Thursday, June 23, 2016

Painting the traces of Art History

Dr Abe V Rotor 

These representative paintings are the works of amateurs at the University of Santo Tomas.  They provide a keyhole view on the trend of painting with  reference to certain schools or movements in the midst of computer art and advertisements. They are footprints of Monet's Impressionism, Van Gogh's Expressionism, Salvador Dali's Surrealism, Picasso's Abstractionism, among others, but the question remains, "Quo vbadis?" (Where is the art of painting heading for?)   


Impressionistic autumn in the stillness of Monet;
where have all the creatures gone, pray. 

 Nature and Nurture are but one,
unity and harmony under the sun;
naturalism of Amorsolo,
 Seurat and Cezanne

Quartet annonymous, music unknown,
artists incognito in the silence of song. 
impressionism with a touch of surrealism.  

Likeness of Van Gogh,
tortured soul seeking 
escape from the self;
Oh, art, let go, let go.

 Matisse, Chagall, Joya, 
masters of abstract art 
and countless sworn -
artists and zealots as well.  

Paul Cezanne's cubism,
light and shadow 
and colors in prism,
Speak of friendship or loneliness,
boredom or eagerness, 
captured best with the brush 
more than the lens. 
Artists insist in their art and craft,
little for a living, fullest in the heart.

Acknowledgement: The author failed to include the identities of the artists who made these paintings.  Sincere gratitude is accorded them for sharing their talents in the readers of this article. 

Sustainability, but how distant, how frail!

Myth of a heaven is when we shall have failed on earth.
Dr Abe V Rotor

Spoiled landscape being converted into housing and industrial projects.
Antipolo Rizal 2014

Sustainability, but how distant, how frail!
in Maslow's hierarchy of needs - biological to social to self-actualization,
having satisfied our needs, we indulge in luxury and affluence -
progression sans end, sans satisfaction; nations believing in others
not their own, bequeathing to the future false reference,
parameters of the good life in capitalism in guise of consumerism;
how deceived, how trapped we are, senseless, powerless.

Sustainability, but how distant, how frail!
In Malthus' theory - the outstripping of the earth's capacity to feed
an exploding population, warning of the Apocalypse's coming -
oh, how man defied with tools of technology, opening new frontiers,
with industrialization the goal and pride, all nations dreaming.
and East meets West second time around, colonization to polarization,
leading to two world wars and a Cold War, oh, how deceiving!

Sustainability, but how distant, how frail!
In Einstein's theory of relativity, he defied the power of the sun,
dethroning John Newton, broke the integrity of the atom;
what a promise of unending energy, self contained, self generating
in nuclear reactors, yet found its way to build the Bomb,
and having tested it to end conflict and restore world peace, brought
to life a Frankenstein monster, and in fear, we became numb.

Sustainability, how distant, how frail!
In Crick and Watson illustration - double helix in ladders, each rung
the gene's secret - the DNA - Hallelujah, we pray;
the code of heredity unlocked, that of life, too, creators we became,
irrational, amoral, but Dolly, the sheep has opened the way:
baptizing new life lines and forms GMO, meet another Frankenstein,
the genius, dedicated (for whom?), knowing not his prey.

Sustainability, but how distant, how frail:
In the cyberspace of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Google, and Facebook,
the world is wired, tied to all its ends, satellite imaging
every minute thing and movement, seeing what we've never seen
except the soul - where is privacy, the sanctity of living?
and more than we need, heaps of infollution of images and words
and codes deluge the mind into believing and unbelieving.

Sustainability , but how distant, how frail!
In postmodernism, in which we live in a state of free fall, sans control
over more than necessity, yet we are always in search
for more; laden are our consciousness, our psyche, our feeling
in transience - globalization's new order, new birth,
where diversity leads to homogenization, to Utopia of man's dream -
myth of a heaven is when we shall have failed on earth.~

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Don’t play with toads. Toads cause warts.

Dr Abe V Rotor
Toad aestivating
Old folks may be referring to the Bufo marinus, a poisonous toad that secretes white pasty poison from a pair of glands behind its eyes. Even snakes have learned to avoid this creature described as ugly in children’s fairy tales.

But what do we know! The toad’s defensive fluids have antibiotic properties. Chinese folk healers treat wounds such as sores and dog bites with toad secretions, sometimes obtained by surrounding the toads with mirrors to scare them in order to secrete more fluids.

