The Art of War as an Important Life Guidance
The Art of War Essay
Throughout history there have been many famous works of literature produced. Not all of these works stand the test of time either. Some fade away into the background and others stay around forever. The one being talking about in particular is Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. This is one of the most useful books of all time if not the most useful. In The Art of War Sun Tzu manages to build a cohesive guide to help you win any situation you find yourself in. Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is very important, it has practical and contemporary values, and it is connectible to Chinese literature more specifically Chinese didactic literature and metaphors.
To begin, The Art of War is an important book that everyone should read because it is in most college curriculums. It is not just important for that reason either, it is important because it is a guide that will get anyone out of any situation and it does not just have to be war either. It helps in anything ranging from business to teaching to even everyday life. Sun Tzu even says “It is a matter of life and death, a road to safety or either to ruin.” Meaning if you do not listen to Sun Tzu you will not be successful. The most important guideline I think Sun Tzu gives readers in The Art of War is “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” This is the most important tip he gives the reader because if one just knows the enemy but do not know yourself one is only winning half the war but if you know the enemy and yourself you have just won the entire war. If you make the mistake of not knowing yourself and not knowing the enemy then you will lose every time. This is why The Art of War should be a key component in our lives and that is Sun Tzu’s most important teaching from the book.
Secondly, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is both practical and contemporary. Ways in which the work is practical is say if you are coach, coaches are leaders. Sun Tzu says that a good leader is both feared and loved by his soldiers. So in any serious leadership position you have to be an effective and good leader your subordinates must fear you and love you at the same time. So back to the coach in order to make your players fear you maybe you give them an excruciating workout or call them out when they do not listen to what you say, and you can make them love you by the team winning its matches because of your effective coaching. Another example of how The Art of War is practical is if you do not like one your co-workers. Sun Tzu teaches us in The Art of War to chose the path of least resistance and to move fluid like running water. You could go up to that one co-worker and start a problem or vice-versa but as long as you chose the path of least resistance do not pay them any attention you will be successful. This is how The Art of War is practical and contemporary.
Lastly, Great metaphors come out of The Art of War which show a connection to Chinese literature. Some of these great metaphors are “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”, “Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.”, “Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.”. These three quotes show a great connection to Chinese literature because they show how good the Chinese are with teaching through metaphors. During World War II the Japanese used these three metaphors by Sun Tzu mostly the first two. They kept the attack on Pearl Harbor quiet and when it happened the United States were hit hard. The second quote about treating your soldiers like sons and they will follow you into any situation this can be seen in the Japanese kamikaze pilots willing to sacrifice themselves for their own nation.
To conclude, Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” is very influential and is key to our everyday lives it sets up guidelines on how to be successful in every battle you have throughout your life. It is has important teaching, practical and contemporary values, and shows a connection Chinese didactic literature.
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