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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 26-Nov-08

 


Wednesday 26-November-08

War and Peace

War is a funny thing (at least in the peculiar sense) that has been developed and perfected over millennia by the human species. War is not a battle, where the goal is to defeat a limited group of opponents. War seeks psychological conquest where your opponent agrees not to do battle with you again, along with other significant concessions.

War is thus about changing minds whilst battle is about physical defeat. In 'The Art of War', the ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu describes methods that are wise in the understanding of psychology and seek victory with the minimum of engagement or unexpected after-effects. For example he advises 'build your enemy a golden bridge' -- if you corner them they will fight to the death and then become martyrs -- it is best to let them escape, though in the direction of your choosing.

Peace is also often about changing minds and in particular about how war can be avoided. It is a feature of the modern world that peacemaking seems so much harder than war, where might is often sufficiently right. Peace, even more than war, is about hearts and minds and tough tactics only invite endless vengeance.
I could go on about this for a long time, but I'm not writing War and Peace, only about it, so I'll stop there.


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