Similarly certain frogs secrete antibiotic substances. A certain Dr. Michael Zasloff, physician and biochemist, discovered an antibiotic from the skin of frogs he called magainins, derived from the Hebrew word for shield, a previously unknown antibiotic. It all started when researchers performed surgery on frogs and after returning them to murky bacteria-filled water, found out that the frogs almost never got any infection.

What are then the warts the old folks claim? They must be scars of ugly wounds healed by the toad’s secretion.~

Living with Folk Wisdom, AVR

Lovable Pandangera Bird

"She came singing in crispy telegraphic notes,
and dancing in foxtrot, her tail spread like a fan wagging..."
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog []
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday

Photos by Mark Gene Rotor(Sony Cyber-shot optical zoom 4x)
Lesson: Who are considered naturalists. Are you one of them? Discover this wonderful field of study as a past time, a hobby, or just simple therapy. Take the outdoor with a camera, pencil and pad, and a positive view of life. Why don't you take your family or friends along?Friendly fantail or pandangeraRhipidura albolimbata. Side and rear views of the nesting bird on the lower branches of a mango tree at home in San Vicente, Ilocos Sur. (Holy Week, 2011)

Intricate weave of nest made of fine plant materials and cemented with silk from spider web. Nest is securely perched at the fork of a branch where predators find it hard to reach. The nest proper is cuplike, tidy and smooth, while the lower part is roughly made and freely hanging to provide camouflage and counter balance.

She came singing in crispy telegraphic notes,
and dancing in foxtrot, her tail like a fan,
fanning, closing like shutter, and opening
again, and spreading like peacock's tail,
this Maria Kapra children call for fun.

In our native tongue she is 
all for her manners neither wild
 nor tame;
wagtail to some, but unnamed and unknown
to the citybred, and those on the move,
who miss her song, her ways antic yet mild.

She rides on animals and preys on pests,
earning a name, the shepherd's companion,
and dares close to people to share their food
with a mate - what a happy pair they make!
and in their nest culminates their union.

She has a bit of Gabriela, though coy as nymph,
Storm the Bastille she fights with her mate -
feline or man, 
until their young are weaned.
Triumph fills the air with lesson to learn

To buoy the world from its sinking faith. 

Dare to kill the lovely pandangera -
like killing a mockingbird* is shame;
to silence the happy and gay, the symbol
of peace, friendship with farmers and children -
is a toll for Nature's beauty and fame. ~

*To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel made into a movie.

Fantail bird in coinage in India and New Zealand,   

Some Features of the Fantails or Pandangera

  • Fantails are small insectivorous birds of southern Asia and Australasia belonging to the genus Rhipidura in the family Rhipiduridae.
  • The colours of most species are greys, blacks, whites and browns, although a few species have yellow or even striking blue feathers. In most species there is no sexual dimorphism in plumage.
  • They are highly active birds, continuously on the move; even when perched they continue to rock back and forth, spin 180° on the spot, wag their tail from side to side or fan and unfan it. In flight they are highly agile and undertake highly aerobatic and intricate looping flights.
  • Most of the species are small, about 15 to 18 cm long, aerial feeders,hunting insects on the wing, but they also concentrate equally on terrestrial prey.
  • In some species the tail is longer than the body and the wings. When at rest the tail is folded, rounded at the tip, but when spread it assumes a characteristic fan shape that gives the bird its name.
  • Most fantails are sedentary and undertake no migration. They have a wide range of habitats, prefering rainforests, thickets and lately agricultural and urban environments.
  • Fantails are territorial and aggressively defend their territories from conspecifics (other members of the same species), as well as other predators. I am a witness to a pair of fantails attacking a cat trespassing under their nest on a balete tree at UST Manila. The incident happened at dusk as the cat was about to climb the tree.
  • Male and female share in nest building, incubation and chick feeding, and in defending their young and territory. I have read that fantails also employ a defense strategy with the female distracting a potential predator by feigning injured and luring the predator away from the nest, while the male attacks the predator repeatedly until it moves away.
Living with Nature, AVRotor; acknowledgment: Wikipedia

The blackbird is back - so with other threatened animals

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog 
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio, 
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Blackbird (Martines), Drynaria fern and towering acacia tree make
 an ecological sanctuary, together with a host of other organisms 
that depend on them. Tagudin, Ilocos Sur.
In less than a human lifetime, dozens of wildlife species have rebounded from the brink of extinction - and are establishing their territory in suburbs.  Here are twenty (20) animals that have made a remarkable comeback.

