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『聰明跟智慧』Cleverness vs Wisdom
2023/11/20 04:06
Tso Tsung-tang

The image ids from 维基百科.

It is said that the general Tso Tsung-tang liked playing Weiqi very much and was no match for his peers. (Weiqi is a game that is similar to Western chess.)

Once, on his way to battle, Tso Tsung-tang saw a cottage with a plaque hanging on the beam, which read “The Number One Chess Player in the World.” This bothered Tso Tsung-tang and he insisted on entering the hut, where he played three games with the hut owner.

The owner lost all three sets. Tso Tsung-tang smiled at him and said, “You can take down this plaque now!”

Tso Tsung-tang was full of confidence and left in high spirits.

It didn’t take long for Tso Tsung-tang to win the battle and return to the palace. When he passed by the hut, he saw that the plaque had still not been removed, so he went inside again and played three games with the professed expert.

This time, he lost all three games.

Tso Tsung-tang was very surprised and asked the cottage owner what was happening.

The Weiqi master replied: “The last time you came to play against me, you were on your way to lead the troops into battle. I knew that if I beat you then, you would be too dispirited to do your best, and the battle might be lost. Now that you have returned victorious, of course, there is no reason for me not to play at my best.”

The real expert can always win, but he does not need to do so; he is confident enough in himself that throwing a game will not harm his self-esteem. This enables him to show empathy when it is required.

We can apply this lesson to our lives. Cleverness does not necessarily include wisdom, but wisdom must be tempered with intelligence. A clever man experiences both gains and losses, but a wise man is brave enough not to let these affect him.

The original Chinese is from

Tso Tsung-tang (1812-1885), also known as Ji Gao and Pu Cun, was born in Xiangshang Nongren, Hunan Xiangyin (now Xiangyin County, Yueyang City, Hunan Province). He is regarded as a Modern Chinese national hero, politician, strategist, poet, and one of the representatives of Westernization.



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