Analysis of the Effect of Personal Hostility as the Cause of Strife Inferring From, The Art Of War By Sun Tzu
Social Analysis: The Art of War
Could war be in your own life? Could it possibly be in modern society? Does it have to have killing? Well, war can certainly be in your own life, in modern society, and it can have no death or killing at all. War is essentially conflict. In the book, The Art of War, written by Sun Tzu, it shows that almost anything can be perceived as a war and by understanding your enemy, you can even approach victory without much battle. Many other strategies throughout the book can also be applied to many things in our current life.
To begin with, my grades can be considered as some type of war. The enemy would be the bad grades and the assignments and tests would be like the battles. In The Art of War, Master Sun says, “Therefore a victorious army first wins and then seeks battle; a defeated army first battles and then seeks victory”(91). This connects with grades because when you have good grades, or a victorious army, then you have won and seek to continue to keep it like that. When you have bad grades, or a defeated army, and you first try and don’t give up, then you expect to get good grades. This quote can be interpreted as when you fail, but persevere, you will eventually get success.
In my life, I run every week at my school. Running can also be considered as a type of war. The enemy could be considered as fatigue. The battle is the course of the run. Since fatigue entraps you eventually and I cannot run backwards, I am on “dying ground”(151), which is what The Art of War portrays it as. According to The Art of War, it says that “dying ground” is “When you will survive if you fight quickly and perish if you do not”(151). This means that I won’t make it if I don’t move quickly. Li Quan says in the book, “As the classic Spring and Autumn Annals says, “War is like a fire – if you do not put it out, it will burn itself out”(57). This can apply to running because stopping is essentially “burning itself out.” When I “put myself out”, this means I am done with the run. Altogether, fatigue will get to me if I do not finish the course of the run fast, but at the same time I will eventually get tired. If I stop, then my enemy, fatigue, has gotten me, so I would simply jog and then continue running to succeed.
War can also be within our social interactions. Talking with friends is just like talking with allies. The people that one does not like are one’s enemies. Master Sun states that, “When there are murmurings, lapses in duties, and extended conversations, the loyalty of the group has been lost.” This means if there is any gossip among an army, then they are no longer loyal. When one’s friends gossip about one, then they are no longer loyal friends. However, one should not retaliate and gossip back. Master Sun says, “A government should not mobilize an army out of anger, military leaders should not provoke war out of wrath. Act when it is beneficial, desist if it is not. Anger can revert to joy, wrath can revert to delight, but a nation destroyed cannot be restored to life…”(166). This means that a government should not go to war because they are angry and that a destroyed nation does not come back to the way it was before. So instead of retaliating and gossiping back, it would be better to stay calm and act like it is not a big issue, so one can still have trust among one’s peers. The people who gossip will most likely lose trust among their peers. Overall, The Art of War describes our social interactions kind of accurately.
Every person in the world wants to be recognized and have a good reputation. Master Sun states that, “Ordinarily, an army likes high places and dislikes low ground, values light and despises darkness”(132). This means that an army likes to be on the top of mountains and hills and does not like to be in valleys and plains. They will do better on the high places because it is easier to see what is around them. Being recognized and having a good reputation is the high places. Being ignored and having a bad reputation is the low ground. People like being well accomplished and recognized by their peers because it makes them joyful. When they are ignored by their peers, they feel depressed. Social interactions can bring people to good or bad places and high or low places. When they are insulted, they will feel ignored and feel like they are in the low places. When they are encouraged, they will feel recognized and feel as though they are in the high places.
So, war can be in our personal lives, but it can also be in other places too, like the economy. Businesses and Companies are a part of the economy and practically have war with each other every day. An example would be the smartphone market. Companies like Apple and Samsung have a lot of the market. Their enemies are other competitors, so Samsung would be the enemy of Apple. Their allies could be who they partner with. The battlefield would be the market, for instance, the smartphone market. Releasing new products and updates would be their battles. The companies release products that are better than the other, yet they have almost the same function. According to IDC, in Q4, the smartphone market was dominated by Samsung at 20% of the market and Apple at 19% of the market. If they both understand each other, they will be able to release products that are better than the other. As they release new products that consumers will purchase, they invade deeper into the market, which would be the “heavy ground” in The Art of War. Heavy ground in The Art of War is when you “ enter deeply into other’s land, past many cities and towns”(149). When these companies release new products, but consumers don’t really buy it a lot, then they are in “light ground.(148)” Light ground is when you “enter other’s land, but not deeply”(148). As the market is filled with a lot of competitors, companies will most likely try to invade into a new market, such as the smartwatch market that Apple and Samsung also compete in. Overall, companies and businesses are also able to have a war on each other. They can retaliate other’s attacks by releasing new products and enter new markets to try to dominate and expand.
