Way back when the blog was in the 40 to 80 readers per day range, I posted a very short entry called "Sun Tzu says – Make It Look Easy." That entry has been the gift that keeps on giving - I get emails, comments, references from other people interested in The Art of War. I've turned some of the notable comments into their own top level blog posts, like in "Two Good Replies from Readers – on The Equal-Odds Rule and Sun Tzu/Warfare" where I got some absolutely brilliant commentary.
And it doesn't end! People love the book, and that small entry keeps generating discussion. Now, Sami Baqai was kind enough to send me a link to a really excellent documentary on Sun Tzu and analyzing some American military conflicts from that perspective. It covers elements of the Vietnam war including spies, morale, logistics, and choosing the time of battle. It includes the Allies' deception and maneuvers and desperate fighting to land at Normandy, fight out of the hedge rows, and invade Continental Europe to smash the Axis. And it looks at the fall of the Confederacy and the Battle of Gettysburg.
Awesome documentary, really informative, high production quality, made by the history channel. I was going to watch just 5-10 minutes of it to see if I should add it to my "to watch" list yesterday, but it was so good I just watched the whole thing. Highly recommended - thanks for the link Sami.
Here's the first part:
On Spiritual Technology
Leo Babuta recently blogged about Achieving Without Goals reminding me of the discussion he had with Tim Ferris (Tim Ferriss vs. Leo Babauta Showdown: On Whether Goals Suck) with Tim playing the pro-goal devil's advocate. I believe, and as they touch on in the discussion, that this is a false dichotomy.
Leo's post reignited my own internal debate on this subject. On the one hand, I am very satisfied and feel productive when I spend my day on a self-imposed schedule consisting of daily habits and goals. On the other hand, the idea of wandering, being open and of following my intuition and inspiration very much appeals to me and is my ideal lifestyle.
The downside of the structured, goal-oriented route, is that I very rarely can achieve all that I plan to do and when I am not on my schedule (which is most of the time) I feel frustrated and dissatisfied. The downside of unstructured wandering is that you may succumb to passive entertainments and default routines rather than remain in a spirit of curiosity and openness.
Of course, neither path is the "right" path, as implicit in Tim and Leo's discussion. They both rely on aspects of the opposing approach to balance their main approach. Leo, for example, uses guiding principles or values as a loose structure in his goal-less approach.
What is largely missing from this discussion, and ironically most self-development approaches, is the recognition that approaches should change and develop progressively. You can play a guitar solo without any training (unstructured approach), but your range of expression with be quite limited. However, after much practice (structured approach), the expressiveness of your solo will be much greater. The structured foundation of practice supports and enriches the unstructured expression.