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Thursday, June 2, 2022

33. Retreat



The Lines

1. [6] At first, the man is still near the enemy. This closeness makes him somewhat vulnerable. But if he remains quiet, he will in all likelihood be ignored.

2. [6] Some of the inferior forces will not be put off; they persist and demand attention. But such inferior individuals really seek a more constructive engagement, and the superior man accommodates them. Such minor actions do not disrupt the superior man's withdrawal.

3. [9] Being prevented from withdrawal by the insistence of certain opposing individuals is a hindrance and an annoyance. But by making use of these otherwise opposing individuals, the man can continue with his withdrawal, even if they are of little real assistance to him.

4. [9] In taking his leave from the fray, the superior man acts on his own volition, without antagonism or animosity. This is no problem for him, because his position is not diminished one bit. But the inferior opponent is not so well situated: without the structure and significance provided to the conflict by the superior man, the inferior man is left with nothing but his own inferiority to contemplate.

5. [9] When the time for withdrawal arrives, the superior man acts forthwith. Nevertheless, because his actions arise from his own initiative, and not as a direct response to the actions of his opponents, he can be kind and generous about it. Still, having determined the proper time for withdrawal, he is compelled to stick to it and not be deterred by trivialities.

6. [9] The time for withdrawal is chosen with absolute certainty. It is obvious that the time has come, and the naturalness of it and the lack of doubt connected with the decision create a sense of joy. With all elements in accord, the future cannot be other than auspicious

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