February 2, 2023

The solution to securing a free state is to remain principles focused and training oriented. This means committing to the path of Constant and Never-ending Improvement (CANI), which also aligns with the Japanese ‘Kaizen’ philosophy made popular by Toyota’s manufacturing success.

The realm of conflict is, by its nature, a chaotic environment.  In the heat of conflict, an infinite number of variables can overwhelm the brain’s ability to process information and  respond accordingly. This is why the samurai emphasized the need for cultivating No Mind (Mushin).

Being in a state of No Mind is akin to having a highly polished mirror, free from dust or smudges that tend to blur the perception of reality.  In this state of pure awareness, the mind is not fixated on any one variable or input and, therefore, can encompass everything fluidly.

This is not the same as zoning out or disconnecting from the situation, quite the opposite.  No Mind is not a vegetative state, but a fully engaged way of being.  The difference is that, in the haphazard and rapidly developing circumstances of armed conflict, there is no time to process information in a conventional manner.

To be effective in combat, one must have systems in place that prevent falling prey to the ‘fog of war’.  This means that one must train to such a degree that techniques manifest without needing to consciously process the ever-shifting circumstances before taking action.

The Zen master Takuan Soho described this faculty as having the same interval between stimulus and response as that of the spark that flies at nearly the same instant a stone strikes a flint.  In such an interval of time, there is no opportunity to deliberate, quibble, or hesitate.  The action is immediate.

To respond fluidly and appropriately in such dynamic circumstances, the results of one’s training must manifest spontaneously, almost instinctively.  As much as it has a negative connotation in some circles, the combat method of early aviators, to fly by the seat of one’s pants, comes to mind. Prior to the advent of modern avionics, radar, and weapons guidance systems, fighter pilots needed to be in tune with the airframe and the most surface area interfacing with the plane was, indeed, the seat and legs.  This contact point is where the most available feedback informed the pilot of flying conditions, even amid a dogfight.

All of this is to say that there is no time in combat for deliberate calculation.  The heat of battle offers no time to weigh all the variables.  This is why Sun Tzu advised in the Art of War to ‘measure the counting rods’ in the temple, well before the engagement.

There is, then, a place for planning.  In fact, planning must be a central pillar in the lives of both individuals and organizations that want to endure and prosper in the world.  Most strategists advise deliberate and crisis-planning formulas as separate and distinct  processes that provide consistent planning frameworks for differing circumstances depending upon the amount of time available.

Planning is essential, yet plans are worthless, to paraphrase the dictum largely attributed to the Prussian strategist Helmuth von Moltke (1800-1891).  Putting an end to gun control will require extensive planning, yet may require abandoning, modifying, or re-working plans as situations develop.

No plan survives first contact with the enemy or, as boxer, Mike Tyson famously quipped: Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.

To secure a free state (which means accomplishing the lesser, included task of ending gun control) requires the whole body of the people, except for public officials (meaning those that make their living primarily through taxation), be organized, armed, and disciplined (US Const., Art 1, Sec 8, Cl 16).

Organized and disciplined means that people think and act strategically as well as tactically to reduce problems.  Conflict, up to and including war, is just another form of problem solving.  It just so happens to be the most difficult and consequence-laden form.  This is  what Sun Tzu meant when describing it as the ‘ground of survival or extinction’ in the Art of War.

Therefore, each individual’s training must include tactics that fit the circumstances, that are suitable for executing the law, repelling invasions, and suppressing insurrections, as well as strategies that make the most skillful use of resources while carrying out these vital governance functions.

To prevail in conflict requires thinking strategically yet acting tactically.  This only comes about through training and proper prior preparation.

As was stated earlier, the fog of war is a constant threat to skillful action in the realm of combat. It is easy to get confused in such an overwhelming environment.  This is why being organized and disciplined is just as important as being armed.

It is impossible to plan and train for every type of situation likely to be encountered in the pursuit of securing a free state.  This is why adhering to thoroughly ingrained principles is so crucial to carrying out verifiable justice, performing with honor, and delivering authentic security in service to the political community.  It is also essential for maintaining legitimacy over time.

Training in principles is more important than techniques.  Having sound principles will ensure that the techniques manifest skillfully as situations unfold.  It also alleviates the need for deliberation in the heat of battle.  Sticking to principles provides confidence that the actions will be correct in the preponderance of cases.

Through rigorous training, one develops an intuitive sense of when they are on or off course.  As the great samurai swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi, wrote in his Book of Five Rings: Anything done in contravention of (principles-based) training cannot be the correct path.

For those seeking to secure a free state the principles are clear and abide in a scientific approach to law: Do all you have agreed to do and do not encroach upon others or their property.

This is The Way.