wu shi bu xiao bai bu
Lit: The one who retreats 50 paces / steps mocks the one to retreats 100.
This word struck my attention as I try to find some Chinese proverb for illustration in the Chinese cover workbook for my school. You can find more at my other blog. Since the old times, it’s very hard to decipher what’s the meaning behind each Chinese proverb. One of those is this proverb. It’s easier to decipher the meaning of Indonesian or English proverb. Maybe because I live in Indonesia, or maybe because I was eating western cereal my whole live.
Anyway, after I finished my book cover job, I came back to that website and reading the explanation thoroughly. It tells the story about a king who likes to war with other kingdom. He fought with other kingdom because he just… love it. Well, it feels like a weird, blood lust king. Maybe he has some connection with the vampire ancestry from his mother’s side. But anyway, one day, the king asked a philosopher named Mencius. He asked, why his population number can’t increase, meanwhile the population of other kingdom won’t decrease, even though he treated his people far better than in other kingdom. He moves people from famine-stricken areas to places of plenty, and transport grain from rich areas to the poor. Nobody goes hungry in his kingdom. Where is the problem, he asked.
The philosopher said to him, because he likes war, the philosopher asked him a case example. At a time of war, when the drums beat start to attack, some soldier flee for their lives. Some run 100 paces / steps in retret, others run 50. Then the ones who retreat 50 steps laugh at the one who retreat 100 steps, calling them a coward and afraid of death. Now, the philosopher asked, does the king think it’s reasonable?
Of course not, the king answered. Those who run 50 steps are just as timid and coward as the one who run 100 steps, he added.
Then the philosopher conclude, that even though he is a king who treat his people better, their people also suffer a great loss from the war. That’s why his population can’t grow. While other king let their people starve to death, he send his people to die in war. Is there any difference?
When I read that, the first thing that comes to my mind is: “How come you DON’T know that your love with your battlefield has effectively cap off your population too? Isn’t it THAT obvious?”
Then I sat in silence.
Then I realized, that many times when I “mocks” somebody because of their lacks, I was, or still, having their lacks too. Sometimes I told somebody to cheer up and join the group, but then I realized, sometimes I also just be silent and watching too when I feel uneasy. Sometimes I protest to somebody that their word is harsh. But then, when I’m almost asleep in the night, I realize that sometimes, my word is also harsh too. I ever replied to a harsh text message, saying why his word is so harsh, but then I’m not realize that I wrote that in a harsh word too. A harsh text replied with an even more harsh text. And then, the more important thing comes: why I rarely realize it? why I never realize it at the times I’m going to do it?
This bring me to a thought that, actually, we should watch ourselves more than we watch other people. Because without I realize, I have become like that little king who doesn’t aware that I have a plank in my eyes, but trying to remove a splinter from my neighbor’s eyes. Maybe that’s why I like to keep my mouth shut at many occasion, as I realize that whatever rules I use to judge, that rules will be set for me too. Before I’m trying to make somebody do the “seemingly impossible”, let me go through that first, to see if it’s possible. How about you?