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《禁使 - Interdicts and Encouragements》

English translation: J. J. L. Duyvendak [?] Library Resources
1 禁使:
Interdicts and Encouragements:...:
The method by which a ruler of men prohibits and encourages is by means of rewards and penalties. Rewards follow merit and penalties follow crime; therefore is it necessary to be careful in appraising merit and in investigating crime. Now, rewards exalt and punishments debase, but if the superiors have no definite knowledge of their method, it is no better than if they had no method at all. But the method for right knowledge is power and figures.

2 禁使:
Interdicts and Encouragements:...:
Therefore, the early kings did not rely on their strength but on their power (shi); they did not rely on their belief but on their figures. Now, for example, a floating seed of the p'eng plant, meeting a whirlwind, may be carried a thousand li, because it rides on the power (shi) of the wind. If, in measuring an abyss, you know that it is a thousand fathoms deep, it is owing to the figures which you find by dropping a string. So by depending on the power (shi) of a thing, you will reach a point, however distant it may be, and by keeping the proper figures, you will find out the depth, however deep it may be. Now, for example, in the darkness of the night, even a Li Lou cannot see a great mountain forest, but in the clear morning light, with the brilliant sun, he can distinguish the flying birds above, and below he can see an autumn hair, for the vision of the eye is dependent on the power of the sun. When the highest condition of power (shi) is reached, things are arranged without a multitude of officials and are made fitting by expounding the system. But nowadays, reliance is placed on a multitude of offices and a host of civil servants, and in the official bureaux assistants and controllers are appointed. Now, the idea of appointing these assistants and controllers is indeed to prevent men from making profit, but these assistants and controllers themselves also desire to make profit. How then can they prevent others from doing so! Therefore, if one relies on assistants and controllers for one's administration, then will it be an administration that can barely maintain itself. It is not thus, if one understands "system"; one separates their power (shi) and puts checks on their conduct. Therefore is it said: 'If the conditions of power (shi) are such that it is difficult to conceal anything, then even a man like Zhi does no wrong. Therefore, the early kings prized power (shi).

3 禁使:
Interdicts and Encouragements:...:
Some say: 'A ruler of men holds a nominal right of consent, post factum; then things are controlled and examined, and by this control wickedness is discovered.' I do not think that this is right. For officials exert sole authority and take decisions a thousand li away (from the ruler). In the twelfth month, to confirm it, they make a report, in which the affairs of the whole year have separate entries; but as the ruler gives but one hearing, although he sees doubtful cases, he cannot determine whether an official is capable or otherwise.... For example, if objects come near, the eye cannot but see them; if words are insistent, the ear cannot but hear them; for if objects approach, they alter in appearance, and if words draw near, they form coherent speech.

4 禁使:
Interdicts and Encouragements:...:
So with the organization in a well-governed state, people cannot escape punishment any more than the eyes can hide from the mind what they see. But in the disorderly states of the present time, it is not thus: reliance is placed on a multitude of offices and a host of civil servants, but however numerous the civil servants may be, their affairs are the same and they belong to one body. Now, those whose affairs are the same and who belong to one body, cannot control one another. But by making their interests different and their disadvantages dissimilar, the early kings created guarantees.

5 禁使:
Interdicts and Encouragements:...:
Therefore, in a condition of complete good government, husband and wife and friends cannot abandon each other's evil, cover up wrong-doing and not cause harm to relatives; nor can the men from the people mutually conceal each other from their superiors and government servants. That is because, although their affairs are connected, their interests are different. But nowadays a Zou and a Yu cannot control each other, because their business is the same and their interests are also similar... Suppose that horses could speak, then a Zou and a Yu would have no chance of escaping what they find hateful; that is because their interests would be different. When interests are connected and what they hate is the same, then a father cannot reprimand his son, nor a prince his minister. The relation of government servants to other government servants is this, that their interests are connected and what they hate is the same. Now, the early kings made it a principle that those whose business was connected, should have different interests. Though the people may hide things from their ruler, there is no harm done in thus covering them up, nor can there be advantage in having virtuous men or harm in having worthless ones. The system, therefore, of good government is to neglect the virtuous and to abolish the wise.

URN: ctp:shang-jun-shu/interdicts-and-encouragements