[lit-ideas] Re: Virility and Slaughter

Richard, how would you explain that people just love to rip each other off?  
The less educated do it physically through muggings and the like, the more 
educated use financial predation, as in credit card banks doing predatory 
lending; drug companies price gouging Medicare; the Lear-Jet-flying ultra rich 
who struggle so hard to pay no taxes at all; Andrew Carneige's merciless 
exploitation, etc.  Now Bush wants to spend trillions to avoid paying people 
retirement benefits.  Abu Ghraib, the Holocaust, Nan-King, and on and on.

Don't we simply enjoy hurting one another, even when we personally know the 
person we're hurting (the song "You always hurt the one you love" comes to 
mind).  Warfare is just the further side of the same continum.  We say that 
mechanized warfare makes it easy to kill, but before mechanized warfare it was 
always hand-to-hand and was equally, if not more, brutal: spearing, scalping, 
crucifying, whatever, at point blank range.  Is human nature just plain evil?  
I despair that the answer is yes.  Without restraints, we regress to cavemen, 
whether it be in domestic violence (including Bush and Laura when he was 
drinking) or Congressional looking the other way when people are ripped off 
while identifying with the predator.  Is there an explanation for depraved 
behavior as the norm once restraints are even slightly loosened?

Andy



-----Original Message-----
From: "Richard Koenigsberg, Ph. D." <libraryofsocialscience@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Feb 2, 2005 10:21 PM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Virility and Slaughter

Marlene: "I could understand a bit better if it really were for the =
ideals
we espouse so =20
much--freedom, liberty, justice for all and all of that <g>--but there
seemed to be no=20
reason other than to watch them die."

Marlene,

        No, the reason the General enjoyed watching his men die was because
IT WAS DONE IN THE NAME OF THE IDEAL. It is always the "ideal" that =
makes
war--dying and killing--seem good. Below is another passage from my =
piece on
VIRILITY AND SLAUGHTER with the headline THE SACRED IDEAL. I'd be =
grateful
if you read this carefully. If you do, you will begin to get a sense of =
what
was going on. It's very strange, but also very normal. Dying and killing
occur in the name of "Germany," or "France," or "the British Empire." =
Some
people "love" these reified abstractions more than they love life.

With regards,

Richard K.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------=
---
------------
THE SACRED IDEAL

        What is the nature of the sacred ideal in the name of which bodies
may be mutilated and destroyed? The sacred ideal that generates killing =
and
dying is, of course, one's nation, for example, France, Germany, Great
Britain, Russia, etc. These are the objects or entities that require and
justify abject submission. In a lecture that formed an important part of
their training, Colonel Shirley told British officers that the words =
that he
was about to speak would be among the most =93serious you will ever hear =
in
all your lives. Now that you have entered upon the service of your =
Country,
you must proceed to serve her with all your heart and with all your soul =
and
with all your mind and with all your strength.=94 He consoles his =
officers by
telling them that if they have done their best and yet must fall, they =
might
take comfort in the thought that =93you will have suffered for a cause =
greater
and more noble than that for which any man has ever yet sacrificed his =
all."

        Patriotic rhetoric resonated. One million volunteers joined the
British army in the first year of the war. War Office recruiting stands =
were
inundated with men persuaded of their duty to fight. On September 9, =
1915,
Basil Hart asked his parents not to wear mourning clothes in the event =
of
his death. He wrote, "I do not wish you to regard my death as an =
occasion
for grief, but of one for thanksgiving, for no man could desire a nobler =
end
than to die for his country and the cause of civilization."

        Eight months of battle did not alter these noble sentiments. On May
27, 1916, he appended the following words to his will: "Also I wish to =
say
that while I feel it an honor to die for England, I feel it an even =
greater
honor to die as an officer of the British Regular Army=97many of the =
finest
gentlemen whom God has sent into this world." Similar expressions of
commitment and devotion were common among soldiers of all nations. =
Shortly
before his death, Frenchman Robert Dubarle wrote of the "glorious =
privilege
of sacrificing oneself, voluntarily. Let us try, without complaining too
much to offer our sacrifice to our country and to place the love of
fatherland above our own grief."


____________________________________________________________
Library of Social Science
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Telephone: 1-718-393-1081

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Telephone: 1-718-393-1075

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Telephone: 1-718-393-1104

Website for RICHARD KOENIGSBERG
http://home.earthlink.net/~libraryofsocialscience/
Website for THE KOENIGSBERG LECTURES ON THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CULTURE AND
HISTORY
http://www.conflictaslesson.com/why_main.html



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