Sun Tzu’s The Art of War Vs. The InterGroup Institute’s The Art of InterGroup Peace

The Art of Intergroup PeaceWhat are the differences between Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and the InterGroup Institute’s The Art of InterGroup Peace?

Both books are written to advise leaders how to deal with intergroup situations. The Art of War addresses groups that are in a state of conflict and explains how to win in those conflicted situations. The Art of InterGroup Peace also addresses groups in a state of conflict, but offers strategies, approaches, plans, tactics, understandings, and approaches to help groups achieve intergroup Peace.

Difference One — Deception Vs. Honesty — The Art of War assumes the other group is the enemy and preaches, teaches, and advocates deception, dishonesty, and both doing and saying things to mislead the other group.

The Art of InterGroup Peace believes the other group should be an ally and a friend, and teaches honesty, candor, transparency, and communications with the other group that are anchored in truth.

Difference Two — Understand to Help or Understand to Damage — Both books advocate studying and understanding the other group well. The Art of War teaches leaders to understand the other group in great depth in order to assure their defeat.

The Art Of InterGroup Peace also teaches leaders to understand the other group in great depth — but calls for that understanding in order to help the other group achieve success.

Difference Three — Win/Lose versus Win/Win as the goal and strategy. The Art of War is anchored in a win/lose paradigm — with the belief that in every intergroup setting, the goal should be to win and to have the other group lose.

In a worst-case scenario, The Art Of War can also trigger and support a lose/lose paradigm, where people hate the other group so much that they are willing to lose in various ways in order to inflict more damage on the other group.

For The Art of InterGroup Peace, the goal, strategy, and commitment is to achieve Win/Win results — with all groups wanting both to win themselves, and to have the other group succeed as well.

If we want Peace in America for ourselves, for our children, and for our grandchildren — then we need to use the Win/Win strategies that are embedded in The Art of InterGroup Peace.

Win/Lose outcomes in any setting result in the loser continuing to do what needs to be done to achieve a future win — so both Win/Lose outcomes and Lose/Lose outcomes are inherently unstable. Any setting that results in losers contains the seeds for future conflict and possible future defeat.

To achieve and protect intergroup Peace in America, we need to use the Peace tool kit intentionally and well. We need honesty instead of deceit, we need sympathetic understanding instead of pathological misunderstanding, and we need a clear commitment from each of us and from all of us to help each other win so that we can, in the end, all win.

The InterGroup Institute website contains four books explaining Us/Them behaviors, Us/Them thought processes, and Us/Them instincts.

When we perceive other people as “Them,” we tend to dislike and distrust “Them,” and we try to damage them. We suspend consience in dealing with people we define to be “Them.”

We need to expand the number of people in our communities and settings we include in our sense of “Us” — and we need to decrease the number of people in each setting who we perceive to be “Them.”

There are six easy-to-use tools that can help us do exactly that — and there are eight ways that we can find ourselves aligned. Those ways and tools are all explained in the InterGroup books.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu has lasted nearly 2,000 years, because we are so often in various kinds of intergroup war, and because he gives very practical advise to the people at war.

We need to spend the next 2,000 years teaching each other the basic belief systems, tools, strategies, and commitments embedded in The Art of InterGroup Peace — because they do work to create a sense of “Us,” and we will not stop fighting with each other until we achieve the realization that we are a values based “Us” in sufficient numbers, to offset the energy and momentum of all of the people who want us at war with one another.

Enjoy the website and the books.

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This post was written by Institute for InterGroup Understanding