  1. Kiyoaw or Oriole (a family of 4 to 6 members frequent our backyard trees, just outside the La Mesa Reservoir watershed)
  2. Reticulated python or sawa (a one-meter baby sawa was ensconced in a burnay or earthen pot.) 
  3. Fireflies (They can be observed on empty lots adjacent to the Sacred Heart seminary, Novaliches QC
  4. Pipit (popularized ina song of the same title, local counterpart of the huming bird)
  5. Tuka'k Ba-ung (bellied frog, long thought to have succumbed to pesticides.  See separate article in this blog) 
  6. Skink or alibut Ilk (Twice in ten years I spotted this shiny ground lizard at home near the La Mesa watershed.
  7. Gecko Lizard (Tuko or tekka Ilk., hunted for its alleged aphrodisiac value)
  8. Atlas moth (biggest of all insects by wing span, threatened by the gradual disappearance of native santol being replaced by the Bangkok variety)
  9. Black Bear (Prowler in the kitchen and on garbage when hungry)  
  10. Canada Goose (Remember Fly Away Home ?)
  11. Alligator (relative of the crocodile, we don't have alligators, instead crocodiles - they are coming back, too)
  12. Gray Wolf (found in wastelands and open areas)
  13. Deer (rebounded in no-hunting forests and grasslands) 
  14. Wild Turkey (particularly in the US and Canada)  
  15. Cougar (relative of the wolf in the US)
  16. Beaver (natural dam builder of forest streams in temperate countries) 
  17. Raccoon (common in North America)
  18. Wild Pig (baboy ramo, alingo Ilk, one of the most popular game animals; it is a pest of nearby farms, feeding on root crops and succulents, Our native pigs are the progeny of a cross indigenous and wild genes.)
  19. Rhinoceros beetle (appears like Triceratops, with three horns, apparently the male; the female has shorter horns)
  20. Wildcat (In China the civet cat, counterpart of our musang, is invading homes.  One reason for its comeback is that it eats fresh coffee bean and defecate the seed which is then ground into a special blend that commands a lucrative price. 

Garden Skink; Wild Pig (baboy ramo)

This is one for the biologist and ecologist. I say, it's one for the Book of Guinness record.

Up high in a dozen centuries old acacia trees, reaching up to 10 storeys high, their boughs and branches clothed with epiphytic ferns, I found the long lost blackbirds, we callmartines in Ilocano.

I was then in the grade school in San Vicente (Ilocos Sur) when I saw the last martines bird. But here on a Black Friday on top of these towering trees, there is the lost bird, in fact several of them in pairs and families. It is like the Coelacanth, a primitive fish thought to have long been extinct, suddenly rising from the depth of the craggy Madagascar sea. Its fossil in rock tells us it is 40 million years old. And here it is - alive and has not changed! The fossil fish is alive! So with the Martines!

The blackbirds have made the towering acacia trees their home and natural habitat, building their nests on the Drynaria fern. The fern grows on the branches, reaching the peak of its growth during the rainy season when the host tree sheds its leaves, in effect allowing sunlight to nurture the fern.

The fern has dimorphic leaves. The primary ones are long and shaped like stag horn and bear sori or spore sacs, while the other kind is shaped and arranged like shingles, enclosing the fern's rhizome. Like all ferns, Drynaria undergoes alternation of generations - the spore-forming phase and gamete-forming phase. It is the sporophytic or asexual generation that the fern plant is familiar to us. It is typically made of roots, stems and leaves - but never flowers and fruits. It is for this that ferns are classified separately from seed-forming and flowering plants. They belong to Division Pterophyta.

In the dry season, the fern becomes dormant, appearing dry and lifeless from the outside, but shielded by the shingles the fleshy rhizome waits for the rain and sunlight - and the shedding of the host tree. Then almost at an instant the fern springs to life, carpeting entire boughs and branches.

Now it's the tree's turn. In summer, while the fern is dormant, it builds a new crown, and together with those of the adjoining trees form a huge canopy that makes a perfect shade. This could be one reason the friars in the 15th century thought of introducing the acacia (Samanea saman) from Mexico to be planted around churches and convents.

Not only that the acacia is the biggest legume in the world; it is self-fertilizing and self supporting, and sharing its resources to countless organisms from earthworm to humans. How is this possible?

