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Survivor: China's Monday Morning Quarterback – Courting Defeatby Sun-Tzu, as channeled through AJ Mass -- 11/19/2007
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An army is exposed to six calamities, not arising from natural causes, but from faults for which the general is responsible. These are: flight, insubordination, collapse, ruin, disorganization, and rout. Unforeseen circumstances may arise from the elements and take a general by surprise. Such is the fickle nature of fate. But how can one be expected to claim victory if one is not careful to avoid what should be easily visible to one and all?
Other conditions being equal, if one force is hurled against another ten times its size, the result will be the flight of the former. There is simply no defense for not having the numbers in your favor. See how the old Zhan Hu have fared. In spite of any attempts to gain favor with the enemy, the days of Frosti are now ended. Can one truly hold hope for Erik or Peih-Gee much longer?
When the common soldiers are too strong and their officers too weak, the result is insubordination. See how the digger of graves (James) uses his strength to gain advantage in challenges. See how Amanda uses her superior interpersonal skills to maintain favor with others as Todd flits from target to target with the agility of a wounded bumblebee. See how Todd did bestow the gift of immunization on James, making him free from the virus of Tribal Council, while he himself still may contract the disease of elimination. Now see how little those who remain pay Todd any heed.
When the officers are too strong and the common soldiers too weak, the result is collapse. See how Peih-Gee and her inability to give anyone else a say in even the simplest of decisions brought ruin to her alliances. Had her soldiers been strong enough to show their continued allegiance, even in the heart of enemy territory, the digger of graves would be long since gone from play, and Fei Long would surely have begun to take flight.
When the higher officers are angry and insubordinate, and on meeting the enemy give battle on their own account from a feeling of resentment, before the commander-in-chief can tell whether or not he is in a position to fight, the result is ruin. See how Todd did waste no time in recounting to all the tale of Peih-Gee's venomous outburst whilst the reward was being bestowed on others. See also how they who returned from the waters felt ill at ease to share the details of their journey, fearing reprisal. Fear does lead to mistrust which leads to ruin.
When the general is weak and without authority, when his orders are not clear and distinct, when there are no fixed duties assigned to officers and men, and the ranks are formed in a slovenly haphazard manner, the result is utter disorganization. See in the challenge of ball and drum how Todd and Peih-Gee were unable to mount any attack. This microcosm proves the truth of my words. Like a bouncing ball, the juggling act of survival only finds success with communication. Yet see how Todd does change the focus of attack from minute to minute and excludes some from the diversion of tactics. One cannot make order from parts which are necessary, yet no longer within arm's reach.
When a general, unable to estimate the enemy's strength, allows an inferior force to engage a larger one, or hurls a weak detachment against a powerful one and neglects to place picked soldiers in the front rank, the result must be rout. The remaining Zhan Hu did fail miserably to count the heads against them. One need only see how there were four who chose to eat rather than battle for security. Even a blinded man can note the chasm from the sound of falling pebbles at his feet. Frosti, Erik, and Peih-Gee clearly were made full aware of the distance they needed to traverse for survival, yet still were not adamant in their efforts to pull away the weak and the dissolute from the opposing side. Perhaps though, I shall not blame them, for by then the rout of the Zhan Hu was unavoidable, as that ship had left dock long ago.
Below are six ways of courting defeat, which must be carefully noted by the general who has attained a responsible post. Frosti is now gone… next will be Peih-Gee and Erik and then it shall remain to reassess. But the truth is already written on the highest stone of the mountaintop.
Todd has failed on all these counts, though his standing has yet to be jeopardized. My disappointment in him grows in leaps and bounds by the passing of the days, yet the stark realization does come. Though he has yet to heed my advice and learn from my words of experience in these contests, he alone appears to be aware my words exist. The majority of the remaining combatants do seem oblivious to the fact that a battle is even underfoot and have failed to even attempt the merest tactic or strategy.
If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt. If you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete. Todd may not act appropriately, and may be under threat of all the six calamities, yet as he is the only one who is aware that there even exists such a thing as calamities, his is the surest step on the path to the finish.
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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