11 January 2007

Professionalism, stealth, and Sun Tzu

I know sometimes my posts get a bit long and rambling, and while I maintain that that is a vital part of my exposition (my practice, my methodology, my ethics) I do also accept that I need to try to offer some more bite-size chunks as well...

I've been discussing my thoughts about professionalism (hidden in the review of christmas and Street Angels) with a few people over the last couple of days and I've come to another couple of conclusions. Firstly that it could more simply be described as 'friendly professionalism' (if that's not a bit too cheesy for you), rather than 'stealth', which has its own advantages. At the very least I think most people can see the value friendliness has in aiding communication and this perspective can help us adapt our practice in different ways and give us new understandings of our physical and social environment (and the post about accessible computing is similarly about adapting to new technology).

Another friend immediately started quoting lots of classic Chinese and Japanese texts to me and I'm afraid I've forgotten most of them except Sun Tzu's The Art of War. I did remember a lot of the context though, gleaned from various places. The art of war is stealth (broadly) - you conquer your enemy without their even realising it - and the characterisation of stealth by Sun Tzu has found many other applications. Mark mentioned that people work with a good leader automatically (and I would add comfortably) and don't even question the leadership because it just makes sense. This approach has found applications in many fields over the last 2500 years, and it could be interesting to write something about The Art of Advocacy... (if anyone's got any ideas get in touch).

1 comment:

Mark Stanworth said...

Hi Henry,


One of the other key texts I mentioned was the Go Rin No Sho ("Book of Five Rings") by Miyamoto Musashi. He was a swordsman of immense skill. Having gained a fearsome reputation as a great swordsman by the age of 12 years old many came to gain renown by killing him. He did not like to kill and would only kill if he had to.

This being so he replaced his sword with a wooden stick (some say this was the start of Kendo) and cunning. It is his thoughts on overcoming without fighting by use of wit, cunning, and stealth that brought about the text that many Japanese (and increasingly Western) business men refer to as their bible of success.


As you have mentioned the Art of Advocacy in the same post as Eastern topics, perhaps it would be worth pointing out the difference between Do and Jutsu (Eh????)

Lets look at Ju (Gentle)...
Judo (Ju Do) - this is "The Gentle Way"
Jujutsu (Ju Jutsu) - this is "The Gentle Art / Style / Method"

The difference is Do comes from Tao (The Way, The Path, The Truth) and implies the lifelong study, learning, and self-actualisation brough about by striving to acheive perfection with the Way, and everything has it's own nature / Way - you and the Way become united. Jutsu is the method or the action but without the ethereal, spiritual, and natural are of no consequence.

Conclusion - not the Art of Advocacy (catchy as it is) but the Way of Advocacy.