Mensch tracht, un Gott lacht

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Three Kingdoms and Humanity


          [Guo Jia:] Your rival [Yuan Shao] has ten weak points whereas you have ten strong ones, and, though his army is large, it is not terrible.”

     Then Guo Jia continued, “Yuan Shao is overmuch devoted to ceremony and deportment; while you [Cao Cao] are sympathetic and natural; this is an excellence in conduct. He [Yuan Shao] is antagonistic and drives; you are conciliatory and lead; so you have the advantage of popular approval. For many years the government has been lax, and he makes it more so; you strive vigorously after efficiency; this is the excellence of able administration. He is outwardly liberal but grudging at heart, and too given to nepotism; you appear exacting, but you understand and use people after their ability; this is the advantage of correct appreciation. He is a visionary but lacking in decision; you are a man of prompt decision and direct action; this is an advantage in policy. He loves to gather about him people of renown; you treat people as you find them regardless of their reputation; this is where you excel in moral virtue. He is compassionate to those at hand, but careless about those out of sight; your care is all-embracing; this is where you excel in humanity. He lends a ready ear to calumny and is misled; you may be flooded with evil counsel, but you preserve independence; this is where you excel in perspicacity. His sense of right and wrong is confused; your appreciation is accurate and clear; this is where you excel in administrative capacity. He loves the make-believe force, but is ignorant of military essentials; you would overcome with far inferior numbers as you possess military genius; this is where you excel in war. With your ten superiorities, you will have no difficulty in overcoming Yuan Shao.” (emphasis added)

Seth Barrett Tillman, Three Kingdoms and Humanity,’ New Reform Club (Nov. 26, 2023, 11:39 AM), <>;

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