In Confucianism, all of us - men and women - are born soldiers. The soldier is the universal individual. No matter what you do for a living - doctor, lawyer, fisherman, thief - you are a fighter. Life is war. The war is to maintain personal integrity in a world that demands betrayal and corruption. All behavior is strategy and tactics. All relationships are martial. Marriages are military alliances.
The essential element of successful strategy is that it derives its success from the differences between competitors with a consequent difference in their behavior. Ordinarily, this means that any corporate policy and plan which is typical of the industry is doomed to mediocrity. Where this is not so, it should be possible to demonstrate that all other competitors are at a distinct disadvantage.
Proper guerilla policty will provide for unified strategy and independent activity.
Our strategy is “pit one against ten,” and our tactics are “pit ten against one” – This is one of our fundamental principles for gaining mastery over the enemy.
With the unlocking of the atom, mankind crossed one of the great watersheds of history. We have entered uncharted lands. The maps of strategy and diplomacy by which we guided ourselves until yesterday no longer reveal the way. Fusion and fission revolutionized the entire foundation of human affairs.
Know then that all true creation is not a prejudgment of the Future, not a quest of utopian chimeras, but the apprehending of a new aspect of the Present, which is a heap of raw materials bequeathed by the Past, and it is for you neither to grumble at it nor to rejoice over it, for, like yourself, all these things merely are, having come to birth.
Two centuries ago, the philosopher Kant predicted that perpetual peace would come about eventually – either as the creation of man’s moral aspirations or as the consequence of physical necessity. What seemed utopian then looms as tomorrow’s reality; soon there will be no alternative.
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacriﬁce, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magniﬁcently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an inﬁnite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in deﬁance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
What business strategy is all about-what distinguishes it from all other kinds of business planning-is, in a word, competitive advantage. Without competitors there would be no need for strategy, for the sole purpose of strategic planning is to enable the company to gain, as efficiently as possible, a sustainable edge over its competitors.
That being said, is there anything to say in support of utopian thinking? Everything, if the meaning of the word is somewhat restricted. If utopia means the highest set of values we want to defend and see implemented in social life, nothing prevents us from hanging on to all of them even if we know that they will never be perfectly compatible with each other. If utopia is a regulative idea of the optimum and not an assurance that we have mastered the skill to produce the optimum, then utopia is a necessary part of our thinking. But it would be a puerile fantasy to pretend that we know how to rid the world of scarcity, suffering, hatred, and injustice: nobody knows that. Whatever can be done in softening these conditions can be done only in specific points, on small scales, by inches. That this should be so unacceptable to the genuine utopian mentality which looks for the vision of the Last Day, the great leap, the final battle; everything else seems (and is, indeed) grey, boring, lacking pathos, requiring specific knowledge instead.