If we want to win the long-term battle for a better world. We have to start by understanding and using strategy. Anyone who analyzes what is happening in politics, religion and even most work places soon becomes aware that what is at fault is often policy, poor conceptualization of what needs to be done, and a failure of what Senior Bush called the “vision thing.” As a result people fall prey to false, misleading, or twisted “visions” that lead to bad outcomes. This is not a matter of tactics, this is a matter of bad strategy. Good tactics follow good strategy. This is not a matter of winning battles, but of how to win wars in such a way that the “enemy” has become a friend and thinks he/she won.
Tactics is an old game for humans. Anthropologists and biologists are finding out that tactical games are old hat dating back millions of years. The ability to use short term strategies to win goals is built into our genes. I’m not sure how well good strategy is built into our genes. Sometimes it seems that short term self-serving, but long term destructive strategies are built into our genes. Even so, good strategy can beat bad strategy any day. And good tactics follow from good strategy. So how do we achieve functional strategy?
Good Strategy is about playing a deeper game. It reguires we recognize the strategy of opponents and come up with means to combat them.


Strategy is always present, even when not explicitly so. In my previous post I talked about “abusive mythologizing” and how people use stories to create myths that then are used to counter inconvenient truths or to win people to their side in their struggle for power and dominion over others. The power of such myths was identified for the first time in the modern period by Georges Sorel. And as Mimi noted in her comment on my blog entry, the shameless, perverse and hypocritical use of myth is an ongoing feature of modern life.
There is nothing wrong with using the methods of the PaRDeS (literal, allegorical, Sermonical, and insightful) interpretations of religious texts to advance spiritual awakening and understanding. However, there is something very wrong with the way these tools are used by many of our present day religious, spiritual and political leaders.
The founders of most modern religions were seeking to guide and save people from suffering. Instead their disciples have used these methods to abuse myth, and coupled with lies, have created abusive mythologizing in order to keep people from doing the kind of thinking that would free them from such delusions. Such mythologizing is like the “poison” that the Lotus Sutra talks about. What should be a medicine (religion) becomes an “opiate” and then in the hand of abusive people a poison.
So the “strategy” to fight this sort of strategy. The founder of Nichiren Buddhism recommended the “strategy of the Lotus Sutra.” I believe that he was talking about using the hermaneutics (teaching strategy) of the Lotus Sutra to disabuse people of abusive myths, and establish the kind of fable, myth, and stories that are both inwardly true, descriptive of the real world, creative, nurturing, and that would be transformative of society. This requires, however, that people grow up. In the past this meant that the leaders had to grow up and learn exactly what they were doing, why they were doing, and what it all really meant. This was appropriate “esotericism.” They had to do this in order to combat abusive mythologizing, money grubbing religious teachers, and ignorant people who had no idea of what was going on. The temptation to fall into the same pattern was so strong that for many of Nichiren’s followers the meaning of “strategy of the Lotus Sutra” was turned on its head. It came to mean chant daimoku and ignore the sutra.
So the deeper game is to train people to understand and use myths intelligently, spiritually, and without attaching to literalism or dogmatism. That is a difficult game, but I know it can be done. It is the strategy of the Lotus Sutra.
Chris