On grand strategy
- Time of issue:2021-10-23 11:58
On grand strategy
Foxes know a lot, hedgehogs know a lot.
This sentence comes from the contemporary British philosopher Isaiah Berlin in 1953 published in "The Hedgehog and the Fox" and extended it to describe the differences in the thinking of historical figures. The fox is clever and adept at chasing multiple goals, but its thinking is fragmented and centrifugal. The hedgehog has a single goal and is stubborn, and its thinking adheres to a one-way and universal principle, which regulates all words and deeds. Based on this, Berlin provides a taxonomy for analyzing human thinking. Berlin believes that Plato, Dante, Nietzsche, and Hegel belong to the hedgehog type, while Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Goethe belong to the fox type.
Clearly, good strategic thinking is a combination of the two, with firm, long-term goals and consistent principles like a hedgehog, and agility and adaptability to circumstances like a fox. So: a good strategy is a balance of goals and capabilities. And the key point here is: know where the balance is? Know a change should be made? This is the key to a good strategy! In Sun Tzu's Art of War, Sun Tzu said, "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know the enemy but know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know the enemy but do not know yourself, you will lose every battle."
People with fox-type thinking have a natural ability to integrate various information in the current environment and make intuitive judgments, but they lack a grand sense of purpose. Conversely, people with a hedgehog mindset lack keen insight into the current environment and self-critical thinking, but have a firm, or somewhat blind, belief in grand goals.
A first-rate wise man is one who can hold two diametrically opposed thoughts in his mind at the same time, and still remain motivated.
So, most of us are not first-rate wise men, we are either hedgehogs or foxes. But better yet, we need to reconcile the hedgehog's sense of direction and the fox's sensitivity to its surroundings in our own brains, while also maintaining mobility. How to do it?
There is a simple and effective method: reflection, or critical thinking. Critical thinking is the rethinking of the thought process. Critical thinking can allow us to better examine the present, so as not to fall into the blindness of hedgehog thinking and avoid the shortcomings of hedgehog thinking; critical thinking can also allow us to collect more information and more effectively adjust the means to achieve goals, Also give full play to the strengths of fox thinking.
The essence of thinking is reflection, and the ability to reflect is also the fundamental reason why people distinguish other animals. A life without reflection is not worth living.
The main core content of this book on grand strategy is a sentence, the perfect fusion of infinite ambition and limited ability.
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