Monday, January 17, 2011

Bon mot for the week (Sun Tzu is crap series)

"One who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be in danger in a hundred battles."

Sun Tzu (ostensibly 6th Century BCE, but probably legendary)

"Knowledge of one's enemy and knowledge of oneself don't count for much if one doesn't also understand how dangerous battles are."



JES said...

It's probably too much to hope for -- Sun Tzu has never struck me as an advocate of roundabout or ironic speech -- but I'd like to believe the reason one who knows [etc.] "will not be in danger" is exactly that: that he will avoid battle in the first place.

Froog said...

Yes, I'd like to know what the original is here. I may consult The Weeble. I think there's a strong chance that the "in danger" is more like "be at risk" or "be at a disadvantage", and in military contexts clearly means "be likely to lose".

Sun Tzu - and the other ancient Chinese writers - probably wouldn't seem quite so CRAP if we didn't have to read them in Chinglish translations most of the time.