By Kevin Annett
August 15, 2015
Whoever grasps and holds onto the essential energy (shih) of a situation will control the outcome of any battle and the fate of any opponent, no matter how powerful they are. – Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Men always begin revolutions with their eyes fixed on the past. – Frederich Engels
What is nothing has been chosen to bring to nothing all the things that are. – 1 Corinthians 1:28
Imagine for a moment the present global tyranny not simply as a visible system of corporatism, violence and corruption, but as a vast energy transfer, sucking the wealth, vitality and life from billions of people and the biosphere itself into one massive machine. Call that machine whatever you like; its nature and behavior is geared towards a single purpose, and that is the absorption of life into itself. It is one enormous feeder, and we are its morsels.
To first understand this simple truth equips us inwardly to stop this insatiable complex and our participation in it, far better than can mere political analysis. But understanding alone does not free us to act.
All interactions in our universe involve an essential energy that guides the movement of every particle, and determines every outcome. Sun Tzu called this energy “shih”; Plato saw it as a pre-existing essence behind the mask of appearances. Some like to call it God. Regardless of its nomenclature, this Source that binds our reality is like a mighty river that can either sweep us along helplessly, or be utilized by us to alter reality. Every ruler understands this simple fact, even while the rest of us have been trained not to grasp it, and thereby are kept eyeless in a harness held by a few.
Those who understand and utilize this “shih” are able to control the thoughts and actions of the multitudes of humanity only as long as the latter are devoid of their own access to shih. The primary means of stripping humanity of attaining its normally inherent shih power is by using fear and trauma based conditioning at a very young age to cause people to habitually surrender and defer at every level to some “higher” external power, and thereby transfer their own particle of shih to that power.
Such an unending energy transfer from the many to the few is the basis of all elite rule in our world. And yet such a system is inherently unstable, since following Natural Law, the nature of shih as with any energy system is to disseminate equally and be held in common, and not privately: a fact that invalidates as contrary to the natural order all individual rule, whether by kings, presidents, popes or corporate oligarchies.
We know from our own experience that the loss of shih from the many to the few is not simply unnatural and disharmonious; it is so constant and systemic that it cannot be resisted by individual effort alone, since our individuality has been conditioned to operate habitually rather than consciously. We think like we eat – automatically – and therefore without shih. For instance, when faced with political repression by the government, our first reflex is to surrender our shih once again to them by “pressuring” them to give us justice through ritualized protest and petitioning, relying on their courts and government.
We do not seem capable of shifting our attention away from the existing “authorities” simply because we have no working experience of self-government: of what our own shih actually is. And thus like any lost child, we cannot try to change our world without continually deferring to the “powers that be”, whether that be a sympathetic judge, or a “progressive” politician, or even a spiritual adviser. Our imprinted slavery makes it impossible for us to collectively reclaim ourselves, and our world.
Erasing a conditioned imprint may begin within the individual, but it is not manifested individualistically; for collectivity is the nature of universal shih, which binds all phenomena in a “mutual garment of destiny and interconnectedness”.
In any successful revolution, the personal awakening of individuals inexorably causes a collective ripple effect in many other hearts and minds that generates a new kind of “group shih”: one that is unalterably opposed to the shih of the rulers. This new energy system is a living and working counter-culture that draws energy and power away from the rulers and their system, and returns it to the multitude of people, provided the latter can hold onto it as a group by retaining their own new and separate identity.
The very nature and purpose of our struggle today is to achieve precisely such a new energy transfer, and allow all of humanity to reclaim their natural shih and the collective liberty that it bestows. This purpose must continually guide our thoughts, words and deeds.
Applying Shih Knowledge to our Present Situation
The Chinese general Sun Tzu, writing thousands of years ago, had the best practical understanding of how such an awareness of the essential energy behind reality can and must be used in concrete struggles, especially in war and politics. “Nothing is permanent in life except conflict and change” he wrote in his Art of War. “One either masters the shih of one’s opponent or is mastered by it.”
If we set aside our western philosophical bias that dualistically separates matter from spirit, we recognize that Sun Tzu is accurately describing the dance that occurs in any conflict with an adversary. As he writes,
“Enemies, like all opposites, are mutually dependent on one another, being part of a greater unity and purpose. Thus, enemies are defeated not by their destruction but by their absorption into that greater whole.”