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Six Preservations

 

Disciplines > WarfareThe Six Secret Teachings > 1.6 Six Preservations

Teaching set  | Observed lessons | Discussion | See also

 

Teaching set

Civil Secret Teachings 1.6 (6)

Observed lessons

  • To keep their position, a ruler should use six preservations: benevolence, righteousness, loyalty, trust, courage and planning.
  • To find people who will use these, give them power and responsibility, then watch how they behave. Endanger them and watch.
  • Never lose the three treasures: agriculture, industry and commerce.
  • People who do similar work should live near one another.

Discussion

Of the six treasures:

  • Benevolence shows care of others, who will care in return.
  • Righteousness shows fairness and so avoids indignation.
  • Loyalty engenders love and reciprocal loyalty.
  • Trust gives people the scope to betray, exposing those who cannot be trusted.
  • Courage leads people to admire you and inspires them to bravery too.
  • Planning leads to deliberate and reliable action that benefits from thought rather than hope.

Putting people into situations of stress, where they can use their power to save themselves by harming others, is a great test of character. We all have stress values, which are different to their everyday values.

Of the three treasures:

  • Agriculture is performed by farmers and feeds the people.
  • Industry is the characteristic of artisans who make things.
  • Commerce is the tool of merchants who bring you all you need and who sell your excess products.

The three treasures are the basis for national success today, as well as in ancient China. If you are doing all well, then your economy will thrive.

The point about similar workers living in the same district is interesting. When farmers, artisans and merchants live each within their own areas, then they will learn from one another and will also police their trades, dealing with rogues who bring the profession into disrepute when they put themselves and quick money above their colleagues. Such people are quickly dealt with.

See also

Leadership

 

Sawyer, R.D. (1993). The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, Basic Books

 

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