Action Decisions

Talk, Action, and Position

Sun Tzu spends most of his ninth chapter, Field Position, explaining how to interpret the difference between people's words and their actions. When your actions contradict your words, you always betray your real position. This is especially a problem for elitist leaders, who often think that they can preach one set of rules while living by another. Europe with its long tradition of class distinctions often expects its leaders to act like elitists, but America has a very different tradition.

The Perfect Society, Danger, and Discovery

Perhaps there has never been revealing future than the one envisioned by Aldous Huxley in his book Brave New World written seventy-five years ago (described in this New Atlantis article). In it, Huxley describes a world where the only goal of society is the perfect happiness of its citizens. However, in reading his description of that society, we are left with a feeling of horror, emptiness, and dread.

Complementary Opposites: The Law of Unintended Consequences

One of the least intuitive aspects of Sun Tzu's system of Sun Tzu's strategy is what we call "complementary opposites." According to bing-fa, all of nature exists, not as a steady state, but as a tension between opposing conditions. The climate and the ground, strength and weakness, offense and defense, male and female, emptiness and fullness, standards and innovation, group action and individual decision, knowledge and ignorance are all complementary opposites. Each condition not only creates its opposite but is a necessary condition of its opposite.

Open Terrain and Moving Into Defensible Niches

Our trainer Allan Elder asks the following:
I am fan of the Linux operating system, one of the few competitors to Microsoft. It would interesting to know what Sun Tzu would do if he were made a General at RedHat (leading competitor offering Linux) or any other vendor in the war on Microsoft. Where might he begin? What would be the most powerful opening moves?

They Won't Be Here Soon...

What is your competitive philosophy? Sun Tzu taught that your core philosophy is the key to life and death, success or failure. We can talk about the philosophy of the West or the philosophy of terrorism, but the real philosophy that matters is your personal philosophy. The further our personal philosophies drift from the hard realities of the world, the more precarious our lives become, not matter how well protected we think we are by our society and civilization.

Economic Balance versus the Myopia of the Enlighten Elites

One of the advantages in learning strategy is that it helps you parse situations more clearly. In economic situations, we must understand our dual roles as consumers and producers. These roles are two sides of the same coin, complementary opposites in the terms of Sun Tzu, which cannot be separated. Without understanding the necessary balance of these two roles, you cannot understand anything about wealth or poverty.


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