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Survivor: China's Monday Morning Quarterback – Maneuveringby Sun Tzu, as channeled through AJ Mass -- 11/05/2007
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Having collected an army and concentrated his forces, the general must blend and harmonize the different elements thereof before pitching his camp. With the merger of the two tribes now in place, the two generals must see who is more skilled in keeping their troops loyal amidst this new blending. Will Todd be able to keep his side in harmony, with the apparent discord of the anorexic waif? Will Peih-Gee be able to woo the digger of graves to her numbers, thus creating a tentative majority?
It comes to tactical maneuvering, of which there is nothing more difficult. The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain. Thus, to take a long and circuitous route after enticing the enemy out of the way, and though starting after him, to contrive to reach the goal before him, shows knowledge of the artifice of deviation. This is the goal of both generals: to use one's artifice in making all around think they are your friend, only to stab them in the back when their usefulness has outlived its purpose.
Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; but with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous. Todd has a large group at his beck and behest, yet Courtney the waif does cause concern with her want to eliminate another of the number, Jean-Robert, regardless of what that would do to the group as a whole. This lack of discipline makes her most dangerous and will cause Todd soon to need to vary his attack, though the straightest course is more advantageous.
Remember we cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbors. We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar with the face of the country – its mountains and forests, its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps. While Peih-Gee and Erik were basing their assumptions on hearsay and what they imagined was happening at the opposing camp, their course was erratic and unfocused. Now, thrust in to the midst of their competition, they are able to see for themselves who is weak and where the cracks lie. This gives them a greater advantage, for they were operating blindly, yet now they can easily see.
We shall be unable to turn natural advantage to account unless we learn the landscape around us and make use of local guides. Immunity this week went to Frosti, who was most attentive to the environment and took most note of the locals who shared their culture with the tribe. But this also follows into the game as well. Frosti took note of what was going on around him earlier and as such, was able to glean knowledge of the immunity idol and force himself into an alliance, knowledge without which, no alliance was to be had.
Jaime on the other hand, noticed the stray not-quite-an-idol, and even marked the collection of similar such things inside the private possessions of the digger of graves, yet she was still not keen enough to note the key differences between them, and was left hanging in the breeze, and is now, no more.
My advice to those who remain: Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest. In raiding and plundering be like fire, in immovability like a mountain. Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt. Both Todd and Peih-Gee must heed this next wisdom above all. Ponder and deliberate before you make a move. But when you have decided, act quickly and directly without deliberation or debate.
He will conquer who has learnt the artifice of deviation. Such is the art of maneuvering. The host thus forming a single united body makes it impossible either for the brave to advance alone, or for the cowardly to retreat alone. This is the art of handling large masses of men. But by allowing one's group to be made aware of the maneuvering before it is complete invites dissent, invites fear, invites mutiny. It also allows an opposing general to offer up bait which, when combined with uncertainty in one's own general, may lead to it being swallowed whole.
Todd, do not press a desperate foe too hard. Leave the waif to her complaining, yet follow her downhill to your votes until such time as you need let her crash. Leave Peih-Gee to her own maneuverings, yet leave her not an opening to enter your closest number. Allow the battle to follow along on its own momentum when the course is in your favor. Do not throw a boulder into a still stream, for the ripples it causes may cause your own drowning. Such is the art of warfare. You have been warned.
Until then, I diminish and remain, Sun Tzu.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: China articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
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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