Today when the students arrived the desks were gone in favor of Ghanima's preferred set-up of rugs, cushions, some divans, and large pillows, the classroom having been redone in Fremen-style for the rest of the semester. In the center of the room was a pile of small red books
, one for each student to take and keep.
"Good morning," Ghanima said once the majority of the class seemed to be settled. "Welcome back, I'm glad to see I did not frighten any of you off. Today we are starting with the first chapter, 'Laying Plans.'"
"War." Ghanima surveyed them sharply, making sure she had everyone's full attention. "The term calls to mind battlefields and generals. The most successful battles, however, are not fought with soldiers, but behind closed doors with words. They are the battles you never hear about, because there is no glory to them."
"There is the war of the sexes, the war between companies and corporations, economic wars, ideological wars, political wars, and wars between the social classes, all of which tend to start on a more basic level, and escalate to the stereotype. Whether you are wooing a romantic partner or a business rival, or meeting an enemy with your weapon drawn, the same principals hold true."
"The Art of War." Picking up a well-loved red book from her desk, Ghanima flipped it open to her marked page and began reading. "The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining int he field. These are: One - The Moral Law. Two - Heaven. Three - Earth. Four - The Commander. Five - Method and Discipline." She snapped the book shut and placed it beside her.
"The Moral Law," she announced, hopping off her desk, "causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger."
"Heaven and Earth are metaphors for the conditions you face, which is slightly more applicable to physical confrontations. However, if you view each type of terrain as a mental condition, you will have a large advantage over your opponent," Ghanima said briskly as she walked through the rows, hands gesturing as she spoke. "Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons, whereas Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death."
"The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness."
"By method and discipline, it is to be understood that it means the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure."
"These five heads should be familiar to every general," she recited, eyes glowing bright for a moment. "He who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail."
"Now, when you take these five factors, you must decide how to apply them. Luckily for us, Sun Tzu provided seven ways you can weigh them before making your decision."
"First, which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law? Who has the army and the populace behind them? Because without the support of your people, you cannot win." Ghanima turned to face all of them as she leaned against a wall. "I cannot stress that point enough. Even if it is simply your friends, or the other members of your company, you will win nothing without the support of your 'troops', if you will."
"The others are more basic; which of the two generals has most ability? With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth? On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced? Which army is stronger? On which side are officers and men more highly trained? In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?
"Now, I'd like you to pair up, and discuss which of the five constant factors you feel to be the most important, and why."