Stephen Winter writes in this week’s blog post:
The one who chooses to be an enemy learns how to perceive weakness in others and then exploits it. Indeed it seems to be this quality that marks out an enemy above all others. But when we choose to lay down that which we desire then the enemy has nothing more to exploit.
The first and second sentences rang a bell. Peter Westbrook, 13-time US National Champion at Men’s Sabre, wrote a memoir entitled Harnessing Anger: The Inner Discipline of Athletic Excellence. Up front, it contains this statement of the philosophy that made him such a successful fencer:
I have no qualms about preying upon the weaknesses of my enemies until they are no longer a threat to me. To do this in life is a crime, but to do it in the sport of fencing is to create beauty and art. (p.57)
To set next to Stephen’s third sentence, G.K. Chesterton wrote in “The Sword of Wood“:
“A man with no sword,” he said, “can never be beaten in swordsmanship.”
I don’t think there’s any deep enduring point here. I just like it when things fold up into nice neat bundles.