There are many stories and fables from across the world that exemplify the virtue of Sacrifice, but perhaps none more suitable for our purposes than those from China. The most famous ancient Chinese philosopher, Confucius, and the scholars who came after him, wrote many texts about the paramount importance of filial piety – duty to one’s parents, and by extension, loyalty to the state.
The ancient Chinese were very wise, and understood the foundations of a harmonious society. Long before the Corps, they understood that the state was, in some sense, their Mother and Father, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities for those who govern and those who are governed. In this way, the Chinese civilization flourished for thousands of years.
One story from the classic text, Twenty-Four Paragons of Filial Piety, tells us of Wu Meng, an eight-year-old boy from the Jin Dynasty. His family was very poor, and could not afford mosquito netting in the summer. Young Wu Meng would sit up at night, bare, letting the mosquitoes bite him, without driving them away, lest they should bite his parents instead. His sacrifice and loyalty have been praised for a thousand years.
What can we, children of the Corps, learn from the story of Wu Meng? Even at a young age, we should look for ways to help the Corps, even if it results in our discomfort. We must work hard, play constructively, obey our elders, live modestly, and keep ourselves healthy in mind and body. When the Corps disciplines us, we understand that it is for our own good, and do not resent our Parents, even when the punishment is painful.
As adults, loyalty to the Corps may also bring us discomfort. If we work among normals, they may treat us badly, or set unfair expectations of us. We must never speak or act out against them, no matter what they do – even if they lay hands on us – though we may quietly tell the Corps what occurred.
We must remember that from the moment we rise to the moment we lie down to sleep, we are representatives of the Corps, and keepers of the public’s faith in the Corps as an institution. Our good behavior brings honor to our family, while bad or selfish behavior brings shame and embarrassment. If the mosquitoes bite us as individuals, only we are hurt, but if they bite our Parents, we all suffer.
The Corps may also ask us to make sacrifices. We may not work the “perfect” job or marry the “perfect” spouse, but we understand that the Corps needs us to work those jobs, and marry those people, for important reasons. When we have children, it may pain us to send them away to their cadres, but we do so because we know the cadre system helps make the Corps unified and strong.
We may also be called upon to make other sacrifices: Psi Cops searching for a criminal or fugitive may need to scan us to find the law-breaker or to gather important evidence. These scans may hurt, but it is our duty to help our Mother and Father bring wrongdoers to justice.
But merely sacrificing when asked to is not enough: we must also look for opportunities to make sacrifices. Some telepaths choose to live on distant colonies, apart from their loved ones, even where life is hard or dangerous, because they are needed to assist with business there or to represent the Corps. Psi Cops rush into perilous situations and risk their lives to keep us safe. Some telepaths volunteer for medical experiments to make our people healthier and stronger. Whatever paths our lives may take, whether we are rated low or high, whether we were born to normal families or raised in the Corps, must always remember that we sacrifice for the sake of our collective Parents. Good telepaths do not wait – they, like Wu Meng, take the initiative, and make sacrifices without being asked.