The Art of War by Sunzi
It starts this way:
"The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin". (Cap. I, Laying Plans, 1)
"The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger." (Cap. I, Laying Plans, 3)
"All warfare is based on deception" (Cap. I, Laying Plans, 6)
War is the "life" of the state and the art of war is the art of deception. But people tend to think it goes about enemy´s deception. This is a misunderstanding since the main deception is carried out by the leaders to their own people to maximize their performance. Thus Sunzi, among others examples, says:
“Keep your army continually on the move, and devise unfathomable plans. Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is no escape, and they will prefer death to flight. If they will face death, there is nothing they may not achieve. Officers and men alike will put forth their uttermost strength. Soldiers when in desperate straits lose the sense of fear. If there is no place of refuge, they will stand firm. If they are in hostile country, they will show a stubborn front. If there is no help for it, they will fight hard.” (Cap. XI, Nine Situations, 3)
“Thus the skillful general conducts his army just as though he were leading a single man, willy-nilly, by the hand. It is the business of a general to be quiet and thus ensure secrecy; upright and just, and thus maintain order. He must be able to mystify his officers and men by false reports and appearances, and thus keep them in total ignorance.” (Cap. XI, Nueve Situaciones, 5)
Yes, the world is a Hell where deceiving is key for success and nothing is true neither the civil order. In some other parts of the world indeed people have chosen self-deception and indeed it is possible that leaders manipulate people by using their beliefs, as Machiavelli puts it, but most usual is that leaders themselves are self-deceivers for a better performance waging war by underestimating life.
The cause of war is weapon existence since its virtual, but most real activity forces us, therefore weapons production is the supreme human object anytime or anywhere. Cervantes puts it so: “it is the same arms or war”, because just is presence/existence brings about confrontation independently of human will. Cervantes also adds that "Heaven (the ideas) suffers force", meaning that the final key of understanding our disparaged ideological or religious figurations is their confession or submission to a force they will be ready to unite and put themselves under a single command of it. (Arms and Letters speech, I- XXXVII). Cervantes is telling us we are fighting against the appearences, fighting against windmills when we try to make other confess. Indeed ideologies are consecuences and not causes of violence among humans.
Kant´s Perpetual Peace
Let´s now share Kant´s reflection to illustrate this Project. Though he is an idealist philosopher his main purpose was to “put limits to reason” and in this way he achieves a certain human perspective. In his last chapter of his Essay on the Perpetual Peace he establishes that
“….we can call the following proposition the transcendental formula of public law: "All actions relating to the right of other men are unjust if their maxim is not consistent with publicity. This principle is to be regarded not merely as ethical (as belonging to the doctrine of virtue) but also as juridical (concerning the right of man). A maxim which I cannot divulge without defeating my own purpose must be kept secret if it is to succeed; and, if I cannot publicly avow it without inevitably exciting universal opposition to my project, the necessary and universal opposition which can be foreseen a priori is due only to the injustice with which the maxim threatens everyone. This principle is, furthermore, only negative, i.e., it only serves for the recognition of what is not just to others. Like an axiom, it is indemonstrably certain and, as will be seen in the following examples of public law, easily applied…..”
Indeed, on the other hand
“we cannot infer conversely that the maxims which bear publicity are therefore just, since no one who has decidedly superior power needs to conceal his plans”
But Kant still proposes the following:
“In this regard I propose another affirmative and transcendental principle of public law, the formula of which is: "All maxims which stand in need of publicity in order not to fail their end, agree with politics and right combined….because if it is only through publicity they can achieve the aim it moves them, it means they agree with the general aim of the public: happiness"
This is to say, if a proposal just needs publicity to achieve its object is because it contributes to everybody´s happiness and, consequently, we have to expect that everybody contributes to it.
