《厚黑學》 Thick Black Theory
“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 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.