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War

 
 
Icon
 
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 12:20 pm
I put this in uncategorized because it seems to fit into too many categories. It is at the very heart of all philosophy as a thorn in our side.


[INDENT]"There is a word which has the power to strike fear, pride, anxiety, and honor into the hearts of men and women everywhere. The word is only three letters by can imply a great change and great terror. This word is one that we have all heard and even some have experienced first hand. This word can topple governments, kill thousands, collapse economies, even destroy hope. This word is War." ~ excerpt from my 'work in progress', The Three Questions of Brilliance.
[/INDENT]
I am going to ask an open ended question because I want this to branch out as many ways as possible.

Why do we still need war?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 4,702 • Replies: 92
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Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 02:28 pm
@Icon,
It's not that war is needed.

Think of humanity as a big seething pot of potential energy.

War is a short spark of kinetic energy that lowers the potential energy level.

Europe in the 20-30 years before WWI was like that. The war lowered the potential energy level in the end, but the kinetic energy carried on in the Russian and Spanish Civil Wars, the tumult in Germany, and ultimately the pre-WWI potential energy never really resolved. The Depression added yet more. It took an apocalyptic war in WWII, especially on the Eastern Front in Europe, to finally dissipate it.

You have to read the book War of the World by Niall Fergusson if you're interested in this question, it's phenomenal.

Ideally diplomacy would be a far less destructive way to lower the potential energy. Sometimes it works, but not often enough -- because it's not the policymakers who are standing there under the missiles.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 02:46 pm
@Icon,
WAR!!! Huuh... What is IT Good For???
xris
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 02:56 pm
@Fido,
When i was a young soldier i desired but detested war..the thrill of war my father instilled in me grew, my mothers pacifist views added a different troubling dimension...It is the ultimate challenge, the moral implications, the trauma of what should i do when required to kill..will i loose my soul? Nothing else can heighten ones feelings of fragility of fear of a cold fatalism..we who are about to die salute you..
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 07:39 pm
@xris,
xris wrote:
When i was a young soldier i desired but detested war..the thrill of war my father instilled in me grew, my mothers pacifist views added a different troubling dimension...It is the ultimate challenge, the moral implications, the trauma of what should i do when required to kill..will i loose my soul? Nothing else can heighten ones feelings of fragility of fear of a cold fatalism..we who are about to die salute you..

I've killed time...Does anybody mind???
proV
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 07:30 am
@Fido,
There's a song it came to my mind when reading this topic and it goes something like this:

It is said that the war is coming, but it is love I will die of..
Catchabula
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 09:22 am
@xris,
xris wrote:
When i was a young soldier i desired but detested war..the thrill of war my father instilled in me grew, my mothers pacifist views added a different troubling dimension...It is the ultimate challenge, the moral implications, the trauma of what should i do when required to kill..will i loose my soul? Nothing else can heighten ones feelings of fragility of fear of a cold fatalism..we who are about to die salute you..


-Has one of us ever been in a war situation? (Xris?)
-Do we even have the slightest idea of what we are talking about then?
-I will not join this discussion, for respect, love, immense admiration..., for those who know war.
-War is beyond us. We play with words. We are children. We are cowards. We are dead at the first bombing.
-Those who know war will not talk about it, and if they do it is because they want to be nice to the poor guy who's asking them (he may have children, so he has to make a living. Yes, the children...)
-Die in the trenches first and then I'll listen to you. But I know you'll prefer pancakes.
-There may be some pictures of war, pictures being less impotent than words, less insulting.
-Aedes, with the utmost respect, I personnally think -and I may be completely wrong- that your approach is not wholly hmm expressing the essence of the point.
-The dialectics of Hegel! How wise he was...
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 09:44 am
@Catchabula,
Catchabula;41653 wrote:
Aedes, with the utmost respect, I personnally think -and I may be completely wrong- that your approach is not wholly hmm expressing the essence of the point.
I know. I take a pragmatic approach to this question, because war is almost never arrived at philosophically -- it's a response to conditions.

If you take any philosophical viewpoint about war, it's going to be very difficult to ever justify. If you take a sociological and geopolitical viewpoint, though, it seems inevitable.

What are your thoughts?
Catchabula
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 10:38 am
@Aedes,
I said I wouldn't reply, and here I am and I cannot do otherwise (brother Silly Chicken). I just wanted to add that in wars there are imho three sorts of people: soldiers, civilians and diplomats. The first two have a lot in common, they bleed and they die, and often alone and in silence. The last ones have words, and if these words can prevent or stop wars, they are forgiven for them. Besides diplomats will die too. If it's in a war they may even learn a few things.

You are right of course. Wittgenstein's seventh sentence doesn't apply here. Whatever the nature of the discourse we must give all words we can ever say to prevent or end war. If it can also be done in the philosopher's way (pushing your pants down and sticking your tongue out), I'm your man.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 03:21 pm
@Catchabula,
Catchabula;41667 wrote:
in wars there are imho three sorts of people: soldiers, civilians and diplomats
I don't think it's ever so simple. There are soldiers who are thrown out to be cannon fodder, there are soldiers who commit atrocities, and there are soldiers who do both. There are civilians who act as partisans, there are civilians who are complicit with atrocities, and there are civilians who are opportunists, and of course there are civilians who suffer from no fault of their own. The higher one gets as a civilian, the closer one is to being a politician (or at least visible to politicians). The higher one gets as a soldier, the more complicit one is with strategic and diplomatic decisions.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 04:00 pm
@proV,
proV wrote:
There's a song it came to my mind when reading this topic and it goes something like this:

It is said that the war is coming, but it is love I will die of..

Stupidity and not love kills.... But it is a rare man who has not recognized that love makes stupid, and that one who knows what he will not do for love is not in love...
ROBOTER
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 05:07 pm
@Fido,
I think war can be applied to civilians living in ghettos too. It's not just at an organized level like "policed" wars. I grew up on the west side of Detroit, and Detroit makes Gaza look like a small town in New England.

As always I have to agree with Aedes. It is simply a natural act.
Catchabula
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 06:03 pm
@ROBOTER,
Wars are ended when both parties reach an agreement, so I agree with each agreement Smile. Aedes, where do you place Us in that classification? "Us". meaning the fat, indifferent, insensitive... outsiders, those who see the killings on tv... and yawn! "We have always dirty hands", and "Everybody is responsible for everything" (Sartre). Dear philosophers, what do YOU do against your country? Meditating against war? I do nothing, but considering the matter I am certainly not a philosopher. Take the Peanut-thread for instance: in the end it will proove to have saved the life of a boatload of refugees. Why else would one even mention it here? Philosophers are ethically conscious, and see things in proportion.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 07:07 pm
@Icon,
Philosophers may be ethically self-aware, but that doesn't mean they're good. Look at Heidegger, who was an unapologetic Nazi who was friends with Julius Streicher -- one of the most vicious inciters of violence against Jews, and who was executed at Nuremberg.

Where are we placed? It's complicated, because we respond to what we know, and we don't always know the truth. Often we're afraid of getting our hands dirty, and we let things like Rwanda and Darfur and Sierra Leone turn into historic nightmares. Other times we think we're being noble but get our hands dirty in the process.

But what is a philosopher to do? Philosophers can't do anything unless they're something more than a philosopher -- they have to have a way of reaching people in common language.
Catchabula
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 08:35 pm
@Aedes,
Hi there. Just came back to restate the question a bit, and this in the heath of the night. It's 03 h 00 here in B. This has nothing to do with the Forum btw, I just suffer from Insomnia. No matter really, let's talk...

As I said I dropped in to restate the question. I had something in mind as: "Why can people who declare themselves creators of moral systems or at least expert in these do not spend their whole life fighting the mother (father) of all immoralities: war". But again I wanted to spare sensibilities, avoid sneering, be gentle. In the thirties I would have asked: "Why do you people defending racial purity express that by such a specific and pronounced attitude towards the members of the jewish cultural tradition?". Let's be respectful towards each other, it's in the rules here. Besides if we are respectful, respect will spread over the globe and history will be eternally thankful to philosophy for its both noble and effective approach. Everlasting Peace thanks to philosophy... My - Ass !!!

So I dropped in and found this fine answer from Aedes. Suddenly I understood why he's so "good": he's not only clever but he also has the most virtuous of virtues: self-criticism, honesty, a strong and authentic morality. Philosophy was vindicated, and I felt understood. Thanks Paul, you kinda folks make the world better. And you call yourself philosophers he? Can I join you? Thanks in advance.

Meanwhile there is and will ever be war and we didn't make much progress on this matter yet. Can we catch the Devil in a matrix? As Lenin asked: What To Do? As to war this question is the first and the last, and I also thank Icon for bringing the matter up (A pacifist with a collection of weapons? He's personally involved... Smile ). I eagerly await further comments. Proove yourself, folks! It's war we're talking about, and that ain't peanuts! Ask the dead.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 08:56 am
@Catchabula,
War can it ever be justified ? I think with the weakness of humanity it is inevitable and on occassions going to war is essential..Justified to defend ?yes, to make a political point, never. It makes humans devils or gallant heroes, it can bring out the worst or the best.The biggest problem i have is certain young men crave its excitement,why is that?Do young men rush to enrol for the best or the adventure? In war we see everything more distinctly, the insignificance's of life disappear nothing is mundane. We must not ignore the attractions of war as well as its horrors..
0 Replies
 
Catchabula
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 12:52 pm
@Icon,
Those who see any virtue in war make me puke. And I'm not sorry!
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 01:12 pm
@Catchabula,
Catchabula wrote:
Those who see any virtue in war make me puke. And I'm not sorry!
Is there virtue in defending your family your country your freedom..??? I would not call it virtue but i would say it could be a necessity.Do you think there was reason to make a stand against Hitler?
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 02:06 pm
@xris,
xris wrote:
Is there virtue in defending your family your country your freedom..??? I would not call it virtue but i would say it could be a necessity.Do you think there was reason to make a stand against Hitler?

There is a big difference between war and self defense, and between war and feud... War is injustice, but it is also made possible by injustice... If people , all people had democracy they would have the means to achieve justice in their own lands, and so democracy is entirely defensive in nature, protecting the rights of all in society, but by its nature democracy is terrible at offense and usually adaquate at defense because it make a general of every man...
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 02:21 pm
@Fido,
Fido wrote:
There is a big difference between war and self defense, and between war and feud... War is injustice, but it is also made possible by injustice... If people , all people had democracy they would have the means to achieve justice in their own lands, and so democracy is entirely defensive in nature, protecting the rights of all in society, but by its nature democracy is terrible at offense and usually adaquate at defense because it make a general of every man...
Sorry you have lost me..how can defending ones family in war be not war but something else..the nutter at the door or the army at your borders its still war..I will be ready for war but plead for peace.
 

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