How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Slough Off the Cicada's Shell
This stratagem number: 21
Make the appearance of doing one thing while doing another.
Appear to be doing nothing when you are actually taking serious action. Use camouflage, dummies, small forces or other means to create an illusion that captures attention while your real intent and actions lie hidden.
Have both a public face and a private face. Make what you show the world to be what you want them to see. Keep your true self hidden and protected.
This is the twenty-first stratagem of thirty-six.
Stratagems for Confused Situations
The Cicada Sheds Its Shell
The Golden Cicada Sheds Its Shell
The Golden Cricket Sheds Its Shell
Slough Off the Cicada's Golden Shell
The Gold Cicada Casts Off its Shell
Appear to Be Where You Are Not
Hide Behind an Illusion
Lu Bu helped Yuan Shao put down an uprising, yet Yuan Shao suspected Lu Bu and sent soldiers to 'act as his guard' but actually to kill him while he slept. Lu Bu realized this and got a friend to play the zither he always played so he could escape.
Country leaders have often used body doubles to make it appear they are in one place when they are elsewhere. This has been used when the leader is sick, elderly or is afraid of being assassinated.
The use of alibis has been a common way for suspects to appear not to have been at the scene of a crime.
When the cicada grows it sloughs off its outer shell so the soft inner insect can expand further. The old shell still looks like the cicada, but it is not the cidada.
Appearing to be elsewhere is a useful illusion both for armies and for individuals. Such illusions are complete when the person or army remains hidden. When the dummy and the real person are both seen, then this causes confusion.