Wednesday, 22 January 2014

b.孫子兵法 (兵勢篇第五) (Chapter 5 - 1) (Part 25)

The last part is here:   孫子兵法 (軍形篇第四) (Chapter 4 - 3) (Part 24)


孫子曰:   凡治眾如治寡,分數是也﹔鬥眾如鬥寡,形名是也﹔三軍之 眾,可使必受敵而無敗,奇正是也﹔兵之所加,如以碫投卵者,虛實是也。
          凡戰者,以正合,以奇勝。故善出奇者,無窮如天地,不竭如江河。 終而復始,日月是也。死而復生,四時是也。聲不過五,五聲之變, 不可勝聽也。色不過五,五色之變,不可勝觀也。味不過五,五味之 變,不可勝嘗也。戰勢不過奇正,奇正之變,不可勝窮之也。奇正相 生,如環之無端,孰能窮之?
          激水之疾,至于漂石者,勢也﹔鷙鳥之疾,至于毀折者,節也。是故 善戰者,其勢險,其節短。勢如張弩,節如發機。
          亂生于治,怯生于勇,弱生于強。治亂,數也﹔勇怯,勢也﹔強弱, 形也。
          故善動敵者,形之,敵必從之﹔予之,敵必取之。以利動之,以卒動 之。
          故善戰者,求之于勢,不責于人,故能擇人而任勢。任勢者,其戰人 也,如轉木石。木石之性,安則靜,危則動,方則止,圓則行。故善 戰人之勢,如轉圓石于千仞之山者,勢也。

Let's continue ...

This chapter is about strategic influence.

孫子曰:   凡治眾如治寡,分數是也﹔鬥眾如鬥寡,形名是也﹔三軍之 眾,可使必受敵而無敗,奇正是也﹔兵之所加,如以碫投卵者,虛實是也。

Some translation suggested: 
Sun Tzu said:   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. To ensure that your whole host may withstand the brunt of the enemy's attack and remain unshaken -- this is effected by maneuvers direct and indirect. That the impact of your army may be like a grindstone dashed against an egg -- this is effected by the science of weak points and strong.
Moran:   Sun Tzu said:   In all cases, regulating the multitudes is no different from regulating small groups — it is a matter of dividing the numbers of them up. PEM: Raw power does not itself determine outcomes. Power can be directed against larger or smaller objectives as one chooses.
Taking on a multitude in combat is like taking on a small group in combat — it is a matter of giving form to names. PEM: The Daoist view is that no divisions exist in nature. All divisions are imposed by minds. One may at one time see a single army, a much larger entity than one's own army. But by an act of mind one can see the one-fourth part of the enemy's army that has crossed the river as one army, the army to be 50 demolished by one's own larger army, and the three-fourth part of the enemy's army effectively isolated by the river as another army to be dealt with at some later time. Asymmetrical warfare often works by s mall and highly mobile forces taking on isolated enemy objectives and then quickly melting away.
The multitudes composing the three armies can be required to accept enemy [assaults] and yet will suffer no defeats — it is a matter o f deception complementing uprightness. When soldiers pile on, it is [or should be] like throwing a whetstone on eggs — a matter of solids versus voids. 

Let's discuss:

孫子曰:   Master Sun said:
凡治眾如治寡,分數是也﹔  Managing large numbers is similar to managing individuals, it is a matter of dividing up their numbers.
鬥眾如鬥寡,形名是也﹔  Taking on multitude combat is similar to taking on small group combat, it is a matter of giving each form a name.
三軍之眾,可使必受敵而無敗者,奇正是也﹔  For a three armies to withstand the brunt of the enemy's attack and remain unshaken, it is effected by an unusual against a usual maneuver.
兵之所加,如以碫投卵者,虛實是也。 When soldiers pile on, it is like throwing a whetstone on a egg, creating a solid against a void.

This translation is very weak. I am glad that the translation has been so weak all along. It gives me strength. It is not easy to understand Sun Tzu. His pain. But, if you study too the battle between Liu Bang and Xiang Yu, the three kingdoms or any extended war classics, you would have at least a glimmer into the inner thoughts of Sun Tzu.

In life, there are many lucky occasions where one is catapulted to super high heights. Some managed to sustain that height. Many don't. Many ended up in miseries and sadness asking for the rest of their miserable existence why weren't they able to continue with the success story, but ending up to wallow their depths. Luck is just an occasion where the confluence of odds will make you an advancement. But, that advancement is unmerited, i.e., you don't deserve that advancement but yet it is given to you. To be able to sustain it, you need to have innate skills. These skills will need to be accumulated. Just like in the game arena, you would notice that you will always fall back to the level you are used to, after a quick advancement. Your innate skills will always support your rank in the game. Occasionally you will advance to slightly higher ranks but never too much. After a couple of years and skills development, you realized you will slowly progress and advance in your true rank.

Success is never found on luck. It was occasional luck that make your advancement less painful. It is at best a lubricant, but never a gateway to better future.

In business, good internal organisation means each small business group within the organisation can function on their own. Each of these small groups will then link like nodes to form larger structures. Once each node is hardened and the communication to each node is complete, the business organisation would be indefeasible against external threats. When attacking, one must pile on numbers to destroy the smallish enemy.

It is a simple interpretation. Most business organisations nowadays are quite nibble and efficient, not much faults can be defined. Organisationally, it is good to ensure that employees can operate in very small groups to produce a business function. That way, the employees will feel a sense of responsibility and belonging. In the event, one needs to cut functions, the boss can do so in logical units, without losing node integrity.

Up to now, Sun Tzu is still in the numbers game, i.e., he defined each soldier as a digit. Not cleverer nor more stupid than the enemy trooper. To defeat an enemy, it is a matter of piling numbers to the problem. Not wrong. I believed his true feeling was he would train his troops well, but erred on the side of numbers, i.e., on equal strengths, he might and would win, but with superior numbers, he would make no mistake.

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