I. Laying Plans.
This is the only possible meaning of 計, which M. Amiot and Capt. Calthrop wrongly translate “Fondements de l'art militaire” and “First principles” respectively. Ts’ao Kung says it refers to the deliberations in the temple selected by the general for his temporary use, or as we should say, in his tent. See § 26.
1. Sun Tzŭ said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State.
2. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.
3. The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.
The old text of the T’ung Tien has 故經之以五校之計, etc. Later editors have inserted 事 after 五, and 以 before 計. The former correction is perhaps superfluous, but the latter seems necessary in order to make sense, and is supported by the accepted reading in § 12, where the same words recur. I am inclined to think, however, that the whole sentence from 校 to 情 is an interpolation and has no business here at all. If it be retained, Wang Hsi must be right in saying that 計 denotes the “seven considerations” in § 13. 情 are the circumstances or conditions likely to bring about victory or defeat. The antecedent of the first 之 is 兵者; of the second, 五. 校