Fundamental Ideals of the Strategic Warrior
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Parent (intermediate) annotationOpen it The following are six fundamental ideals you should aim for in transforming yourself into a strategic warrior in daily life. Look at things as they are, not as your emotions color them. In strategy you must see your emotional responses to events as a kind of disease that must be remedied. Fear will make you overestimate the enemy and act too defensively. Anger and impa
Original toplevel document33 Strategies of War Introductionly make your life more peaceful and productive in the long run, for you will know how to play the game and win without violence. Ignoring it will lead to a life of endless confusion and defeat. <span>The following are six fundamental ideals you should aim for in transforming yourself into a strategic warrior in daily life. Look at things as they are, not as your emotions color them. In strategy you must see your emotional responses to events as a kind of disease that must be remedied. Fear will make you overestimate the enemy and act too defensively. Anger and impatience will draw you into rash actions that will cut off your options. Overconfidence, particularly as a result of success, will make you go too far. Love and affection will blind you to the treacherous maneuvers of those apparently on your side. Even the subtlest gradations of these emotions can color the way you look at events. The only remedy is to be aware that the pull of emotion is inevitable, to notice it when it is happening, and to compensate for it. When you have success, be extra wary. When you are angry, take no action. When you are fearful, know you are going to exaggerate the dangers you face. War demands the utmost in realism, seeing things as they are. The more you can limit or compensate for your emotional responses, the closer you will come to this ideal. Although a goddess of war, [Athena] gets no pleasure from battle . . . but rather from settling disputes, and upholding the law by pacific means. She bears no arms in time of peace and, if ever she needs any, will usually borrow a set from Zeus. Her mercy is great. . . . Yet, once engaged in battle, she never loses the day, even against Ares himself, being better grounded in tactics and strategy than he; and wise captains always approach her for advice. THE GREEK MYTHS VOL. 1, ROBERT GRAVES, 1955 Judge people by their actions. The brilliance of warfare is that no amount of eloquence or talk can explain away a failure on the battlefield. A general has led his troops to defeat, lives have been wasted, and that is how history will judge him. You must strive to apply this ruthless standard in your daily life, judging people by the results of their actions, the deeds that can be seen and measured, the maneuvers they have used to gain power. What people say about themselves does not matter; people will say anything. Look at what they have done; deeds do not lie. You must also apply this logic to yourself. In looking back at a defeat, you must identify the things you could have done differently. It is your own bad strategies, not the unfair opponent, that are to blame for your failures. You are responsible for the good and bad in your life. As a corollary to this, look at everything other people do as a strategic maneuver, an attempt to gain victory. People who accuse you of being unfair, for example, who try to make you feel guilty, who talk about justice and morality, are trying to gain an advantage on the chessboard. Depend on your own arms. In the search for success in life, people tend to rely on things that seem simple and easy or that have worked before. This could mean accumulating wealth, resources, a large number of allies, or the latest technology and the advantage it brings. This is being materialistic and mechanical. But true strategy is psychological—a matter of intelligence, not material force. Everything in life can be taken away from you and generally will be at some point. Your wealth vanishes, the latest gadgetry suddenly becomes passé, your allies desert you. But if your mind is armed with the art of war, there is no power that can take that away. In the middle of a crisis, your mind will find its way to the right solution. Having superior strategies at your fingertips will give your maneuvers irresistible force. As Sun-tzu says, “Being unconquerable lies with yourself.” Worship Athena, not Ares. In the mythology of ancient Greece, the cleverest immortal of them all was the goddess Metis. To prevent her from outwitting and destroying him, Zeus married her, then swallowed her whole, hoping to incorporate her wisdom in the process. But Metis was pregnant with Zeus’s child, the goddess Athena, who was subsequently born from his forehead. As befitting her lineage, she was blessed with the craftiness of Metis and the warrior mentality of Zeus. She was deemed by the Greeks to be the goddess of strategic warfare, her favorite mortal and acolyte being the crafty Odysseus. Ares was the god of war in its direct and brutal form. The Greeks despised Ares and worshipped Athena, who always fought with the utmost intelligence and subtlety. Your interest in war is not the violence, the brutality, the waste of lives and resources, but the rationality and pragmatism it forces on us and the ideal of winning without bloodshed. The Ares figures of the world are actually quite stupid and easily misled. Using the wisdom of Athena, your goal is to turn the violence and aggression of such types against them, making their brutality the cause of their downfall. Like Athena, you are always one step ahead, making your moves more indirect. Your goal is to blend philosophy and war, wisdom and battle, into an unbeatable blend. And Athena, whose eyes were as grey as owls: “Diomedes, son of Tydeus . . . You don’t have to fear Ares or any other Of the immortals. Look who is here beside you. Drive your horses directly at Ares And when you’re in range, strike. Don’t be in awe of Ares. He’s nothing but A shifty lout . . .” . . . And when Diomedes thrust next, She drove his spear home to the pit Of Ares’ belly, where the kilt-piece covered it. . . . [Ares] quickly scaled the heights of Olympus, Sat down sulking beside Cronion Zeus, Showed him the immortal blood oozing From his wound, and whined these winged words: “Father Zeus, doesn’t it infuriate you To see this violence? We gods Get the worst of it from each other Whenever we try to help out men . . .” And Zeus, from under thunderhead brows: “Shifty lout. Don’t sit here by me and whine. You’re the most loathsome god on Olympus. You actually like fighting and war. You take after your hardheaded mother, Hera. I can barely control her either. . . . Be that as it may, I cannot tolerate you’re being in pain . . .” And he called Paieon to doctor his wound . . . Then back to the palace of great Zeus Came Argive Hera and Athena the Protector, Having stopped brutal Ares from butchering men. THE ILIAD, HOMER, CIRCA NINTH CENTURY B.C. Elevate yourself above the battlefield. In war, strategy is the art of commanding the entire military operation. Tactics, on the other hand, is the skill of forming up the army for battle itself and dealing with the immediate needs of the battlefield. Most of us in life are tacticians, not strategists. We become so enmeshed in the conflicts we face that we can think only of how to get what we want in the battle we are currently facing. To think strategically is difficult and unnatural. You may imagine you are being strategic, but in all likelihood you are merely being tactical. To have the power that only strategy can bring, you must be able to elevate yourself above the battlefield, to focus on your long-term objectives, to craft an entire campaign, to get out of the reactive mode that so many battles in life lock you into. Keeping your overall goals in mind, it becomes much easier to decide when to fight and when to walk away. That makes the tactical decisions of daily life much simpler and more rational. Tactical people are heavy and stuck in the ground; strategists are light on their feet and can see far and wide. Spiritualize your warfare. Every day you face battles—that is the reality for all creatures in their struggle to survive. But the greatest battle of all is with yourself—your weaknesses, your emotions, your lack of resolution in seeing things through to the end. You must declare unceasing war on yourself. As a warrior in life, you welcome combat and conflict as ways to prove yourself, to better your skills, to gain courage, confidence, and experience. Instead of repressing your doubts and fears, you must face them down, do battle with them. You want more chal-xx lenges, and you invite more war. You are forging the warrior’s spirit, and only constant practice will lead you there. The 33 Strategies of War is a distillation of the timeless wisdom contained in the lessons and principles of warfare. The book is designed to arm you with practical knowledge that will
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