Go and Goal (3. The Fourth Condition)

2007-01-25

Not only did Paul abide by the principles stated in the last few pages of the book, but also he was greatly influenced by them.

However, he often felt lonely and slightly melancholic, partly because he seemed to be one of very few who were aware of these principles, and were willing to abide by them. This feeling returned to haunt him even after he just won the final tournament match game.

These principles, after translations, can be summarized as follows:

* Pursue a higher goal

In the Go history, has the world ever created a Go player who is decisively and convincingly the strongest Go player among his peers for a long period of time? The answer is NO. Some might have been the strongest for a few years. But soon they would be replaced by others. Nobody is an evergreen tree.

Therefore, while we try to study hard and improve our skills, we must bear in our minds that there must be a goal higher than simply striving for improving our skills.

This higher goal, or the highest goal, is believed to be benefiting the human race. Like other forms of art, such as music, paintings, dance, and poetry, the pursuers should also try to bear the same on their minds.

* Avoid deep emotion

Winning or losing does create happiness and sadness to a certain degree. But we should realize that a game on the board is just a game. Deep emotion should not spill too far beyond the board.

If we lose to Mr. Wang, simply admit that we are weaker than Mr. Wang is. No but's or if's. Do not need to find excuses. If Wang is at level 3, admit that we are only at 2.8. We deserve to lose. Then devote our energy to improving our skills, instead of sighing, pouting, or feeling sad.

* Learn chasing one rabbit at a time

The winner of a game usually encloses a single vast territory, and a few small areas of territories. Do not try to enclose more than two big areas. We will end up enclosing none. Furthermore, if we only enclose only a single vast territory, and if that is all we have, usually our territory is not enough.

If we intend to pay much attention to Go, try not to neglect other smaller daily-life commitments.

* Give up something

The most profound strategy in Go is giving up stones in the right places at the right times. By giving up stones, we gain situational advantages.

While we try not to neglect other daily-life commitments, we also should be willing to give up some unimportant activities that conventional people are unwilling to give up. The author of this book stated this principle with regret. Had he refrained himself from indulging in wining and dining, he would have become a stronger Go player. Wining and dining can be "stones" that we consider giving up.

* Restrict killing to on the Go board

Lions eat the antelopes. Sharks eat the yellow fish. Chickens eat worms. Nature accepts that because lions and sharks do not have a sense of what is right or wrong. Also, they need to sustain their bodies by eating others.

Mongolians under the leadership of Genghis Khan slaughtered thousands of innocent people in numerous cities. The shed blood became streams like rivers. They committed such atrocities only because they had stronger muscles.

Human beings slaughter cows, pigs, and chickens for food, only because they have stronger muscles, and because they are unwilling to modify their gluttonous appetites.

The strong defeat the weak on Go boards. We are fortunate that we have Go to channel our aggression.

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