Struggling with Meaninglessness

searching meaning in meaninglessness

Archive for the ‘War Strategies’ Category


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I’d just barely recovered from my bad fever during the weekend. I’m surviving on Panadols to reduce my headache, so for the moment,  i will not bother to squeeze my brain juice much to writing a blog post. That’s why i’ve decided to take the lazy way out for this post – quoting directly from book!

I’m a big fan of war strategies ever since i was 13 when i had the opportunity to play Romance of Three Kingdom on my classic Game Boy. The game wasn’t enough for me, so i proceeded to read books on Three Kingdom, which in my opinion, the greatest war epic in China’s history. One man who caught my attention well was Zhuge Liang, a genius strategist, master of The Art of Management and an innovative inventor (around the year 200AD). One of the main highlight of the story was his poisoness taunting  on Sun Quan’s brilliant military advisor Zhou Yu. Basically, ZhuGe Liang outwitted Zhou Yu, a perfectionist guy, in several psychological battles and literally taunted him to death (died in illness). Although this historical event might just be a fiction, it nevertheless brought a little light in my mind – i realised in war it is not just down to brawn and intelligence , but there’s also a massive psychological factor involved too.

So, what is the most effective way of hitting the enemy psychologically in war? It should be – Deception.

All warfare is based on Deception. – Sun Tzu

I don’t think i’m able to put the words as perfectly as how Robert Greene did in his book ‘The 33 Strategies of War’, so i will just directly quote him here…


Misconception Perception

Since no creature can survive without the ability to see or sense what is going on around it, you must make it hard for your enemies to know what is going on around them, including what you are doing. Disturb their focus and you weakens their strategic powers. People’s perceptions are filtered through their emotions; they tend to interpret the world according to what they want to see. Feed their expectation, manufacture a reality to match their desires, and they will fool themselves. The best deceptions are based on ambiguity. mixing facts and fictions so that the one cannot be disentangled from the other. Control people’s perception of reality and you control them forever”

The hypnotic patterns

“According to Machievelli, human beings naturally tend to think in terms of patterns. They like to see events conforming to their expectations by fitting into a pattern or scheme, for schemes, whatever their actual content, comfort us by suggesting that the chaos of life is predictable. This mental habit offers excellent ground for deceptions, using a strategy that Machiavelli calls “acclimatization” – deliberately creating some patterns to make your enemies believe that your next action will follow true to form. Having lulled them into complacency, you now have room to work against their expectations, break the patterns and take them by surprised.

Shadows within Shadows.

In a sophisticated, competitive world, both sides will know the game, and the alert enemy will not necessary grasp at the shadow (deception) you have thrown. So, you have to take the art of deception to a higher level, casting shadows within shadows, making it impossible for your enemies to distinguish between fact and fiction. You make everything so ambiguous and uncertain, that even if you are suspected of deceit, it does not matter – the truth cannot be unraveled from the lies and all the suspicion gives them is torment. By creating something that is simply ambiguous and blurry, there is no deception to uncover. They are simply lost in a mist of uncertainty, where truth and falsehood, good and bad, all merge into one, and it is impossible to get one’s bearing straight.

(For the sub-chapter shadows within shadows, the author used War World 2, the battle between Nazi and Britain as an example. An English general, Dudley Clarke attempted to deceive the Germans by placing dummy tanks and planes to make it impossible for the Germans to figure out the size and location of English army, who used high-flying reconnaissance aircraft to survey and photograph the strength of English army. However, the Germans figured out the way to distinguished the fake planes from the real ones by just enlarging photos to look for struts holding up the wings. After receiving intelligence that the German managed to break the ‘code’ of the dummy planes, instead of stopping using the dummies, Dudley Clarke decided to put struts under the wings of real aircraft as well as phony ones to further confuse the Germans.)

*I think all the points in bold are extremely interesting.

I could relate all the points above to a single simple everyday scenario – Imagine if Mr.A told Mr. B that he will feign a punch directly to his eyes. But, no matter how hard Mr. B tried, he will still subconsciously shut his eyes when the fist is near the eye. There seem to be a ‘stubbornness’ in terms of human psychology or neuro-science to react to certain events regardless of circumstances. It is instinctive.

Moreover, as i have said many times before, human can never live in uncertainties.


Written by elan85

January 29, 2008 at 12:13 pm