Twenty-seven Temples of Truth

Dash Fire Diaries
7 min readJan 15, 2023

Excerpts from The Twenty Seven Temples of Truth

By T.E. Lawrence

“I say, do you think this is simple enough for Browntrout and Stanley to understand?”

First Temple

If you cannot win ordinary folk to your cause, turn to the malcontents, the troublemakers, in short, the dregs of society. They will have the fewest number of attachments and the greatest number of resentments. Those resentments are energy to be harnessed in your campaign. A rogue’s first loyalty is to gold, so have plenty of it on hand to keep any brigands in your employ content.

Second Temple

Keep as far from the urban districts as possible. Confine your actions to remote, inaccessible, mountainous regions where it will be difficult for the enemy to patrol and resupply. Take action against provincial towns and municipalities — never cities or large industrial complexes, as these will be fortified and heavily guarded.

Third Temple

You cannot win by main force, so do not try. In combat, initiate offensive moves only in ambush, hit and run style attacks, at nighttime. Never engage in trench warfare, long, drawn-out campaigns, or attempt to capture military objectives. Seek to destroy and obstruct, but never to possess. The majority of your actions should be defensive in nature.

Fourth Temple

If you cannot win the local people’s love, then make them fear you. Come at night. Spread and encourage propaganda which enhances legendary tales of your exploits. Wear masks and costumes that frighten and intimidate. Set fire to the homes and crops of any civilians who impede your progress.

Fifth Temple

As we have seen, your choice of weapons is important. A well-placed elephant gun such as the .577 Nitro Express can do infinitely more damage than a Vickers machine gun. The unicorn is a Medieval beast. As such, Medieval weapons that produce blunt force, lacerations and deep puncture wounds such as maces, pikes and lances may be most serviceable.

Sixth Temple

Do not underestimate the importance of symbolism. If at all possible, remove the horns from every warcorn you fell and ornament yourself and your men with them. The terroristic value of this gesture is inestimable. Do not quibble over moralistic concerns regarding decorum. In guerilla warfare, one must grasp every tool at one’s disposal. It is simply a pragmatic measure for ensuring ultimate victory.

Seventh Temple

Do not expect there to ever be any such thing as “ultimate victory,” unless the ordinary people turn to your cause. Do not pursue any notion of justice at all. Your short-term, concrete objectives are the most achievable.

Eighth Temple

Every soul in your outfit is precious. No man — no Saysquack — is expendable. There are very few of you and each person has a specialist job to do. Therefore, you must be extremely conservative regarding risk. The enemy can afford to lose far more men and materiel than you can.

Ninth Temple

You are in the house of the enemy and therein lies his greatest weakness. Why? Because he will feel secure knowing that you are unfamiliar and unwelcome there. By putting yourselves on intimate terms with the land and its people you can turn the tables and seize the element of surprise. He is also weak in that he will feel the need to protect home and hearth before military installations. Therefore, make him think that civilian targets are your objective. The key is not to do what he thinks you will do.

Tenth Temple

Be afraid at all times. The fear you that instill in your enemy must be ten times greater in your own hearts, if you wish to survive. Not animal fear, not panic, but the realization that death lurks everywhere. Expect death, and you will stay one step ahead of it, or better yet two or three or four steps.

Eleventh Temple

Order your men to not speak above a whisper unless the situation warrants it. Walk on cat’s feet and watch your rear as well as your front. The best way to survive is to go unseen.

Twelfth Temple

When in formation, spread thin so you are not an easy target. Blend in by wearing enemy uniforms, if possible. Sow confusion if spotted. Speak the language. Lie boldly. Act as though you are meant to be there.

Thirteenth Temple

Do not engage in close quarters combat with the unicorn. Keep it at two arm’s length minimum at all times. We have seen what its acid blood does to flesh and bone, and how its flatus causes the heartiest lungs to shrivel. Discover the method of controlling it and subduing it and use of force will no longer be necessary.

