Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the book “The Art of War”, by Sun Tzu. The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise dating from the roughly 5th century BC. The work, which is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu is composed of 13 chapters. Each one is devoted to an aspect of warfare and how it applies to military strategy and tactics.
For almost 1,500 years it was the lead text in an anthology that would be formalized as the Seven Military Classics by Emperor Shenzong of Song in 1080. The Art of War remains the most influential strategy text in East Asian warfare and has influenced both Eastern and Western military thinking, business tactics, legal strategy, lifestyles and beyond.
I have said a few times on the air recently and in a few vidoes, “some of you have not read ‘The Art of War’ and it shows”. Well I figured I better make it an item of the day. I first read this book while deployed to Honduras in 1992. I worked for an outstanding SFC at the time and he said, “you can either read the books I give you and discuss them with me or I can give you extra bullshit duty, your choice Spirko”.
The threat while effective with others was not needed with me. If you gave me a book on a deployment like that one, I read it. All there was to do was work, read, have a few drinks and watch the time pass, it was in a way like being in a work prison.
I read this book and had many talks with “Top” about it. While he was an E7 he was our 1st Sgt for this detachment. He was a good man, one with a medical background and specialty and he saw his job to teach his troops about war and staying alive in it, even if they were not combat troops. He also told me something close to this…
Our nation is not as strong as many people think. Our weakness is not our military it is ourselves. We are spoiled adult children. Some day it is likely that this is all going to bite us in the ass and we will all turn on each other.
[he pointed to the rabble of poverty around us which was extensive]
People think this can’t happen in our country, but there are places like this in our country right now. No one looks at them. They pretend they don’t exist. It is like cancer we refuse to treat and when you don’t treat a cancer it metastasizes, it spreads and it eventually takes over the entire body. Some day our nation might break down like this one did.
This place wasn’t always like this. This nation should be a tourist mecca, it should be wealthy but just look at it. If this ever starts to happen in America it is going to be bloody, it is going to be awful and you are going to have to chose a side. But if this book taught you anything it should be that when and where you take a stand is more important than anything else.
Top’s words today seem so prophetic and it is quite a dark prophecy. I continue to think back about when I read this book and had my evening talks with Top and other soldiers in our group. I am grateful that he was like a father to us, many of us who were on that deployment didn’t have much in the way of parents. Top was in his mid 30s but that made him an “old man” in the Army. I think he saw that 6 months as an opportunity to teach us the life lessons many of us had never learned from our parents.
There were other books but this one is the one I keep hearing words from, the two basic tenents for right now are…
- Choose the time and place of your battle
- Only fight when victory is assured
This is actually “setting the trap”! Such a battle can be offensive or defensive but you already know the situation and you set up the enemy to fail before you even engage. Once you know how to do that you can do something more important, you can recognize when it is being done to you.
Let me be blunt the reason I am saying to get out of the cities and to avoid confrontations is that is exactly what is being done to you right now. The people behind the riots are not the people doing the rioting and those people WANT YOU TO CHARGE INTO THE FIGHT.
One thing you learn in The Art of War is you make the enemy do what you wish for him to do and you never do what he wants you to do.
In what may seem unrelated today I am going to toss in a second book. One of pure fiction, conspiracy theory and science fantasy. It is called The Illuminatus Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. In this book there are countless groups fighting each other. Some are classic anarcho libertarian, some are rioters, some are “peaceful protestors”, some are fighting for “morality”. All of these groups see themselves as “doing what is right”. All of them see themselves as opposing the enemy, which are mostly the other groups. All see themselves as being independent.
In the end all of them are nothing but pieces on the chess board being used for a common goal. That is exactly what is going on right now.
I am going to suggest you read both books if you never have. But Illuminatus is hard to read, and it is very long, start with The Art of War. Learn the lessons of this book. It is over 2,500 years old and is still as relevant today as when it was written. If you want to be prepared for the future, learn the lessons of the past.
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