The ancients who wished to demonstrate illustrious virtue throughout the kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extention of knowledge lay in the investigation of things. . . . From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything besides.
– attributed to Confucius in The Diamond Age