Chapter “Control”

Emptiness and Fullness

Sun Tzu said:
A skillful warrior moves his opponent; he does not allow the opponent to move him. Against a skilled attacker, the enemy does not know which point to defend; against a skilled defender, the enemy does not know which point to attack. Formless and invisible, we are the arbiter of the enemy’s fate. One is strong is he causes the enemy to respond to him; one is weak if he must respond to the enemy.

Therefore, the great general enteaps the enemy but retains his own freedom. He creates overwhelming advantage where the enemy is weak. According to my way of thinking, even if the opponent has a large numb er of soldiers, how can this help him win if I control the situation?

Sun Tzu said:
Victory can be created. Even if the enemy is numerours, I can make him lose his will to fight. Therefore I probe carefully to determine which strategies can win and which will lose. I spar with the enemy to determine what he will defend and when he will attack. I assume various positions to determine where he is strong and where he is weak. I compare my army with his to determine relative sufficiency and insufficiency. When I develop my final strategy, I make sure it is formless and invisible. A formless strategy cannot be discovered by the best spy; an invisible strategy cannot be defeated by the wisest counselors. I defeat the enemy by controlling the situation, but the enemy does not know how I control it. Even though all can see afterwards how a victory was accomplished, none can understand the reasoning which led to the development of a specific strategy.

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