Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for February 10th, 2018

A margin for accidents

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The art of war deals with living and with moral forces. Consequently, it cannot attain the absolute, or certainty; it must always leave a margin for uncertainty, in the greatest things as much as in the smallest. With uncertainty in one scale, courage and self-confidence must be thrown into the other to correct the balance. The greater they are, the greater the margin that can be left for accidents. Thus courage and self-confidence are essential in war, and theory should propose only rules that give ample scope to these finest and least dispensable of military virtues, in all their degrees and variations. Even in daring there can be method and caution; but here they are measured by a different standard.

Carl von Clausewitz, On War

Written by nevalalee

February 10, 2018 at 7:30 am

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