Posted in Lore

Sun Tzu on the Art of Blogging Controversial Subjects

Cymraeg: Sun Tzu. mwl: Sun Tzu. Português: Sun...
Sun Tzu  (Photo credit: Wikipedi

Yes.  I wrote one post about my religious belief (or non-belief) and suddenly I’m a self-proclaimed expert.  There were a couple of commenters who used words like “courage” and “guts.”  These commenters are, as am I, the non-confrontational sort.   However, in writing — as in battle — it is best to have a fair amount of strategic planning on hand to make up for wavering courage.  For this I bring you Sun Tzu, who must be the most quoted strategist  who ever lived.  He speaks to those of us who struggle with conflict when he says,

“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”

I am, and always have been, one who goes with the flow and rolls with the punches.  I don’t like to rock the boat or stir the pot.  It is a commonly held myth to say that those of us who relate to the aforementioned clichés have no opinions.  We do, we just prefer to stay out of the fight.  We seek out those who agree with us, and voice our opinions there.  If you are ready to pick up the mic, I have some suggestions for you, backed up by our old pal, Sun Tzu.

“Know yourself and you will win all battles.”

Spend time getting to know yourself.  What are you “all about?”  Come up with a mission statement.  At work, we strive to “end hunger through community partnerships.”  When there is a conflict or indecision, we defer to our mission.  The answer is always in there somewhere.  Is your mission to treat the planet with respect?  to spread random kindness?  to treat animals ethically?  Once you have your mission, you have your backbone.

“You have to believe in yourself. ”

Spend time letting others know who you are.  Publish posts on non-controversial subjects first.  Let them hear the tone of your voice.  Do you use humor?  Are you straight-faced?  Be yourself, and your spirit will come through.  When you decide to speak out, they will hear you, and know that it is not some rhetoric you picked up on the internet.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”

Write on your own experiences.  There is nothing to contend if you are speaking about yourself.  In March I posted Two Peas in a Very Small Pod prior to publishing Living in Sin, which was finally succeeded by My Spiritual Path and Creed in April.  Using the word “I” instead of “people” or “everyone” makes it my story and the incontrovertible truth.

“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”

Don’t worry about commenters.  You have already established your voice.  Because you speak from a peaceful heart, those who are looking for a really ugly online argument mostly likely won’t comment anyway.

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

On your blog, you rule.  It is quite possible that by writing something different, you will pick up a new reader.  If you do get someone who comments disrespectfully, he or she has not spent the time getting to know you by reading your other posts.  Remember you are the general in this war, and they are on your turf.  You may choose to delete this comment, claiming victory with one simple click.  Personally, I have never found the need to cut a comment from my blog.

“Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

Go ahead and look them in the eye.  I urge you to face them one on one.  Pull up your big-girl camo and prepare to take them down.  You own the same right of expression as they.  Use respect. This allows you to expect the same from them.  Keep your words peaceful, and it becomes a one-way argument that paints them as rude and narrow-minded.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Remember your audience.  Be mindful of the broad spectrum of people who might read your blog.  In my life, there are friends, family, old schoolmates, neighbors, co-workers, and even unborn grandchildren who may someday read my words.  While I have many supportive, encouraging commenters, there are hundreds of faceless followers who neither comment nor “like.”  I like to write today as if I were going to meet each of them tomorrow.

Peace . . .

It is important to note that  Sun Tzu may not have agreed with the way I interpreted his words for my use.  In fact, it is most likely accurate to say he would not.  As the most quoted source of strategic warfare, it’s one of those things he probably has to put up with a lot.

A Chinese bamboo book, closed to display the c...
A Chinese bamboo book, closed to display the cover. This copy of The Art of War (on the cover, “孫子兵法”) by Sun Tzu is part of a collection at the University of California, Riverside. The cover also reads “乾隆御書”, meaning it was either commissioned or transcribed by the Qianlong Emperor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sun Tzu (also rendered as Sun Zi) was a Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who lived in the Spring and Autumn Period of ancient China. The name he is best known by is actually an honorific which means “Master Sun”: His birth name was Sun Wu and he was known outside of his family by his courtesy name Changqing. He is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, an extremely influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy. Sun Tzu has had a significant impact on Chinese and Asian history and culture, both as the author of The Art of War and as a legendary historical figure.

(Credit:  Wikipedia)




Trying to make sense of it all and . . . for the most part . . . doing it.

14 thoughts on “Sun Tzu on the Art of Blogging Controversial Subjects

  1. Well said. And Art of War is an excellent source/reference to use.
    My posts were almost all written for myself.
    My not-writing is for myself too.

    1. Thanks again! I’m still trying to decide what your not-writing means. Time off from writing? The things you decide not to write?

      1. Time off for writing. For some reason, I have no interest in posting at all, and am content to just read, and occasionally comment.

      2. Oh sure, I get it! Well you are certainly welcome here. I really appreciate your comments, and have come to look forward to hearing what you think.

  2. He may not have agreed with your interpretation of his words. But I do. And that’s not me being non-confrontational. Possibly the reason he is quoted so much is because his strategies can be applied in so many areas. I particularly like the one referencing commenters and their knowledge or sense of you. I have not yet had to delete a comment either for offensive content or unkindness. (My sister makes a few saucy ones knowing I moderate first. She’ll get the shock of her life one of these days if I don’t!) I do think a voice comes through in posts and there is no battle if intent is genuine.x

    1. I think I had to come to that realization, and hope my amicable virtual friends learn that too. I love that your sister tests you! Ha!

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