Why we all love war

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by coberst, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. coberst Registered Senior Member

    Why we all love war.

    It is human nature to constantly seek “fuel for one’s own aggrandizement and immunity”. Otto Rank says “The death fear of the ego is lessoned by the killing of the other; one buys one’s self free from the penalty of dying, of being killed”. Is there any surprise then to discover that human kind is constantly engaged in war?

    The ego can consign others to death without a ‘second thought’, when such will provide a sense of personal security. This is why war comes so naturally for sapiens. Considering the fact that we now have the WMDs to destroy all citizens in one single cataclysm, is there any doubt regarding the necessity that humans begin quickly a process of self-learning in order to comprehend our nature so as to possibly prevent this logical fate?

    The price of our natural animal narcissism is that we will, when pressured, willingly sacrifice another in our place; with one very remarkable exception; the exception to this rule is, of course, the hero. Heroism is an amazing reversal of the rule of routine values. Heroism is another thing that makes war so wonderful and uplifting. War has become modern wo/man’s ritual for the emergence of heroes. We launch our self into uncritical hero worship as a catharsis of own fears.

    “The logic of Scapegoating, then, is based on animal narcissism and hidden fear. If luck, as Aristotle said, is when the arrow hits the fellow next to you, then Scapegoating is pushing the fellow into its path—with special alacrity if he is a stranger to you.

    The logic contained in killing others in order to protect our own life makes clear anything that may puzzle us regarding the frequency of war in human history. When I kill an enemy and thereby affirm the power of my life, then, certainly the staging of massive life-and-death struggles affirms our whole society. The outsider ponders known incidents when the mob delighted in watching the prolonged death of someone; we need not ponder if we comprehend sapiens’ drive to survive. “They are weak and die; we are strong and live.” “My God is stronger than your God”.

    The Nazis provide an example of this phenomenon. The dedicated themselves to the ‘final solution’, to large scale sacrifices of human life after 1941 when it was becoming evident that they were losing. The Jews were singled out as the scapegoat for the economic and political woes of Germany in the mid twentieth century.

    Many of the quotes are from “Escape from Evil”—Ernest Becker
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  3. draqon Banned Banned

    not all of us love war
    some of us love war because it is the final/ultimate way to change and reinforce an idea
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  5. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

    I don't.

    I don't buy any of this at all, and you seem to be talking about it as if it is a forgone conclusuion, or a universal axiom.
    It's not.

    Support your assertions, please.
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  7. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

    "War is a competition which has few rematches..."

  8. tablariddim forexU2 Valued Senior Member

    The only ones that love war are arms manufacturers and dealers. Anyone that has experienced war that has lived through one that has lost loved ones through one absolutely and positively hates it.

    Some war virgins that is people that have never had first hand experience of war, nourished by comics, movies, video games and nationalistic rhetoric and even history, have romanticised notions of it and are even obsessed by it. Those people should join the army and go put their live's on the line, see their comrades killed and maimed, commit atrocities, rapes and murders in fits of insanity whilst on active duty and then they can talk about loving war.
  9. coberst Registered Senior Member

    To comprehend some domains of knowledge one must hold in abeyance their common sense perception of the world. We must do this when we study such matters as philosophy, sociology, psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, mythology, etc. because if we do not go beyond common sense we cannot comprehend these matters that common sense ignores. These sciences look behind the curtain. With these sciences we can begin to comprehend what makes us tick.

    Physics must do this as it tries to comprehend what goes on in the inner world of the atom. Expert scientists in the field of physics will admit that the world of every day intuition must be abandoned if one is to comprehend the nature of the atom. Our comprehension of the inner world is framed in a virtual world of mathematics; thereby we can predict the mechanics of matter even though it is via a virtual world created in our imagination.
  10. coberst Registered Senior Member

    one raven

    I gave my source in the OP as a book by Becker.
  11. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

    I saw that.
    That doesn't mean much to me.
    If you agree with what Becker, please support it, because, as I said, I am not buying any of it, regardless of whom you are quoting.
  12. coberst Registered Senior Member


    The question is why do we behave in the manner that we do? We have the sciences of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and psychiatry to study such things and to acquire a comprehension of such matters. We do not ‘see’ what is going on all around us because we have lived in the middle of such behavior all of our lives. We can ‘see’ only what we are prepared to ‘see’.

    Some wise person said “know thyself”. We have no way of knowing our self until we begin to study what these sciences have learned and can tell us. If we wish to follow the wise admonition “know thyself” we will begin the process of learning about the findings of these sciences.
  13. Grantywanty Registered Senior Member

    Why is there such a difference between the way women and men view war and killing?
    Or are you only writing about men?

  14. Grantywanty Registered Senior Member

    As usual. Waht you are doing is saying that the people who disagree with you are simply clinging to common sense ideas. You do not respond to their points or help to show why, having heard what they have said, you still think the ideas you are presenting are true. You appeal in a general way to authority, in part yourself, and indirectly psychoanalyze those who disagree with you.

