Philosophical War

What can we learn from the ancient Greek Goddess of War – Athena? 

Although a goddess of war[Athena], gets no pleasure from battle, but rather from settling disputes and upholding the law by pacific means… yet once engaged in battle she never loses the day, even against Ares himself, being better grounded in tactics and strategy than he – Greek Myths 

Today we live in a problematic culture, on the one hand, promotes fitting into the group, being fair to all and one, promoting democratic values, and peace – but on the other hand, we are not prepared for what confronts us in the real world – War. We are taught early that we are going to pay a social price of isolation and unpopularity if we go otherwise – but we all have aggressive impulses that are impossible to ignore and that need channeling – especially in times of conflict – To learn how to be rational and strategic. 

In this world, where the game is played with loaded dice, a man must have a temper of iron, armor proof to the blows of fate, and weapons to make his way against men; Life is one long battle; we have to fight at every step and Voltaire very right says that if we succeed, it is at the point of the sword and that we die with the weapon in our hand – Arthur Schopenhauer 

There will always be beasts that are more aggressive than we are – that find ways to get what they want by hook or crook. Being pacifists in the face of such wolves is the source of endless tragedy, Thus we must arm ourselves with vigilance and strategy.

On the surface, everything seems peaceful enough, but below it, it is every individual for himself. 
The war exists on several levels …Firstly our obvious rivals

He who is not with me is against me – Luke 11:23

More troubling and complex, are those who are apparently on our side. The team players who are friendly and agreeable, who sabotage behind the scenes and use the group to promote their agenda. Or the passive aggressors that offer help that never come and, instead instill guilt as a secret weapon. 

Without war human beings stagnate in comfort and affluence and lose the capacity for great thoughts and feelings, they become cynical and subside into barbarism – Fyodor Dostoyevsky 

In the beginning, War wasn’t strategic at all, brutal battles between tribes was fought in a regular manner,  even as a display of heroism, but as with everything else- the touch of evolution electrified things up – as tribes evolved into states, it became apparent that wars are expensive, with hidden and not so hidden costs. Often causing exhaustion and even self-destruction to the victors.
Thus Strategy was summoned.


  • An ancient greek word “Strategos” means “The leader of the army”
  • More than a science, it is the application of knowledge to practical life 
  • The art of acting under the most difficult situations 
  • Psychological – It is a matter of intelligence not material force 
  • Development of thought capable of modifying the original guiding idea in the light of ever-changing situations 
  • The art of generalship 
  • Decision making
    • What formation to deploy
    • What terrain to fight on
    • What maneuvers gain an edge 
  • Commanding the entire war effort 
  • The realm of aiming at results 
  • Playing on the psychological weakness of opponents – Maneuvering into precarious positions  
  • Ideal Goals 
    • Winning without bloodshed
    • Frugality – Minimum resources
    • Breaking opponents mentally before physically 
    • Emotional balance 
    • Supreme Rationality 

Strategic warriors know how to control and channel their emotions,  pick their fights, and think ahead toward their long-term goals. When forced to fight they do so with indirection and subtle maneuvering, maintaining a peaceful exterior. 

I am by nature warlike. To attack is among my instincts – to be able to be an enemy, to be an enemy – that presupposes a strong nature; Every growth reveals itself in the seeking of a powerful opponent or a problem: for a philosopher who is warlike also challenges problems to a duel. The undertaking is to master, not any resistances that happen to present themselves, but those against which one has to bring all one’s strengths, suppleness, and master of weapons – to master equal opponents – Nietzche 

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