Three Kingdoms of the New Century: main philosophies and strategies

Three Kingdoms, also known as Samkok, is a popular novel set during the end of the Han era in China (169-280 BCE). It is composed by Luo Guanzhong, the finest writer of the eighteenth century, based on historical facts from three kingdoms. Because it presented concepts, philosophy, and critical tools for understanding political nature, three kingdoms’ work became popular among politicians, strategists, diplomats, analysts, and general scholars. In China, there is a saying that says, “Those who have never learnt three kingdoms must not get engaged in politics.”

The three kingdoms is introduced with the words “After the long unification, there will be disintegration, and after the long disintegration, there will be reunification,” which mirrored the truth of Chinese history. The story’s main focus are on the political philosophies and strategies for constructing kingdoms, as evidenced by the early debate between Cao Cao (styled Mengde) and Liu Bei (styled Xuande). Liu Bei, the Han dynasty’s progenitor, regarded the situations at the end of the Han Dynasty as “compete for power, selfish officials, oppressing leaders, people were persecuted, territory divided in parts, battle all over, and the tears of people pouring out everywhere,”. He showed his deepest sympathy and painful toward the folk people and assigned himself in a morality as Confucius had taught. 

In contrast, Cao Cao appeared to see everything in the state of nature, there is up and down, progress and death, or Yin and Yang. He said, “I see things from a different perspective; one side seeing suffering, while the other side seeing a great opportunity.” War is terrible, but the person who can bring it to an end is a hero. Xia was replaced by Shang after 500 years of prosperity,   Shang dynasty superseded by Zhou after 500 years of its existence. And Zhou was replaced by others, and others.” The differences between them were that Liu Bei wanted to restore a scattered dynasty by moral principles and solidarity, whereas Cao Cao wanted to bring and ends to the dynasty and establish a new dynasty and era. Cao Cao wanted to increase his might and power by using violence, military, and artfulness, whereas Liu Bei believed in Confucius’s leadership principles.

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