Friday, 29 August 2014

Monstaville Book II. Chapter 22


“He who angers you conquers you.”
- Elizabeth Kenny.

The Art of War by Sunzi.

“Evaluate, then attack. Wars are won by strategy, not brute force.”

From the Introduction of The Art of War: The Denma Translation by Sun Tzu (translation, essays and commentary by the Denma Translation Group, Shambhala, MA., U.S., 2001,

"About 2,300 years ago in what is now north China, a lineage of military leaders put their collective wisdom into written form for the first time. Their text was to shape the strategic thinking of all East Asia. It offered a radically new perspective on conflict, whereby one might attain victory without going to battle. Though in the West their text is called The Art of War, in China it is still known as the Sun Tzu, named for the patriarch of their lineage [the great general and military strategist in 6th century China]...The text shows how to conquer without aggression, whether our conflict is large or small, personal or national…The wisdom of this book is a profound human knowledge, something to which every one of us has access. It does not belong to any proprietary group, Chinese or Western. It shows a way of working with conflict that is sane, kindly and effective. Though the Sun Tzu offers models of behaviour, it does not suggest we copy them. Instead, it invites us to enter its teachings fully. When we do so, we find we come naturally to the same insights that are contained within its text. The Sun Tzu begins with the understanding that conflict is an integral part of human life. It is within us and all around us. Sometimes we can skilfully sidestep it, but at other times we must join with it directly. Many of us have seen the destructive power of aggression, whether on a personal level or in the disasters of armed conflict. We know as well the limitations of most political and personal responses to that aggression. How can we work with it in a more profound and effective way? The Sun Tzu recommends that our response to conflict start from knowledge, of ourselves and of the other...
Self-knowledge in the Sun Tzu includes awareness of the full condition of our forces, but it begins with something far more intimate: knowledge of our own minds. People come to this knowledge in many ways. The contemplative practices offer one means of insight. More basic than any particular practice, though, is the openness of mind to which it leads. This openness can be present in all our activities. We find ourselves there when we experience a sudden moment of beauty. It is the unformed, creative source of the performing and plastic arts. Athletes know it as ‘the zone,’ and lovers do not even name it. It is where they are most at home and their actions most effective.
                Why, though, would anyone wary of aggression’s destructive force study a text about conflict? As the Sun Tzu says, it is essential to know ourselves, to know our own minds. But we also live in a world where aggression cannot be avoided. We must know the other in order to skilfully engage him or her. It was necessary, therefore, to learn to work directly with the conflict in our environment, not ignore it, submerge it, give up on it or try to deny its existence. However profound our individual wisdom, it will not survive in the world unless it is joined with some kind of power. Recognising this seems especially important at the present time, when the consequences of human action can be so thoroughly devastating. This text, then, shows how we could work with conflict both within and outside ourselves."

Quotations taken from Wikipedia.

    * If ten times the enemy's strength, surround them; if five times, attack them; if double, divide them; if equal, be able to fight them; if fewer, be able to evade them; if weaker, be able to avoid them.
    * Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
    * The best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord before there are any actual hostilities...It is best to win without fighting.
    * What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.
    * The more you read and learn, the less your adversary will know.
    * Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.
    * A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.
    * Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
    * All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

[Alternatively: “All warfare is based on deception. There is no place where espionage is not used. Offer the enemy bait to lure him”].
    * If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
    * He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.
    * He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.
    * Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.
    * O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands.
    * Opportunities multiply as they are seized.
    * Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.
    * When the enemy is at ease, be able to weary him; when well fed, to starve him; when at rest, to make him move. Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
    * Subtle and insubstantial, the expert leaves no trace; divinely mysterious, he is inaudible. Thus he is master of his enemy's fate.
    * To a surrounded enemy, you must leave a way of escape.
    * Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy's unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.
    * Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.
    * One defends when his strength is inadequate, he attacks when it is abundant.
    * Being unconquerable lies with yourself; being conquerable lies with your enemy.

Sun Tse Bing Fa. An ancient Chinese text by Sun Tzu, commonly known as The Art of War (

An ancient Chinese text not so much about fighting wars, but getting your way without having to fight wars. It is really about social manipulation, and tends to go against many parts of western idealism. However, one can argue that if you don't follow the principles, then you will be victimised by those who do. One can also say that social wars are the better alternative over physical ones. It may be the reason why some Asian cultures are sometimes characterised as ‘peaceful but manipulative.’ However, its approach can be found in marketing departments and boardrooms in the west also. It seems the west is simply ashamed to document such rules of conduct in a larger sense despite it being common practice, but in Asian culture it is often seen as mere survival.
                It should perhaps be required reading by anyone entering the real world after college. But no college would put it on their list because its content often does not fit western ideals.

