Zhuge Liang first appealed to me when he was portrayed in the film Red Cliff. I must admit that it was the actor Takeshi Kaneshiro who’d initially won me over. He is known to be one of the greatest military strategists of his era. This was during the Three Kingdoms Period in Chinese History where Zhuge Liang functioned as a chancellor in the Shu Han State.
Zhuge Liang did not strike me as a strong person to begin with. He is popularly portrayed with his hand fan made of crane feathers and, trust me, the constant effeminate fanning gestures did not help establish him as a male upon my initial inspection.
The film was also filled with extra long takes of people endearingly staring at each other. It reminded me a bit of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings –both films could have gone without all the excessive eye-contact.
As I witnessed his various strategies, however, my opinions about him began to change. I began to read up on the historical Zhuge Liang instead of just setting my sights on Takeshi Kaneshiro.
Anyway, I later found that Zhuge Liang had his own Art of War… apart from Sun Tzu, there was another man who’d drafted his own principles when engaging in warfare. Sun Tzu’s The Art of War had always been interesting and entertaining for me to read, so I welcomed Zhuge Liang’s principles just as easily.
His writing couldn’t be fully discussed within a thousand words so I’ll just point out the most relevant and timely:
The Military Leader
There are many different types of military leaders.
- Those who could see the darkness within others and detect danger beforehand while managing his own soldiers adequately–such a man can be a leader of ten men.
- Those who perform their duty from dawn until dusk while remaining courteous in speech–such a man can be a leader of a hundred men.
- Those who have a distaste for trickery but are resourceful, and are brave and enthusiastic in battle–such a man can be a leader of a thousand men.
- Those who are respectable in appearance, holding a warrior’s spirit while having an understanding of the hardships of his men–such a man can be a leader of ten-thousand men.
- Those who recruit men of skill while himself improving upon his skills, while being trustworthy and wide in perspective, unyielding to the temptations present within the confounded world of warfare–such a man can be a leader of a hundred-thousand men.
- Those who shed lovingkindness to his subjects and defeats surrounding nations through trust and moral goodness, and is versed in astrology, geography, and human affairs while garnering respect from all citizens–such a man can be a leader of all under heaven. (Zhuge, Liu, Cleary, 1989)
It’s something we can keep in mind if we want to lead more than a hundred. Next, maybe we can talk about the Guqin and how it reveals how much brains Zhuge Liang really has.