Friday, May 30, 2008

Re-reading

I'm not sure to what I should attribute what I can only characterize as my Charly moment: but I feel way smarter these days than I have in a very long time. I'm reading several books via dailylit.com, all of which I claim to have read before, and yet I feel as if I am grasping the full weight of the texts for the first time (except for Sons and Lovers-- I think I was emotionally attuned to that one more the first time I read it).

The full weight of the text isn't necessarily the mechanical and interpretive process of reading so much as it is associating the text with real life. For instance, this nugget from The Art of War, which is really basic and not entirely what I mean, but illustrates the point with little need for explanation:


    When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

    Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

    Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

    Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

    There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.



Could there be anything more succinct or apt?

Someone should have told the neocons to re-read Chapter two.

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