Sun Tzu believes the highest ideal in victory is to win without fighting. That means winning without hurting anyone, keeping the most gains. It takes a person of great skill and wisdom to be able to pull off such a victory. It takes a rare amount of insight and creativity. It takes, in short, a lot of care and love. But it's not easy, otherwise everyone would do it.
And there are pitfalls throughout the endeavor: pain, temptations, apathy.
Overcome pain with reason. We can endure great pain if we understand why we go through pain to get to where we need to be.
Overcome temptations with reason. We can shun all temptations if we understand what nobility is. Nobility is forgoing the small even though everyone else thinks it's big.
Overcome apathy with reason. Apathy isn't doing anything. It's a sitting duck. So take one step toward being better and you are already running circles around apathy.
Achieving victory is passable, but the gains from that victory vary. For example, a pyrrhic victory is not really a victory.
Winning without kindness may be passable, but tainted. It's barely worth keeping, certainly not worth bragging about. Re-writing the story makes for good fiction -- it cannot bridge the ideal.
So great is the ideal that if we were given a choice between victory or kindness, we can automatically choose kindness. Obtaining a victory without kindness is common. How can anyone admire it? But the times we see people maintaining their kindness even in the face of loss or losing are few. They are always memorable. They are the stories worth telling.
P.S.: Sonshi is back after a two-year hiatus! I hope to tell more stories.