In On War, chapter
one, section 28, Carl von Clausewitz speaks of a "wonderful trinity"
composed of (1) violence, hatred, and animosity, (2) the play of
probabilities and chance, and (3) the subordinate nature of a political
instrument. These could be called, for short, (1) blind instinct, (2)
free activity of the soul, and (3) an exercise of reason. He continues:
These three tendencies,
which appear like so many different lawgivers, are deeply rooted in the
nature of the subject, and at the same time variable in degree. A
theory which would leave any one of them out of account, or set up any
arbitrary relation between them, would immediately become involved in
such a contradiction with the reality, that it might be regarded as
destroyed at once by that alone.
The problem is, therefore, that
theory shall keep itself poised in a manner between these three
tendencies, as between three points of attraction.
The way in which alone this
difficult problem can be solved we shall examine in the book on the
"Theory of War."
These three components are all classes of causal factors that drive the
system called war. They act as "points of attraction" as magnets would
operate on an iron pendulum. Clausewitz does not promise to solve the
mathematical three-body problem that his analogy sets up. He says that
the problem is that there are these three interacting attractors and
any theory of war that is set up must be able to deal with the
problematical (nonlinear, in fact) nature of the phenomenon called war.