Friday, 17 January 2014

b.孫子兵法 (軍形篇第四) (Chapter 4 - 2) (Part 23)

The last part is here:   孫子兵法 (軍形篇第四) (Chapter 4 - 1) (Part 22)


孫子曰:昔之善戰者,先為不可勝,以侍敵之可勝。不可勝在己,可 勝在敵。故善戰者,能為不可勝,不能使敵之必可勝。故曰:勝可知 ,而不可為。
          不可勝者,守也﹔可勝者,攻也。守則不足,攻則有餘 。善守者,藏于九地之下﹔善攻者,動于九天之上。故能自保而全勝也。
          見勝不過眾人之所知,非善之善者也﹔戰勝而天下曰善,非善之善者也。故舉秋毫不為多力,見日月不為明目,聞雷霆不為聰耳。古之所 謂善戰者,勝于易勝者也。故善戰之勝也,無智名,無勇功。故其戰 勝不忒。不忒者,其所措必勝,勝已敗者也。故善戰者,立于不敗之 地,而不失敵之敗也。是故勝兵先勝而後求戰,敗兵先戰而後求勝。
          善用兵者,修道而保法,故能為勝敗之政。 兵法:一曰度,二曰量,三曰數,四曰稱,五曰勝。地生度,度生量 ,量生數,數生稱,稱生勝。 故勝兵若以鎰稱銖,敗兵若以銖稱鎰。 勝者之戰民也,若決積水于千仞之谿者,形也。

Let's continue ...

          見勝不過眾人之所知,非善之善者也﹔戰勝而天下曰善,非善之善者也。故舉秋毫不為多力,見日月不為明目,聞雷霆不為聰耳。古之所 謂善戰者,勝于易勝者也。故善戰之勝也,無智名,無勇功。故其戰 勝不忒。不忒者,其所措必勝,勝已敗者也。故善戰者,立于不敗之 地,而不失敵之敗也。是故勝兵先勝而後求戰,敗兵先戰而後求勝。

Some translation suggested: 
To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence. Neither is it the acme of excellence if you fight and conquer and the whole Empire says, "Well done!" To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear. What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage. He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated. Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy. Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
Moran:   The ability to see "victory" does not exceed what the multitudes are able to understand, and it is not the best of all good abilities. When a battle is won everyone on earth says that is good, but it is not the best of all good outcomes. Now lifting a hair taken from the winter pelt of an animal is not deemed an extreme of strength. Seeing the sun or the moon is not credited as having acute vision. Hearing crashes of thunder is not called acute hearing. Those in antiquity who were good at warfare won under circumstances where it was easy to win. Therefore those who won good wars did not get a name for being wise, nor were they praised for their bravery. So their war victories came from their not making errors. The plans executed by those who did not err had to have succeeded. They won out over those who were already defeated. So those who are good at warfare first establish themselves in an invincible position, and then take care not to let go of the defeat of their enemies [if it is offered to them]. For that reason, victorious armies will first win and only then seek warfare. Losing armies will first go to war and only later seek [the way to achieve] victory.

Let's discuss:

見勝不過眾人之所知,非善之善者也﹔   Able to foresee "victory" no keener than the common public perception is not good enough.
戰勝而天下曰善,非善之善者也。:   Winning a battle and gain praises of everyone is not good enough.
故舉秋毫不為多力,:   Therefore, able to lift newly-grown down is not termed "great strength",   見日月不為明目,:   Able to spot the sun or moon is not termed "keen vision",   聞雷霆不為聰耳。:   Able to hear the thunderclap is not termed "acute hearing".
古之所謂善戰者,勝於易勝者也。:   The ancient warriors are good at choosing where it was easy to win.
故善戰之勝也,無智名,無勇功。:   Therefore, those good warriors won battles that did not get themselves a name for being wise, nor were they praised for their bravery.
故其戰勝不忒。:   Hence, their battle victories come from not erring.
不忒者,其所措必勝,勝已敗者也。:   Those that don't err would execute particular plans to victory and would have won over those who were already defeated.
故善戰者,先立於不敗之地,而不失敵之敗也。:   Therefore, good warriors first establish themselves in an indefeasible position and then, not miss the opportunity to take defeat of enemies.
是故勝兵 , 先勝而後求戰,敗兵 , 先戰而後求勝。 Hence, for that reason, victorious army will seek victory before going into battle. Losing army will go into battle before seeking victory.

Wow ... The translation is still very weak.

SunTzu obviously drew lessons from seasoned campaigners. He explained any clever warrior must first make himself totally indefeasible and attack only if he has the certain victory opportunity, only then will he attack.

This is absolutely true in business. In business, forget about invading other competitor's products. Stay focused and concentrate on developing the product's quality. Only with quality, your product will not perish in the market (indefeasible). The price of the product is not an issue. If it is really that good, it can be priced higher. The market penetration may be slower but your competitors will not be able to kill you simply because their products are currently not as good as yours. Consumers are not dumb. They are great at discerning quality. They are just cheapskate, wanting great quality with zero price. But, pushed to the corner, the consumers will consume the best price-value product.

By retaining an indefeasible position, i.e., your product has a loyal following. Once the competitors show weakness, you can now attempt the attack and attain complete victory. But, in other chapters, this form of attacking is not the most ideal form of warfare.

Any attack on enemy's territories must be done in such a way that it is silent and of assumingly little effort. Any victory must look and sund effortless so that the public place is not alerted of your victory, but assume that the enemy has perished due to ill market conditions and not due to attacks.

At the end of the day, SunTzu still advocated non-battles or battle with easy wins.

So too in business, try to minimize attacks and just mind your own fucking business. If forced to attack, choose those already defeated. If you have read the book: 48 Laws of Power (highly recommended), you would have understood the best form of power must come from seemingly effortless attempts. Enemies will fear your presence and refuse to engage you into battle. Your existence would be assured. Only assured existence ensures life and longevity. Victory over territory and enemy is only a matter of patience and time.

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