The Echoes of the Mind (159) War


War is the ultimate destructive force. War illustrates the extremity of cultural clash, and the easy mass violence of men deluded by dreams of dominance.

The sombre fact is that we are the cruellest and most ruthless species that has ever walked the Earth. We know in our hearts that each one of us harbours within himself those same savage impulses which lead to murder, to torture, and to war. ~ English psychoanalyst Anthony Storr

Along with resource acquisition and revenge, mating has been a key motivator in taking up arms. While men do not generally associate attractive women with aggression against other men, experimentally exposing men to pictures of desirable women increased their professed support for group conflict. Symbolic images, such as national flags, do not elicit the same response.

Warlike races are prone to the love of women. ~ Aristotle

War and mating as an evolved association makes sense. Historical analysis suggests that warriors multiply their sexual opportunities by raping the women of the enemy, or more mundanely through tales of heroism to local females.

So that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory. The first maketh men invade for gain; the second for safety; and the third, for reputation. ~ Thomas Hobbes

The prospect of profit is the usual fuel that fires war, which is typically territorial in its aim. War is otherwise an exercise in mass madness, or, at least, derangement in the ruling elite.

Humans will kill and die for an idea. ~ French American anthropologist Scott Atran & American psychologist Jeremy Ginges

The US provocation of the Vietnam War in the 1960s illustrates such insanity: a conflict over ideology, which is the ultimate absurdity of political abstraction. America had absolutely nothing to gain, yet committed its dignity, and risked its economy and social fabric, to an invasion of Vietnam: a roll of loaded dice that the aggressor was destined to lose. The US political establishment at the time had no conception of what was at stake. Ignorant of history and their chosen enemy, the American political elite naïvely assumed they could prevail – though to what end they had not bothered to ponder.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. ~ American general and US President Dwight Eisenhower