Thick Black Theory, Red Cliff, Romance Of The 3 Kingdoms, & The Art Of War

Note:  I decided to repost this because I found some old Thick Black Theory videos on an account I forgot about, and thought I’d add them here for you to watch…. I haven’t posted much about Thick Black Theory lately because I’ve been thinking about whether or not I will release a translation of Li Zongwu’s Psychology And Mechanics . . . But, I’ve been reading my source material from Li Zongwu alot lately, and I wanted to share the introduction to Thick Black Theory with you.

[sociallocker]You may or may not have seen the John Woo Epic “Red Cliff”, which features historical characters like Cao Cao, Liu Bei, Zhuge Liang, etc.

  Thick Black Theory, on one level is an analysis of these characters and the source of their respective powers.

On another level, it’s something very profound about shadow elements of the psyche, which is touched more upon in Li Zongwu’s Pschology and Mechanics.   This is something that the meditation world is just starting to realize – that if you dissociate from your shadow stuff – your baser instincts and genetically conditioned imprints for survival and replication – that the only thing you’re really able to do is push that shadow material across the boundary from conscious to unconscious mind.   The problem is, that when you do that, you lose control over those elements or aggregates of who and what you are, and – they tend to resurface in VERY negative ways.

And so, on one hand, Thick Black Theory is about power, getting want you want, winning, and so on.   However, there are deeper levels.

In Thick Black Theory itself, Li Zongwu talks about the 3 levels of Thick And Black, but in the book proper he doesn’t mention the 4th.

There is some mention of it in some of his old Chengdu daily articles, as well as in Psychology and Mechanics, but it’s not really apparent to average people.   That is the level of integration and control over “the shadow”.

Anyhow, I haven’t talked much about this before, because to be honest, the higher level stuff I release never attracts much interest. I may begin talking about this some more, though.

In the meantime, here is Li Zongwu’s introduction to Thick Black Theory, taken from my book – which is the first and only translation ever done outside of the Chinese Language.   Also, you can click here for an interesting article from China Daily on Thick Black Theory

Here Are Some VERY OLD (before I discovered the miracle of wearable microphones) Videos Of Mine Related To Thick Black Theory Which I Just Re-Discovered:

Introduction To Thick Black Theory

  When I read the history of China, I found a lot of flaws. I think the judgents of the risen and fallen – the success and failure of the “24 histories”, are completely wrong.


The truth that sages spoke is not right, also.

I was surprised.


The successful people from ancient times must have had some secret,

which was unseen by the sages.

  I was frustrated because I tried so hard but could find no answer. Once, when I was thinking about the three kingdoms, I realized that the simple secret is nothing more than “Thick Face” and “Black Heart”. Then, I read the 24 histories again. Those four words are really included. Then I wrote the book “Thick Black Theory” with simple words. It had 3 parts. They are:

  • Thick Black Theory
  • Thick Black Scripture
  • Spread and Study of Thick Black

In 1912, it was published by the Public Daily in Chengdu. At that time, this new theory made a big commotion with the readers. Before the second part was published, I stopped because my friend persuaded me to. But after that, the 3 words “Thick Black Theory” became common nouns. Every time I went somewhere, I was always asked to make speeches about Thick Black Theory, so I told all the details. The audiences all nodded their heads and sighed – “I failed because I didn’t do things in a thick and black way” . . . Some said, “He was successful because he knew it to well.” Sometimes, when I met some strangers, after we exchanged names he looked at me with an amazed look. “Are you the person who invented Thick Black Theory?” Or people introduced me to others as the inventor of Thick Black Theory.

What’s more funny, is when students write essays, they used it like it’s a common thing. Then I realized how popular this became. I wrote it as some kind of fun game at first, but didn’t expect it to become so effective. I’m surprised myself, too. The reason why people like it is a psychological reason. Then I kept studying, I realized Thick Black Theory is from the “Total Depravity Theory”. It has the same value as the “Total Goodness Theory” of Wang Yangming’s literature “To The Conscious”. The ancients said “Kindheartedness and justice are in everyone’s nature.” But I say “Thick Black is in everyone’s nature.” Yangming said, “We knew filial piety when we met our fathers. We knew honor when we met our brothers. He was so sure about that. I say “little babies grab their mothers food and put it in their own mouths when they see it. The babies push their brothers away when they see them coming while they are eating.” And I’m sure about that, too. People love Yangming . . . So they love Thick Black Theory, too. There was the “Total Goodness Theory” from Mencius, so Xunzi had his “Total Depravity Theory” to fight against it. There was “To the Conscious” from Wang Yangming, so I have “Thick Black Theory”, too. What are peoples natures all about? I really want to figure it out. I read so many theories from the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasty but most of them are disconnected, boring, and difficult to understand. Then I threw the books away and tried to study psychology as physics, because I think they are connected in some way. We can’t tell if human nature is good or bad –

just like we can’t tell if fire and water are good or bad.

Mencius’ Total Goodness and Xunzi’s Total Depravity are sideways opinions, and the Thick Black Theory I’m talking about is more sideways, just like Wang Yangming’s “To the Conscious”. If you don’t understand, no matter how thick and black you try to be, it would fail anyway. You will understand if you read “psychology and dynamics” of mine. Even if we don’t want to be thick and black,

we should be careful about other people being thick and black to us,

so we have to understand the tricks.

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