How do you understand the expression that the wise win before they fight?

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  1. kallini2010 profile image80
    kallini2010posted 11 years ago

    How do you understand the expression that the wise win before they fight?

    There are plenty of expressions about winning or losing, for example 1) "The war does not determine who is right. It only determines who is left", 2) "You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake" Jeanette Rankin and so forth.  How do you understand the following:

    "Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered,
    those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid.
    Thus the wise win before they fight, while the ignorant fight to win."

    ~Zhuge Liang

  2. profile image0
    Sherrie Youngposted 11 years ago

    People skilled at combat are taught to stay calm thus they think with a clear mind.  Hence they don't become angered easily.  Those that are skilled at winning have never lost therefore they have no fear of losing. The wise have already thought of the possible outcomes and the best ways for approach something and the ignorant fight when they haven't thought it though.  Just sayin

  3. leroy64 profile image63
    leroy64posted 11 years ago

    Sounds like something I read about a martial artist, I don't remember the name only that he was in ancient Japan.  He stated something to the effect that fights are won before the swords strike.  In practice, that meant carefully planning your entrance onto the battlefield, i.e sun in you opponents eyes, emerging from fog like a ghost, or anything to create doubt in your opponent.  If your opponent loses control over his fears, you win.  I think this was more relevant to military applications, although it might explain why bullies don't target everyone.

  4. junkseller profile image78
    junksellerposted 11 years ago

    Anger and fear are within us. When we fight to defeat them, but attack that which is external to us, we can never win, since our true enemy lies inside. Even if we defeat the external foe, we still lose because our true enemy remains.

    The wise person understands who the true enemy is (ourselves) and defeats them from within, thereby winning even if they eventually lose the external fight.

    An apropos notion in today's world.

  5. Grace-Wolf-30 profile image60
    Grace-Wolf-30posted 11 years ago

    Well, the wise may make the decision not to fight when presented with the opportunity, but they may find alternative ways of fighting, such as campaigning.

    1. Tusitala Tom profile image66
      Tusitala Tomposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      If we assume a campaign is a 'fight,' we assume more than just resistance.  We assume counter-attack.  As Mother Teresa is reputed to have said, I won't fight against .......but I will work for........ The meaning? Fighting weakens us.

  6. Marisaupa profile image73
    Marisaupaposted 11 years ago

    Zhuge Liang was a military strategist and government official during the second century in China.  I take the expression that you cite to be his interpretation of another wise Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu, the author of the "Art Of War" in which he states that, "every battle is won before it is ever fought."

    Essentially, both the Tzu and Liang quotes express the same strategic notion.  The person who prepares, drills and contemplates every possible outcome and prepares the necessary contingencies and engages the enemy under his own terms will emerge victorious.  The result, therefore becomes a foregone conclusion.

    Taking into account that Zhuge Liang was renowned for being a masterful infantry and cavalry tactician and the fact that he is often given credit with inventing the landmine, I prefer to take his expression the way I am certain he intended it.  Originating within the context of war, yet suitable for application into any realm of human endeavor that involves conflict and winning. It can ideally be applied in business and personal advancement.  If you are truly prepared... you are certain to rout your competition and you will succeed.

    I assure you, the expression was never meant to be taken with pacifist overtones.  To be appreciated properly one must reflect upon it with the mind and soul of a competitor.

    1. kallini2010 profile image80
      kallini2010posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with your answer, but we all know that the property of language is that the expressions take flight on its own regardless of the context of their creation. Nowadays, we win by seducing, not by using landmines.

    2. Marisaupa profile image73
      Marisaupaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      The way I see it, seduction by language is simply a form of enticement.  Sometimes enticement by words is all that is needed to win.  However, past and present, sometimes one needs more than simple seduction. Ask Hussien, Qaddafi, Bin Laden...

  7. Tusitala Tom profile image66
    Tusitala Tomposted 11 years ago

    I think I can compehend the meaning of this.   It does not mean the wise win before they fiight.  To my mind it means, the wise win the contest of their own mind, thereby avoiding the need to fight.   They are not moved by their reactive emotion of anger (which they know always stems from fear, as all anger does)  They can do this because not only are they convinced of their prowess in, say, martial arts, so that if they are attacked they can ably defend themselves and overpower an adversary.   

    With two warriors, it's a case 'of who is coolest' wins.  Anger is seen as a weakness.   The warrior who remains cool and calm can, by his very presence and alert awareness, bring energies to bear that cause a wouldbe opponent to 'step down.'


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