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DECEMBER 01, 2008

The Captain's Log, by Christian DREYER bzw.

This is quite a magic moment in Swiss TV, indeed - it's an interview with Harro von Senger, Swiss sinologist who popularised the Chinese 36 Stratagems in western thinking. In this programme, he discusses both the concept of stratagems as well as his most recent book Moulüe which reveals an ultra-long term, targeted thinking that is beyond what we consider to be strategic. The discussion, or rather, the somewhat clumsily scripted monologue is a useful first introduction into von Senger's subject. It is interesting to observe how very outlandish that subject appears to be to his interviewers, even though they have evidently done their homework.

I've read Moulüe a while back, and I've been fascinated by the book. Von Senger's writing is chattier than his TV presence, meaning that it has its lengths. But these lengths are filled with a lot of erudite detail about Chinese literature and practice, so they are easily suffered. The concept itself of thinking "strategically" (for lack of a better word) over multiple generations with a view to a defined objective is quite an eye-opener, especially in conjunction with dialectical materialism as practised by the Communist Party. Many think that China has gone native with capitalism, but I have my doubts ...

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„Sternstunde Philosophie - Die unsichtbare Software des chinesischen Denkens“, Frau Monika Maria Trost und Herr Michael Pfister im Gespräch mit Harro von Senger: broadcasted by Schweizer Fernsehen 1: Sunday 16 November 2008, 11.00 – 12.00, Monday 17 November 2008, 00.35 – 01.30, Wednesday 19 November 2008, 04.30 – 05.30, Saturday 22 November 2008, 09.15 – 10.00; by SFinfo: Tuesday 18 November 2008, 12.00 – 13; by 3sat: Sunday 23 November 2008, 09.15 – 10.00.