However we can understand too taht this maxim has to be initiate by a person and not by the "tools" we have for organizing society, the political parties, since they are limited to the state as their reference frame
Master Mo – Humanity
The answer to that reality exposed by the Art of War was given by Master Mo, or Mozi, in the IV century BC, who says thousand times the cause of evil is partiality. His doctrine has been named in the West as “universal love policy” and it has not been properly understood due to idealist thinking. First this idealism is most interested in that "love" concept, no wonder considering the many connotation it has in the West, but Mozi does not really pays attention to it, it basically means cooperation and in a more light sense is just “to take into account” (the English speaking world actually translate it into "care") Indeed it is easy to see that Mozi doctrine does not really go about love but about universality:
“This is true even among thieves and robbers. As he loves only his own family and not other families, the thief steals from other families to profit his own family. As he loves only his own person and not others, the robber does violence to others to profit himself. And the reason for all this is want of love. This again is true in the mutual disturbance among the houses of the ministers and the mutual invasions among the states of the feudal lords. As he loves only his own house and not the others, the minister disturbs the other houses to profit his own. As he loves only his own state and not the others, the feudal lord attacks the other states to profit his own. These instances exhaust the confusion in the world. And when we look into the causes we find they all arise from want of mutual love (but not universal). (Book IV – Universal love, 1,3 - Web: ctext.org )
Perhaps something so obvious does not signifies much and it is better to illustrate or explain it. A good ilustration is:
"The murder of a person is considered unfair and it brings condemn to the killer, maybe death penalty. Following that argument the killer of ten people is ten times unfair and it shall get ten death penalties. Everybody knows those actions are to be condemned. But when it goes about attacking other states, they do not know that they shall also condemn it, on the contrary, they applaud it and consider it fair. And they are actually ignorant of this being unfair because they register their judgments to leave them for posterity. If they knew those judgments were unfair, why would they register false judgment for posterity?”
But possibly the most striking issue in our lack of ability to understand the Mozi is due to our idealist way of thinking generated to build our artificial “Insula” or state. Mozi researchers, as we have seen before, tend to look for love concept trying to define it as if, in consequence, it is then just a matter of putting that concept into practice and likewise, all scholars consider and name Chinese philosophy, particularly Mozi´s, as moral philosophy also due to that idealist thinking, this is to say, assuming that ideas, words or thinking is the fundament of our behavior or of our relations, something rather alien to this realist chinese philosophy, also that of Mozi. He actually makes it clear many times, but we see what we look for. We just can go on reading the previous paragraph:
Now, if there were a man who, upon seeing a little blackness, should say it is black, but, upon seeing much, should say it is white; then we should think he could not tell the difference between black and white. If, upon tasting a little bitterness one should say it is bitter, but, upon tasting much, should say it is sweet; then we should think he could not tell the difference between bitter and sweet. Now, when a little wrong is committed people know that they should condemn it, but when such a great wrong as attacking a state is committed people do not know that they should condemn it. On the contrary, it is applauded, called righteous. Can this be said to be knowing the difference between the righteous and the unrighteous? Hence we know the gentlemen of the world are confused about the difference between righteousness and unrighteousness. (Mozi Book V – Condemnation of Offensive war I -2 Web: ctext.org/Mozi)
Human question it is not a moral question (everybody is good, or susceptible to be, which is the same) it goes about our CIRCUMSTANCE, about our current CONDITION of living insulated which causes us such confusion and makes us to act criminally. If our CIRCUMSTANCE is that one of living together our perception will modify in such a way that we will distinguish fair or unfair without deceiving ourselves nor deceiving anybody else in such a clear way as we distinguish sweet from bitter or white from black and, consequently, we will be not only able and conducted to live humanly.
Chinese realist philosophers of Mozi´s time were also realists, as we have seen the example of Sunzi, and fully understood Mozi. They would even recognize its doctrine superiority, but given that it could be not put into practice, on the contrary, ruthless war continued, they expressed their view against Mozi, as for instance Mencius does, saying that “there has never been a society without state” and since them most Chinese philosophers became state advisers. Later a unified China prohibited Moism and destroy their writings because it understands Moism undermines state power.
However, today with world globalization, time is ripe for us all to communicate reality without harming any specific part –the one which could humanize first- and we are indeed in the position of putting humanity into practice all together.
Just the task before us is to spread it without fear nor doubt. The light is now on. So I have to conclude asking you to help me and to spread and to pass this link or info.