and the modern precept 'study nature' become at last one maxim." R. W. Emerson, American Scholar 1837.
夫骥一日而而千里，驽马十驾则亦及这矣。将以穷无穷、逐无极与，其折骨、绝筋终身不可以相及也。将有所止之，则千里虽远，亦或迟、或速、或先、或后，胡为 乎其不可相及也？不识步道者将以穷无穷、逐无极与？意亦有所止之与？夫“坚白”、“同异”、“有厚无厚”之察，非不察也，然而君子不辩，止之也；倚魁之 行，非不难也，然而君子不行，止之也。故学曰：“彼止而待我，我行而就之，则亦或迟、或速、或先、或后，胡为乎其不可以同至也？”故跬步而不休，跛鳖千 里；累土而不辍，丘山崇成；厌其源，开其渎，江河可竭；一进一退，一左一右，六骥不致。彼人之才性之相县也，岂若跛鳖之与六骥足哉？然而跛鳖致之，六骥不 致，是无他故焉，或为之，或不为尔？ 道虽迩，不行不至；事虽小，不为不成。其为人也多暇日者，其出人不远矣。 ―― 《荀子。修身》
For to be possessed of a vigorous mind is not enough; the prime requisite is rightly to apply it. The greatest minds, as they are capable of the highest excellencies, are open likewise to the greatest aberrations; and those who travel very slowly may yet make far greater progress, provided they keep always to the straight road, than those who, while they run, forsake it. -- Discourse on the method of rightly conducting the reason and seeking the truth in the sciences, Rene Descartes, 1596-1650.
"For all flesh is as grass,
and all the glory of man
as the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower thereof falleth away."
I Peter 1:24
"He attempted to mediate between tyranny and anarchy, the dead past and the violent future. His principle of mediation required him to be one and the same time a conservative and a radical: radical in the justice he demanded for humanity but conservative in the moral autority he saw as a necessary cognate of such justice." Craft and Character, Morton Zabel (on Charles Dickens and his novel Bleak House) 1956.
"The essence of morality is the right intention. The substance of it is the right action." -Unknown
"As a 'Professor' I always felt myself a sham, with its chief duties of being a walking encyclopedia of erudition." -William James, in a letter to his brother Henry James.
Honor means to give more than one has; pride means to take less than one deserves.