Strategy: Winning or Calculation?

Mark asks, on my twitter feed, a good question. I presume he made it after reading the post to the link in the tweet Critt also made on my feed:

Here is the post:

“What is strategy? A mental tapestry of changing intentions for harmonizing and focusing our efforts as a basis for realizing some aim or purpose in an unfolding and often unforeseen world of many bewildering events and many contending interests.

John Boyd

This quote comes from Science, Strategy and War: The Strategic Theory of John Boyd, Frans Osinga. Pg.13.”

Via: http://crittjarvis.com/2012/06/boyds-elegant-epitaph-what-is-strategy/

While Boyd describes the essence of strategy, he does leave it open to Mark’s question. Is the essence of strategy about winning or is it in the calculations?

I don’t know Boyd that well to quote him accurately, but in essence he said that if you are not willing to take the steps to winning, then you should think about joining the other side. Clearly to Boyd winning is everything.

From Boyd’s quote: strategy is a bunch of steps structured as a mental tapestry that is mentally changing at different tempos and focus. At the end of the structuring process clarity is found in the forms created.

As the three domains of war are Honor, Interest, and Fear, out of the “many contending interests”, Boyd was building the structures for  the center domain “Interest”. Strategy builds a structure of form where none was before. Boyd was building interest out of human morality, and his Ends, Ways, and Means was through the OODA loop.

So the essence of strategy is not about winning, but about the calculations needed to create (build). In Boyd’s definition of strategy he is creating interest through calculations.

However, Boyd is not building a structure or domain to go to war on. To Boyd winning is everything which also means losing According to Boyd, winning might mean joining the other side, which, like the son of Genghis Khan found out, is losing.

With interest, the possibility of losing is taken out of the “bewildering events”, because a structure is created in the past (the beginning of the “End”) to build Honor on; and there is less to Fear, because a structure is also created in the future (the end of the “End”) that can be seen.

While building interest where interest was not before is a simple thought, I am sure that strategy is, in essence, simple.

I Tied My Shoes Today

The title of this post should say that I tied my shoes correctly today. Shoes that are tied correctly not only look good, but resist failure. Failure,in this context, means the the shoe no longer fits snug on the foot and the laces can become tripping hazards if they become untied (the knot fails).

Shoes that are tied correctly look good, because the bow, created by the knot, stays in-line with the shoe openings from both sides of the shoe laces. Shoes that are not tied correctly look less apealing, because the bow turns perpendicular to the shoe laces.

Yesterday, I watched a TED video in which a very smart guy explained that perpendicular forces do knot (sorry about the pun) remain as “tight” when they are aligned perpendicular to each other, as they would, if all the forces in the system were aligned in the same direction, attractive and repulsive.

After watching the video, I had to wonder if any testing has been done that tells us if a shoe that “looks good” has a knot which is more resilient than a shoe whose looks are less than to be desired. Resilience in this context means the knot can “fail”, but the knot that is most resilient resists breakage of the laces when tied.

As societies are created with perpendicular forces to their culture, because of the tempo they function at, perhaps a society that is structured to look like the less desirable knot has an advantage of greater resilience.

Let’s say we are looking at a bow-tie, with the Do’ers in the center and the rich and poor class fanning-out in both directions, along the liminal narrative of the decision making of the society.

It would appear that you would want this society aligned as the knot that looks good, i.e. aligned with “time” (“time” being the shoe laces) goes. But forces aligned that “looks good” might not always be the most resilient. It could be that the “slippage” you are experiencing with shoe laces that are aligned perpendicular with the knot is the resilience of the society.

If the “slippage” is the resilience, (and maybe it’s not), I don’t care if the knot slips or not, I always double-knot my shoelaces, to keep them tight, unless the dog has chewed the laces into halves (and perhaps halves knots).

4GW

John Robb was talking the other day, and Zenpundit  later expanded, about how to enter into another’s OODA loop. I suggested one way of positioning inside another’s loop, but I have thought of another. You can enter into another’s OODA loop through flux. Flux is when your position is within another’s, in such a way that the image of Ying/Yang is displayed. It can be said that you are in the position of Ying/Yang with another. This is an insurgency (incumbent/insurgency) position called Fourth Generational Warfare (4GW).

