#39 – Strategy and Tactics: Catastrophe in the Colonies

What does American colonial history have to do with current events? Well, first of all, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Our species’ dysfunctional behaviors have not fundamentally changed over time in other words, but neither have the solutions so let’s get started.

The history of humankind on planet Earth has been that of stumbling from one catastrophe to the next, a slow process of self-destruction. Is this a problem? Not unless we choose to remain unconscious. But when we do wake up we will have to change our strategy and our tactics. For example, let’s take the beginning of our own nation starting from the mid-18th century. Don’t worry, this will be short and sweet.

First however, it’s always a good idea to define our key terms. Strategy is the science or art of combining and employing the means of war in planning and directing large military movements and operations. Unconscious Americans have not been very good at this. (See Current Events #37)

Tactics involve the study of the most effective ways of securing strategic objectives set by strategy as in deploying and directing troops. Unconscious Colonial Americans were also not very good at this.

For example, in 1690 the French had a strategic plan of controlling the three great gulfs (Hudson’s Bay, St. Lawrence and Mexico), the four great rivers (St. Lawrence, Mohawk-Hudson, Ohio, Mississippi) and the five Great Lakes. The French tactics included building a series of forts along both the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys from which to carry on a lucrative trade with the Native Americans and to thwart the westward expansion of the British American colonists.

The British strategy was to use the numerical superiority of their colonists to destroy the French forts and drive out the French. The British tactics alas were where their whole scheme fell apart in the beginning but we all know that their strategy succeeded in the long run. What is our strategy in the 21st century to avoid disintegration into a dystopian future and what tactics do that strategy dictate?

What if we were writing an 18th century “current events” column for the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Gazette:

General Edward Braddock, the Duke of Cumberland with 1400 regular militia believed his superiority in firepower and trusted that his cannon would overwhelm the French at Fort Niagara. However, after two weeks of road-building for the heavy cannon and his 150 wagons loaded with supplies his troops were exhausted. Attacked in the forest, the exposed British soldiers in their red coats were easy targets for the French and their Indian allies firing from positions hidden among the trees and rocks and soon they had to retreat. All of his staff except George Washington were killed and Braddock himself died of his wound four days after the battle. Sixty-three out of eighty-six British officers were either killed or wounded. “The British arms had received one of the most dramatic and tragic defeats in all their history.”  (1)

Strategies to be successful must take into consideration where the action will take place, who will be involved in the action and what the participants will do. The principles underlying Simple Reality make it clear to all those with an open mind and an open heart that the context (where) of a successful strategy will have to be Oneness, the identity (who) will have to be the True self and the behavior (what) will have to be compassion. Ironically, the change necessary to move from our current chaos to peace and equanimity would be far easier and much less painful than it will be to continue on our current path.

Insight # 39:   Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.    Anonymous


  • Change in The ABCs of Simple Reality, in print and on this blog, by Roy Charles Henry, 2018.


  1. Gabriel, Ralph Henry [ed.]. The Pageant of America Volume VI. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1927, page 77.