The Art of War has some improvements and recommendations that others and companies can utilize to become better. In the book, Cao Cao says, “Do not use arms because of your emotions”(166). This would mean that you should not fight or shoot someone just because you are angry at them. Many people get angry over something and sometimes they fight each other. Therefore, The Art of War would recommend that one should not fight over simple things, but instead calm themselves down. One’s reputation could be at risk of getting destroyed, and it may not return to how it was before. For example, when a person is trading something with another person, but the trader hears that the person has fought with another trader, that trader will most likely not accept and run away.
The Art of War states that, “In battle, confrontation is done directly, victory is gained by surprise.” This means that you should not confront an army, but surprise them. Companies and businesses should do the same. When companies just say what they will do next, the consumers can easily predict what will happen next, and they will know if what those companies say will succeed or fail. Instead, they should disclose what they say, until the day comes that they completely tell what they have done. By doing this, consumers and other companies will be surprised. Some companies, like Apple, have used this strategy and it would be a great improvement if other companies were to also utilize this too.
There are also a few limitations that The Art of War has on society. One of them would be that someone cannot have a war with themselves. There would be no enemy in that situation. You cannot perceive war on everything either. Some strategies in the book cannot be used in many situations. For instance, Master Sun says, “If half their force advances, and half retreats, they are trying to lure you”(136). This cannot really apply to any situation because there is no other situation besides actual armed conflict, where you see half of your enemies advancing and half of their forces retreating. One cannot expect that every strategy in the book is possible to use in society and in other situations that are not armed conflict.
The Art of War has a lot of strategies that can be applied to anyone’s lives. It describes our society and social interactions kind of accurately too. It shows that war can be perceived in almost any situation. Understanding your enemy can also help, so that not many battles will need to be fought. The Art of War emphasizes that you should use tactics instead of confrontation and fighting. If you do fight, you should strategies to win. The Art of War can also improve one’s life. It can also help many businesses to become better. Although the book and its strategies do have limitations, most of the strategies or tactics are able to be used in one’s life.
The Charming Whack Job of Wall Street
When a person reads a good book, sees a great movie, or watches a spectacular performance, what do they take away from it? Some aspect will remain with them, forever associated with that experience for the rest of their lives. It can be anything from a funny line, to a dramatic scene, to a character with an irrepressible personality. Whenever I read a book, there is always some aspect or particular character that stays in my mind. Something about them makes them linger in my mind, setting them apart from others. After reading The Big Short, the thing that will remain with me the most is the radically unique characters. When it comes to unique characteristics that set you apart, many characters in the Big Short fit the bill. However, there is only one whose boss declares that he loves them and, “I have nothing bad to say about him except that he’s a fucking whack job,” (64, Lewis). Such a description is certainly memorable. However, it is not even close to being nearly as memorable as the man himself. Greg Lippermann had a persona that exudes craziness and strangely captivating rudeness that warranted the attention and memory of those who met him in the real and literary worlds.
