The Art of War; Or How I Learned To Relax

Post by Doris McCraw

Doris

As I pondered this post I kept remembering the 1964 film, “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb”. This political satire, by film maker Stanley Kubrick has one of the strangest titles of all time. It sticks with you long after you have seen/read it. The film, of course is in black and white and starred the great Peter Sellers. As a disclaimer, the film has nothing to do with this post, except for the title.

What this post does have to deal with the timeless book “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. Written about 2500 years ago as a job application, according to one source, this book is a favorite of generals, world and business leaders. I have five copies of the book. I can hear you now, why five copies?  The book has had many interpretations over the years, with each version offering a different take on the authors words. While each version has similarities, there are slight  and sometimes major differences in the text.

There are five principal concepts. !. Moral Compass 2. Heaven 3. Earth 4. Commander 5. Regulation. Even the five listed here from the 2011 version by Janes Trapp are open to interpretation.

Possible Image of SunTzu

The first translation from Chinese, was into French in 1772 according the Wikipedia. English translations were in 1905 and 1911.  However, there is argument as to the real original version. Just check the Wikipedia entry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_War and you will see what all the fuss is about.

So how can one of my favorite books, written about the art of war, be relaxing? The fact that each version is interpreted, based on the particular ‘original’ the author used. The text itself is written in such a style that even the particular translation is open to the readers take on the words. If such an ancient text can have so many choices of translation, then life itself is not written in stone. We each take events and see them through the filter of our own experiences, ie. version. When that is understood, it makes it easier to relax and let people have their insights into life without trying to make them accept mine. That my friends is so relaxing. When I write my fiction and non-fiction, it is to pass along life as I perceive the stories to be, but my readers are free to see what they need to see in my work. So on that note, when you see the book “The Art of War”, think of me sitting back and relaxing reading whatever version I happen to have handy.

Doris McCraw specializes in Colorado and Womens History. She writes fiction under the pen name Angela Raines. Join her on facebook and her Amazon author page.

Coming Oct 19 – “Angel of Salvation Valley”, by Angela Raines

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21 Responses to The Art of War; Or How I Learned To Relax

  1. Joe Stephens says:

    The same is true in some ways of the Bible. The King James version, revered by so many as “the only English version,” was created without the benefit of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are widely acknowledged as the oldest, and therefore the most accurate versions of much of the Old Testament. Yet there are still churches who claim any version of the Bible but the King James is of the devil. They need to listen to you–relax.

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    • Doris says:

      Joe, your response gave me a smile. I suppose as someone who spends a lot of time in the ‘history’ books, I do take all translations as just that, translations. Moving from one language to another, in addition to new information being added as time goes by, I do tend to be a bit more relaxed. **SMILE** Doris

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    • Wranglers says:

      My favorite Bible to use is the New Imternational Version. It’s widely accepted now, easier to use and a more accurate interpretation. However I have read the King James and the NIV, side ny side and they pretty much day the same thing. The Message is becomming very popular now. I haven’t spent mucg time in it.

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      • Doris says:

        That is what happens as works continue to be translated, the core truth tends to come through. But to get there, takes a bit of time it seems. Doris

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  2. Cindy jones says:

    I have two books that I have numerous versions of. Isn’t it interesting how the different versions impact us?

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  3. Wranglers says:

    The Art of War does sound that relaxing. Lol. I have never read it, but you make it sound interesting. Sounfs like a long job application. You have peaked my interest. Cher’ley

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    • Doris says:

      Believe me, it is fascinating. It really isn’t all that long either. Let me know if you ever read it, what you think of it. Doris

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  4. Neva bodin says:

    Interesting post. And I do tend to forget people see things through their own filter. But it is more relaxing to remember that and know if they disagree with us, it isn’t necessarily personal. However the Art of War would not sound like something I would grab for relaxation. So you have piqued my interest for sure.

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    • Doris says:

      Neva, it has taken me a bit of time to remember that when people say things, it’s their perspective and not react to it. Discussions usually follow when they don’t get the reaction they were looking for. I think for some people, the title can throw them off, but the book is more about how to deal with situations, just couched in a conflict setting. I do have to admit, as a complusive reader, I read some different books, usually due to the title. LOL Doris

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  5. Mike Staton says:

    I did read a version of the Art of War back in the 1970s. What I can say (lol) is that I don’t recall anything about it now 40 years later. I was a member of the Military book Club back then, and read a ton of books by authors discussing tactics and strategy — including how to apply strategy of war to politics.

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    • Doris says:

      Mike, somehow I figured is anyone had read this book it would be you. I think if you were to re-read the book now, there would be similarities, but some minor differences. Let me know if you ever do. Doris

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  6. I can understand how you relax by delving into a book that fascinates you. There are books I’ve read so many times you would think I’d know the words by heart. Every time I read one I get a different meaning and understand characters, time and place more and more. The main thing is that we all take time from our writing to relax, no matter how! Thanks for the post.

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    • Doris says:

      Ah a kindred spirit. Thank you Linda. LIfe can get pretty hectic, and that relaxation is important. What is most interesting to me, is how such a small and simple text can mean so much and have so many appplications. Do relax, and take care Linda. Thanks for stopping by. Doris

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  7. Nancy Jardine says:

    Nice post, Doris. I totally agree with you that translation can lead to slightly different concepts and often some confusion as to what the author really intended. I’m ploughing my way though some translations of original Latin texts (I don’t read/write/speak any Latin) and one of the huge issues is that modern interpreters are using medieval translations of the work since there are no original prime source materials. What was acceptable in the year AD 80 was not necessarily acceptable in 1280 so a translation can have what was deemed to be a ‘current’ sanitisation to make it be okay to read back then. The changes over centuries can be quite misleading. And…some philosophical texts are even more problematic in meaning.

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    • Doris says:

      That’s it in a nutshell, Nancy. Translations are tricky, as I’m sure you know. I”ve studied Latin, and still my translation (I wouldn’t try that now) would be different from anther persons, just by my use of the English language. It makes for interesting reading, but not worth getting uptight about. Hence the title of this post. Thank you and I wish you well with the research. I’m in the midst of Medieval Germany…oh what fun. ((Smile)) Doris

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  8. “The Art of War” has been referred to in numerous films and some crime fiction books that I’ve come across. I’ve often wanted to pick up a copy and check it out. After reading your post, I think I may have to. Thanks for the wonderful insight, Doris.

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    • Doris says:

      You are very welcome Sarah. It is a short book, but full of thought provoking ideas. Let me know what you think. Doris PS If you can, read more than one version.

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  9. wyoauthor1 says:

    Intriguing post, Doris. I’ve not heard of the book and at first read of your first paragraphs, I was wondering what pathway you were leading us down — and a gem of a discovery as I kept reading! Truly insightful, profound, and yet delightfully simple. We humans tend to make things more complex than they need to be (I include myself in that category!) Thank you for your creative reminder to RELAX and enjoy life and other people. Blessings, my friend!

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    • Doris says:

      Thank you. I’m glad you went past the first paragraph, **Smile**. I read the book for the first time over twenty years ago and seek out new versions whenever I can. But, the main point as you said, RELAX, life if fun, with a few bumps along the way. Doris

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  10. S J Brown says:

    It is so true that we each see things through our own filters. Remembering this really does make things easier. Thanks for the reminder.

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