Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/48

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xlvi
Introduction

disciples of Confucius. Nowadays, the holding of trials and hearing of litigation, the imprisonment of offenders and their execution by flogging in the market—place, are all done by officials. But the wielding of huge armies, the throwing down of fortified cities, the haling of women and children into captivity, and the beheading of traitors — this is also work which is done by officials. The objects of the rack[1] and of military weapons are essentially the same. There is no intrinsic difference between the punishment of flogging and cutting off heads in war. For the lesser infractions of law, which are easily dealt with, only a small amount of force need be employed: hence the institution of torture and flogging. For more serious outbreaks of lawlessness, which are hard to suppress, a greater amount of force is necessary: hence the use of military weapons and wholesale decapitation. In both cases, however, the end in view is to get rid of wicked people, and to give comfort and relief to the good[2]....

Chi-sun asked Jan Yu, saying: “Have you, Sir, acquired your military aptitude by study, or is it innate?” Jan Yu replied: “It has been acquired by study.”[3] “How can that be so,” said Chi-sun, “seeing that you are a disciple of Confucius?” “It is a fact,” replied Jan Yu; “I was taught by Confucius. It is fitting that the great Sage should exercise both civil and military functions, though to be sure my instruction in the art of fighting has not yet gone very far.”

Now, who the author was of this rigid distinction between the “civil” and the “military,” and the limitation of each to a separate sphere of action, or in what year of which dynasty it was first introduced, is more than I can say. But, at any rate, it has come about that the members of the governing class are quite afraid of enlarging on military topics, or do so only in a shamefaced manner. If any are bold enough to discuss the subject, they are at once set down as eccentric individuals of coarse and brutal propensities. This is an extraordinary instance of the way in


  1. The first instance of 木索 given in the P‘ei Wên Yün Fu is from Ssŭ-ma Ch‘ien’s letter to 任安 Jên An (see 文選, ch. 41, f. 9 ro), where M. Chavannes translates it “la cangue et la chaîne.” But in the present passage it seems rather to indicate some single instrument of torture.
  2. 兵者刑也刑政事也爲夫子㰞徒實仲由冉求之事也今者據案聽訟械繫罪人笞死于市者吏之所爲也驅兵數萬撅其城郭纍其妻子斬其罪人亦吏之所爲也木索兵刃無異意也笞之與斬無異刑也小而易制用力少者木索笞也大而難治用力多者兵刃斬也俱期於除去惡民安活善人.
  3. Cf. Shih Chi, ch. 47, f. II vo.