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Patience - In Macro, Yes; In Micro, No

A lot of my heroes come from the Sengoku Warring States Era of Japanese History. Here's two quotes from Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate:

"Life is like unto a long journey with a heavy burden. Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not. Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou has past through. Forbearance is the root of quietness and assurance forever. Look upon the wrath of the enemy. If thou knowest only what it is to conquer, and knowest not what it is like to be defeated, woe unto thee; it will fare ill with thee. Find fault with thyself rather than with others."

"The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means restraining one's inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, adoration, grief, fear, and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called patient. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience."

I think in the big picture, patience is the way forwards, the way to win. You take small actions each day towards getting what you want. But, I think it's critical to guard your time from nuisances and distractions. In micro, on the minute by minute level, I think being impatient is the better way - look to fill dead time with learning, dispense with formality and bureaucracy as quickly as possible, talk about things that matter instead of smalltalk and pleasantries, break away from organizations and people that don't respect your time. In macro, in the big picture, patience and steadiness is the way. In micro, on a day to day level, impatience is the way.

The Greatest Losses -- After The Issue Is Already Settled

At the same time, this is an issue both terrible and important to think about.

B.H. Liddel Hart, in "Scipio Africanus," notes that the majority of causalities, fatalities, and damage don't occur during conflict, but afterwards -- to the losing side.

From Hannibal's defeat at The Battle of Zama -

"...the loss of the Carthaginians and their allies [was] twenty thousand slain and almost as many captured. On the other side, [the estimates range from "1500 Romans" to "2000 of the victors."] The discrepancy is explained by the word "Romans," for Livy's total clearly includes the allied troops. It is a common idea among historians that these figures are an underestimate, and that in ancient battles the tallies given always minimise the losses of the victor. Ardant du Picq, a profound and experienced thinker, has shown the fallacy of these cloistered historians. Even in battle to-day the defeated side suffers its heaviest loss after the issue is decided, in what is practically the massacre of unresisting or disorganised men. How much more must this disproportion have occured when bullets, still less machine-guns, did not exist to take their initial toll of the victors. So long as formations remained unbroken the loss of life was relatively small, but when they were isolated or dissolved the massacre began."

Could there more mercy, more clemency? Well, we would hope so, but then there's the faction/negotiation/diplomacy problem... when the defeated surrender, they only represent one faction who is at possibly the lowest point, most conducive to surrender. Later on, once cleaned-up and re-armed, the war-hawking faction will return, and if the opponent's forces are not reduced in defeat, they will likely be re-deployed and battle will began anew.

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