The Art of War (trans. Stephen F. Kaufman) by Sun-Tzu

The Art of War (trans. Stephen F. Kaufman) by Sun-Tzu

Author:Sun-Tzu [Sun-Tzu]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 978-1-4629-0626-0
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00


BOOK 7

MANIPULATION OF CIRCUMSTANCE

The warlord with vision understands the ruler’s desires for the future. He maintains the army in accordance with the knowledge that he will in time be called upon to protect the empire when the ruler desires expansion. Because of this, the army is always kept in harmony with the Heavens. The generals maintain the organization of it through the chain of command, because they are told of the ruler’s desires by the warlord. Even so, it is difficult to maintain control, regardless of how organized things may appear to be. Things will seem difficult when simple and simple when difficult. The intelligent understand this and maintain control through manipulation.

Manipulation must be employed as deception/no-deception. This means that there is no predisposed attitude towards the manipulation of circumstance. Deception/no deception means you proceed without preconceived notions of victory or defeat. This is accomplished by proper planning. To create difficulties along the way for the enemy is to understand this principle. Even when starting out after a long delay, the warlord who understands this principle arrives before the enemy.

The dangers in any form of manipulation are evident as are the advantages. Because of this, the wise warlord will not permit his entire army to chase an objective. He always maintains reserves should the need become evident.

If the warlord acts without wisdom, if he insists his troops move at an unnatural pace, if he leaves behind important equipment and supplies-he does not understand the principles of manipulation. He will fail.

His thinking is erroneous if the objective is caught too quickly and the supplies necessary to fulfill the obligations of the act are not available. He will fail.

If slower moving supplies are unable to get to the main fighting force in time of need or if the troops guarding them are attacked, reinforcements might never reach the front. Here too, he will fail.

These things are the result of incorrect planning and are known as operating with one’s feet firmly planted in the air.

If a warlord must move quickly and for any reason leaves some of his supplies unprotected, he did not plan correctly. It is perhaps because the Heavens see fit to bring about disgrace to him. Regardless, he must have access to his rear troops and his supplies. In the same way, he must send scouts ahead to learn the conditions of the country that he is invading. He never enters a foreign country without as much information as he can get. To do so is extremely foolish. It is called having one’s head in the clouds.

In order to fully understand the conditions of the state being considered for siege, he employs the devious and unworthy men living in that land. They abound in multitude and will sell their souls for a sense of security under the new masters. They will offer information for fees or favors. This information must be checked to see that it is accurate and to prevent falling into a devious trap. If the information proves to be valid the informer must be rewarded.



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