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《壹言 - Unification of Words》

English translation: J. J. L. Duyvendak [?] Library Resources
1 壹言:
Unification of Words:...:
When about to establish a state, it is necessary to examine standards and measures, to pay attention to law and order, to be vigilant in government duties, and to consolidate occupations with what is primary. When standards and measures are regulated in accordance with the times, the customs of the country may be changed and the people will follow the standard regulations; if rules and laws are clear, the officials will commit no depravity; if the duties of the government are dealt with uniformly, the people will be available for use; if occupations with what is primary are consolidated, people will take pleasure in agriculture and will enjoy warfare. Now a sage, in establishing laws, alters the customs and causes the people to be engaged in agriculture, night and day. It is necessary to understand this. Indeed, people abide by their avocations and obey the regulations even to death, when the honorific titles which the ruler has instituted, and the rewards and penalties which he has established, are clear, and when, instead of employing sophists and intriguers, men of merit are set up. The result will be that the people will take pleasure in farming and enjoy warfare, because they see that the ruler honours farmers and soldiers, looks down upon sophists and artisans, and despises itinerant scholars. Therefore, when the people concentrate on one occupation, their families will be rich and their persons will be distinguished in the country; the ruler opens the way to public benefit and bars the gate of private intrigue, so that the people's strength is developed to the utmost. If toil in one's own interest does not gain distinction in the state, nor is admittance to the prince obtained through the gate of private intrigue, then under these circumstances, meritorious ministers will be encouraged, and in consequence the orders of the ruler will be performed, waste lands will be opened up, dissolute people will disappear, and villainies will not sprout. He, who, in administrating a country, is able to consolidate the people's strength and to make their occupation one, will be strong; he, who is able to make the people attend to what is primary, and to prevent what is secondary, is rich.

2 壹言:
Unification of Words:...:
A sage, in administrating a country, is able to consolidate its strength or to reduce it. When standards and measures are clear, then the people's strength is consolidated; if it is consolidated, but not developed, it cannot take effect. If it does take effect, but there are no riches, it will give rise to disorder. Therefore, for one who administers a country, the way to consolidate its strength, is to make the country rich and its soldiers strong; the way to reduce the people's force is to attack the enemy and to encourage the people. If one only opens the way without barring the gate, the short will grow long; when it has grown, and one does not attack, there will be villainy; if one debars without opening up, the people will be chaotic; if they are chaotic, and one does not make use of them, their strength will become great; if their strength is great, and one does not attack, there will be villainy and the parasites. So, consolidating their strength is brought about by unifying their occupation; reducing their force is brought about by attacking the enemy. In administrating a country, one should value the single-mindedness of the people; if they are single-minded, they are simple, and being simple, they farm; if they farm, they easily become diligent, and being diligent, they become rich. The rich should be despoiled of their riches by means of titles, so that they do not become dissolute. Those who are dissolute should be divested of their dissoluteness by punishments, so that they may concern themselves with agriculture. Therefore, if one is able, only to consolidate force, and not to use it, disorder ensues; and one, who is able, only to reduce force, but not to consolidate it, will perish. So an intelligent ruler, who knows how to combine these two principles, will be strong, but that of one, who does not know how to combine these two, will be dismembered.

3 壹言:
Unification of Words:...:
Indeed, if a people are not orderly, it is because their prince follows inferior ways; and if the laws are not clear, it means that the prince causes disorder to grow. Therefore, an intelligent prince is one, who does not follow an inferior way, nor causes disorder to grow, but he establishes himself, by maintaining his authority and creates order, by giving laws; so that he gains possession of those, who are treacherous towards their ruler; thus for all officials respectively rewards or penalties are fixed, so that employment will have a fixed standard. Under these circumstances, then, the country's regulations will be clear and the people's force will be used to the utmost, the titles, granted by the ruler will be honoured and the... will be advanced.

4 壹言:
Unification of Words:...:
The rulers of the present day all desire to govern the people, but their way of helping them is disorderly, not because they take pleasure in disorder, but because they rest on antiquity and do not watch for the needs of the times; that is, the ruler models himself on antiquity, and as a result, is hampered by it; subordinates follow the present and do not change with the times, and when the changes in the customs of the world are not understood, and the conditions for governing the people are not examined, then the multiplication of rewards only leads to punishments, and the lightening of punishments only eliminates rewards. Indeed, the ruler institutes punishments, but the people do not obey; his rewards are exhausted, but crimes continue to increase; for the people in their relation to the ruler, think first of punishments and only afterwards of rewards.

5 壹言:
Unification of Words:...:
The sage's way, therefore, of organizing a country is not to imitate antiquity, nor to follow the present, but to govern in accordance with the needs of the times, and to make laws which take into account customs. For laws, which are established without examining people's conditions, do not succeed, but a government which is enacted fittingly for the times, does not offend. Therefore, the government of the sage-kings examined attentively the people's occupations and concentrated their attention on unifying them and on nothing else.

URN: ctp:shang-jun-shu/unification-of-words