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Commentary On T. E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars Of Wisdom

700 words - 3 pages

T. E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom is the memoir of a British junior officer during the Allied campaign against the Turks during the First World War. A remarkable work that remains germane in the current operating environment, Seven Pillars was not the book that Lawrence intended to write upon embarking on his adventures in southwest Asia. He had drafted a book on seven great cities of the Middle East but lost his initial text prior to completion. As a tribute to this work Lawrence maintained the title, which he derived from the Bible, Proverbs 9:1, “Wisdom hath builded a house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars” although not relevant to his seminal writing. Lawrence captures many ...view middle of the document...

He eloquently affirms, “[f]ear, the strongest motive in slothful man, broke down with us, since love for a cause – or for a person – was aroused.” His study of the human condition in the face of battle, espoused by his incomparable prose, provide a clear picture of desirable leadership in conflict.
Although untrained for his role in the Arab Revolt, Lawrence demonstrates a firm grasp of Clausewitzian principles and their presence in the campaign. Writing while directed to bed rest, Lawrence develops his text’s arguably most significant chapter. In it he cautions strategists from thinking in a linear manner while contending that one must holistically view the environment if one is to succeed in shaping it. Lawrence describes this approach as the “Algebraical element of things, a Biological element of lives, and the Psychological element of ideas”. He asserts that viewing events through an algebraic lens enables him to encounter, “known variables, fixed conditions, space and time, inorganic things… with mankind in type-masses too great for individual variety with all artificial aids and the extensions given our faculties by mechanical invention.” His ability to comprehend his tactical...

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