The persona that Greg Lippmann exudes throughout the novel came to the reader in a unique package. If the only thing people knew about Greg Lippmann was a physical description, most people would not automatically assume he was a brilliant Wall Street stock broker. The common image of a stock broker on Wall Street dose not usual come from a man who sports hair “in the fashion of an 1820’s Romantic Composer or a 1970’s porn star,” (63, Lewis). It sounds as if he was attempting to pull off a suave, debonair, classy look that failed disastrously. That would be more common of a comic relief character rather than a serious, intelligent business man. Yet Lippmann’s success contradicts that theory in no short time. Even the wardrobe choices of “loud ties,” (63, Lewis) rather than the more subtly neutral colors commonly found on Wall Street, gave the impression of a big, brash persona rather than the more clam and intelligent one that clients seemed to expect when trusting someone with their money. Then again, Wall Street was described in the book to have been so mismanaged at this point, that no one seemed to care who they gave their money to. Taking that in to consideration, it is no longer surprising that this was a man whom seemingly intelligent people trusted with their money, even considering how is meeting with the Eisman group went. Setting appearance aside, there is no doubt that Greg Lippermann was a financial force to be reckoned with. However his personality was another area where he was memorable to the reader, because as a said earlier, it was best described as, “a fucking whack job,” (63, Lewis).
Whether you met him in real life or through the medium of literature, the personality Greg Lippermann exuded was only part of the persona cannot be easily dismiss from one’s mind. Lippermann was a man with a personality that very few people were likely to forget. This is made abundantly clear when the reader first interacts with him in the novel. When he is introduced as being the result of an experiment, “if a team of experts had set out to create a human being to maximize the likelihood that he would terrify a Wall Street customer,”(62, Lewis) a certain image begins to form. The picture the reader sees is of a man who does not meet the usual criteria of the successful Wall Street stock broker. If he is a near perfect example of someone who was designed to alienate customers it would be the logical assumption that his career would suffer as a result. However the reader, as well as those who knew him in real life, comes to find he is brilliant at his chosen trade. He tells us himself that, “whatever he’d been paid by his employer was not anything like what he’d been worth,” (63, Lewis). Lippermann made his clients and more importantly himself a fortune by playing the stock market game. He had a bit of a big head, but despite this was not a terrible human being. Those who knew him and interacted with him in the professional world all agreed that, “he simply evoked extreme feelings in others,” (64, Lewis), because of the strong differences in that existed in both his character and appearance that differed from what society deems normal. The reactions Lippermann’s personality produced were certainly strong; however this may have been part of his persona that seemed to break all the unspoken rules of Wall Street.
Yet another facet of the unforgettable personality that encompassed Greg Lippermann is that fact that despite his success in the industry, he broke nearly every unwritten rule of Wall Street in the process of earning it. Even the professionals he worked with were amazed at some of the things he would do. On more than one occasion he publicly announced to anyone who would listen that he had no allegiance to the company he worked for, he just happened to be working for them (64, Lewis). While this was a very common feeling amongst the workers of Wall Street, this was not something a sensible and successful person was supposed to admit, let alone announce repeatedly. To do so should have been career suicide, and yet he survived. Not only that but He continually hinted to anyone who would listen just how much this company he had no loyalty for was paying him and giving him in bonuses. He seemed to bring it up in the middle of a conversation, despite people continually saying, “but I didn’t ask,” (63, Lewis). Successful Wall Street brokers were supposed to be extremely tightlipped about such details, but the essence that made up Greg Lippermann did not seem to be able to tolerate any type of conforming to normality. Also, it shows us that he had a need inside of him that demanded he show how much he was worth to the world, perhaps because he was so dramatically different from the rest of the world. The more a person came to experience the persona projected by Lippermann, whether in real life or in the text, the more confused and befuddled they seemed to be that a man who completely disregarded the few rules in place in the stock market could be such a success. I know that I was certainly confused by him despite analyzing his character in preparation for writing this paper. Despite all of this, the controversy of his persona paid off in the end.
In the course of a lifetime, a person will meet hundreds of ordinary people and quickly forget them. However, they will also meet a handful of incredibly memorable people it is impossible for them to forget. Greg Lippmann was many things, but all of them were memorable. Whether the person he interacted with knew him in real life or in the pages of a book, his unique style remained implanted in their minds. Nothing about him was in any way a nod to conformity, whether it was in his appearance, the way he acted or the way he conducted business. He looked like a 70’s adult film star, had a personality that should have scared customers away, and broke nearly every rule he came across. Yet at the same time managed to be likable and great at his job. The more the reader learned about him, the more controversial and hard to pin down they realized he truly was. Lippmann may not have been the easiest person to interact with, but the reader will never quite forget the charming whack job of Wall Street.
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