The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death.
It is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field:
- The Moral Law - this causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger
- Heaven - this signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons
- Earth - this comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death
- The Commander - this stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness
- Method and discipline - these are the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure
These five should be familiar to every general.
- He who knows them will be victorious.
- He who knows them not will fail.
- Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law?
- Which of the two generals has most ability?
- With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?
- On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?
- Which army is stronger?
- On which side are officers and men more highly trained?
- In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?
These seven considerations can forecast victory or defeat.
All warfare is based on deception. Thus, one should modify one’s plans as necessary.
- When able to attack, we must seem unable
- When using our forces, we must seem inactive
- When we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away
- When far away, we must make him believe we are near
- Hold out baits to entice the enemy
- Feign disorder, and crush him
If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.
If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.
If he is taking his ease, give him no rest.
If his forces are united, separate them.
Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.
Importance of Calculations
The general who wins a battle is the one who makes many calculations before the battle is fought.
- The general who loses a battle makes few calculations beforehand.
Thus, many calculations lead to victory. Few calculations to defeat.
- How much more no calculation at all!
I can foresee who is likely to win or lose by attention to calculation.