Conflict can be a powerful way to provide meaning to your life. Without conflict, what else can fill that void?
I have been thinking about war a lot in the past year, from the historical, philosophical, and psychological perspectives. The approach to warfare seems to be one of the key concretes that distinguish different philosophies (liberal, conservative, objectivist, libertarian, etc). I am fascinated by the subject in general. How we as a society and individuals can hold pacifist values and yet support an unending sequence of wars.
One of the questions I’m ultimately concerned with is if world peace is possible. The more I learn about human nature, the more cynical I become.
Two books that have especially inspired my thinking on this topic is A History of Warfare and War is a Lie. These are two brilliant books that I will talk about more in the future. The first admires war as a fundamental (and necessary) part of human society. I’m not sure “admires” is the right word, but the author is fascinated by the richness of its history to a point of obsession. The second is a brilliant deconstruction of all the ways in which war is absurd and the justification we provide for it is a contradiction of the logical and moral compass with which we guide our life.
I’m sorry for the dramatic photograph of a child casualty. It’s more for me to remind myself of the reality behind the philosophy.