天时地利人和 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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tiānshí dìlì rénhé 天时地利人和

Opportune Time, Geographic Advantage, and Unity of the People

“天时”本指作战时的有利气候,泛指时间上的各种有利条件,包括天气、时机、机遇等;“地利”本指作战时的有利地形,泛指空间上的各种有利条件,包括地形、地势、区位等;“人和”本指得到人们拥护,上下同心,团结一致,泛指人的优势。古人认为,它们是事关成败的三种最重要的因素;而且“天时不如地利,地利不如人和”,其中起决定作用的是“人和”。它反映了中国人考虑问题的三个基本向度——时间(时机)、空间(环境)和人,体现“以人为本”的基本理念。

“Opportune time,” which originally referred to the favorable weather at the time of war, now generally refers to various temporal advantages, including weather, timing, opportunity, and so on. “Geographic advantage,” which originally referred to advantageous positions in battle, now refers to generally various favorable spacial conditions, including terrain, position, location, and such. “Unity of the people,” which originally referred to popular support, unity of all ranks, and societal solidarity, now refers in general to advantages in personnel. Ancient Chinese believed that these three were the most important factors for success. Among them, “unity of the people” is decisive because “opportune time is not as valuable as geographic advantage, and geographic advantage is not as valuable as unity of the people.” The saying reflects the three fundamental dimensions of a problem the Chinese people take into consideration: time(opportunity), space (environment), and people. It reflects the basic notion of putting people at the center of everything.

引例 Citations:

◎天时、地利、人和,三者不得,虽胜有殃。(《孙膑兵法·月战》)

(有利的气候条件、有利的地理条件、人的齐心协力,这三者如不齐备,即便打了胜仗,自己也会蒙受损失。)

Favorable weather conditions, geographic advantages, and the unity of the people all must be in place. If not, victory will be costly. (Sun Bin’s Art of War)

◎天时不如地利,地利不如人和。(《孟子·公孙丑下》)

(有利的气候条件不如有利的地理条件,有利的地理条件不如人的齐心协力。)

Favorable weather conditions are not as valuable as favorable geographic conditions, and favorable geographic conditions are not as valuable as the unity of the people. (Mencius)

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