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The Art of War
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Art of War Thread IV

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Daniel Mealie | 26 comments We lightly covered this in the first thread, but I want to go deeper. Many people of many backgrounds read the Art of War, from hipsters looking for stress relief to Generals looking for victory. My question for you, my peers, is to see if there are any deeper interpretations of the Art of War's central idea.


message 2: by Eoghan (new)

Eoghan McGovern | 15 comments I believe that if you take what Sun Tzu is saying figuratively instead of literally it can be helpful to many people. Of course it will be helpful to a military general looking for victory but someone looking for relief to stress could use this book to relate warfare situations to there own personal problems. Another example of this could be how this book could be viewed through the eyes of athletes. Although not as intense as warfare many sports games are like battles both mentally and physically. For example I play a lot of soccer and its important to have a good plan tactically for the different opponents you may face. When looking through a figurative lens at the third section "Attack by Stratagem" and the 4th section "Tactical Dispositions" it is possible to benefit as an athlete by the points made by Tzu. I believe that with the competitive nature of todays society it is possible to apply the responses and preparation to different situations to everyday issues. In my opinion that is why this book has been so largely successful even outside the realm of warfare.


Daniel Mealie | 26 comments I noticed that a recurring idea Sun Tzu brings up is being calm, which he uses when armies are in the chaos of battle to the opening deployments. "By holding out temptation, he can make the enemy approach...[33]" and "Do not swallow the bait that is put out for you[47]".


message 4: by Patrick (new)

Patrick | 19 comments This book does have many interpretations, athletics actually being the first that came to mind like Eoghan. But something that I found to be reoccuring throughout the entire thing believe it or not is peace. True he talks of war and crushing the enemy but Sun Tzu states multiple time that a true victory comes out of no battle. I am not saying that Sun Tzu wrote the book with the hope of peace but it could explain why it does appeal to a wide audience. I think that a pacifist could read this and find no quarrel with the philosphies ensribed in it. But do you think that it can appeal to all audiences? Because I cannot think of one that would have a problem with the book and I am wondering if you guys may know any.


Daniel Mealie | 26 comments Hipsters, they'll find a way.


message 6: by Patrick (new)

Patrick | 19 comments Yeah this Sun is too cool to be a real sun.


Daniel Mealie | 26 comments Is there any relation between "General Tzu chicken" and Sun Tzu?


message 8: by Patrick (new)

Patrick | 19 comments That is spelled Tsao not Tzu for the chicken.


Daniel Mealie | 26 comments Woah there, Mr Smarty pants, the spelling may be different but that does not change the question. An army runs on their stomach and Sun Tzu must have had some form of family recipes to keep his men happy. Remember guys that long ago armies suffered from disease, the elements and lack of equipment and food was used to keep them happy and loyal. It was the Oregon Trail everyday back then, and instead of your son dying of dysentery, it's your entire army.


Joseph Palladino | 25 comments Mod
I like what you said about peace, Patrick, but I'm still going to have to disagree. He always goes about stating to avoid battles when necessary for practical reasons, such as not spending indispensable resources, or unnecessarily getting your men killed, in a battle that really shouldn't have even been fought. Of course, this is a literal interpretation. Maybe it can go deeper than that, but I don't feel like thinking deeply right now. In conclusion, I'm right and you're not.


Daniel Mealie | 26 comments *mic drops*


Daniel Mealie | 26 comments "If we don't know what we are doing, then the enemy won't be able to anticipate our actions"
-Sun Tzu, probably, maybe Patton


message 13: by Alex Rousso (new)

Alex Rousso | 13 comments I believe I accidentally covered this in the previous thread, however I take special significance from the title of the book, not the contents. The title, "The Art of War." Sun Tzu refers to war as an art, not an atrocity, not an issue, but an art. There are many different forms of art, and many different ways to go about interpreting and developing art. Some people view war itself as an art form, and I believe Sun Tzu is one of these people, maybe one of the first to thing this way. As explained in this book of strategy, there are many ways to go about war. Tzu explains his own methods, and his own understanding of war and how to be successful in it. However, this is his own interpretation, and mine is mine.


Joseph Palladino | 25 comments Mod
That's a very good interpretation, and is definitely something that I can get behind. With the way he describes each aspect, each move, and each circumstance, he creates a tone that gives me that sort of vibe. I agree, that it seems he views war as a form of art.


message 15: by Thomas (new) - added it

Thomas Huynh (huynh) | 2 comments The English translation "The Art of War" isn't an exact rendering of the Chinese "bing fa." I would translate it as "military methods," but since "The Art of War" is an instantly recognizable title, it remains much like tradition.


message 16: by Brigid (new)

Brigid Cruickshank | 20 comments This entire thread is plot based


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