Ai Weiwei, missing 44 days. A statement of ethical principles for gallerists, collectors and other artworld folk

Numbness

When it comes to being numb, certain people take first prize – those who sacrifice the people closest to them in order to prolong their own ignoble lives; people with interests but no principles; people with adequate food and clothing but no faith; people with no determination, who only know opportunism; observers, sound in mind yet bereft of courage.

As far as one’s life is concerned, the highest purpose would be to sacrifice your self for integrity. Similarly there is no greater disgrace than being too weak to make such a sacrifice, or living simply for the sake of being alive. Centralized state power is continuously testing the humanity of the common people. Don’t try to find a reason for justice – justice is a reason in itself, it doesn’t need any other validation. Don’t try to find a reason for evil. Because no justification for evil exists.

Ai Weiwei 20th August 2006