Why This Matters
Modern society is inundated with strategists who use the ultra-famous Art of War as a guide for interacting with those around them. Executives, lawyers, business school professors, corporate sales and marketing departments, sports coaches and dating guides are all known to use this ultra-famous text.
It’s More Than Just Lies
On one hand, we have the truth. And on the other — you would think — we have lies. As it turns out, lies are only a fraction of the issues faced by truth-seekers. There’s a staggering assortment of strategies used to hide and subvert the truth.
You’re probably pretty good at seeing through distortion and evasion, trickery and deception, right? Not many folks think of themselves as chumps. But even if you’re a diehard skeptic, there are an awful lot of deceptive strategies that are so built into some of the systems around us that they’re hiding in plain sight.
The point here isn’t to look at some examples of a “few bad apples” (or “a broken system”) and then shake your head, hoping “they get caught.” This is about opening your eyes to the reality even when it’s unpleasant, so as to be empowered with knowledge.
Let’s say, for example, that you learned that the doctors in a particular clinic were offered large monetary incentives for prescribing a particular drug. Perhaps your first reaction is dismay that this might cloud the doctors’ ability to make clear and unbiased decisions about the best care options. But, dismayed or not, you now have information that you didn’t have before and thus you’re better able to evaluate the doctors in this clinic. Perhaps this knowledge inspires you to learn more about how such incentives impact doctors’ perspectives, diagnoses and patient recommendations. And if you found yourself in a situation where a doctor prescribed that drug for you or a loved one, you would wisely want to know more about how the doctor came to that decision and if there were options that may have been overlooked due to a potential bias toward this particular drug, and so on.
Knowledge is power. With that perspective we offer the following information on the popularity of The Art of War in modern society.
The Ultra-Famous “Art of War”
What do executives, lawyers, business school professors, corporate sales and marketing departments, sports coaches and dating guides have in common? Modern-day people from each of those professions consult the ultra-famous Art of War.
The Art of War is a book that was published in the 4th or 5th century and attributed to a Chinese military leader named Sun Tzu. It has been called a “meditation on the rules of war.”
This 2,500 year-old book proves that while the weaponry has changed over time, the rules for successful warfare strategies have not. It is a surprisingly compact distillation of strategic principles that is still as useful today as it was when… Sun Tzu first wrote it. Its principles are applied by… the corporate warriors in the sales and marketing departments of today.– YellowBridge, Sun Zi’s Art of War
Rulers and scholars across Asia consulted The Art of War as they plotted their military maneuvers and imperial conquests. Japanese samurai, for example, studied it closely… Historians say that the French emperor Napoleon was the first Western leader to follow its teachings… Ever since The Art of War was published, military leaders have been following its advice. In the twentieth century, the Communist leader Mao Zedong said that the lessons he learned from The Art of War helped him defeat Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalist forces during the Chinese Civil War. Other recent devotees… include Viet Minh commanders Vo Nguyen Giap and Ho Chi Minh and American Gulf War generals Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell. Meanwhile, executives and lawyers use the teachings of The Art of War to get the upper hand in negotiations and to win trials. Business school professors assign the book to their students and sports coaches use it to win games. It has even been the subject of a self-help dating guide. Plainly, this 2,500-year-old book still resonates with a 21st-century audience.– History.com, The Art of War
The Art of War is considered to be very wise and most importantly, it “still resonates with readers today.” (History.com)
So, the fact is: many people and organizations around you consider a war manual to be an important source of guidance.
This implies that those unaware of the strategies are at a disadvantage, don’t you think? Here are a couple of examples from the Art of War:
Concealment Leads to Victory
In chapter four, Tactical Dispositions, we find an incredibly vital teaching:
Secrecy leads to victory while showing your condition leads to defeat.
It is through the dispositions of an army that its condition may be discovered. Conceal your dispositions, and your condition will remain secret, which leads to victory; show your dispositions, and your condition will become patent, which leads to defeat.– Sun Tsu’s Art of War, Chapter 4: Tactical Dispositions
Controlling Many Isn’t Difficult
In chapter five, Energy, we find another crucial teaching:
It is no more difficult to lead/control many than to lead/control few: it only requires dividing the troops into groups and using signs.
The control of a large force is the same principle as the control of a few men: it is merely a question of dividing up their numbers. Fighting with a large army under your command is nowise different from fighting with a small one: it is merely a question of instituting signs and signals.– Sun Tsu’s Art of War, Chapter 5: Energy
War, Enemy, Combat
Truth is at war with mind control and deception. So, to speak the truth is a combative act.– Mark Passio, ex-priest of a satantic cult and “committed de-occultist”
Food for thought: If you were to learn that a person or organization had declared war against you (or against truth), would you consider them an enemy?
Whether or not you choose to use war terminology, the point is that there are many powerful people around us who do think in terms of war including such strategies as secrecy and divide-and-conquer.
In Enemies of Truth, we begin to take a closer look at powerful adversaries in the quest for truth-telling and truth-seeking.