The Radical Sunzi

Victor Mair’s translation of the Sunzi Bingfa. Image Source. When translated into English, the Sunzi Bingfa, usually titled Sunzi’s Art of War, is a fairly small work. When we take away the commentary and annotation added by its translators we are left with a sparse text indeed: Roger Ames’ translation is 71 pages long, the […]

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What Books Do We Need to Rewrite All of Human History?

  Image source. The Long Now Foundation, a society devoted to human flourishing on a millennial timescale,  has started a project named the “Manual for Civilization.” The idea behind the Manual is not unlike that of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a seed bank built deep beneath the ice of a remote Norwegian island that […]

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Shame and War

USGS topographical map. “Japan, Korea, and Northeast China.” 2006. Image Source: koryostudies.com. What leads men and states to the path of war? For centuries thinkers and strategists of the Western tradition have turned to Thucydides and his history to find answers to this question. The great historian speaks of Athenian envoys rising up in hostile […]

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Escaping the Echo Chamber of Modernity

Whilst Reading: A Portrait of Sofia Kramskoya, the Painter’s Wife (Ivan Kramskoi, 1866)Image Source.  Earlier this year I asked if the ‘great books’ have a place in the 21st century. Jospeh Sobran says that they do:  “Dogged readers of my columns will observe that I habitually quote a handful of classic writings, chiefly the Shakespeare […]

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Not Everyone Likes Sunzi

The Great Kangxi. Source: Wikimedia. Born Aixin-Jueluo Xuanye and styled Kangxi, his reign was the longest of any emperor. To this day no Chinese scholar has followed in the foot steps of Arthur Schlesinger Sr. and gathered China’s best historians together to rank all of China’s emperors, but if the task ever is completed, we […]

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Do The Great Books Have a Place in the 21st Century?

A selection of the 60 volume Great Books of the Western World.Image source. A “proper education” changes with its times. In the days of America’s founding a true education was a classical education. An educated man was not simply expected to be familiar with the great works of Greek and Roman civilization; the study of […]

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Troubles With the Chinese Military Tradition

Terra Cotta Soldiers — Image Source Via Zenpundit comes an interesting article written by Tonio Andrade for The Diplomat. This online magazine has some of the world’s best coverage of Asian-Pacific affairs and I always read its contents with interest. Mr. Andrade’s piece introduces his readers to the Sino-Dutch war of 1661, China’s “first” war with […]

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