October 21, 2002
". . . The sole possible aim and purpose . . . can only be this: to prepare the . . . people for the 'coming war' by the ruthless elimination, suppression and extermination of any sort of sentiment opposing such a war, to make the . . . people into an utterly obedient, uncritical instrument of war, blind and fanatic in its ignorance. The system can have no other aim and purpose, no other excuse. All the sacrifices of freedom, justice, human happiness, all the secret and open crimes which it has so blithely committed, can be justified only by the aim of making the nation unconditionally fit for war. Were the idea of war to be removed, of war as an aim in itself, the system would be nothing but the sheerest exploitation -- it would have neither meaning nor function." *
There is madness unique in the man animal. It makes the stuff of which history is written. Whether wrath of God in man image or Mongol hordes surging forth from the bleak steppes, whether Viking or Visigoth, mercenary or special forces; this madness, this death spreads like blood-swollen rivers splitting their banks, as rape splits woman. Wherever and whenever man confronts man, animal or nature itself; violent, barbaric death follows more assuredly than dawning of new days.
Has this madness ever been thus? Do we know of anything written in history suggesting otherwise? This mad stuff of history stifles any breath of freshness, perhaps not in the precise moment but certainly in the next beat of time.
A Christ, an Imam comes preaching love, compassion, wisdom. As surely as night follows day, his name is too soon carried to battle to slay and to destroy any who dare deny that divinity for another.
One among several ex-presidents covets peace more than golf, counsels acceptance, leads by example, shows compassion. The unelected, court-anointed president seeks war, denigrates any who challenge, carries death as lightly as history, repeating history as written, carrying forth that madness unique in the human animal.
Do we need new ideas? New ways? New history? New man?
Silly! Of course.
There is only one way not to play the game. Not to play.
How not to play?
Trying to solve problems using the tools, techniques and thoughts which create them remains silly.
How to be other than silly this way?
I am saturated with explanations, examples and exegeses. Dulled with discussions, discourses and debates all agreeing in some form that there is a madness among men yet again.
As previously noted several times, historian John Lukacs (1984) predicted a return to barbarity about now. Wilhelm Reich identified "the emotional plague of mankind" more than fifty years earlier. Sci-Fi guru Robert A. Heinlein postulated an upsurge of religious fundamentalism taking over governments also about now. (See his famous chart in the front of several of his books such as Revolt in 2100 (Signet, NY, 1954, Street & Smith, NY, 1939, 1940)
Reich died an ignominious death in a US prison. His books are banned, were burned and buried in 1956.
Lukacs, in Historical Consciousness, (1968 p. 52) notes, ". . . millions of people, in an uneasy fashion. . . are beginning to feel the increasing senselessness of 'progressive' futurism."
George W. Bush begins cabinet meetings with prayer (CSM, 6 September 2002, P. 1)
Headline: "In war, some facts less factual." Subhead: "Some U. S. assertions from the last war on Iraq still appear dubious." (CSM, 6 September 2002, P. 1)
Honda is introducing a new vehicle, the Element, a basic box on wheels that can be hosed out. Revolutionary.
Kashmir voters turn out the Indian-controlled governing party that has held power for 50 years, essentially since partition.
Pakistan voters snub America's favorite military dictator.
Will those few who vote in America this November similarly shock the pundits?
Will you, dear Swans scanner, vote?
Novelists such as Robert Littel in The Revolutionist, A Novel of Russia (Bantam, NY, 1988, ISBN 0-553-05260-8) tells stories about people in history, the history that isn't written but lived. He tells us about the madness in the man animal, too.
"What comes after violence is not justice, only more violence." (p. 69)
"The first order of business for those who take power is to keep power. So they resort to what men who have power resort to lies, exaggerations, repression, propaganda, wars." (p. 49)
The Bolsheviks who assembled in 1917 Petrograd (St. Petersburg on the way to Leningrad and now again St. Petersburg) were called a vanguard of the proletariat (of which Czarist Russia had none in fact). Eppler, a German dentist, speaking to Zander, the romantic-idealist recently returned from New York, says:
"A self-appointed vanguard has come to think of itself as the working class in whose name it speaks. So, first the vanguard party substitutes itself for the entire working class, yes? Then the party organization substitutes itself for the entire party, yes? Then the Central Committee substitutes itself for the party organization, yes? You see where it leads? It is inevitable! One day a single dictator will substitute himself for the Central Committee, yes?" Suddenly Eppler's forefinger flew to his lips again. "This is what our critics say about us. It goes without saying, I personally do not believe a word of it, yes?" (p. 76)
George Orwell in Animal Farm said simply "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." (Animal Farm, George Orwell, Signet, NY, 1946, p. 122)
Morris Berman in his frontal assault on history, among other things, in Coming to Our Senses, suggests (paraphrased): Ask yourself what is important to you. What you view as most important in human life. Then ask yourself, ". . . How is it that that which is most important in human life gets omitted from virtually all accounts of the past." (p. 108)
Lukacs, in Historical Consciousness, (p. 333) adds, History ". . . is an instructive story: good men and good causes seldom triumph in this world but evil men and evil causes come to ruin in this world in the long run, and sometimes in the short run, too."
"We have entered the interregnum." (p. 44)
What am I doing? By Saturday, 26th October 2002, I plan to complete an installation of at least 1080 Tibetan Prayer Flags.
Let prayers for peace shower!
· · · · · ·
Notes and References
Thomas Mann to the dean of the University of Bonn, January 1, 1937 from The Nazi Years, A Documentary History, Joachim Remak, ed., Prentice-Hall, 1969, p. 166
Coming to Our Senses, Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West, Simon & Schuster, NY, 1989, ISBN 0-671-66618-5
The Revolutionist, A Novel of Russia, Robert Littel, Bantam, NY, 1988, ISBN 0-553-06260-8
Milo Clark, a founding member of Swans, comes from a classic Eastern Establishment background culminated by a Harvard MBA. Perversely, however, he learned to think. Applying thought, he sees beyond and tries to write about what he sees. He now lives in the rainforest of non-tourist Hawaii near the lava flows.
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