刚柔相济 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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gāngróu-xiāngjì 刚柔相济

Combine Toughness with Softness

刚与柔两种手段互相调剂、配合。“刚”与“柔”是指人和事物的两种相反的属性。就执政理事而言,“刚”指强硬、严厉,“柔”指温柔、宽宥,“刚柔相济”相当于“恩威并施”。“刚柔”被认为是“阴阳”的具体表现。“刚”与“柔”之间的对立与调和是促成事物运动变化的根本原因。具体到政策、法令的制定与实施及社会或企业的管理,刚与柔需保持某种均衡状态。

Gang (刚) and rou (柔) are two mutually complementary measures. They refer to two opposite properties or qualities that objects and human beings possess. In the realm of governance, gang means being tough and stern, while rou means being soft and lenient, and the term means to combine tough management with gentle care. Gang and rou are considered to be a concrete manifestation of yin and yang. Their mutual opposition and accommodation are the causes of change. When formulating and implementing policies and decrees or managing a society or an enterprise, there must be a certain balance between gang and rou.

引例 Citations:

◎孔子云:“礼以行之,孙(xùn)以出之。”外柔内刚、刚柔相济而不相胜者,万事之所以成也。(郑善夫《答道夫》)

(孔子说:“按礼的要求实践,用谦逊的言辞说出。”外柔内刚、刚柔相济而不是一方压过另一方,万事就能获得成功。)

Confucius said: “One must perform righteousness according to the rules of propriety and speak in humility.” One should be soft and gentle without, while tough and firm within, and should combine toughness with softness, without trying to overpower the other side. This is the way to achieve success in doing everything. (Zheng Shanfu: Letter in Reply to Daofu)

◎凡为将者,当以刚柔相济,不可徒恃其勇。(罗贯中《三国演义》第七十一回)

(凡担任大将的人,都应该用刚柔相济,不可只是凭着自己的勇猛行事。)

All generals must combine toughness with softness, and should not act with personal prowess only. (Luo Guanzhong: Romance of the Three Kingdoms)

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