21
Jul
09

If you want to catch them, set them free

欲擒故縱:
欲 (yù): desiring, wanting to (verb). The word you used 慾, is a noun. It also means desire, usually carnal desire.
擒 (qín): capture.
故 (gù): deliberately
縱 (zòng): set free

This phrase originated from 需 (xu1) 卦 (gua) in Yi Jing:

逼则反兵;走则减势。紧追勿迫,累其气力,消其斗志,散而后擒,兵不血刃。需,有孚,光。
Translation: If you press the retreating enemy such that there is no escape, they will lash out like a trapped dying animal. But if you let them run, they will exhaust themselves in the process. So when chasing retreating foes, don’t follow too closely, let them exhaust their physical energy and fighting spirit. When they lose their unit cohesion and disperse into individuals, you can capture them without even bloodying your weapons.

Explanation: Xu1 gua is made up of symbols for water and heaven. It implies rain/thunderstorm, therefore danger. Xu1 represent a scenario that, even if overall things are favorable to us, there is still danger involved, and overcoming that danger involves confidence. A lot of times, only when you have confidence can you be patient. If you can have patience, success can be yours.

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