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Civil Instructions

 

Disciplines > WarfareThe Six Secret Teachings > 2.2 Civil Instructions

Teaching set  | Observed lessons | Discussion | See also

 

Teaching set

Martial Secret Teachings 2.2 (14)

Observed lessons

  • Most things find their own position.
  • Nothing is permanent, yet patterns repeat.
  • Be subtle. Act without others realizing what you are doing.
  • Build a state with clear hierarchy and common purpose.

Discussion

One of the traps of change is to assume that the world exists in stable stages, and that all you have to to is to shift things from the present, 'as is' state to the desired 'to be' state. Things are not as simple as this as they are constantly in flux. Yet people are limited and repeat the mistakes of history. There are also grand patterns for those who can see.

So if you seek change do not expect it to be simple and do not think it will stay in its new shape without controls. It is often better to work from guiding and adaptive principles than from fixed ways that can easily become outdated.

The subtle ruler seems to do nothing and so cannot be easily criticized.

Hierarchy is a natural human (and animal) order. Done badly, it creates conflict between factions. Done well, with common purpose and clear leadership, it can be very effective.

See also

Change Management

 

Sawyer, R.D. (1993). The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, Basic Books

 

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