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The Art Of War

I like this little story: "Tu Mu relates a stratagem of Chu-ko Liang, who in 149 BC, when occupying Yang-p'ing and about to be attacked by Ssu-ma I, suddenly struck his colors, stopped the beating of the drums, and flung open the city gates, showing only a few men engaged in sweeping and sprinkling the ground. This unexpected proceeding had the intended effect; for Ssu-ma I, suspecting an ambush, actually drew off his army and retreated."

In some ways this book is a manual for counter-intuitive behavior, cautioning the appearance of weakness when there is actually strength and vice-versa.

So, I took this to heart, and don't usually let on that I'm any more intelligent than I need to. (Sometimes contact with a woman can be reason to turn it on full-bore, heh?) I discovered working, at an old job, that a lot of people avoided a lot of trouble by appearing dumb. I'd even questioned them if they were this dumb or just playin' at it. It finally got through to me that keeping my mouth shut, maybe appearing to be stupid could save me lots of trouble at the cost of my ego. Well, it's way less important anymore to protect my ridiculous little ego, so appearing to be less intelligent is valuable. At the same time, I saw people trying to be helpful, to get things resolved, to be intelligent, just ended up getting themselves screwed because they said too much.

I don't play games, don't keep score, don't keep track, though on some level that just sort of automatically happens intuitively, I just tend to let things unfold without bragging. Have had some fun results when people found out I was a ringer.
gruntumolani gruntumolani 46-50, M Aug 30, 2010

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