Call it what you want, Fourth Generational Warfare or a Fourth Generational World, this is a civil war, as we become connected, because of Globalization in Communication, like never before.

Well, maybe not unlike before. There could have been 3 more or less other cycles, so this could be the twelfth or thirteen, but who knows? In fact, this 4GW stuff is probably what happens when the world historically becomes connect on a globe scale. Maybe in a Rome-Countrymen-lend-me-your-ear type connection.

The problem is that there is no 5GW to go forward towards a future worth living. Of course there actually is 5GW, but it is without ethics, and it is ethics that a movement like Ying/Yang is structurally built out of. Therefore, a 5GW world is a world without structure and without structure a thing doesn’t exist.

What’s so terrifying about 4GW is that neither the incumbent nor the insurgency has an advantage over the other; they simply move one country, or another, this way or that. They are perpendicular forces (Ying over yang is the exponent that defines the structure of the insurgency) that just steer the movement one way or the other. Think General Sherman here, as he marched across the South in a most un-American maneuver. At least un-American for, at the time,  an American North and South.

But I would say we have choices:

  • We could continue to build a middle class, so the 1% incumbent force doesn’t over-power the 99%.
  • We could go back to 1GW, which is happening on our southern border.
  • We could go back to 2GW, which is happening on our northern border.
  • We could continually engage in 3GW, as the US has been in Iraq and Afghanistan, to mention just a few.
  • Or we could just continue to be terrified, as a war without ethics approaches.

It should be noted that the problem isn’t that the ethics of the American middle class has changed, as Paul Krugman’s graph shows us it hasn’t. If the ethic of the 99% had been the one changing so much, then there would have been big spikes in the addition/  subtraction of resources. The problem is that the ethics of the 1% is in constant change, as they “get religion” through the regulation of the market place, or lose their faith in the square.

Dunbar on the Middle East

As I have posted before, war is developing East and West between un-like people, but is being fought, North and South by like-people. The Middle East is a good representation of this phenomenon.

Arabs divide themselves as to those East of Egypt and those West of Egypt. I don’t know what this division is based on, but if I understand correctly, they believe those East are un-like those of the West. Genetically they are all Arabs, it is simply the part of genetics that is programed from the advantage the Arab takes from their environment that makes them different, East and West.

I don’t know that much about the environment on the East and West of Egypt, but the difference seems to be in the logic in the movement of Arabs, and those other peoples who lie East and West of each other. Those people North and South have similar environment, in which it gets colder the farther north you go and warmer the farther south. This phenomenon repeats itself  inversely at the southern hemisphere, where there are land masses. Because the world spins, pressure ridges form north and south that separate those east and west (think oceans as inverse ridges). The difference between the two, east and west, are caused by the environments that forms as the word spins.

Those of the East seem to follow the Eastern logic of the benevolent leader, while those of the West follow the logic of the strong father. They have taken on this logic because of the particular advantage it holds to the environment they observe.

The Eastern logic is more linear, while the Western is more non-linear. The benevolent leader forms attractive and repulsive forces that produce friction when they “slide” by one another. On the other hand, the strong father forms forces, of command and control, that are perpendicular to each other. The friction in the strong father is controlled by the vertical force of command.

Within the logic of the strong father, perpendicular forces form an area called a plane. This creates an exponent (area squared)  in the movement.
The exponent is commanded by the vertical perpendicular force, and controlled by the horizontal perpendicular force.

The Eastern logic forms forces of attraction and repulsion, which are added and subtracted linearally. The logic of a benevolent leader forms a sum of forces, which create the potential for movement when the sum is not zero. When the sum of the forces in the Eastern society are not zero, a center of gravity forms that attracts or repulses outside forces.

In the Middle East the forces of benevolentness are fighting the strong fathers. What this means to those of us in the USA is that the strong fathers will fight with the weapon they have always used, the price and availability of oil. We will see how those East and West in the USA react. We are becoming a society of benevolent leaders, but there is still some sentimental logic of the strong father in place.