The Sagacity of Sun Tsu

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Ray, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The Sagacity of Sun Tsu

    One should read Sun Tsu's Art of War to realise the great quality of this Chinese philosopher, who thought deep, but could sum up the essence in simple sentence covering the sum total!!

    This thread those basically about Sun Tsu, sayings of other philosophers could also be appended, especially those relating to strategy or statehood.

    In such a manner this thread could become the repertoire of such thoughts and a one window pick up point when needed.

    Sun Tsu

    A leader leads by example not by force.

    風 Swift as the wind

    林 Quiet as the forest

    火 Conquer like the fire

    山 Steady as the mountain

    To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.

    Opportunities multiply as they are seized.

    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

    Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.

    He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.

    All warfare is based on deception.

    Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

    If your opponent is of choleric temperament, seek to irritate him.

    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.

    To a surrounded enemy, you must leave a way of escape.

    Management of many is the same as management of few. It is a matter of organization.

    There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.

    Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.

    It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperilled in every single battle.

    Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy.

    One defends when his strength is inadaquate, he attacks when it is abundant

    For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.

    A skilled commander seeks victory from the situation and does not demand it of his subordinates.

    What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.

    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.

    It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to conduct espionage against you and to bribe them to serve you. Give them instructions and care for them. Thus doubled agents are recruited and used.

    A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.

    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

    The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.

    When torrential water tosses boulders, it is because of its momentum. When the strike of a hawk breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing.

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.

    Now the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge.

    All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.

    And therefore those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him.

    The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.

    If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. But if his orders ARE clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers.

    The ultimate in disposing one's troops is to be without ascertainable shape. Then the most penetrating spies cannot pry in nor can the wise lay plans against you.

    The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.

    Subtle and insubstantial, the expert leaves no trace; divinely mysterious, he is inaudible. Thus he is master of his enemy's fate.

    Too frequent rewards indicate that the general is at the end of his resources; too frequent punishments that he is in acute distress.

    Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move.
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory.

    For them to perceive the advantage of defeating the enemy, they must also have their rewards.

    He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.

    Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skilful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.

    If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.

    If our soldiers are not overburdened with money, it is not because they have a distaste for riches; if their lives are not unduly long, it is not because they are disinclined to longevity.

    If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near.

    In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good.

    Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack.

    Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.

    Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.

    Of all those in the army close to the commander none is more intimate than the secret agent; of all rewards none more liberal than those given to secret agents; of all matters none is more confidential than those relating to secret operations.

    Opportunities multiply as they are seized.

    Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.

    Prohibit the taking of omens, and do away with superstitious doubts. Then, until death itself comes, no calamity need be feared.

    Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.

    The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.

    The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.

    The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
     
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  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited

    Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

    Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy.

    To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.

    When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce.
     
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  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    For those who have the time and inclination, read this:

    Sun Tzu on the Art of War

    Art of War
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    1) "Learn from the mistakes of others... you can't live long enough to make them all yourselves!!"
    - Chanakya

    2)"A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and Honest people are screwed first."
    - Chanakya

    3)"Even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous."
    Chanakya

    4)"The biggest guru-mantra is: Never share your secrets with anybody. It will destroy you."
    - Chanakya

    5)"There is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no friendship without self-interests. This is a bitter truth."
    - Chanakya

    6)" Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions - Why am I doing it, What the results might be and Will I be successful. Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead."
    - Chanakya

    7)"As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it."
    - Chanakya

    8)"The world's biggest power is the youth and beauty of a woman."
    - Chanakya

    9)"Once you start a working on something, don't be afraid of failure and don't abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest."
    - Chanakya

    10)"The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all direction."
    - Chanakya

    11)"God is not present in idols. Your feelings are your god. The soul is your temple."
    - Chanakya

    12) "A man is great by deeds, not by birth."
    - Chanakya

    13) "Never make friends with people who are above or below you in status. Such friendships will never give you any happiness."
    - Chanakya

    14) "Treat your kid like a darling for the first five years. For the next five years, scold them. By the time they turn sixteen, treat them like a friend. Your grown up children are your best friends."
    - Chanakya

    15) "Books are as useful to a stupid person as a mirror is useful to a blind person."
    - Chanakya

    16) "Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth."
    -Chanakya
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Chanakya

    The happiness and peace attained by those satisfied by the nectar of spiritual tranquillity is not attained by greedy persons restlessly moving here and there.

    Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions - Why am I doing it, What the results might be and Will I be successful. Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead.

    He who lives in our mind is near though he may actually be far away; but he who is not in our heart is far though he may really be nearby.

    Do not keep company with a fool for as we can see he is a two-legged beast. Like an unseen thorn he pierces the heart with his sharp words

    Purity of speech, of the mind, of the senses, and the of a compassionate heart are needed by one who desires to rise to the divine platform.

    Let not a single day pass without your learning a verse, half a verse, or a fourth of it, or even one letter of it; nor without attending to charity, study and other pious activity.

    One whose knowledge is confined to books and whose wealth is in the possession of others, can use neither his knowledge nor wealth when the need for them arises.
     
