chapter  II
102 Pages

On War: Theoretical Dimensions

Clausewitz portrays chance in this metaphor in an unusually positive light. He stops short of implying that chance itself is ever positive, as personified in the goddess Fortuna, Lady Luck, the comforter of anxious men. Chance remains neutral and out of human reach in On War, but in his first chapter Clausewitz does emphasize the possibilities chance offers. They challenge the commander's creativity to seize and turn them to advantage. Although one may feel ambivalent about its disruptions, Clausewitz suggests people often welcome chance. 'Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often tinds uncertainty fascinating. It prefers to day-dream in the realms of chance and luck rather than accompany the intellect on its narrow and tortuous path of philosophical inquiry and logical deduction ' (p. 86). Pursuing this romantic idealization of chance and uncertainty a bit further, he claims they can be the source of imagination and inspiration. 'Unconfined by narrow necessity', he writes, '[human nature] can revel in a wealth of possibilities; which inspire courage to take wing and dive into the element of daring and danger like a fearless swimmer into the current' (p. 86).