Why perpetuate the notion that this is about war?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is an interesting implication that comes out of the question.  Perhaps, Sun Tzu's work could be seen as the ultimate understanding of how to maintain peace.  For Sun Tzu, the notion of tactical leadership ends up leading to harmonious relations and being able to outsmart one's opponents.  War, therefore, can be avoided if individuals prove skilled to navigate it to their own advantages.  Sun Tzu's perceptions are composed as a zero- sum game, meaning one person will lose while another will win, presumably by adhering to the tenets that Sun Tzu articulates.  It stands to reason that if an individual follows what is articulated, they will be victorious over another, thereby not needing to wage war in the first place.  While this is challenging in terms of its thought, it does not remove the idea that Sun Tzu's work is one in which individuals are poised in challenging situations with another.  War is a reality for Sun Tzu, and his teachings are rooted in the idea that, at some level, there is challenge between individuals and the manner in which they relate to one another.  If we do not want to call this a state of "war," but would rather suggest that it is the antagonisms that exist between individuals, that could be another way to look at it.  Sun Tzu is fairly direct in suggesting that individuals are immersed in a challenging situation in the way in which they relate to one another and some guidance through this harrowing condition is needed.

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The Art of War

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