The term means human strength or capability. Strength refers to the power of one person, an organization or a country. Strength represents control or influence one exercises over oneself or something outside oneself. It should not be used as a tool by the strong to threaten the weak; rather, it should be employed in accordance with moral standards and the requirement of virtue. Whenever possible, people should endeavor to overcome obstacles and difficulties to reach goals in keeping with such standards and requirement. However, human strength has its limits; if something is beyond human strength or capability, it should be considered “fate” and there is no need to pursue it any more.
Confucius said, “I have never met anyone who actively practices benevolence, or anyone who consciously dislikes the non-benevolent. For the one who loves practicing benevolence, there is nothing more to say; for the one who dislikes the non-benevolent, he perhaps practices benevolence in the way that he would not allow what is un-benevolent to be inflicted on himself. Is there anyone who simply decides one day to start practicing benevolence? I have never met anyone who lacks the capability to do so. Maybe there are such people, but I have not met one.” (The Analects)
Coercion can bring people in line not because they are willing, but because they do not have the strength to resist; it is virtue that will persuade others to gladly and willingly follow, just as in the case of Confucius’ more than seventy disciples who followed him out of true respect. (Mencius)