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Survivor: China’s Monday Morning Quarterback – Attack by Stratagemby Sun Tzu, as channeled through AJ Mass -- 08/31/2007
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Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. How is it that one can win without competing, you may ask. There are many ways of competing. Todd, Courtney, and Leslie are small of stature and wiled little might. They were asked to sit out from action and called out by their own as weak. But this is not to say they do not swing the mightiest sword of all. This past week was the proving of this for one and the death of another.
The highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy's plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy's forces. While we are dealing with two tribes in the game, there are enemies within as well. In the long-term, this is an individual game. Todd knows this and with the questioner-man's council approaching, there is need to cast out one of his own. Who poses the biggest threat? Jean-Robert, who has allied with the digger of graves and has plans to rule the kingdom? This is a plan that needs balking. Courtney who is frail of might, yet strong of mouth? She is firmly in tow. Her day can wait. Or Leslie, who has professed her love of the other army, and would find junction quite easy to do? This is the next best option.
So, should Todd have voted out Jean-Robert? Not so fast, my impatient one. There is a saying that goes: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. Leslie knows the enemy, having been in their presence, and she is sure in herself. She is therefore more dangerous. Jean-Robert cares not to make friends of his own tribe and cares not to know of the other. Therefore, he poses the lesser threat for now. Leslie is clearly the one to be sent off. Todd was quick to realize this.
It also should be known that there are five essentials for victory: (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. (2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. (3) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. (4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. (5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.
Todd could have chosen to cast out Jean-Robert, but this would have gone against a portion of his tribe and draw ire upon himself. This is not yet the time for such a fight. Todd is able to be friendly with both the brawn of the tribe and the meek, and is therefore in position to swing as the wind blows. The leader of the tribe, the sovereign Aaron wished to rid the camp of Leslie. Todd gleaned this and voted accordingly. He will wait and take the enemy within unprepared yet another day…
Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy's troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field. With his forces intact, he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete. Todd still has his allies in place. Leslie, after laying herself dry of information, served no more usefulness. Jean-Robert has shown himself to be a snake. However, his bite can still be used to poison the other tribe before having his neck broken and flame extinguished.
This is the method of attacking by stratagem and Todd is so far, the gem of strategy. Well reasoned, worthy one. My eye and favor still fall on you. But the road continues onward and the winds can easily die from the east as quickly as they garner strength in the west. And I shall not award my final praises for some time.
Until then, I diminish and remain, Sun-Tzu.
When not speaking on behalf of long-dead Chinese philosophers, AJ Mass writes about fantasy sports for ESPN.com. You may reach him at email@example.com.
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