Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

Summing Up Ten Years

June 18, 1960

[SOURCE: Long Live Mao Zedong Thought, a Red Guard Publication.]

The power of initiative is like “building tiles on a high roof and “breaking bamboo link by link.” This power of initiative is derived from the realistic and the practical, it comes from the honest reflection in objective conditions of the mind of the people, and it results from the people’s process of understanding the dialectic of the objective environment. In the course of this process there will be a good many mistaken understandings, a gradual correction of these errors, and finally a return to the correct.

It is impossible not to commit errors. As Lenin said, there has never been a man who did not commit errors. An earnest Party will view seriously the commission of errors, search out the reasons for the commission of the errors, and openly correct them. Our Party’s general line is correct, and actual work has basically been carried out well. There are some errors, which are difficult to avoid. Where is the so-called saint who never commits errors and who at once carries out truth to completion? Knowledge of truth is not achieved at once, but is gradually achieved. We are adherents of the theory of dialectical materialism, not of the theory of metaphysics. Freedom is inevitable knowledge; from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom is a flying leap, which is accomplished only gradually in the course of a long process of knowledge. We already have ten years of experience in our socialist revolution and construction and we already understand quite few things. But we still have insufficient experience in socialist construction. Remaining before us is a great, still unrecognized realm of necessity. We are still unable to understand it penetratingly. From now on we must continue to investigate and analyze it from practice; we must seek out its constant rules and beneficially utilize these rules in the service of the socialist cause.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung