[lit-ideas] Re: Autopsy?!?!

  • From: "Andy Amago" <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2006 12:48:01 -0400

> [Original Message]
> From: John Wager <john.wager1@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: 6/12/2006 11:35:14 AM
> Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Autopsy?!?!
> Andy Amago wrote:
> >. . . .
> >I love Ursula's quotes about war.  It's so unfathomable why war is so
> >eternally popular.  It has to be somehow connected to the ability to
> >rejoice over executions.
> >  
> >
> Perhaps not.  There are some people who are looking at the role of 
> attachment and sacrifice in war.
> We love our sons.  We do not want to see them die.  We value them almost 
> as much as life itself.
> But just how much do we value life?  We sometimes don't exactly know; 
> sometimes life gets boring and routine.
> We would like to know just how much we DO value life.
> So we sacrifice our own sons in order to feel that our "way of life" is 
> THAT valuable--SO valuable that we are
> willing to see our sons die in order to maintain it.
> We are then convinced that our lives have enormous value; otherwise 
> their sacrifice would have been "in vain,"
> and we can't possibly conceive that this monstrous idea could be true.
> Notice that this has NOTHING to do with rejoicing over death; in fact, 
> just the opposite is true--To the extent
> that we feel intensely the loss of life and the pain of death, to that 
> extent do we keep war going, precisely because the
> grief provides a measure of the value of our way of life.

This seems to go back to defining love.  Loving our children so much that
we would sacrifice them to prove that life is worth dying for has a "with
friends like this, who needs enemies" quality to it.  If we simply liked
our children, would we sacrifice them?  Probably not.  Therefore, love is
meaningless except as an expression of incredible egocentrism, me-ism.  I
love my country, therefore, I will kill my countrymen to prove it.  Would
country, or even God, not be satisified with, as Benjamin Franklin says,
arbitration?  History tells us that clearly they would not be satisfied. In
the movie Affair of the Necklace (a true story), the mob rejoices at Marie
Antoinette's execution; a man holds his child up so he can see better her
head being guillotined off.  That callousness, and yes, joy, at seeing an
"enemy" killed, coupled with humanity's animal nature, the same animal
nature that rejoices in hunting, in my opinion is what makes war eternal. 
I believe your point is the perversity of human values, and I couldn't
agree more with it.

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