孫子兵法 (兵勢篇第五) (Chapter 5 - 2) (Part 26)
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Some translation suggested:
The onset of troops is like the rush of a torrent
which will even roll stones along in its course. The quality of decision is like the well-timed
swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy
its victim. Therefore the good fighter will be terrible
in his onset, and prompt in his decision. Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow;
decision, to the releasing of a trigger. Amid the turmoil and tumult of battle, there may
be seeming disorder and yet no real disorder at all;
amid confusion and chaos, your array may be without head
or tail, yet it will be proof against defeat. Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline,
simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness
postulates strength. Hiding order beneath the cloak of disorder is
simply a question of subdivision; concealing courage under
a show of timidity presupposes a fund of latent energy;
masking strength with weakness is to be effected
by tactical dispositions.
Moran: When sufficiently agitated, water can carry
away stones. This is an example of a power
configuration (i.e., a configuration that channels power into a target in an effective way).
The ferocity of raptors can rise to the point of
destruction [of their prey]. This is on account
of sections (i.e., inflections).
【PEM: Bamboo has sections.
In what sense do
raptors have "sections"? Their actions involve sudden
changes in directions that are under their control. For
instance, the fastest falcons glide in circular patterns
until they spot something, dive at terrific speeds,
seize their prey at
speed, and yet manage not to crash
into the ground. The sudden changes in direction are
like the changes in density between the hollow part of
a section of bamboo and the solid "caps" at each end
of a section.】
【PEM: The g-force experienced by a falcon
out of a power dive at about 300 mph is about three
times that experienced by a fighter pilot executing a
similar powered maneuver.】
For this reason, those who are good at warfare
keep their power configurations abrupt and
cause the inflections of their movements to
occur over short periods of time.
【PEM: In other words, changes at least
metaphorically involve sharp turns at high speeds. Fighter pilot and (later) military strategist John Boyd
the first to recognize that, assuming
general speed equivalence, the plane that could turn
more sharply and also both decelerate and accelerate
more rapidly was superior in a dogfight.】
A power configuration is like a drawn
crossbow. An inflection is like the firing of it.
is a variant of
【PEM: In drawing a crossbow, energy is added to a
mechanical system by slowly pulling, or even
cranking, the bowstring back until it engages with the
trigger mechanism where it is held in readiness to be
released over a very short period of time and in a
particular direction. Note that in the beginning force
is directed away from the arrow point, and at the
ion point force suddenly begins to be directed
toward the arrow noch. The crossbow has parts that
are arranged to direct power along a definite
configuration or path, and a trigger that is a movable
lever with no great mechanical advantage or strength
of its own but is yet something that touches off a great
change of state in a short time.】
In the fog of armed struggle and disorder, one
cannot permit oneself to become mentally
disordered. One must be indefinite in outline,
chaotic in appearance, and yet inherently
cohesive, so that one cannot be defeated.
【PEM: Metaphorically, one always wants to be like a
crossbow bolt that quickly shoots into action. One
does not want to be like a crossbow that shatters and
releases its pent up energy futilely in all directions.】
Disorder is produced out of order. Cowardice
is produced out of bravery. Weakness is
produced out of strength.
【PEM: Is he talking about real or simulated disorder,
etc.? Regardless, one cannot have disorder unless
there is something that was originally well ordered,
and entropy will eventually
produce disorder unless
repairs are made on a timely basis.】
Bringing order to disorder is a matter of
through strength of mind.
Producing bravery out of cowardice is a
matter of [the proper use of] power
configurations. Bringing strength out of
weakness is a matter of structuring things.
【PEM: What he means about bravery is that people,
even bold people, are not brave in the abstract. A
brave act occurs when there is no choice about the
danger faced, yet there is a decision as to whether to
flee or to act. Troops, fortifications, etc., can be
configured just as impounded water can be directed
down a flume.】
激水之疾，至於漂石者，勢也﹔ Water when sped can carry
away stones. This is influence.
鷙鳥之疾，至於毀折者，節也。: A bird of prey when sped can destroy a prey. This is chained action.
Therefore, good warrior employs dangerous influence and short chained action.
Influence is like a powerful drawn
crossbow. Chained action is like its useful short trigger.
In the diverse and muddled armed struggle, disorder contends disorder, one
cannot be confused. In chaos, formations are round-shaped without start or end, one cannot be overcome.
Disorder comes from order, cowardice
comes from bravery, weakness comes from strength.
Bring order to disorder by imposing subdivision; bring bravery to cowardice by imposing strategic influence; bring strength to weakness by imposing military shape.
Again the translation was not well done. They thought they have gotten it right, but not the case at all.
Sun Tzu said even as formless as water when sped can carry stones, i.e., influence. Raptor when employing rapid successive actions can kill, i.e., connected action. A successful attack must therefore employs both heavy influence and short killing actions. Even an ordered army can be disordered, a brave soldier can be cowed and a strong army can be weakened. It is important to see these problems and solve them.
In business, both strengths and weaknesses are interchangeable. For example, size may be viewed as a strength, but, it causes clumsiness in decision-making which is a weakness. There is no such thing as a definite strength and a definite weakness. Every considered factor is both a strength and weakness.
The key lesson learned here is that a strength would not forever remain a strength nor a weakness, solving these weaknesses simply require the correct solution set.