marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

Han Feizi Speaks: The Power of Pragmatism

Han Feizi Speaks: The Power of Pragmatism by Tsai Chih Chung

Another graphic novel of a Chinese philosophy text. Han Feizi was a philosopher of the Legalist tradition, calling for strict rule, stern punishment, and a sharp eye to self-interest.

Like the story of the husband and wife praying for prosperity, and how the husband demanded how she could pray for so little of it, and her sharp rejoinder that she didn't want to get enough for him to buy a concubine. Which is why ministers can never be fully trusted. Milder than some Legalists, though -- one noble had a servant who freed a fawn out of pity, and put him in charge of his son, because he was too tender-hearted to harm the son.

Calls for stern punishment as kindness, to prevent ruin. Noticing that watching who profits from a crime as the best clue to who did it. Comparing following the ancients to having your wife make a new pair of trousers exactly like the old, down to the patches. Why dogs and horses are the hardest things to paint and the ghosts, easiest, and how it is like wise sayings.
Tags: non-fiction: philosophy, politics

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