Books and Literature

What book is don't use a cannon to kill a mosquito from?


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2016-02-03 04:14:35
2016-02-03 04:14:35

Was it a saying by confucius? Confucius wouldn't have ever used the word "cannon" (that would have been "大砲" literally "big gun") as he lived around 500 BC, and gunpowder wasn't invented until the 9th century AD. In fact, the kanji combination "大炮" does not appear in any of the books from Confucius.

What we know about the quote is that it gained popularity in the move Entrapment (1999) - where the character "Mr Conrad Greene of Kuala Lumpur" delivers the line "Confucius, he say: Don't use cannon to kill mosquito." (Tongue-in-cheek).

It is unclear if the quote existed before, although it was no present in the original screen play for the movie. After the movie, it has been adapted and posted to various online sites as an actual confucius quote.

With that said, Confucius is not against over measures, in fact he has advice to be cautious:

"以約失之者,鮮矣" "The cautious seldom err" -- Confucius (The Analects, Chapter IV)

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