Book Report

( – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)


I’m reading Art of War (among sci-f (Octavia Butler), horror (Poppy Brite) and romance (Maeve Binchy) novels) and I now see my proficiency in that kind of disciplined and strategic thinking is sorely lacking.  So I get sarcastic which makes me embarrassed because I really feel serious about it but I’m not in much understanding about it so I cover that with sarcasm.  And so on.


Opposition does not always result in enmity.  But sometimes it does.

All I have to say about that is:

Nothing is permanent.

So all I got at this point is I’m nice.

Ok, see now I want to be sarcastic again but I’ll try to resist that impulse.

What I want for the New Year is to find a way to engage in opposition openly and honestly and a forum in which to do so.

Thus far Docudharma seems to fit the bill for me — though I make no predictions on if I am right or wrong about this.

Not that I feel I can be totally honest and open here.  After all, in this new Millennium, we have no privacy.  That inhibits me.  I’d imagine the younger folks now aren’t as inhibited because they grew up with it and found new ways to gain privacy that I haven’t yet grokked from them.


Thus far my whole repertoire in fighting and opposition is impulse and emotion.

Now please don’t mistake me, impulse and emotion have gotten me far!

So the one thing reading Sun Tzu’s The Art of War did for me was to reveal very plainly there are other ways to fight effectively, other resources I can develop within myself to either avoid enmity completely or, if that is impossible, to deal with it swiftly and not let it linger.

Not that I know how to do any of that.

But the book was good, I think, in illuminating that reality.

I didn’t read it in the usual way.  First, I got an abridged version, translated by Thomas Cleary (not abridged Sun Tzu root text, but abridged commentary).  I did not read it in consecutive pages but opened pages randomly in the form of an I-Ching coin toss.

Inevitably it would draw me in and I’d read a few pages.

In conclusion, I’d recommend reading this book and other ancient texts which have stood the test of time over the centuries — they’re so easily gotten from the intertron these days.  Folks like Winter Rabbit, Robyn, Buhdydharma, Meteor Blades, and more have experienced and practiced some of these ancient techniques, adapting them to their own individuality and the times we are living in.  So I recommend paying attention to that kind of writing when it appears as well.

Happy New Year.

Bonus Poem!

From Open Buddha:

The Guest House, Mawlana Jalal-ad-Din Rumi

This being human is a guest house.

   Every morning a new arrival.

   A joy, a depression, a meanness,

   some momentary awareness comes

   as an unexpected visitor.

   Welcome and entertain them all!

   Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

   who violently sweep your house

   empty of its furniture,

   still, treat each guest honorably.

   He may be clearing you out

   for some new delight.

   The dark thought the shame, the malice,

   meet them at the door laughing,

   and invite them in.

   Be grateful for whoever comes,

   because each has been sent

   as a guide from beyond.


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  1. … that’s easy for Rumi to say.  After all, he’s Rumi.

    Big fancy poet.

    Ok, ok, I am halting, with great discipline, this sarcasm!

    • Edger on January 2, 2010 at 02:33

    I have no idea why this song belongs here, but I think it probably does… 😉

    Maybe it’s got something to do with the lyrics?

    Like the fool I am and I’ll always be

    I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream

    They can change their minds but they can’t change me

    I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream

  2. are kind of red flags to me, for myself. Sarcasm and Righteous Indignation.

    Now… sarcasm is just too much fun and I doubt Ill quit that, but its not exactly the most effective tool. Its a defense usually, thinly veiled.

    Righteous Indignation… some people …hmmm, cant think of one single example… okay, let me try to address this. Buhdy, for example, does a really great job writing with and about Outrage. R.I. is different (and again for me) when that kicks in, its a sign that Im on a wrong track… its that victim thing. It just isnt all that effective either, if youre talking about trying to make some headway… in the hope and change department.

    In addition, neither tactic (habit) is “a way to engage in opposition openly and honestly and a forum in which to do so.” A worthwhile goal, NPK.

    I am most comfortable with my stealth sniping. heh. Maybe its time to move out of my comfort zone.

    • Xanthe on January 2, 2010 at 02:53

    The Iliad.  I have been in love with Hector since I was a little girl.  I hate that other lead – what’s his name – Achilles.  He’s a jerk.   Men seem to like Achilles and women seem to like Hector (in my experience of course).

    How anyone can say The Iliad glorifies war had never read it.  The blood scenes are simple but graphic.

    After finishing this book, I think I will tackle Beowulf — wait – no, I won’t.  Remember the great Woody Allen line:  Don’t take a class where they make you read Beowulf.


  3. from Art of War

    5. In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory.

    6. Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams;

       like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew;

       like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more.

    7. There are not more than five musical notes,

       yet the combinations of these five give rise to more

       melodies than can ever be heard.

    8. There are not more than five primary colors

       (blue, yellow, red, white, and black), yet in combination

       they produce more hues than can ever been seen.

    9. There are not more than five cardinal tastes

       (sour, acrid, salt, sweet, bitter), yet combinations

       of them yield more flavors than can ever be tasted.

    10. In battle, there are not more than two methods

       of attack–the direct and the indirect; yet these two

       in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.

    11. The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn.

       It is like moving in a circle–you never come to an end.

       Who can exhaust the possibilities of their combination?

  4. I think there is a feeling — is it frustration or anger? — that one feels just before expressing sarcasm.  Maybe the feeling varies from person to person.  Anyway, i’d suggest that the way to deal with this is to notice what that feeling is and instead of finding it unacceptable, just to accept and even embrace it.  That, i suspect, will make the expression of sarcasm unnecessary.  You can, of course, choose to express it, but that’s a different thing.  Just my view.

  5. When there is opposition, it is lucky if it is a small matter

    Overall Judgment

    In opposition, fire moves upward and moisture moves downward; Two women live together but their wills do not go the same way. Joyfully clinging to light, progressing upwards, action attains centered balance and responds to firm strength. This is why it is lucky if it is a small affair. Sky and earth are opposites, yet there work is the same, male and female are opposite, yet their wills commute. All beings are different, but their concerns are similar. The timely use of opposition is very important.


    3. yin  Having the vehicle dragged and the ox halted, that person is being punished by heaven. Though there was no beginning, there will be a conclusion: that is on meeting the firm and strong.

    4. yang  When isolated by opposition, if you meet good people interact truthfully, and you will be impeccable even in danger. Image: Impeccability through truthful interaction means aims are carried out through purposeful action.

    5. yin  Regret disappears. When the clan has punished it’s own what is wrong with proceeding onward? Image: when the clan has punished it’s own, it will be joyful to proceed onward.

    6. yang  When you are isolated by opposition, you see pigs covered with mire and a wagonload of demons. The bows drawn at first are the bows later put down. They are not enemies but partners. Proceeding onward, it is lucky if rain is encountered. Image: The luck of encountering rain means that all sorts of doubts and suspicions disappear.

    The I Ching … for a new year?  

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