SUN TZU (OR THE ART OF WAR)
Approximately 2300 years ago, in a region belonging to today’s Northern China, a group of generals collected the military knowledge acquired up to that moment. In China and in the rest of the world, this text became known as Sun Tzu, from the name of the patriarch of that lineage of warriors.
The Sun Tzu, yet, is a complex text, and, coherently with the language which was used to write it, it offers multiple ways of reading; these features make it a universal text, concerning both the knowledge and the pliability of its employments.
As a matter of fact, it’s not only the war technique which is different from the western one; the mentality is completely unique, also for the importance given to the psychological tactics, in a way that the strategies shown are effective in many contests, and not just in the military one. And things could not be different, because, as all the other Chinese Classical Texts, it is deeply influenced by that pillar of knowledge, which is known as the Yi Jing. The text, even though influenced by taoism, is widely different from this Philosphy, because it doens’t avoid conflict, but is aware of its existence, and of the fact that it is deeply rooted into human existence.
The solution to the strategical dilemma consists in the way which is used to face any conflict, and not only military campaigns; following the Yi Jing, the Text translates into the daily experience the precept: “No advantages from fighting. The superior man follows Virtue.”
Therefore, the choice is to be able to conquer and win without aggressing, both in extended and limited conflicts, and both in clashes between nations and inner challenges.
One of the most famous distichs of the Sun Tzu reminds us:
“Therefore, to gain one hundred victories in one hundred fights doesn’t show supreme ability.
To submit the enemy army without fighting is proof of supreme ability.”
The supreme knowledge of this text resides first of all in its deep understanding of man, its nature, and its aspirations. And this, of course, without ignoring that the fullfillment of a human being passes through conflict, and victory can be obtained only with a careful management of conflict itself.
Conflict, therefore, can not be avoided, choking it down, surrendering to it, or, which is the worst thing to do, trying to deny its existence. However high the wisdom of an individual may be, it will never influence the dynamics of the real world, unless it’s subject to some kind of power.
The enemy, that’s not different from us, must also be conquered uninjured. This fact does not come from a philosophical or altruistic approach, but from the fact that destruction only leaves devastation and poverty, not only for losers, but also for winners.
So, in interpersonal relations, it’s not necessary to draw an enemy, or an unreliable ally, or the partner, by our side, but it’s useful to make them understand the existence of a condition of superior wellbeing and harmony, independent from any kind of partial, limited vision, whatever it is.
Therefore, the greatest legacy of the Sun Tzu consists in offering an interpretation of conflicts which is so wide that it also includes an inner research. If we are able to admit that the enemy is the part of us that we do not know, against which we rebel and that puts us in difficulties, we will be ready to face the most difficult fight: to know ourself thoroughly and to accomplish what is most consonant and useful for us.
The Sun Tzu states: “The great general fights easy battles”. The book makes us understand that the wise person only fights the battles that he can win, or, which is the same, that he only undertakes in challenges in subjects that he masters, and that he doesn’t risk on matters that are opposite to his own personality or tendencies.
BMA proposes trainings about Sun Tzu with clear and modern didactical programs, which are adequate to the needs of conflict management that reality unceasingly proposes.