Red-faced is the East, the East is red-faced

Lotsa e-ink being spilled online over NYSE’s volatile rocket-ride and re-entry trajectory on May 6 & 7.   Setting aside (for now) the possible influence of Cinco de Mayo tequila-shooter hangovers on stock trader behavior, Lunghu would like to offer some none-too-cryptic quotations from Sun-tzu as guidance.   Because perhaps these events should be viewed through the lens of asymmetric conflict theory/practice rather than as mere market behavior gone awry.

As usual, the sage Sun-tzu may be a helpful guide in this terrain:

  • Subtle and insubstantial, the expert leaves no trace; divinely mysterious, he is inaudible.   Thus he is the master of his enemy’s fate. [Art of War, VI.9]
  • He who knows the art of the direct and the indirect approach will be victorious.  Such is the art of maneuver. [Art of War, VII.16]
  • There are five types of secret agents to be employed.   These are native, inside, doubled, false and living.   When these five types of agents are all working simultaneously, and none knows their method of operation, they are called “The Divine Skein” and are the treasure of a sovereign. [Art of War, XIII.5-6]


Let’s review what Miyamoto Mushashi has to say on the subject:

  • What is called the spirit of the void is where there is nothing.  It is not included in man’s knowledge.  Of course the void is nothingness.  By knowing things exist, you can know that which does not exist.  That is the void.
  • People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void.   That is not the true void.   It is bewilderment.
  • Polish the twofold spirit heart and mind, and sharpen the twofold gaze perception and sight.   When your spirit is not in the least clouded, when the clouds of bewilderment clear away, there is the true void.
  • … It is very difficult to attain this merely by reading,  but you will soon understand with a little instruction. [A Book of the Five Rings]

Well said.


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