Fourteenth Temple

Your penultimate aim should not be seek and destroy missions against the Einhornwaffe, but to discover the warcorn’s mechanism of control, and either seize it from the enemy or destroy it.

Fifteenth Temple

Your ultimate objective — the Holy Grail, if you will — is to discover the unicorns’ source of generation and reproduction and to permanently annihilate it. First, identify and destroy all breeding females. Then dispatch any cornlets or broods you may find in the nest. Achieve this, and you will end the Einhornwaffe’s reign of terror and destruction against the Allied Armies.

Sixteenth Temple

Check your bootlaces before going into any action. I have seen many a British soldier perish simply because his laces came undone at some crucial moment of truth. This is a preventable tragedy.

Seventeenth Temple

Keep each unit small, keep every campaign brief, make every mission limited in scope, and incisive in action.

Eighteenth Temple

Do not tarry in one place for long, ideally no longer than twelve hours maximum. Keep moving. Three-minute rest-stops are ideal. Men should be trained to sleep sitting up with one eye opened. Place pickets in all directions, and at prominent vantage points.

Nineteenth Temple

Take meals as efficiently and expeditiously as possible. Cooking fires should be eliminated, lest their smoke reveal your location. With practice, men can be trained to eat raw flour and corn meal mixed into water to form a doughy paste which I affectionately term, “the stomach plugger.” It will effectively allay hunger pangs for up to five hours or more, can be conveniently carried and squeezed from a tube, allowing for consumption even during combat. With drilling, a man can consume a full “meal” of Stomach Plugger in under 60 seconds.

Twentieth Temple

When a man must evacuate his bowels, have three other men form a circle around the evacuee to have as a sound dampener in case enemy spies overhear the bodily function and become suspicious. Use an entrenchment tool to did a hole four-feet deep, place the excreta in it along with a gallon of petrol and then light it up. This will destroy all evidence of your presence. With practice, concentration and discipline, a man may eliminate elimination entirely, thus doing away with yet another liability.

Twenty-First Temple

Treat the men as equals, not subordinates. Typical military rules of rank, privilege and hierarchy do not apply in guerilla warfare. You need more than just nominal cooperation to be successful in your campaign. Your men must love and follow you without question or hesitation. They can only do that as equals.

Twenty-Second Temple

I highly recommend the camel as a source of transportation and companionship. They are hardy, require little by way of forage or water, and could be dyed or painted green to blend in with the forest situation you find yourself in. They are also good to eat in emergency situations.

Twenty-Third Temple

It is only through self-degradation and self-negation that true enlightenment can be achieved. All the profits knew this. I know it. Whether or not you take pleasure in starvation or the lash, know that it will purify your spirit, make you see with new acuity of vision, and leave you with a clear mind.

Twenty-fourth Temple

Man’s will can sharpen his spirit and hurl it at any objective. The will is the forge in which all ideas are given form and hardened for use as tools. How durable the tool depends on how hot the forge and how hard the strike of the hammer that shapes them.

Twenty-Fifth Temple

Crying is fine, so long as it is muffled by the flank of a camel or some other non-judgmental riding or pack animal. If crying in front of the men, the trick is to make them think that the leader’s tears are a type of test to judge their reaction. Always conclude a crying jag by laughing loudly, regardless of what you may be actually feeling. The men will also think this is a test.

Twenty-Sixth Temple

Use celestial navigation, but never use clouds as way-markers. Moss only grows on the East side of blue spruce trees. If lost, the best way to become found is to rename landforms and topographic features in a manner suitable to the expedition.

Twenty-Seventh Temple

Keep interactions with locals brief and jovial. Never take tea with the enemy, as this will be an immediate “tell” that you are English. If you are offered a sausage, do not remove the sausage, but consume the casing as well as the meat. The pig is venerated as a sacred animal in Germany and Austria. Never attempt to act familiar with one. When interacting, be sure that Stanley and any other saysquacks are adequately disguised. Do not go amongst enemy humans unless thoroughly shorn of all fur and wearing suspenders and trousers.

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Dash Fire Diaries

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