Thanks Thomas. Epictetus has been a teacher of mine for many years. I too have a grand respect for his insight. I think Sun Tzu and Epictetus would have been fast friends.
Recently, as I do periodically, I revisited and approached the AoW with new eyes in tandem with an attempt to procure new perspectives and ideas from the text. The latest of such endeavors revealed the following to me:
Greet the world at each moment with these attributes:
I believe the AoW engages life in this manner. When adopting the AoW way I try to open my mind, my perspective and my being to each moment of each day. I view those around me with a taking whole approach. Being open lays the groundwork for accepting. I accept the whole of those around me (warts and all) with my arms wide open. Rejecting nothing I try to move to a position of where everyone (with few exceptions) is welcome in my world.
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Emma Lazarus
I then try to envelop myself in a blanket of compassion and understanding towards those around me irrespective of opinions, ethnicity, religion, upbringing, financial status or political party. With the hope that this compassion resonates with others, we can then arrive and reside at a place of love and peace.
In the event that these actions are met with hostility, arrogance, rejection or abuse, I then try to forgive and start the process over.
Hi TS, I appreciate what you have written and couldn't agree more. To me we are simply on this earth for so long and we're gone forever. there was a 1910 piece in a Nashville newspaper on stoicism that states one must not live like we will be here for 1000 years. he is right. where is the author now? time is fast going away and we must act. now, do we want to use that precious time fighting each other or do we want to actually build and create something that future generations will smile seeing it? the choice seems obvious to me. life is tough enough (cancer, sickness, etc) no need to make it worse by hurting each other intentionally.
The problem we are faced with as it pertains to war is that some of our enemies are getting their directives from holy books where they are instucted to kill those who do not subscribe to their belief system. In these instances it simply makes no difference how we react to or engage these groups. They are instructed by their holy book to kill others. There is no place for any type of diplomacy. Thus we are left with mitigating harm as best we can. But preventing war altogether is not possible when directives of a holy book must be followed.
For readers of Sun Tzu's Art of War