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Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.
Of all those in the army close to the commander none is more intimate than the secret agent; of all rewards none more liberal than those given to secret agents; of all matters none is more confidential than those relating to secret operations.
The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and you know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and you know Earth, you may make your victory complete.
When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce.
Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
Prohibit the taking of omens, and do away with superstitious doubts. Then, until death itself comes, no calamity need be feared.Previous 1 2 3 Next