    You don't appear to know how to have a rational debate.
    1) present idea
    2) ignore the details and arguments of disagreement
    3) tell them to set aside their 'common sense'

    this is solipsistic and naricissistic. It also fails to convince.
  15. Grantywanty Registered Senior Member

    You begin with a provocative statement. Perhaps you exaggerate as a rhetorical gesture. That's fine. but I disagree. There have always been many who have been against war. People who have put themselves in great emotional and physical jeopardy to oppose war. How did these people manage to do this? Do you think they were simply in denial?

    You mention heroes as an example of altruism. But there are many non-war and less male examples of people whose actions and beliefs run counter to your generalizations. Parents risking their lives for their children. Poeple riskig their lives for strangers. I am currently reading a book about the war in former yugoslavia. It is a collection of first person accounts of people who helped across religious and nationalist lines often at tremendous risks to themselves and even their own families. Perhaps it is not as universal as you think this drive to war.

    This is absurd. Some people constantly do this. many others do not. As a simple case in point: is this what you are doing when you post here? Are you posting here simply to fuel your own aggrandizement? And if you are, why should we listen?

    I have read Becker, Rank and a rather solid selection of the main psychological works including and since Freud. What you want to dismiss as common sense includes long work with ideas that it seems like you are just coming in contact with for the first time. I have also worked with these ideas in my private practice. You are making each sentence you come in contact in these works a sentence in your new Bible, unaware of how much experts in the field have a variety of opinions about the worth of both Rank's and Becker's ideas.

    It might help if you actually grounded the ideas in your own life, came down from the preacher's podium and related these ideas to something more concrete. Might help you, help the discussion, help your readers.

    We can go to the library and take Becker and Rank out ourselves. And your assumption that we haven't is just one of the strange ones in your stance.
  16. swivel Sci-Fi Author Valued Senior Member

    Amen, Granty. This is like watching a college student discover Skinner for the first time. You have to deal with them for a semester walking around saying, "There is no mind", "Whatever happens in there is not important", "It's the BEHAVIOR, stupid".

    It takes them another semester to realize that Skinner's work has been debunked. And by that time, they are latched onto Chomsky. You just have to roll with it, and point out where they are wrong.

    For instance: Becker is famous for spouting ideas with no evidence or study to back them up. It is armchair psychology/philosophy. The same nonsense that had gotten all soft sciences in trouble for years.

    To say that "we all love war" is to ignore those people that live their entire lives in abusive relationships, and never themselves abusing. Their lack of a defense for themselves is the problem, not their desire to assert themselves above all else. This theory needs to deal with thousands and thousands of case studies which seem to subvert the original premise.

    Also, a look at evolutionary theory, and the biological history of mankind suggests that conflict, not war, is the natural order of things. Man isn't war-like due to psychological reasons, man is warlike for chemical reasons. Chimps go on raids, attack others, commit infanticide, rip limbs from enemies, and so on. The cruelty of nature, "red in tooth and claw" is infamous. To blame man's part in this is to miss the real issue - Man has largely REMOVED himself from this. A species that lives amongst and commingles with complete strangers! It is against our biology, and yet we do it with very few casualties. It amazes me how wrong Becker and his Jeremiad friends can get this.

    Becker is just a person waxing on what are mysteries to him, but they are only mysteries because he knows almost nothing of human beings. This ignorance he is filling with his own musings, which are enticing to the similarly ignorant.
  17. coberst Registered Senior Member

    I am an autodidactic, i.e. a self-learner. The goal of a pupil is to acquire knowledge. The goal of a self-learner is self-actualization. The autodidactic seeks understanding and not just knowledge. The self-learner is guided by curiosity and caring. This is what leads such a person into constantly entering into the domains of new knowledge without a 'by-your-leave'. This is what makes life extremely interesting. This is what has led me into studying the nature of sapiens. It is something that you might enjoy should you accept the job.

    I have for some time been interested in trying to understand what ‘understand’ means. I have reached the conclusion that ‘curiosity then caring’ is the first steps toward understanding. Without curiosity we care for nothing. Once curiosity is in place then caring becomes necessary for understanding.

    Often I discover that the person involved in organizing some action is a person who has had a personal experience leading her to this action. Some person who has a family member afflicted by a disease becomes very active in helping support research in that disease, for example.

    I suspect our first experience with ‘understanding’ may be our first friendship. I think that this first friendship may be an example of what Carl Sagan meant by “Understanding is a kind of ecstasy”.

    I also suspect that the boy who falls in love with automobiles and learns everything he can about repairing the junk car he bought has discovered ‘understanding’.

    I suspect many people go their complete life and never have an intellectual experience that culminates in the “ecstasy of understanding”. How can this be true? I think that our educational system is designed primarily for filling heads with knowledge and hasn’t time to waste on ‘understanding’.

    Understanding an intellectual matter must come in the adult years if it is to ever come to many of us. I think that it is very important for an adult to find something intellectual that will excite his or her curiosity and concern sufficiently so as to motivate the effort necessary to understand.

    Understanding does not come easily but it can be “a kind of ecstasy”.

