Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ch'i. Must be getting back to normal, my insomnia is becoming more regular.

"In war, moral power is to physical as three parts out of four." -- Attributed to Napoleon by Maturin M. Ballou, Treasury of Thought, p. 407 (1899).
It is said that Naploeon read an early French translation of Sun Tzu's Art of War, although I doubt he was entirely conversant with the complexities of that Chinese general's discussions of the importance of ch'i, sometimes rendered as troop morale, or moral force.
Paging through Ralph D. Sawyer's translation and historical introduction of Art of War about 2 in the morning, I came across the quote below in one of the footnotes, which bears remembering, especially if you are committed Christian fighting for a principle that you don't mind dying for.
The concept and manipulation of ch'i have already been briefly discussed in the introduction. They are fundamental topics in the military writings; each thinker proposes different methods for attaining courage, for developing the ch'i necessary in the soldiers. A separate monograph on the psychology of ch'i in battlefield contexts would be required to fully address the subject, which might well be summarized by a passage from the Wei Liao-tzu: "Now the means by which the general fights is the people; the means by which the people fight is their ch'i. When their ch'i is substantial they will fight; when their ch'i has been snatched away they will run off." (Combat Awesomeness," p. 247). The ideal was to nurture warriors oblivious to death, who would therefore fight with invincibility and awesome power. The image of a warrior committed to death is found in several writings, sometimes placed in . . . the Wu-tzu -- in the woods. Wu Ch'i said: "Now if there is a murderous villain hidden in the woods, even though one thousand men pursue him they all look around like owls and glance about like wolves. Why? They are afraid that violence will erupt and harm them personally. Thus one man oblivious to life and death can frighten one thousand."


SWIFT said...

Having spent two years in combat in Viet-nam; it was my experience that peer pressure, more than any other driving force, motivated the men to fight. Close friends brought more pressure on you to be brave,through a crude reward/punishment psychology, than anything else I can remember. No one wanted to disappoint, or be branded a coward, by those they were closest to. To be ostracised was the worst possible punishment a man could face and it was permanent. I do not claim to have more than a passing understanding of the psychology of Ch'i, I'm only passing along what I saw.

Anonymous said...

I came across the quote below in one of the footnotes, which bears remembering, especially if you are committed Christian fighting for a principle that you don't mind dying for.--MVB

The Romans once ruthlessly suppressed a populist Jewish sect by subjecting its leader to the most barbaric torture they could devise. His followers deserted him, fled in terror and returned to their former lives.

They became a defeated, disjointed and dispirited rabble.

Fifty days later, this same ragtag group pores out into their capital city, emboldened and reunited in purpose. Their movement spreads rapidly and ultimately eclipses the
Political and religious forces that had once dominated them.

The sect was Christianity and the pivotal event was Pentecost.

When men are empowered by God's spirit, as were the disciples, they will become an irresistible force for good.


Anonymous said...

Regarding your healing & recuperation, take it easy and don't rush it and have a relapse. Your work here is too important to risk losing you. Take care of yourself and work on ABSOLVED as you recuperate.

Justthisguy said...

Nice to see that you are still alive and kickin, Sir, and kickin hard, to boot!