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26 Feb 2006: The Open Season

A picture

Art of War

So I went on a philosophical book spree. The first thing that struck me was that Dan Brown had dominated the religious section with his crappy fiction. I mean, WTF. If I want to find myself Dan Brown is not where I'll be. Anyway, I walked away with a pile of books which then strained my neck because I walked around for an hour in the cold after that, just looking for interesting places to hangout for lunchtime.

I am not actually looking for myself. I am looking... for ideas.

I read Sun Tzu, The Art of War, which was surprisingly good. Detachment and restraint are emphasized throughout and it encourages adaptability whilst deploring predictability and pattern. Every passage sounds like it could be quoted impressively, particularly in my Denma translation which accentuates the poetic:

And so for the general there are five dangers- Resolved to die, one can be killed. Resolved to live, one can be captured. Quick to anger, one can be goaded. Pure and honest, one can be shamed. Loving the people, one can be aggravated. All five are the excesses of the general, A calamity in employing the military.

To overturn an army and kill the general, One must use the five dangers. One cannot but examine them.

I have also been consulting the Chinese oracle, the I-Ching, on a semi-regular basis to see what kind of philosophy it embraces. Several times it has told me to embrace the Sage (the alias used by the I-Ching for a "higher power") although it did point out that I should accept the Sage and not simply submit. It knows me too well already. Its central message is also about accepting change with emotional detachment, but not so colourful with metaphor. I am not so impressed with the I-Ching but I can see how some people could live their life by it.