The acacia harbors in its roots symbionts - Rhizobium bacteria that convert the element Nitrogen (N) into Nitrate (NO3). Only then can N that comprises 78 percent of the air we breathe can be used by plants to manufacture food by photosynthesis.

And with the deciduous character of the tree, dead leaves form a litter on the ground that makes a good mulch and later becomes compost - a natural fertilizer for the tree, surrounding plants, microorganisms and animals. Then as the pods of the tree ripen and drop to the ground, animals like goats come around to feed on them and in effect enrich the ground. The tree's efficient physiology and symbiotic potential with other organisms make it not only one of the most self-reliant trees in the world, but a miniature ecosystem in itself.

We see today very old acacia trees in these places, just like those around the old St Agustine church in Tagudin built in the 16th century where I found the blackbirds among the Drynaria ferns at their tops. Tagudin is the southernmost town of Ilocos Sur, some 330  kilometers north of Manila - a good five-hour drive. It continues to attract northbound tourists to have a stopover and see this spectacle, among other attractions of this old town, such as its native handicrafts, pristine seashore and progressive upland agriculture.

Going back to the blackbirds, why do we give much importance to them? Well, the blackbirds protect both tree and fern from insects and other pests, and fertilize them with their droppings. They too, are gleaners and help keep the environment clean. Unlike the house sparrow, ground fowls and the crow, they are not nuisance to the place; their presence is barely felt except for their occasional calls which sound quite sonorous but nonetheless pleasant, and their display during flight of a queer pair of white spots on their wings. I developed the liking to watch them for hours - their gentle movement, familial ways, although they do not as gregarious as pigeons, and their glossy black bodies distinct from the surrounding and against the sky. They make a good specimen for bird watching and photography.

Beyond the aesthetics about the bird, I learned from my good friend Dr. Anselmo Set Cabigan, a fellow biologist and science professor, that the martines was introduced from Guam on instruction of a Spanish Governor General to control locust infestation in the Philippines. This is the first case of applying the principle of biological control in the Philippines - and perhaps elsewhere - which was then too advance in its time. Today, biological control is practiced worldwide as part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a holistic approach in dealing with all kinds of pests which include pathogens.

Locust (Locusta migratoria manilensis) is a scourge to agriculture in many countries since prehistoric times. I have witnessed how a swarm of locust devour complete fields of rice and corn, and other crops overnight. During swarming the sky darkens as sheer numbers of these flying insects block the sky. And as they ride on the wind they produce a deafening hissing sound that adds terror to farmers and inhabitants.

And why was the matines bird the chosen nemesis of the locust? It clearly shows the efficiency of this predator. Actually predation is most effective when the locust is still in its non-migratory phase, specifically during the congegans - more so when it is in the solitaria phase. The bird immediately checks the pest before it develops into enormous population - and reach its swarming stage.

I believe that the triad formed by the acacia tree, Drynaria fern and the blackbirds is the beginning of an emerging ecosystem where wildlife and human settlement meet in cooperation and harmony. It is a zone where Nature re-builds spent environments and creates intermediate types, in which the role of man is basically to let nature's laws and rules to prevail. For example, doves and pigeons in public squares and plazas in many parts of the world are learning to trust people, and many people are just too happy to share their homes and other resources with them. They are planting trees and setting up more and wider parks for the wildlife.

For one, Japan now requires the greening of rooftops of buildings through gardening dubbed aeroponics, and by putting up ecological sanctuaries to attract wildlife to settle in them. In Europe on the other hand, miles and miles of hedges have evolved into a unique ecosystem, that one can no longer differentiate a well-established hedge from a natural vegetation. Also in Europe, woodlands which are actually broad strips that serve as boundaries of fields and pastures, are gaining through time higher biodiversity levels, and moving towards dynamic stability, called in ecology as homeostasis.

The Philippines is not behind. We have multi-storey orchards in Cavite, Batangas and Laguna that simulate the structure of a tropical rain forest long before the term ecology was coined. And many basins of ricefields and sumps of irrigation systems have become natural ponds.

The 38th parallel dividing the whole length of warring North Korea and South Korea – a strip of no man’s land, twenty kilometers at its widest – has developed, since the armistice in 1958, into a natural wildlife sanctuary. Today it has a very high level of biodiversity and distinct from any reservation on either side of this highly restricted boundary.

These neo-ecological zones are sprouting from backyards, parks, submerged coastlines, denuded mountains, and the like. Even contiguous idle lots – and abandoned fishponds, farms and settlements - are slowly but steadily becoming bastions of wildlife.

