Today: Be reserved in your challenges to formidable forces – I Ching

Be reserved in your challenges to formidable forces.  Against overwhelming opposition, it would be wise to assess what is needed and gather sufficient resources among your allies in order to meet the need.  Then you won’t be personally crushed, and the chances for success will increase astronomically.

Read the text from Richard Wilhelm's translation of the I Ching

The situation is really difficult. That which is strongest and that which is weakest are close together. The weak follows behind the strong and worries it. The strong, however, acquiesces and does not hurt the weak, because the contact is in good humor and harmless.
In terms of a human situation, one is handling wild, intractable people. In such a case one’s purpose will be achieved if one behaves with decorum. Pleasant manners succeed even with irritable people.
A one-eyed man can indeed see, but not enough for clear vision. A lame man can indeed tread, but not enough to make progress. If in spite of such defects a man considers himself strong and consequently exposes himself to danger, he is inviting disaster, for he is undertaking something beyond his strength. This reckless way of plunging ahead, regardless of the adequacy of one’s powers, can be justified only in the case of a warrior battling for his prince.
Without strict discipline nothing can be accomplished, but this discipline must not be achieved by force. It requires a strong man who captures the hearts of the people and awakens their enthusiasm. In order that he may develop his abilities he needs the complete confidence of his ruler, who must entrust him with full responsibility as long as the war lasts. But war is always a dangerous thing and brings with it destruction and devastation. Therefore it should not be resorted to rashly but, like a poisonous drug, should be used as a last recourse.
The justifying cause of a war, and clear and intelligible war aims, ought to be explained to the people by an experienced leader. Unless there is a quite definite war aim to which the people can consciously pledge themselves, the unity and strength of conviction that lead to victory will not be forthcoming. But the leader must also look to it that the passion of war and the delirium of victory do not give rise to unjust acts that will not meet with general approval. If justice and perseverance are the basis of action, all goes well.

Meditation

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