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Is it better to ignore or to know your enemy?

On the one hand, life is far too fleeting to devote your precious time and emotional energy to paying attention to individuals who regularly spew or propagate ugly, untrue, hateful words.

On the other hand, how will you be able to speak out against injustice, fight for truth, stand up for those who have no voice, if you’re unaware of the lies and uninformed as to what the haters are saying?

Is it more about this…

…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

~ Philippians 4:8

…or this…

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.

If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.

If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.

~ The Art of War (Sun Tzu)

…or does it, perhaps, like so many other important issues in this life, come down to the need to learn to maintain a healthy balance?

I genuinely want to know.

Please share your thoughts.

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • The Shiny Butter Blog March 24, 2012

    Seeing as how the enemy in my life is usually some aspect of my own self, I imagine that knowing myself, as well as the enemy that is trying to fight me (some antagonistic or stubborn part of my self) would be mighty helpful in “winning” battles- or better yet, avoiding them altogether.
    The Shiny Butter Blog recently posted… Ten Things I’ve Learned Since My Dashboard Hula Girl’s AccidentMy Profile

  • Suzanne March 24, 2012

    This is an interesting question. I have been mulling it around and I think, for me, what it comes down to is actually in defining my “enemies”. There are those who spew such hate and vitriol, but are they my enemies? Is there anything I can do to change their perspective? Is it worth my time and emotional energy to worry about what they think or what they say? Usually not. The best defense is a good life, right? I can counteract that kind of global hate by choosing not to live by that standard and affecting those around me in a positive way without reducing myself to the level of squabbling in the dirt and becoming angry and vitriolic myself.
    I am blessed not to have enemies that are known to me. There are probably people who don’t like me, and there are definitely people that I don’t like. It doesn’t necessarily make them my enemies. Such a strong word.
    I occasionally sabotage myself and struggle against myself, but I don’t consider myself an enemy, either. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
    Part of my moral code is “love your enemies”, maybe not particularly like them, but treat them with the same respect and tolerance that I would someone I did like. This has a way of humanizing everyone for me and making me stop to consider from whence their nastiness comes, while at the same time realizing that I am nasty at times, too.

    Short answer? I think both of your quotes above are true and not mutually exclusive. It’s possible to try to understand someone with whom you are at odds and still not use up all of your mental energy dwelling on it, turning instead to the pure and the positive. And one step further, wishing those very things for your perceived “enemies”.
    Suzanne recently posted… David Is Not My PalMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      March 24, 2012

      Yes, “enemies” is a strong word, and not necessarily accurate, as I wouldn’t say I actually have any enemies either! Thinking about it, my “enemies” aren’t people, they are ideas and ideologies espoused by some people – hatred, bigotry, lies.

      I like your take on this. Thank you.
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Is it better to ignore or to know your enemy?My Profile

  • Kathy March 24, 2012

    I think you have to maintain a healthy balance on that one. Know who your enemies are and then stay out of their path.

    Kathy recently posted… When There is No AlternativeMy Profile

  • Lou Lou Loves March 25, 2012

    I think knowing yourself is the most important of all. I think you can never change other people’s way of being/opinions/negativity but you can change how you react to them…
    Lou Lou Loves recently posted… Spring Fling Awakens in LightMy Profile

  • Corinne Rodrigues
    March 25, 2012

    If you had asked me this question a few years ago, I would have gone with Phillipians….but now I think that Sun Tzu’s thoughts are important to consider too. My take would be that it’s important to know our ‘enemies’ and understand how their minds work, but we should not let our thoughts be entirely consumed by them. So a balance is what I am striving for.
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted… To Be UnderstoodMy Profile

  • Masked Mom March 31, 2012

    I’m in favor of balance, though I often have trouble applying it, in this as in many things. 😉
    Masked Mom recently posted… Bells Will Be RingingMy Profile


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