《厚黑學》 Thick Black Theory

By Xah Lee. Date:

When you conceal your will from others, that is Thick. When you impose your will on others, that is Black (Dark).”

Thick Black Theory (Chinese: 厚黑學; pinyin: Hòu hēi xué) is a philosophical treatise written by Li Zongwu zh:李宗吾 (1879–1943), a disgruntled politician and scholar born at the end of Qing dynasty. It was published in China in 1911, the year of the Xinhai revolution, when the Qing dynasty was overthrown.

Li was a scientist of political intrigue. He wrote: “When you conceal your will from others, that is Thick. When you impose your will on others, that is Black (Dark).” According to Chin-Ning Chu, the ‘Thick Black Theory’ describes the ruthless and hypocritical[1] means men use to obtain and hold power: “thick faces” (shamelessness), “black heart” (ruthlessness), according to author's view of history. It went through several printings before being banned in China as subversive.

Li argued that “A great hero is no more than a person who is impudent and wicked.” According to Li, the wickedest of all was Cao Cao. “I would rather betray someone than be betrayed.” It shows how black Cao Cao's heart was inside. Li picked Liu Bei (king of one rival kingdom competing with Cao's) as the highly skilled person with a “thick face”. He never thought it shameful to live inside another's fence. He was also a frequent crier, appealing to others' sympathy.

Thick Black Theory

《厚黑學》為民國初期李宗吾于1917年所提出之學說,宣揚臉皮要厚如城牆,心要黑如煤炭,這樣才能成為“英雄豪傑”。書中列舉了曹操、劉備、孫權、司馬懿、項羽、劉邦等人物為例,試圖證實其理論而闡述當中各人之臉皮厚薄與心地黑白如何影響他們的成敗。

雖然厚黑學原本是李宗吾以嘲諷手法提出的戲謔性學說,卻意外引發熱烈迴響,也使李宗吾成為厚黑學宗師。厚黑學從某個角度而言,反映了人性黑暗自私的一面,然而也反映了人們的處世之道。

李宗吾(1879年2月3日-1943年9月28日),四川富顺自流井(今四川自貢市)人,清末与民国时期学者,以其著作《厚黑學》一書聞名於世,因而自号“厚黑教主”。

厚黑学, 李宗吾