War, Hate, Evil, Good Music

January 18, 2011

I try not to fall into saying casually “I hate….” I truly am not inclined to hate much of anything or anyone. I try – no, I don’t try. It comes naturally – to see other points of view, to remind myself that a different way of seeing, thinking, acting, is an opportunity for me to reassess my own choices. Actually, I get accused of being wishy-washy, or trying to please people. There is some truth to that since, as I’ve said, I dislike confrontations immensely. But what happens is, after hearing someone disagree with me, I think about what they’ve said, and start looking for common ground. I might even find I was wrong. Or I may not. I may still decide my original views are best, at least for me. But I do think.

There is only one thing that I truly hate. One thing I unhesitatingly and unquestioningly call evil, and that is anyone who treats other people as objects.

Politicians are masters of this. Manipulating people to get their votes, with no thought at all of fulfilling their promises. Slashing social welfare bills, education bills – anything and everything that would cost their beloved corporations money but would benefit the people they claim to serve.

War is another example. War is not evil – it is a consequence of evil people. Greed, trying to claim land, property, trade – things that belong to others. Religious evil – trying to forcibly covert, or exterminate those who disagree with you. There can be multiple layers – like the classic ‘we’re going to invade you because we want to be sure you won’t invade us’.  It still boils down to ‘I want what you have’, added to the arrogant assumption that if you want it, and you can take it, it should be yours.

“I want your job.” Sabotage me, you might get it.

“I want your money.” A knife or gun, an empty street, and you might just get it.

“I want to stop you from thinking differently from me.” Why, I wonder? If you’re so sure you’re right, what harm does a dissenting voice cause? Those who repress other points of view are either afraid they’re wrong, or else they’re being evil. Assuming the right to tell others what to think shows you don’t see them as ‘real’ people.

“I want your land.” Well, you might have to struggle to get away with this one if you’re an individual, but if you’re a political leader, just start grabbing. Then when your victim retaliates, claim self-defense, or swat them down. Hey, whatever works.

All of these are evil on a personal scale, and more so on a national one. I was too young to see my friends getting shipped off to Viet Nam, but as I got older, I realized what those words, ‘the draft’ and the numbers the boys discussed meant. Young men, barely starting their lives, shipped off to die because communist China decided they wanted Viet Nam. And we decided to stop them. It wasn’t that simple, of course. But it still, at the root, was about treating others like objects you can control, even own.

Those boys became ‘acceptable losses.’

I can’t think of any term more horrifying, more evil than that. How can anyone look at fragile human life, the joys, the hopes, the dreams of these young men and call them ‘expendable’? I know, the war had to be fought, but it should never have started. And I’m not an idealistic fool. Nations will fight, will try to grab all they can just as people will. My failing is not that I don’t accept this reality, but (if it is a failing) that I hope somehow, someday we’ll get over ourselves.

The other day I saw a car with an old, peeling bumper sticker “Remember the MIAs”. We don’t think about that much now, but in my youth that was prevalent. And now, as a parent, I think about it and it hurts. The pain of their parents, the pain of the soldiers, knowing how their loved ones suffer on their behalf while suffering who knows what themselves… grief upon grief, lives torn to shreds, and for what? Our recent folly of a president wanted to look big, so he started another war. Perhaps if he hadn’t been ‘bought out’ of Viet Nam he’d have thought twice about what he was doing. Not that he had much choice, since his masters, who’d also ‘bought out’ of military service wanted the money war would bring to their companies. So greed, arrogant pride, ignorance, and a few thousand more lives shattered. Who cares? More where they came from.

I care.

I care for the soldiers and the families on all sides of these stupid conflicts. And I wish people would just stop being greedy. Stop trying to run the world. Stop treating others like counters in a game.

So yes, there is one thing I hate. And I fear I will have to go on hating it, as I see no sign we’ll ever start treating  other people with respect.

I am rather mistrustful of music and movies. They play on our emotions so thoroughly that people are almost helpless against them. We go to a movie and react as we’re instructed to – we cry, we laugh, we get angry, all without thinking about why we’re reacting. I dislike knowing how hard I have to work to not knee-jerk react as programmed. But these arts are useful, too. As propaganda, yes. There’s a reason why people sing in church. The rhythms, the unity of sound bond the group effectively. Political rhetoric, if well delivered, starts an accelerating ‘group think’ that is quite compelling. (I hear the voice of Spock: ‘Fascinating.’)

I cannot listen to these two songs without wanting to cry. They evoke the pain, the sacrifice, the loneliness of knowing you can and will die for a cause you may not understand or may not agree with; or because once again, an evil has created a situation that can only be stopped by death. There are many songs like this, but these two have been on my mind recently.

Ghost in the Shell, Second Gig. An incredibly thought-provoking anime:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxgCMh204Rc&feature=related and the lyrics are here:  http://www.justsomelyrics.com/903229/Ghost-In-The-Shell—Stand-Alone-Complex—2nd-gig-OST—Origa-Rise-Lyrics

DragonForce,  Soldiers of the Wasteland:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WADqxaQ35tw This one has the lyrics on the video.

Don’t know why I’ve been on unhappy thoughts – I think I’m fighting a cold. As I said above, our emotions are so easily manipulated, even by our own bodies.  ‘A bit of cheese, or undigested beef…’  I don’t recall the exact wording. (Sorry, Dickens) Blue skies or grey, flowers, cats, chocolate, someone cutting you off in traffic – such little things can alter our whole outlook. We are creatures of emotion, and the best we can do is learn to recognize as best we can how our emotions are wavering, and try to think about whether we actually feel as we think we feel, or whether it’s a temporary aberration. And try not to take ourselves too seriously.

I’ll end with something that gave me great joy. Joy at what humans are capable of when they get an education and an opportunity to use it, and aren’t getting killed:  http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/01/17/how-deep-the-universe/

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