Thursday, October 21, 2010

One Can Know Victory, And Yet Not Achieve It

Sun Tzu's legendary "The Art of War" has influenced the modern day culture, politics and strategy to a greater extent. A great military strategist and mathematician, his theories have proved out to be effective and the book considered the masterpiece on leadership, strategy, managing conflicts and winning battles. Paulo Coelho extracts an excerpt out of "The Art of War" and reproduced it in his "Inspirations".

Master Sun Said:

Of Old, the skillful warrior first ensured his own invulnerability; Then he waited for enemy’s vulnerability.
Invulnerability rests with Self, Vulnerability with the Enemy.

The skillful warrior can achieve his own invulnerability; But he can never bring about enemy's vulnerability.
Hence the saying, “One can know victory, and yet not achieve it”.

Invulnerability is Defense, Vulnerability is Attack.
Defense implies lack, Attack implies abundance.

A skillful defender hides beneath the ninefold earth; A skillful attacker moves above the ninefold heaven.
Thus they achieve protection and victory intact.

To foresee the ordinary victory of the common man is no true skill.
To be victorious in battle and to be acclaimed for one’s skill Is no true skill.
To lift autumn fur is not true skill.
To see sun and moon is no perception.
To hear thunder is no quickness of hearing.

The skillful warrior of Old won easy victories.
The victories of the skillful warrior are not extraordinary victories.
They bring neither fame for wisdom, nor merit for valor.
His victories are flawless.

His victory is flawless because it’s inevitable. He vanquishes an already defeated enemy.
The skillful warrior Takes his stand on invulnerable ground; He lets slip no chance of defeating the enemy.
The victorious army is victorious first and seeks battle later.
The defeated army Does battle first and seeks victory later.
The skillful strategist cultivates the way and preserves the law; Thus he is master of victory and defeat.

In War there are five steps; Measurement, Estimation, Calculation, Comparison and Victory;

Earth determines Measurement,
Measurement determines Estimation,
Estimation determines Calculation,
Calculation determines Comparison,
and Comparison determines Victory;

A victorious army is like a pound weight; In the scale against a grain;
A defeated army is like a grain in the scale against a pound weight;
A victorious army is like pent-up water crashing a thousand fathoms into a gorge.

This is all a matter of forms and dispositions.

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