The Art of War by Sun Tzu remains the oldest known manual of military strategy so far. War, is inevitable according to the teachings of Sun Tzu. Who taught about victory and not persistence. Winning is everything and there are no half measures: any other outcome apart from victory – is defeat.
In war we maneuver, use intelligence, communication and stealth. We need to know where our enemies are, what are their number and abilities before even thinking of fighting, regardless how ’emotionally’ attached we are to wanting to beat up our enemies. Our minds are our greatest ally – and our greatest enemy. It is naive not seeing and preparing for conflict but to do so we need to first understand the enemy.
Envelopment is a war strategy – one of the oldest – predating Master Sun Tzu and his teachings. Envelopment means complete encirclement of the enemy, with a choice of either surrender or annihilation. We human beings are the enemy and we are ‘enveloped’ by society and cultural programming and have surrendered our lives and existence within this limited understanding of ourselves. Those who ‘enveloped’ us are no more to be seen as we ‘envelop’ each other.
Envelopment, double envelopment and encirclement are some of the oldest military tactics and its something humans have grown up with and now are finding it difficult to see outside their envelope of understanding, our minds have become enslaved. There are no modern enemies except our own caged minds.
Baby elephants are tied with ropes when they are young to a tree trunk. The young elephants pull and tug and fight until they tire, and they learn that they cannot move when tied up. Their handlers use increasingly ropes and trunks, the elephants stop tugging at them. They have learned that they simply cannot move when tied up. Then the ropes are taken away and the elephants one of the strongest animals in the world, constrained by nothing except their minds.
The first victory said Master Sun Tzu is the one that the warrior claims over himself, against their own enemies within – ignorance and ego.
Look at the ‘Fire and Move‘ strategy – before humans had missles we had rocks we would throw the rocks and move – this has been our ‘standard’ behaviour ever since around 11,000BC in war and life. The ‘missile technology’ changed over time but the basic tenets remain. This has been our standard behaviour as human beings someone attacks us we attack back and each of us move to another position. At times one hides behind say a tree or a building or a group and we play the game of ‘fire and move’ thinking we are engaged in something seriously important.
‘Fire’ uncontrolled is our ignorance and ‘Move’ is our uncontrolled ego. These undisciplined two are the ‘traitors’ within us. We have in our lives taken on habits that seperates us from living our lives more fully out of touch with reality just outside our scope of vision.
Understand that not all adversaries are enemies. To carry an army to victory, first we must win over ourselves. Look at the ‘Ambush‘ tactic used as a military strategy since the earliest days.
We set up and wait for the enemy to come to us. Use the ambush as the bait, to lure an enemy into our trap. Or use the ambush as surprise attack. Effective and basic techniques in military attack.
Regardless of the size or strength of the enemy we need to understand whoever we are facing as an enemy we need to understand that they are just (or nearly) like us, our goal before we seek to fight them – is to fight within ourselves to break out of the envelope of our understanding of what we think, control the fire that within us and focus it, move with purpose towards an enemy and ambush it to make sure there is no way of escape.
The Art of War gives us ideas how basic some tactics really are, and how ruthlessly effective they will always be.
Remember that the first victory is internal and those techniques, strategy and tactics that follow are simply part of natural laws towards victory, success, winning. But not just once but over and over again.
There are no enemies in reality except our own uncontrolled minds – those whose minds are enslaved are their own greatest enemies – the teachings of Master Sun Tzu and The Art of War can lead towards a path of peace that is more noble, honest and fair for all of us in the human family – all the identities we have be they tribal/cultural, racial, religious/philosophical or nationalistic are identities that we can chose to protect in a way that is more honourable and empowering to the groups we claim to protect or promote – or we can chose to act in an emotional animalistic, unthinking, slavish way – which will lead us and those we lead to ruin.
Its time to free the slaves.