ethel’s words

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Human societies retain war as an extension of enjoyment of violence. War is often the dominant tradition of a society, expressed in monuments and memorials and legends. Military might and glory are the source of hubris for many--but not all--nations.

Many--but not all-athletic activities are an expression of a desire for violence, not just prowess. But the most basic, especially in team sports, is to overpower others. “Good sportsmanship” makes it all honorable.

War is made tenable by our intuitive--but not always nurtured--satisfaction in causing pain, showing our power, and releasing our aggressions.

The very essence of desire to inflict pain is seen in family life, though this, also, is not true of all cultures--particularly those we might call “pre-state”. But as far back as we can study, war has shaped what we call “western civilization”. War has changed territories, changed leaders, and changed religions. War has enhanced and confirmed the concept of “evil and sin” as we shed blood and exhaust treasuries to counter those constructs.

We are conditioned for war by cruelty to children. Punishment and violence show “who has the power around here”. Further, this so-called “discipline” teaches obeisance and mindless obedience. This is most pronounced among the poor. As we look upward we see the prince: he cannot be punished; thus, a “whipping boy” is in his stead. Royal persons “order”; they do not obey.

The talons of war are on long limbs, and they clutch child-rearing, public education, various public information media, and religions.

Ethel C. Hale