View Full Version : Theoretical Constructs

Gustavo Woltmann
02-29-2016, 01:11 PM
It is not my intention to be stern or lecturing. I have not studied cultural anthropology nor more than a few articles and a book or so on neuroscience. This is for learning.

It seems to me that you are assuming that people agree on what constitutes war, I think that is incorrect. The reason I mention this is because of your comment of expanding the concept of Center of Gravity due to its presence in the minds of military men.

If you combine Jomini and Clausewitz you will find that Jomini mentioned a number of different types of conflicts but that the gist of it is to arrange yourself so that you are most protected while best assuring the destruction of the enemies forces. As a sidenote, considering that the wars we have fought the last thousands of years have always stemmed from human beings and the decision makers have been human, that is a reasonable assumption. If the other party is dead, no more war is needed. Clausewitz famous first line goes somewhat along the lines of war being the continuation of politics by other means. A military makes war and war is bloody. War always have an element of violence. If the tools available are only violence, logistics to support the military operation, and various other affairs such as PSYOPs and economics, etc, and you put it into a tendancy of people, not just Americans even if especially Americans, of putting a more distinct split between a state of war, and a state of peace, then you are much more likely to approach the subject with the intent of using all national means at your disposal to insure the destruction of your enemy. After all, politicians makes policy. The military fights. And as somebody else pointed out previously, there is an unfortunate trend of forgetting previous lessons learned because the mistakes were not seen before they appear again.

Now, whether or not this is a correct view is certainly debatable. Napoleon during his invasion of Spain faced the consequences of not correctly identifying the enemy and political objective, however brilliant his maneuvers were in a conventional sense and however much can be learnt from his example in how to deal with certain enemies under certain circumstances. Considering his perspective lending to an understanding of society and its relation to war still exceeding that of many contemporaries, it is hard to blame him, but it does point to the tendency of people to not fully appreciate what they cannot deal with. Mao, Vo Nguyen Giap, Chieu Peng, OSS/SF, and many others would certainly not agree with the limiting of objectives. They set a political objective (not OSS/SF) and mobilized entire societies while organizing to fit their environment in order to be able to carry out a number of intermediate objectives to expell the foreigners and/or topple the local government, changing organizational and logistical details during this entire process, much of which depended on civilian support. Most importantly, they understood that the political objective was to make change to get to a different position as a society, or as leaders grappling for power, or for, whatever. The difference lies not really in different types of war, although they from our perspective are different - one is conventional and the other unconventional. I tend to suspect, especially considering Mao's term for the last phase of a Protracted People's War, that the difference is one of choosing the right tool for the task - emphasis, tactics, strategy, and logistics. The point of conflict is to resolve a conflict. A conflict of war has a political objective, but how you organize for it is what matters.

The point I make is that what you learn, experience, and study, influence how you organize in your mind to adapt to the circumstances in order to shape them - dynamically - read brain plasticity. This, you probably know already as a cultural anthropologist. Alas, the question in my opinion is not really whether or not this specific concept should be expanded because it is easier to adapt, but whether or not it is the best one applicable. I had not planned to post the above, but I want to give you an example for the following statement. If you want to change a critical part of a system, you have to make sure it fits the rest of the construct's elements that may, for instance, be supporting or interacting with the part you are trying to change. This has to be done while maintaining functional integrity with the tasks/circumstances it is to be applied to. I say this for reasons of for example cohesion, rationality of a system, ability to draw right conclusions from the framework, stability/efficiency of interacting parts, and that it is much easier to create a new system than to fix a broken one on the run, especially since the logic must still conform with experience. How you first come up with it is one thing, how you communicate it so that also can implement it is a matter of training - how people in reality learn to deal with problems. Do you agree or not, and if so why not?

I think this is interesting to put into an organization and communication perspective with an evolutionary context, for both people and organizational functions needed/created by us.

Secondly, I would like to know how you appreciate that theoretical constructs such as the CoG are incorporated into how people deal with their environment, e.g. mindset or Modus Operandi (apply where you see fit)?

I may not be able to reply immediately, since I am out of internet at home.

Take care,