Art of Peace: Balance Over Conflict in Sun-Tzus Art of War Paperback – 2 Jun 2003
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This new translation of the strategy classic The Art Of War restores the authentic meaning of the original work by showing how finding balance rather than doing battle is the true means to overcoming adversity. Art Of Peace brings an entirely fresh, yet textually sound, interpretation to the many translations of The Art Of War by emphasising the true slant of the original text: balance over conflict. To illustrate the contrasts available in Sun-Tzu's text, the following interpretation can be seen to arise from the same set of Chinese pictograms. The Aggressive Meaning: War is the art of deception (bringing down) - appear to be strong when you are weak, appear to be far away when you are near, appear to be inept when you are able. Peace is the art of inception (raising up) - allow strength and weakness, accept poise and vulnerability both, face death and suffer pain. In the second interpretation, the same conditions are essentially present, but they are based on something positive and "inceptive", i.e, honesty and self-awareness. Here is also the implication that life is not necessarily a battle.Allow both sides of your nature to be available - strength and weakness; not denial of one but a flowing between them. By newly translating Sun-tzu's strategy classic, Philip Dunn provides the peaceful warrior with methods of getting in touch with the inner and outer nature of silence and vigilance that has been forgotten over millennia of war.
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A great solace in times of world conflict, a good medicine for all weary spirits dealing with conflict in the great and small moments of our lives.
Still, I disdain this book. No, I certainly do not profess to understand the intricacies of Taoism (isn't it written, "The Way that can be spoken is not the true Way"?), and my knowledge of ancient Chinese culture is so scant as to embarrass me. Still, in my blind unconsciousness, I have picked up a few trinkets of knowledge here and there, and have used my own paltry intellect to form some insignificant conclusions.
First, while not a wealth of information is available, the curious reader can indeed learn a little of that era in which Sun Tzu lived. For example, one could check the Shi Ji of Sima Qian, or many classical works such as the Han Fei or Mozi, or look at the (uncountably infinite?) references to his master work throughout Chinese literature (as a little plug, the "Three Kingdoms" is an excellent place to start!). Of course, these works were written, these events took place a few hundred years after the death of this (possibly mythical) figure, but in none of these works will one find Dunn's interpretation.
As I mentioned before, in the time that Sun Tzu presumably lived, war was more of a social tradition than anything, with generals leading poorly-armed militiae of peasants every spring and autumn (hence, the Spring and Autumn period) to wage costly and indecisive wars against their neighboring provinces. Sun's book began to lay the foundation of war as a military science, one which, though grotesque in nature, was necessary in the end (at least in his opinion). Of course, Sun's war was different from that around him, in that great loss of life or property, even in victory, was to be despised. Dunn, however, seems to suggest that Sun Tzu was mainly a pacifist, and I (or many other sources) simply don't see this. Of course, it takes a Westerner to teach the world (smirk) and if he can make a few bucks doing it, so much the better. I have no problem with his ideas; I have a problem with him trying to pass his opinion as that of a far more respected writer.
It is worth mentioning that "The Art of War", as it is passed down to us, is as much the work of the Wei general Cao Cao as of Sun Tzu (for Cao Cao decided to destroy much of what he called "commentary" during the late second and early third century); a true pacifist if ever there was one (again, smirk). This information can be found in Samuel Griffith's masterful translation of "The Art of War"; I invite all readers of this book to check this out! Who knows what Cao Cao destroyed? Certainly not myself, or Mr. Dunn, or the reviewer above; as I said, it was destroyed.
My intellect or memory is rarely skilful, and often inaccurate. Any opinion I give here is mine alone to give, and I certainly don't mind being called a fool. But, could we stand to be a little nicer to each other over this medium? The point of this exercise by Amazon, I presume, is to give the reader differing opinions about the various products available (since no one here likes to waste money!). Indeed, my opinion certainly differs from the others for this book; incredibly enough, this is the point! I have give sound evidence as to WHY I dislike the book. If this does not appeal to you, so much the better. But let's dispense with the insults and harsh words towards each other, OK?
Sadly, given it's gentle appearance, only the most discerning will notice it.
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