Friday, May 12, 2006

We Must Understand


To me, one of the most important books of the past century is Chris Hedges' War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. It is a shattering account of the journalist's journey through the some of the most violent conflicts of the 20th century, and even more it is is a glimpse inside the heart and soul of war itself. Hedges pulls no punches in his critique of civilization's fascination and inexorable attraction to war and why it does give many, far too many, a reason to live.

I believe this book is so important because if we cannot understand the problem then it is difficult if not impossible to begin to make the changes necessary to stop our headlong rush towards our own doom.

Enough of my blathering. Let Chris Hedges impart his hard-won wisdom:

The enduring attraction of war is this: Even with it's destruction and carnage it can give us what we long for in life. It can give us purpose, meaning, a reason for living. Only when we are in the midst of conflict does the shallowness and vapidness of much of our lives become apparent. Trivia dominates our conversations and increasingly our airwaves. And war is an enticing elixer. It gives us resolve, a cause. It allows us to be noble.

I'm not so blind or unaware of my own motivations towards the very same end. The opposition to war can be just as meaningful and yes, intoxicating. I have found myself of late paying far more attention to BushCo as a way of avoiding the pains of my own circumstance. Truth can cut both ways.

Back to Hedges:

The eruption of conflict instantly reduces the headache and trivia of daily life. The communal march against an enemy generates a warm, unfamiliar bond with our neighbors, our community, our nation, wiping out unsettling undercurrents of alienation and dislocation. War, in times of malaise and desperation, is a potent distraction.
War makes the world understandable, a black and white tableau of them and us. It suspends thought, especially self-critical thought. All bow before the supreme effort. We are one. Most of us willingly accept war as long as we can fold it into a belief system that paints the ensuing suffering as necessary for a higher good, for human beings seek not only happiness but also meaning. And tragically war is sometimes the most powerful way in human society to achieve meaning.
Patriotism provides the blessing. Soldiers want at least the consolation of knowing that they risk being blown up by land mines for the greater glory, for a New World. Dissension, questioning of purpose, the exposure of war crimes carried out by those fighting on our behalf are dangerous to such beliefs. Dissidents who challenge the goodness of our cause, who question the gods of war, who pull back the curtains to expose the lie are usually silenced or ignored.

So when someone asks you why. Why is the history of our country and most other countries written in blood? Why do we need to sacrifice and scar entire generations and bankrupt ourselves literally and figuratively?

Because it gives us meaning. Because it makes us feel needed and real and powerful.

Because deep down, we don't know any other way to live.

Ugly. Isn't it? The true and unvarnished nature of man at the dawn of a new millennium.

Will this be another thousand years of blood? Another thousand years of an eye for an eye?

"In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

Are we kings? We who see past this charade of war, who no longer buy the lie?

No we are not. For to see ourselves in a holy role and a holy cause makes us as blind as those we seek to stop or change. We are simply people. Humans who feel the kinship of other humans. All other humans. And we cannot, will not, be turned from seeking another way. Is it a better way?
Let someone of purer heart and clearer vision decide that.

But I swear my blood, my hopes, my dreams and my future that it will be a different way.

To this end, I am opening Green September to a wider audience. I am inviting more people to read and participate here. My friends, you are some of the wisest and knowledgeable voices on the internet. More people should hear what you have to say. I have, in the past, kept GS insulated from the outside so as to avoid trolls and other prying eyes. I have purposely avoided linking to Green September and have not posted in other discussions as it's webmaster. Well enough of that. I am listing this site in various blog-search sites and I have posted a link in MySpace in the hopes of bringing more people who seek a way for change. I know this will inevitably bring conflicting views and just plain conflict here but it is a small price to pay for exposure of our message. I also intend to invite various old-timers here to guest blog so as to bring more news and views here. I know most of you have your own blogs and your own voice on the internet, you do not need me to give you a voice. But I hope you will join with me in making this more than a sounding board, more than just information, more than just news.
Help me make this the voice of our revolution.


  • At 4:35 AM, Blogger Again said…

    I'm not so blind or unaware of my own motivations towards the very same end. The opposition to war can be just as meaningful and yes, intoxicating. I have found myself of late paying far more attention to BushCo as a way of avoiding the pains of my own circumstance.

    do you see that you here perfectly describe, why Mother Nature invented human souls (Egos, consciousness, awareness)?

    high intelligence is a really complex network of information processing (sub)systems, optimized to detect and evaluate the nearly infinite input - feelings, instincts and emotions are nothing else than something like "default solutions" for standard situations with the advantage of fast and nearly always fitting results. And "fitting" tells you that there are always goals and aims involved, because no information processing system can work without goals and aims, they are the necessary "filters" of everthing, needed to reduce the input simply to be manageable

    the mightier an information processing is, the more subsystems are involved - and the more conflicts and contradictions happen inevitably - so you need a "judge" to decide who's wrong and who's right - and that judge has to know not only the input itself, but the means, tools and "filters" used - that judge has to know the whole system of information processing - an because this information processing is your brain, it has to know "you", that's your Ego, the DNA of your mind

    that's why i love information - you can understand everything - and you see, that even the Right Wings don't believe in their God, the "intelligent designer" as a reliable source for the human soul. They, more than any others, believe in math when they truly want to understand and control the human soul instead of "asking the designer" ;-) - that's why they spy on you


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