The problems with that are obvious. Those three words: "pride," "small," and "limited" expose them clearly. Without a sense of the Big Picture, or at least the Grand Strategy, the accomplishments of tactical competence and logistical expertise are ephemeral, at best. Sometimes even counter-productive.
But I am beginning to understand the Grand Strategy.
Every conflict, every discomfort or dissonance within and among humans devolves to the fundamental dynamic of fear versus love. This applies as much to the uneasiness of depression or the anxiety of relationship stress as it does to the wars of nation-states and ideologies.
The Grand Strategy, then, is simple: Let love win.
If it's so simple, why don't I do it more?
Because it's hard. Love makes demands on us. Love can involve hurt, loss, sacrifice.
Love may require us to lose a hundred battles as the price of ultimate victory.
Love may demand of us patience, tolerance, and trust beyond the close horizon of fear.
Love may make us endure, in uncertainty, in pain-- our own or someone else's.
Or love may- and often does- demand that we change. Change our assumptions. Change our cherished beliefs. Change our interpretation of our own experience. Make unaccustomed choices. Take risks. Accept the anguish of failure, of being wrong, and learn from it.
Fear often disguises itself very effectively, as a form of love, playing on our unspoken desires and vulnerabilities, our wish to avoid change and protect what we think we have or know. Fear's most potent weapon is the belief that the end will justify the means.
Love requires us to think outside of our selves, to embrace humility and often to relinquish control. The obvious, short-term right choice may appear kind, particularly if it is easy. Sometimes it is the right choice, sometimes not. Sometimes the procrastination of fear cloaks itself as wisdom's deferral of action.
Love is mindful. Love links heart and mind together to sort through choices, identify the insidious ease of self-gratification and look past it. It takes practice.
It sounds simple: Let love win.
But this Grand Strategy is truly the Way of the Warrior, requiring focus, discernment, moment-to-moment awareness, the acceptance of hardship, and the constant discipline of practice and effort.
Let love win. It is always worth it, in the Long Game.
And this, too, is the Message that lies like a kernel at the heart of all the great holidays and festivals we celebrate at this time of year. So- a bright Soyal to you, a happy Hannukah, a merry Christmas, a joyous Kwanzaa, a comforting Yule, a refreshing Festivus, a brilliant Sadeh, a delightful Dongzhi. We celebrate the power of letting love win.