By William H. Mott IV, Jae Chang Kim
Drawing on old texts and glossy interpretations, this paintings explores the rules for battle in China’s strategic culture--Shih, Li, and Tao. Shih idea bases approach on enemy reason, unlike Euro-American Li ideas in response to forces. The paintings makes use of Shih conception to provide an explanation for the anomalies that proceed to perplex Euro-American observers in glossy China’s makes use of of strength.
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Additional info for The Philosophy of Chinese Military Culture: Shih vs. Li
The state’s dominant and leading military-strategic role was clearly compatible with the Taoist political ideal of unifying a state’s people under the ruler. Not an abstract, legalistic structure, for Chinese the state took various forms as the focus for concentrating coercive power and social purpose within a central hierarchy. Shang Yang taught that—with agriculture and commerce—the state’s proper aims were war and interstate relations and that the government’s primary responsibility was domestic order, society’s ultimate Tao.
Military Applications Sun Tzu clearly preferred Shih-strategy to Li-strategy in war. ”71 In applying the ruler’s Tao—harmony between people and ruler—to war, the general’s first command decision had to narrow his strategic perspective to Li or Shih. He might seek to defeat his enemy without fighting by thwarting his intent through deception and indirection— Shih-strategy. He might focus intently on winning every battle through combat superiority and applying immutable principles of war to defeating the enemy’s forces directly—Li-strategy.
And] the great and inspiriting pattern which he sought in vain among the princes of his time”—Shih—recycled to from and direct Chinese strategic culture around Shih. –333 BC) likens the King’s realist approach to Li and Mencius’s Confucian approach to Shih. ” Mencius responded “why do you ask me only for Li? You should take Yin (benevolence) and Yi (justice)[within Tao] as did your ancestor rather than pursuing Li. . ”66 It was not proper for the King, a superior person, to pursue Li, which was an inferior person’s concern.
The Philosophy of Chinese Military Culture: Shih vs. Li by William H. Mott IV, Jae Chang Kim