Monday, March 31, 2008

Fitna Unplugged

Thanks to Arutz 7, you can see Fitna.


To put it simply, know your enemy.
Verses from the book occur in modern daily Chinese idioms and phrases, such as the last verse of Chapter 3:
故曰:知彼知己,百戰不殆;不知彼而知己,一勝一負;不知彼,不知己,每戰必殆。(故曰:知彼知己,百战不殆;不知彼而知己,一胜一负;不知彼,不知己,每战必殆。)
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will fight without danger in battles.If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
This has been more tersely interpreted and condensed into the modern proverb:
知己知彼 百戰不殆 (知彼知己,百战不殆)
If you know both yourself and your enemy, you can come out of hundreds of battles without danger.
Many people interpret this sentence as 'If you know both sides, you will win a hundred times in one hundred battles. (知己知彼 百戰百勝)'. This translation is incorrect. The word '殆' in Chinese means 'danger'. '百' in this sentence is better interpreted as 'numerous' rather than 'hundred'.
Furthermore, knowing both sides doesn't guarantee winning. '知己知彼 百戰百勝' is untrue since in the beginning paragraph of chapter four, Sun Tsu wrote 'Hence, we can well predict who would win but there is no strategy guaranteeing winning (故曰: 勝可知,而不可為。)'. The reason of the uncertainty is quite simple. How about dealing with the opponent who knows both sides better than you do?
Similar verses have also been borrowed -- in a manner construing skillfulness as victory "without fighting" -- for example:
是故百戰百勝,非善之善者也;不戰而屈人之兵,善之善者也。
Therefore one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the most skillful. Seizing the enemy without fighting is the most skillful.
And, the most famous quotation (chapter 1, paragraph 18):
All warfare is based on deception.

And, as we learned about Purim, the enemy, like G-d, may be hidden, disguised.

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