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  1. In first world countries, we are spoiled rotten, and lose all sense of proportion. Hardly a brush with death, we go years, decades even without the slightest inkling of death's sting. Time feels endless, and we feel invincible - if a problem arises, all we gotta do is try harder. Right? A couple of workshops and a few PDFs and we're ready. Technology is bliss.

    On the flip side, this lifestyle doesn't help prepare for reality at all. It leads to decadence - constantly bored shitless, on the lookout for the next distraction, the next shock to remind us of being alive.

    The military leader who faced the French and the Americans was General Vo Nguyen Giap. He was always the underdog, fighting against an enemy with unlimited resources, firepower and superior training. What the hell did he have? A bunch of peasants - though they had deep-seated morale, not much else. No trucks to carry supplies, and quite antiquated communication systems. A different general would've tried to compete with the French and the Americans by catching up to their level of technology. Giap was offered trucks, radios, weapons, and training from China, but he rejected them all. Why? He knew they would only turn the North Vietnamese into a weak version of their enemy. So, he decided to turn his army's weaknesses into virtues.

    First of all, Americans could spot trucks from the air, and bomb them. Americans couldn't bomb supply lines they couldn't see - so Giap used a huge network of peasants to carry supplies on their back, use rope bridges that hung below water level to cross rivers. Americans never figured out how the North Vietnamese supplied their soldiers in the field until after the war.

    Giap also developed hit & run guerrilla tactics that disrupted American supply lines. In order to fight and move troops and supplies, Americans used helicopters. Very mobile, but the war was won on the ground, so Giap used the jungle to neutralize American air superiority, discombobulate their soldiers and hide his soldiers. Of course, his men couldn't withstand a trench war, match bullet for bullet against that superior firepower, so he focused only on symbolic and demoralizing attacks that would send the war home on American TV.

    With minimum supplies, Giap enacted maximum effect.

    The logic?

    Armies that have more money and resources and firepower have a fatal flaw. They always become predictable, cuz they only rely on their equipment instead of knowledge and strategy. thus they grow mentally lazy. Whenever they encounter problems, their solution is to acquire more of what they have ($$$, resources, firepower). That doesn't bring victory - only how they use it. Those that have less resources, money and firepower are naturally more creative, more inventive. Creativity always has an edge over anyone dependent on technology. They learn faster, adapt quicker, and outsmart the tech-dependent junkie.

    Having less than the enemy doesn't mean it's a foregone conclusion. By using great economy, the situation can be turned around. If you and the enemy are equals, then you're better off using what you have better than the other guy, instead of trying to grab more weapons. If you have more than the other guy, then fight economically.

    Pablo Picasso said it best:
    Even if you are wealthy, act poor.

    The poor are more creative, and have more fun because they value what they have and know their limits. Sure, if you have the superior technology, you ought exploit it -- see how the US military succeeded in the 1991 war against Iraq. They didn't just depend on superior technology (though that got them air control) they learned from their screwjob in Vietnam, and employed maneuvers and feints and mobility much like a smaller, guerrilla force. Advanced technology with creative strategy = devastation.

    More later.