Υπάρχουν μερικά βιβλία που βλέπω συνέχεια σε περίοπτη θέση στα βιβλιοπωλεία, αλλά ποτέ δεν κατάλαβα γιατί είναι τόσο δημοφιλή. Για παράδειγμα, θυμάμαι που συνέχεια πέρυσι έβλεπα ένα βιβλίο που λέγεται «Η σημασία των βλακών». Ένα άλλο είναι το Sun Tzu “Art of War”, το οποίο βλέπω εδώ και 3-4 χρόνια είτε στην βιτρίνα, είτε κάπου στην είσοδο που να φαίνεται. Η αρχική μου υπόθεση ήταν ότι μάλλον το βιβλίο έχει αρκετές πληροφορίες για να νικήσεις τον ανταγωνιστή σου, οπότε στην εποχή του ακραίου ανταγωνισμού μεταξύ ανθρώπων, αρκετοί θα το βρήκαν χρήσιμο.
Έτσι όταν έπεσε στα χέρια μου, είπα να του ρίξω μια ματιά να δω τι παίζει. Η υπόθεση μου κάθε άλλο παρά επιβεβαιώθηκε. Πρόκειται για ένα βιβλίο του 6ου αιώνα π.Χ. που η δύση αγνοούσε για ένα μεγάλο χρονικό διάστημα, μέχρι που κάποια στιγμή κατά τον 20ο αιώνα κάποιος το μετέφρασε.
Το περιεχόμενο του βιβλίου είναι χαρακτηριστικό της συνείδησης της εποχής. Περιέχονται γενικές αφηρημένες παρατηρήσεις για την στρατηγική στον πόλεμο, χωρίς πολύ μεγάλη ανάλυση. Κάποιες ιδέες ίσως να ισχύουν για τον πόλεμο γενικά ακόμα και σήμερα, όμως δεν εξηγεί γιατί το βιβλίο είναι τόσο δημοφιλές. Καταλαβαίνω ότι βιβλία με την «αρχαία γνώση», ιδιαίτερα από μακρινή Κίνα, έχουν για πολλούς μια αίγλη, αλλά αυτό μπορεί αν ισχύει για τον Κομφούκιο, όχι για την «τέχνη του πολέμου». Τελικά θα μείνω με την απορία. :P
Χωρίς σχολιασμό μεταφέρω τις υπογραμμίσεις μου, σε ιδέες που για διάφορους λόγους παρουσιάζουν ενδιαφέρον.
Quotes from “Art of War”
Without constant practice, the officers will be nervous and undecided when mustering for battle; without constant practice, the general will be wavering and irresolute when the crisis is at hand.
The general, unable to control his irritation, will launch his men to the assault like swarming ants,
It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy's one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; [Straightway, without waiting for any further advantage.] if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two.
There are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army:-- 13. (1) By commanding the army to advance or to retreat, being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey. This is called hobbling the army.
By attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army. This causes restlessness in the soldier's minds.
By employing the officers of his army without discrimination, [That is, he is not careful to use the right man in the right place.]
Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory: (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.
He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. (4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. (5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.
Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient strength; attacking, a superabundance of strength.
Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy.
In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory.
If we do not wish to fight, we can prevent the enemy from engaging us even though the lines of our encampment be merely traced out on the ground. All we need do is to throw something odd and unaccountable in his way.
The spot where we intend to fight must not be made known; for then the enemy will have to prepare against a possible attack at several different points;
Knowing the place and the time of the coming battle, we may concentrate from the greatest distances in order to fight.
All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved. [I.e., everybody can see superficially how a battle is won; what they cannot see is the long series of plans and combinations which has preceded the battle.]
Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous.
Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy.
The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.
All armies prefer high ground to low.
too many punishments betray a condition of dire distress.
If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you, they will not prove submissive; and, unless submissive, then will be practically useless. If, when the soldiers have become attached to you, punishments are not enforced, they will still be unless.
Unhappy is the fate of one who tries to win his battles and succeed in his attacks without cultivating the spirit of enterprise; for the result is waste of time and general stagnation.
Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.
No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique. 19. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are.
Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content.
Hostile armies may face each other for years, striving for the victory which is decided in a single day. This being so, to remain in ignorance of the enemy's condition simply because one grudges the outlay of a hundred ounces of silver in honors and emoluments, is the height of inhumanity.
Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is FOREKNOWLEDGE.
Having DOOMED SPIES, doing certain things openly for purposes of deception, and allowing our spies to know of them and report them to the enemy.
Be subtle! be subtle! and use your spies for every kind of business.