“Chance favours the prepared mind.” - Louis Pasteur.

“Life often resembles a battlefield - you must fight for what you desire. We all want to win but only a few are victors and even fewer can sustain their success. To win you do not need great force as long as you possess the secret of well thought-out strategy.” - Chao-Hsiu Chen (The Chinese Art of Winning. Strategems for Success, Connections Book Publishing Limited, London, U.K., 2002, p.11).

Master Po (Keye Luke): Fear is the enemy, trust is the armour.
Young Caine (Radames Pera): But not knowing what will happen, am I not wise to be afraid?
Master Po: He who conquers himself is the greatest warrior. Do what must be done with a docile heart.
Young Caine: Master. How can I know if this is possible for me?
Master Po: Listen for the colour of the sky. Look for the sound of the hummingbirds wings. Search the air for the perfume of ice, on a hot summer’s day. If you have found these things, you will know.
                - Kung Fu (Season 1, Episode 4, ‘An Eye For An Eye,’ 1973).

Master Kan (Philip Ahn): The best charioteers do not push ahead. The best fighters do not make displays of anger. The wisest antagonist is he who wins without engaging in battle.
Young Caine (Radames Pera): But Master, is this not a contradiction? To train the body thus, yet shun anger in battle.
Master Kan: This is the power of not contending. It is how the weak overcome the strong.
                - Kung Fu (Season 1, Episode 7, ‘Nine Lives,’ 1973).

Master Kan (Philip Ahn): Perceive the way of nature and no force of man can harm you. Do not meet a wave head on: avoid it. You do not have to stop force: it is easier to redirect it. Learn more ways to preserve rather than destroy. Avoid rather than check. Check rather than hurt. Hurt rather than maim. Maim rather than kill. For all life is precious nor can any be replaced.
                - Kung Fu (pilot film, 1972).

"Do not conquer the world with force, force only causes resistance. Years of misery follow a great victory." – Laozi.

Master Kan (Philip Ahn): Weakness prevails over strength. Gentleness conquers. Become the calm and restful breeze that tames the violent sea.
                - Kung Fu (Season 1, Episode 1, ‘King of the Mountain,’ 1972).

A warrior is unafraid to be humble.
A warrior is willing to fight with one hand and love with the other.
A warrior never breathes a word unless it comes from the heart.
A warrior must follow their heart and vision.
A warrior never chases their adversary because an adversary requires resistance.
A warrior never creates the situation but deals with the situation as it presents itself.
A warrior never asks, ‘Have I done enough for one day?’
A warrior strives for the top by helping someone else reach it.
A warrior knows peace and is willing to give their life to achieve it for others.
A warrior knows how to find love in any moment because they have learned to love themselves.
A warrior is not afraid to laugh at their own mistakes
A warrior never stops but knows when to let go.
A warrior will go with the flow and celebrate the moment.
Knowing the power of their touch use it wisely.
- QuietBuck (posted on YouTube in December 2007).

“Whoever angers you controls you. When you don´t deal with anger in a timely manner, it turns into other negative emotions like resentment, bitterness, hate. Take action to stop the cycle before the roots are so deep they are almost impossible to destroy.”(

“To be the ‘impeccable warrior’ means having a willingness, vigilance, persistence and commitment to self-examination and self-discipline. No matter how lofty our spiritual perception, on the Earth plane there is continuous learning and growth. People and situations are mirrors, showing us where healing is needed…Enlightenment is about awakening to the wisdom inherent within us, and that includes learning how to live with our linear, imperfect human selves from the perspective of our non-linear, perfect spiritual selves. It is about having love and compassion for ALL parts of the self, no matter how clumsy or messy they might appear. Parts of self that appear to be out of balance are, as A Course In Miracles aptly states, asking for love and acceptance.” – Sal Rachele (‘The Pursuit of Perfection,

“I'm not going to lie down and let trouble walk over me.” - Ellen Glasgow (  

“An evil person is like a dirty window, they never let the light shine through.” - William M. Thackeray.

“People who do not know how to laugh are always pompous and self-conceited.- William M. Thackeray.

“A good laugh is sunshine in the house.” - William M. Thackeray.

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