Sunday, December 27, 2009

Confirmation of Principle

It is a premise of strategic thought that confrontation can best be reduced/minimised/avoided by resorting to the technique of re-framing the context within which the conflict is structured. IOW, to alter the conditions that permit or support a fight taking place. I have written on this topic before.

I have just been introduced to a blog called The Last Psychiatrist. Not seeming to have a traditional "Who is ..." link, there is this in the archive section: "A blog about mercantilism and fourth generation warfare.", which sheds light on what follows.

In the post titled Intentionality of Treatment, our anonymous author cites an experiment testing the validity of the influence preconception and belief have on the physical outcome resulting from some stimulus to an individual (Link to the actual experiment report). The experiment is structured to measure the difference in perceived as well as physiological response to intentional and unintentional pain stimulus. My belief is that individual pain is also a viable substitute for individual threat or strategic positional challenge, even though the experiment didn't specifically address that supposition. The Last Psychiatrist identifies the result as cognitive reframing and offers this initial observation:

"Cognitive reframing can be used everywhere.

There are plenty of examples related to pain, but it's better if this can be applied more generally. When things are bad, is there a way to experience them as less bad? Instead of studying something as vague as "sadness" or "anxiety" let's look at something concrete: losing money."

Follow the link for the specifics, but what is demonstrated is that how one views an action, the context within which one considers or responds to something, has a measurable effect on one's response. This complies with the strategic premises addressing competition and conflict between positions. Following from Sun Tzu's dictum, "the best general is one who wins without fighting", it can be seen that cognitive reframing is a summation of the combined tactics of alliance and maneuver to defeat an enemy by less-direct means.

"But the important part of this message is that a person's experience of anything is very much influenced by context, presentation.

Psychiatry has adopted a policy of pulling aside the curtain: letting the patient in on the language usually reserved for practitioners, which is fine, except that it is almost always misunderstood."

The bing fa, the philosophy that underlies Sun Tzu's strategic treatise, is very much applicable to the individual, but is structured such that it expands quite smoothly up through the group to the civilizational level of implementation. It would seem that it also extends into the therapeutic realm as well, both in application as well as general misunderstanding. I submit that at least some of the psychological conditions people consult psychiatrists and psychologists for might be positively addressed by inclusion of the philosophy Sun Tzu promulgated into the individual context we each consider the world from.

Thanks Labrat.

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