  8. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    Enemies friend is our Friend...
    P.V.N.RAO

    best quote i ever heard and the easiest way to break encirclement
     
  9. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Chanakya

    We should not fret for what is past, nor should we be anxious about the future; men of discernment deal only with the present moment.

    He who is overly attached to his family members experiences fear and sorrow, for the root of all grief is attachment. Thus one should discard attachment to be happy.

    The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is that whatever a man intends doing should be done by him with a whole-hearted and strenuous effort.

    Test a servant while in the discharge of his duty, a relative in difficulty, a friend in adversity, and a wife in misfortune.

    Do not reveal what you have thought upon doing, but by wise council keep it secret being determined to carry it into execution.

    There is poison in the fang of the serpent, in the mouth of the fly and in the sting of a scorpion; but the wicked man is saturated with it.

    Water is the medicine for indigestion; it is invigorating when the food that is eaten is well digested; it is like nectar when drunk in the middle of a dinner; and it is like poison when taken at the end of a meal.

    There is no austerity equal to a balanced mind, and there is no happiness equal to contentment; there is no disease like covetousness, and no virtue like mercy.

    Who is there who has not been overcome by the ravages of time? What beggar has attained glory? Who has become happy by contracting the vices of the wicked?
     
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  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Chanakya

    The life of an uneducated man is as useless as the tail of a dog which neither covers its rear end, nor protects it from the bites of insects.

    Even as the unborn babe is in the womb of his mother, these five are fixed as his life destiny: his life span, his activities, his acquisition of wealth and knowledge, and his time of death.

    If one has a good disposition, what other virtue is needed? If a man has fame, what is the value of other ornamentation?”

    A man is born alone and dies alone; and he experiences the good and bad consequences of his karma alone; and he goes alone to hell or the Supreme abode.

    The earth is supported by the power of truth; it is the power of truth that makes the sun shine and the winds blow; indeed all things rest upon truth.

    Moral excellence is an ornament for personal beauty; righteous conduct, for high birth; success for learning; and proper spending for wealth.

    It is better to die than to preserve this life by incurring disgrace. The loss of life causes but a moment's grief, but disgrace brings grief every day of one's life.

    He who shall practice these twenty virtues shall become invincible in all his undertakings.

    As a single withered tree, if set aflame, causes a whole forest to burn, so does a rascal son destroy a whole family.
     
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  11. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Sun Tzu is certainly an very interesting read. You can apply his logic in business as well in a way.

    The best saying IMO is
    For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.
     
  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Sun Tsu's 13 Principles of War

    1. Laying Plans/The Calculations explores the five fundamental factors (the Way, seasons, terrain, leadership, and management) and seven elements that define a successful outcome. By thinking, assessing and comparing these points you can calculate a victory, deviation from them will ensure failure. Remember that war is a very grave matter of state.
    2. Waging War/The Challenge explains how to understand the economy of war and how success requires making the winning play, which in turn, requires limiting the cost of competition and conflict.
    3. Attack by Stratagem/The Plan of Attack defines the source of strength as unity, not size, and the five ingredients that you need to succeed in any war. In order of importance: Attack, Strategy, Alliances, Army, lastly Cities.
    4. Tactical Dispositions/Positioning explains the importance of defending existing positions until you can advance them and how you must recognize opportunities, not try to create them.
    5. Energy/Directing explains the use of creativity and timing in building your momentum.
    6. Weak Points & Strong/Illusion and Reality explains how your opportunities come from the openings in the environment caused by the relative weakness of your enemy in a given area.
    7. Maneuvering/Engaging The Force explains the dangers of direct conflict and how to win those confrontations when they are forced upon you.
    8. Variation in Tactics/The Nine Variations focuses on the need for flexibility in your responses. It explains how to respond to shifting circumstances successfully.
    9. The Army on the March/Moving The Force describes the different situations in them.
    10. Terrain/Situational Positioning
    11. The Nine Situations/Nine Terrains
    12. The Attack by Fire/Fiery Attack explains the use of weapons generally and the use of the environment as a weapon specifically. It examines the five targets for attack, the five types of environmental attack, and the appropriate responses to such attack.
    13. The Use of Spies/The Use of Intelligence focuses on the importance of developing good information sources, specifically the five types of sources and how to manage them.
     
  13. panduranghari

    panduranghari Senior Member Senior Member

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    Wonderful wonderful stuff. All of them but the above one especially.
     
  14. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    Sun Tzu is a wildly hyped character.
     
  15. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    No, you are thinking of Barack Obama.
     
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  16. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

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    A lot of us here are pro democrats, only because the democratic party now believes what the Republican party once used to believe. Right now the RP is full of nut jobs and racists.
     
  17. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    Yet GB a republican was the most pro-India prez ever.

    I've got nothing to chose from . They all are the same.
     
  18. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Aren't you a Ron Paul supporter? Maybe not.

    I like to listen to Newt Gingrich, but he would be a liability in the White House.
     
  19. panduranghari

    panduranghari Senior Member Senior Member

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    Red Cliff - John Woo movie is based around the sagacity of Sun Tzu.

    Worth a watch.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
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  20. marshal panda

    marshal panda Regular Member

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    It is quite surprising that after Chanakya,for two and half millennium,India has not been able to produce another strategist of same caliber.
     

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