Albert Wohlstetter Quote

“Almost everyone seems concerned with the need to relax tension. However, relaxation of tension, which everyone thinks is good, is not easily distinguished from relaxing one's guard, which almost everyone thinks is bad. Relaxation, like Miltown, is not an end in itself. Not all danger comes from tension. The reverse relation, to be tense where there is danger, is only rational.”

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

(-; I like it ;-)

Waffler, Smith

Tension comes from the feeling of not being in control. When you know the difference between what you should and what you should not control your tensions will ease. Some people are control freaks and are always tense, like Rush!

Justin, Elkland

As gluttony is to the body, relaxation is to the mind.

J Carlton, Calgary

We could use a leader who understand this. Unfortunately we have a Kenyan guest in the WH who is much too polite to say or do anything about American domestic problems. But we do seem to go ahead with parking our military all over the planet and on the doorsteps of people we feel need to be intimidated. No wonder we're always on the brink of war. (Oceania is at war...Oceania has always been at war)

jim k, Austin,Tx

If what the government is doing doesn't make you tense, then you might be dead or maybe just a liberal. I think it was Mark Twain who said," No man's life, liberty, or property is safe when the legislature is in session." Especially true now with the likes of Obama, Pelosi, and Reed running things.

Justin, Elkland

Thank you, J Calrton and Jim for the Orwell and Twain references; witnessing the practical application of knowledge always brings a smile to my day.

  • Reply
RBESRQ    6/22/10

Justin, read the quote again. The point of Marshall Arts is that the mind is totally still but very much aware.The point is the more the mind is relaxed the stronger the tension.

Judith, New Mexico

Like your "dead or liberal" comment. Such angry people who cannot tolerate anyone else opinion without insulting them. Same old, same old. Is this a club? Seem this is the usual content of most comments. Just more hate speech.

Justin, Elkland

RBESRQ, thanks for the suggestion, but I am already aware of the quote's context. Mr. Wholstetter, it would seem, is saying that in the context of the cold war, the U.S. should maintain a level of tension with its enemies to maintain peace, because projecting weakness will precipitate open conflict. Your reference to Martial Arts is apt, though misapplied. In the context of this quote, martial arts gives one the ability to project such strength that physical conflict is un-necessary. If one assumes that this strategy is derived from Sun Tzu's Art of War, you may say that through deceiving your enemy into believing that you cannot be beaten, you will win without having to fight. As to my simile, I only intended to advertise my disdain for the popular usage of the term relaxation.

Justin, Elkland

Editor, Did you intend this quote as a foil to Bertrand Russell's preemtive strike approach to nuclear diplomacy?


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