Truly, the case of the centuries old acacia trees where the Drynaria and the martinesbirds, and man living with them in peace and in harmony - is a manifestation of Nature's triumph. It is triumph to us and the living world. ~

Grotesque looking acacia tree clothed with Drynaria fern
towers over church and convent in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur.

Photographs taken with an SLR Digital Camera with 300 mm telephoto lens

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Self Administered Test on Humanities (True or False, 50 Items)

Nicanor Abelardo is to music as Fernando Amorsolo is to painting. Their masterpieces are considered as classics today. True or False?
Dr Abe V Rotor
 Living with Nature - School on Blog (
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM, [] 8-9 evening class Monday to Friday

1. The most dominant color of the earth as seen outer space is green.

2. There are six colors of the rainbow that follow a standard sequence whether the rainbow is in the tropics or in the temperate zone, in summer or in winter.

3. It is rare to see a twin rainbow, but if there is one and you are lucky to witness it, the lower rainbow is wider than the one on top of it. 
4. Humanities comes from the old English word humanus which speaks of fine of human culture.

5. Victor Hugo wrote Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, both classic socio-political novels.

6. The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde is a example of a tragedy because the happy prince died at a very young age, and therefore missed the opportunity to serve his constituents.

7. One of the standards of a classical work of art is that it is timeliness.

8. Alexander Dumas, Miguel Cervantes, Leo Tolstoy, Victor Hugo and Jose Rizal have one thing in common: they are writers of powerful novels that move the world so to speak, and changed the course of history.

9. Robert Frost by mistake repeated the last lines of his famous poem On a Snowy Night,
“And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep.”

10. A drawing exercise of fruits like apple, pear, grapes, chestnut, and orange arranged on a table is an example of "still life."

11. Don’t go gentle into the night is a poem which tells us to be vigilant, and that our work is never done; don’t settle for comfort when in trouble and even when there is apparent peace.

12. Shakespearean drama is akin to tragedy; and if it were not for the literary genius of this world’s greatest dramatist, many of his works like Romeo and Juliet won’t pass the Board of Censors today.

13. Biag ni Lam-ang is a local counterpart of Iliad.

14. Juan Luna’s work, particularly Spolarium is a typical example of Impressionism.

15. Vincent van Gogh is considered the Father of Expressionism, an art movement that preceded Impressionism.

16. Impressionism is an art movement that started in France in the later part of the 18th century, among the pioneers are Paul Cezanne, Pizarro, Monet, Degas.

17. In the poem Fisherboy, the boy being referred to has something in common with Mark Twain’s boys, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, who did not want to go to school.

18. Jose Garcia Villa is a one of the greatest Filipino poet, awarded the honor of National Artist.

19. Nicanor Abelardo is to music as Fernando Amorsolo is to painting. Their masterpieces are classics today.

20. Nature takes shape was the basis of a drawing exercise on Landscape. The three basic shapes are circle, square and triangle.

21. When blue and yellow are mixed the color produced in green; blue and red will produce violet.

22. When the primary colors – red, blue and yellow - are mixed in equal proportion the resulting color is black.

23. These are contemporary Filipino compositions: Saan ka man naroon, La Deportacion, Dahil sa isang bulaklak, Pamulinawen, Manang Biday, Matudnila

24. Maestro Mamerto Villaba, tenor; Ryan Cayabyab, composer; and Prof. Paulino Capitulo violinist, are Filipino musicians belonging to the same generation and school.

25. Dr. Jose Rizal’s novel, Noli Me Tangere, has been recently launched in NY in a new English translation published by Penguin Books.

26. Mahatma Gandhi is ranked among the world’s greatest leaders. His weapon: asceticism, love, compassion - a favorite model for biography, cinematography, and political documentary.

27. To become great you must be able to a book for the sake of posterity, like Rizal.

28. The Old man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway which won the Nobel Prize for Literature, ended with the old man, worn out from his battle to land a big fish, and the world rejoiced for his victory.

29. Florante at Laura, masterpiece of poet laureate Francisco Balagtas is an epic.

30. A good work of Art must rise with the elements of spirituality and the universal criteria of intellectual values.

31. Style is unique; it's like finding no two snowflakes exactly the same.

32. Rhythm is found in music, as well as in poetry,

33. Even a free verse has musical qualities, in spite of the fact that it does not follow a definite pattern of rhyme and rhythm and meter.

