Two Negatives Make a Positive

Settle on the best plan,
Exploit the dynamic within,
Develop it without,

Follow the advantage,
And master opportunity:
This is the dynamic.

The Way of War is
A Way of Deception.

When able,
Feign inability;

When deploying troops,
Appear not to be.

When near,
Appear far.

When far,
Appear near.

Lure with bait;

Strike with chaos.

If the enemy is full,
Be prepared.
If strong,
Avoid him.

If he is angry,
Disconcert him.

If he is weak,
Stir him to pride.

If he is relaxed,
Harry him;

If his men are harmonious,
Split them.

Where he is
Where you are

If You have analyzed your situation, calculated your odds of winning, and decided to move forward in causing conflict in your organization, Master Sun says develop a loose strategy, put it into play, and keep your eyes open for advantageous opportunities to push that strategy forward.

The Way of War, is a Way of Deception. This is a phrase that I believe can be problematic for us on many levels.

First we have to revisit that difficult concept of The Way. Just as we originally said, every endeavor has a Way – war has a Way. Master Sun says The Way of War is Deception.

What a dilemma. We spend our entire lives learning that deception is negative, bad, lying is bad. Then we learn that everything in the world has a Way – which has been explained as the right way to do something. And The Way, the right way, to conduct war is through deception, lying. So, The Way of war is a negative thing.
If we consider war itself a negative and The Way of war a negative, and we apply the rule of two negatives making a positive -- and shake (never stir) -- we can arrive at the second part of the equation where waging war by following The Way of war has a positive outcome.

While this deliberation is labyrinthine and blurred by a mist of je ne sais quoi -- wrongdoing? – isn’t a victory exactly what You, Gentle Warmonger, Conflict Causer, seek?

So once we make the intellectual leap that the right way to succeed at a negative task is by behaving in a way we’ve been taught is bad, we’re ready to move forward.

Deception defined as lying is too heavy-handed and narrow for our purposes here – what You must be is cunning, devious, crafty, treacherous, duplicitous, etc., etc., etc. Following the framework of the loose strategy laid out, and keeping alert for favorable fissures, You must now be slippery.

You must be totally unpredictable, everywhere and nowhere, inside and outside, and ever changing. You must keep The Enemy off balance. And once he figures he’s figured You out, You must change again.

Very important, also, that You know what he’s up to, know his mood, and approach him in a totally unexpected manner.

See you next time, same Sun time, same Sun channel!

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