    I think of understanding as being a creation of meaning by the thinker. As one attempts to understand something that person will construct through imagination a model--like a papier-mâché--of the meaning. Like an artist painting her understanding of something. As time goes by the model takes on what the person understands about that which is studied. The model is very subjective and you and I may study something for some time and we both have learned to understand it but if it were possible to project an image of our model they would be unidentifiable perhaps by the other. Knowledge has a universal quality but not understanding.

    Understanding is a tipping point, when water becomes ice, it is like a gestalt perception it may never happen no matter how hard we try. The unconscious is a major worker for understanding.
  18. coberst Registered Senior Member


    Ernest Becker has woven a great tapestry, which represents his answer to the question ‘what are we humans doing, why are we doing it, and how can we do it better?’

    Becker has written four books “Beyond Alienation”, “Escape from Evil”, “Denial of Death”, and “The Birth and Death of Meaning”; all of which are essential components of his tapestry. Ernest Becker (1924-1974), a distinguished social theorist, popular teacher of anthropology and sociology psychology, won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for the “Denial of Death”.

    Many weeks ago a forum member suggested that I might be interested in the author Ernest Becker and I was given the following web site.
    http://faculty.washington.edu/nelgee/hidden/solomonsound.htm This is a great one hour audio about Becker’s ideas given by a very good lecturer.

    Becker provides the reader with a broad and comprehensible synopsis of the accomplishments of the sciences of anthropology, psychology, sociology, and psychiatry. Knowledge of these accomplishments provides the modern reader with the means for the comprehension of why humans do as they do.

    Becker declares that these sciences prove that humans are not genetically driven to be the evil creatures that the reader of history might conclude them to be. We humans are victims of the societies that we create in our effort to flee the anxiety of death. We have created artificial meanings that were designed to hide our anxieties from our self; in this effort we have managed to create an evil far surpassing any that our natural animal nature could cause.

    Becker summarizes this synoptic journey of discovery with a suggested solution, which if we were to change the curriculums in our colleges and universities we could develop a citizenry with the necessary understanding to restructure our society in a manner less destructive and more in tune with our human nature.

    The only disagreement I have with Becker’s tapestry is in this solution he offers. I am convinced that he has failed to elaborate on an important step that is implied in his work but not given sufficient emphasis. That step is one wherein the general adult population takes up the responsibility that citizens of a democracy must take on; adults must develop a hobby “get a life—get an intellectual life”. In other words, it will be necessary that a significant share of the general population first comprehend these matters sufficiently to recognize the need for the proposed changes to our colleges and universities.
  19. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member

    War! Good God ya'll! What is it good for?



    Truly: War is a grand motivator of human excellence.

    That is something that must also be discussed, how war has been the piston upon which the engine of mankind's progress has accelerated to the bright future.
  20. Grantywanty Registered Senior Member

    This just doesn't sound like someone 'constantly seeking to fuel their own grandizement and so on.' How did this come about? If everyone is doing this, and you are now claiming a very different set of motivations - seeking understanding, being guided by curiosity and caring - how did you as an exception come about? If you yourself are an exception to the rule you stated in the first post, is it possible that the rule might have less truth to it than it first seemed? Are there others who have curiosity and caring as strong motivators, rather than agression and warlike desires.

    We all have a side of ourselves that is dynamic, active, capable of making changes and exerting force. Some people have a direct line to express this passionately and positively. Many others are inhibited or have as their only outlet for this side of themselves what many psychologists call aggression. You can look at aggression as a twisted form of what could be healthy human nature. I am talking about in instigators. People who start wars, who jump to aggressive solutions, who assume that life is a zero sum game and the answer is to take by force or change by force. Lacking any creativity or flexibility in the dynamic side of themselves their range of actions adn responses is limited. Thus they slide towards violence and instigating violence.

    You can be hampered in the opposite way. You can turn the active, dynamic side of yourself onto yourself. Guilt can be one form of this. People can be trained to turn this on themselves. AGain what is natural - to creatively and dynamically go outward - is twisted, in this case inward. Severe punishment, whether emotional and mental such as channeling into children by some religions or families, or physical can 'create' this kind of person. A person who may have to work hard to begin expressing this side of themselves outwardly. They often feel that to do so is to become like the ones who abused them. Or they simply feel it is bad, wrong, sinful, etc.

    The people who love war are a subset of homo sapians. They have a particular limitation in the way they express this side of their nature (might be called the Yang side in Eastern Philosophy). A much larger portion of humans than may be willing to admit have a tendency towards aggression as a solution, though few of them express this physically. But to describe them as loving war is to ignore the main portion of those people.

    So I disagree with you blanket statement.
    It fits neither what I have read, in general, not my own personal experience.

    What is it that makes you think the person you are addressing has not long ago begun this journey.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2007
  21. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member


    You are an arrogant little fucker, aren't you?
  22. Baron Max Registered Senior Member

    No, I don't think HE is an arrogant little fucker .....he's just parroting Becker and a couple of others in all of his comments. As I read his posts, none of it is his own comments, but the copied comments of others.

    But I must admit to gettiing damned tired of his "copied" posts ....without any of his own comments or defenses of those posts.

    Baron Max
  23. coberst Registered Senior Member

    I am not little!

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