Sun Tzu (& III)


The foundations of the Art of War are already expressed in the Mahabharata, specifically the part where Bhisma instructs to Yhudisthira on the requirements of monarchy in government matters. it is surprising specially the double standards with which a monarch must face his task. The Mahabharata is a late drafting text, it was written approximately around the same time that the book of Sun Tzu, but comes from an oral tradition that can be traced in the past for several thousand years, it contains astronomical and geological data, that have been evaluated, not without discrepancies, of course, but I will not extend here because this enormous story deserves a number of entries in this blog, exclusively.

In any case, both texts represent a vindication of hierarchies, or failure of human relationships and where it appears impossible avoid that human beings deviate from the path that leads to extinction. Shortly before the drafting of the texts mentioned, or more or less about then, arises Buddhism, probably because of the need to find a way that does not lead necessarily to any kaliyuga, which is a kind of apocalypse homespun recurring, something like the cyclical crisis of the capitalism.

Anyway, to my view, these books show only the failure of what we now call social intelligence, a concept that basically reproduces the act of deworming each other, who practice religiously our relatives the chimpanzees and other primates, neither more nor less than the equivalent of managing alliances, common fronts, partisanship, leadership and ultimately, competitiveness. Many think that this apelike substrate is an heritage of humanity, or what is the same as there is no escape from mere animal instinct, it confirms millennia of wars , however it is also true that arise recursively movements and lines of thinking that somehow pursue rebalancing the moral status of humanity, although eventually end up serving as arguments for the continuation of the status quo, as in the case of religions.

The economic scene has taken long ago, too, this approach warmonger, the language of conquest or confrontation, so it is not surprising that some of those who compose it find a source of inspiration in the work of Sun Tzu, without stopping to consider the fact that the author himself, disappointed by the results of his efforts, subsequently withdrew from public life. Apparently after getting the military victory over the enemies of the king of Wu, whom he served, he felt betrayed to find that he had been working to a scoundrel, whose only intention was to exploit their subjects. Because and I do not know if the plutocrats have this in mind, one of the fundamental premises of the moral code of the book of Sun Tzu is that leaders must earn the respect of his subjects, they must build the reputation of a righteous person, thing which forgets easy when you have the resource of force.

However, the cases, the uses and techniques of the “art of war” are clearly outdated, five hundred years before the current era, there were not drones guided by an operator located thousands of miles away or space satellites and today war is an industry in itself, so there is no worry of funding, which was one of the main drawbacks for Sun Tzu, he thought was obvious that the war was very expensive in either direction and dangerous since it is a weapon in itself, used as a wear mechanism.

Anyway, I doubt that military strategy is compatible with human rights and social freedoms, so you can imagine what is the ultimate intention of those who truly govern.

Sun Tzu (II)


To say “the book of Sun Tzu” is saying a lot, it is actually just a handful of sentences, as well as to call it “the Art of War” because, in my opinion, war has little or no art, in any case it seems to be rather a basic outline of issues to be taken into account to properly plunder, sow discord and lead the warriors to death without flinching:
“The commander must be able to keep his subordinates in complete ignorance of his plans, to change their ways and change their plans so nobody do not know he intends. it corresponds to the general to kick away the ladder once the soldiers have ascended to the heights. “
Actually the text is not, despite its brevity, nothing concise and arguably even something incoherent, because alternate points of absolute cold-blooded and cruelty with others where, in my opinion, perhaps we should read a kind of prudence that border in the nonsense and it is not me, who says that, it says the commentator himself, General Tao Hanzhang:
“Do not prevent the return at home of the enemy. Let them escape and not press too, if they are desperate. “
Sparing the life of the enemy is now frowned upon, to war we go to what we go and there are no place to fag’s things.
There are included situations of the wars from the past, to illustrate some of the concepts, however highlights the cult of the leader Mao Zedong in almost all references, so much than it makes suspect of the veracity of the events. Mr. Tao shows their devotion to Mao, who not only was a military strategist but apparently also was equipped with a special sensitivity that allowed him to write poems, of which it mentions a verse:
“With power and tranquility we have to pursue the enemy
do not imitate to Xiang Yu “the Conqueror” seeking frivolous fame “
It suddenly comes to my mind the image of Peter Ustinov in the movie “Quo Vadis?”, Reciting despite the ironies of Petronius …
Particularly striking is the chapter entitled “The use of spies” clarifying that there are five types of spies: the natives, internal spies, double spies, the liquidatables and the survivors. For Sun Tzu, the most important are double spies, they are the best paid and most spoiled, but from the point of view of the spies themselves, the best must be those who survive, I think.
It’s curious aversion of Sun Tzu about the water:
“After crossing a river sure yourself to get away from it. When an enemy is crossing the river not face him in the middle of it. It is safer to let him finish crossing and then attack him. Do not confront your enemy near water …. Cross the marshes quickly, do not stay in them”. And he had not seen the movie “Shark” of Spielberg or anything.
There are phrases denoting classism and contempt for those who do not hold a charge, at the thought of Sun Tzu, attitude still very topical today:
“If the officers are angry is that they are tired.”
 What a pity, poor men, Does it means that those who do not lead has no right to get mad?.