34. Joyce Kilmer who wrote the famous poem Trees, is a man.

35. In Trees the figure of speech used in personification.

36. Where have all the flowers gone is a song and a poem that condemns war.

37. The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want is the opening line of Psalm 23 by King David.

38. Melodrama is like soapbox opera, and telenovela in many respects.

39. Gettysberg Address was originally intended as an oration.

40. The editorial of a newspaper, is considered a formal essay.

41. Soliloquy and monologue are basically similar – a kind of dramatic poetry.

42. The classical model of dance is Ballet, and the greatest ballet music composer is Tchaikovsky. He composed the Dying Swan.

43. Ideally there are 100 players in a full orchestra, with string instruments comprising the biggest group of instruments.

44. Drink to me with only thine eyes and I will not look for wine is the first line of Song to Celia.

45. Our old Spanish churches are a good example of Gothic architecture.

46. The Parthenon of Greece is the greatest architectural work of the classical period.

47. Mona Lisa is considered the greatest of all paintings in the classical period.

48. Renaissance means rebirth or renewal which took place as early as the 15th h century – the model used is Greco Roman.

49. The Philippines was once a part of Renaissance Europe.

50. Calligraphy is the art of writing beautifully while graphology is hand writing analysis.
ANSWERS: 1F (blue), 2t, 3t, 4t, 5t, 6T (it has a tragic beginning and triumphal ending), 7F (timelessness), 8t, 9f (Frost did it for emphasis of theme, and to impart musical quality to the poem), 10t, 11t, 12t, 13t, 14f (romanticism), 15t, 16t, 17t, 18t (posthumous), 19t, 20t, 21t, 22t, 23f (all Filipino, combination of kundiman, native Ilocano and Visayan songs), 24t (although each one has a distinct style, Cayabyab is more recent and versatile), 25t, 26t, 27f (Christ, Buddha did not write any book - others wrote for and about them), 28t, 29f (Balagtasan in romantic and lyrical style - local Shakespearean), 30t, 31t, 32t, 33t, 34t, 35t, 36t, 37t, 37t, 38t, 39f, 40f, 41t, 42t 43t. 44t. 45f (Baroque), 46t, 47t, 48t, 49t, 50t.

46- 50 Outstanding
41-45 Very Good
36-40 Good
31-35 Fair
25–30 Passed
Below 25 – listen regularly to Paaralan Bayan

Confucius' Great Man - A Self Evaluation

Dr Abe V Rotor
 Living with Nature - School on Blog (
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM, [] 8-9 evening class Monday to Friday

Evaluate yourself based on these attributes using the Likert Scale: 1 (poor), 2(fair or average), 3 (good), 4 (very good). Examine yourself and score each item accordingly. Divide total score by 15.

1. Great Man's attitude toward the world is such that he shows no preferences; but he is prejudiced in favor of justice.

Confucius (K'ung Fu-tze: Kung), the philosopher (551-478 BC)

2. Great Man cherishes Excellence; Petty Man his own comfort.

3. Great man cherishes the rules and regulations; Petty Man, special favors.

4. Great Man is conscious only of justice; Petty Man, only of self-interest.

5. Great Man seeks to be slow of speech but quick of action.

6. Great Man is completely at ease; Petty Man is always on edge.

7. Great Man is dignified but not proud; Petty Man is proud but not dignified.

8. Great Man reaches complete understanding of the main issues; Petty Man reaches complete understanding of the minute details.

9. Great Man is sparing in words but prodigal in deeds.

10. Great Man complains about his own inabilities, not about people's ignorance of himself.

11. Great Man's concern is that he may die without a name.

12. Great Man does not accept a man for words alone; he does not reject a suggestion because of the man alone.

13. Great Man calculates in terms of System, not in terms of the earning of a living.

14. Great Man is concerned about System, not about poverty.

15. Great Man studies to improve his doctrine, just as artisans inhabit the market place to ply their trades.

1 to 1.5 poor;
1.6 to 2.5 average;
2.6 to 3.5 good (You have the potential to be Great.)
3.6 to 4 very good (You are indeed Great!)


Great Man has three facets. 

  •  Looked at from a distance he seems stern; 

  • at close range he is pleasant; 

  • as we listen to his words they are clear-cut.

Acknowledgment: Chinese Proverbs: Words of Wisdom from the Immortal Sages of China, compiled and edited by Kho W and D Kho