Confucius said: “Having only coarse food to eat, plain water to drink, and a bent arm for a pillow, one can still find happiness therein. Riches and honor acquired by unrighteous means are to me as drifting clouds. (7)”
I selected this passage because Confucius is stating how much an ethical way of life means to him. Just because you're not wealthy and don't have anything to your name means nothing, it's the way in which you live your life that matters. Acquiring riches and honor by an unethical way of life means nothing, just as much as drifting clouds. Saying that clouds are so common that nobody takes time to admire them or respect them and the same goes for anyone that embodies this kind of life.
How this way of life can relate to a self-regulatory society is that people will take an honest path to success. They will live by the ways of Confucius and if they end up with honor that's great, but if they don't, then the people will understand that's fine too. They won't have to cheat in order to better yourselves because if they do, they are only really hurting their identity.
Tzu Kung asked: “Is there anyone word that can serve as a principle for the conduct of life?” Confucius said: “Perhaps the word ‘reciprocity’: So not do to others what you would not want others to do to you” (23).
I picked this saying because it's one that many people today still say but in different wording “Treat others how you'd liked to be treated”. So it's something I've been raised on and taught since I was little and to now know that that phrase originated over two-thousand years ago is astonishing. That an East Asian philosophy is still having an impact on people's lives this far into the future, from a completely different part of the world.
How this ties into a self-regulatory society is that nobody will desire to do anything that they wouldn't be comfortable receiving. Lowing acts that go against Confucius’ way of life between two people in society. Giving a sense of respect for everybody even if they're a stranger to you. Knowing that a person will have the same amount of respect towards you that you gave them.
Confucius said: “Riches and honor are what every man desires, but if they can be obtained only by transgressing the right way, they must not be held. Poverty and lowliness are what every man descents, but if they can be avoided only by transgressing the right way, they must not be evaded. If a gentleman departs from humanity, how can he bear that name? Not even for the lapse of a single meal does a gentleman ignore humanity. In moments of haste he cleaves to it: in seasons of peril he cleaves to do it.” (53).
This passage caught my attention because of how Confucius is basically saying if you aren't living by the ethics that he has taught that you shouldn't have any dignity to even use your own name. Nobody wants to be poor and everyone wants to be rich, but if you have to break laws to do so...