by Sun Tzu, as channeled through AJ Mass
The two tribes on Survivor: China were given copies of The Art of War by Sun Tzu. But do they understand its meaning? After all, even Paris Hilton (right) can read a book. To help us evaluate that, Sun Tzu himself is here, being channeled by writer AJ Mass, the Monday Morning Quarterback.
Reading is fundamental, my dear friends. But one must understand what one is reading, lest the whole exercise be naught but a waste of time.
The 16 guests in my homeland were given a copy of my words to help guide them on their journey. I am eternally watching and though it is not for me to judge, I shall remark my observances here, so that perhaps others may learn form the successes and the mistakes which these warriors undertake on their path to glorious victory… or their walk of shame after the torch of life has been snuffed by the observer-man who questions much, yet answers little.
The art of war 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. These are: The Moral Law; Heaven; Earth; The Commander; and Method and discipline. These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.
In order for me to forecast who shall be victorious and who shall suffer defeat, I must ask several questions relating to the five heads. I will ask them now of Zhan Hu and Fei Long to see which tribe is worthy of my consent.
Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law? Which tribe is in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger?
Zhan Hu has two people who wish to step up and be leader. Peih-Gee, who most of the tribe finds bossy, and Dave, whose abrasive style is sure to foster discord. Fei Long has Aaron, a not-so-willing figurehead, in the leadership role. Todd is playing the of puppet-master, pulling his strings. Because Aaron was assigned the leadership role and nobody else wants to lay claim to it, Fei Long is more in harmony. Edge: Fei Long.
Which of the two generals has the most ability? Who stands best for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness?
Courage? Not Aaron. He would not claim the leadership role on his own, though he secretly coveted the position. Benevolence? Not Dave, who is two-faced in his dealings with Ashley, telling her not to worry about her unfortunate infirmity, then turning around and casting his vote against her because of that and no other reason. Wisdom? Is there wisdom in questioning a man who will not answer? If so, Peih-Gee is full of it. If not, she is full of it. (That's a little ancient Chinese humor based on wordplay. Philosophers can make light even amidst the chaos.) Of all the generals, though, Dave appears to be best suited for the job and willing to make the tough calls, even if he hides his intentions from his tribe. Edge: Zhan Hu.
With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth? Who copes better with the night and day, the cold and heat, the open ground and narrow passages, and distances great and small?
Ashley fell ill from the perils of the night and the tears from Heaven. Jean-Robert has not yet slept, yet was more than able to complete his team's task. Frosti had great agility in negotiating the great distances and narrow passages, but did so without remembering the details of his mission. James was slow and steady and won the race, negotiating the small confining spaces with great agility. Edge: Fei Long.
On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?
Zhan Hu is laughing and singing and dancing and getting rained upon. Fei Long has made great strides in their creating a shelter, thanks in large part to workhorse James. Edge: Fei Long.
Which tribe is stronger?
While Ashley can bodyslam three times her weight, James is a monster. Remember, too, there are different types of strength. Mental toughness and clarity of purpose. The mind can cut more than a sword if wielded properly. Jean-Robert and Todd both know this to be true. Edge: Fei Long.
On which side are the members more highly trained for survival?
The youth of Zhan Hu may be a benefit in challenges, but they lack the experience that a wiser Fei Long brings to the journey. Plus, the older, wiser member of Zhan Hu. Chicken was not willing to share his ideas with the rest of his tribe. Edge: Fei Long.
It is therefore of no surprise that Fei Long was victorious in the first battle. However, a war is not won in a single skirmish, and politics and infighting can corrupt from within. The tribe that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer.
The tribe that hearkens not to my counsel, nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat. Let such warriors be dismissed!
Zhan Hu has not of yet hearkened, and the most unwilling to be governed by the five heads, by not sharing his wisdom and experience, the man named for cowardice, was properly extinguished.
Pay heed, noble adventurers, for the war wages on, and the victor is not yet firmly in my sights. I'll have more to say of this in a week's passage.
Until then, I diminish and remain, Sun-Tzu.
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