Friday, March 5, 2010

Glorious Addictions - War & Oil

Doubt is not understood well sometimes.

There is a group of folk who think it is the result of pondering an issue, considering the pros and the cons, then forming a conclusion based upon the relevant facts.

For instance, doubt is the foundation of criminal prosecutions in jury trials if you think about it.

The term "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" tells us it is reasonable to doubt, and that doubt is a function of cognition.

Another group will tell you that doubt is composed of emotion with the purpose of protecting you.

Protecting you from facts, ideas, or realities that challenge your world view, the world view you inherited from your culture.

Indeed, if we believed everything we heard without any doubt, we could go over the edge into the lands beyond sanity, from which Alice barely extricated herself.

I felt doubt, perhaps from both of these ideas about doubt, when I read an article by a man who says he was or is addicted to war:
Normal life can't compete with the potent drug of war.

I don't disagree. Normal life doesn't stand a chance against war, in the same way that shooting up or swallowing a pill of ecstasy trumps reality every time. But I do take issue with how The Hurt Locker ends -- not because I didn't like the movie, or that it wasn't enjoyable. It just doesn't go far enough. In fact, I don't think it was enough like Kathryn Bigelow's earlier classic on adrenaline junkies, Point Break, a film about a gang of bank robbing surfers. That might sound ridiculous, but the movies' themes are identical.

In the finale, the late Patrick Swazye (playing Bodhi, Point Break's version of Sgt. James) is found on an Australian beach, chasing the ultimate storm, the big wave. Bohdi gets swept away by this overwhelming, violent, thrilling, force of nature. Keanu Reeves, playing the troubled cop hero, speaks the film's last memorable line: "He's not coming back." That's what happens when you embrace dark and wild forces beyond control. The Hurt Locker, on the other hand, doesn't take war addiction to its logical, unambiguous, conclusion. That is, death.

Addictions destroy, junkies usually die, and the war always wins.
(M. Hastings, Huffpo). It seems clear that we can not all be addicted to the same thing, in the sense that we have different immune systems based upon our individuality as well as our experience.

Bush II diagnosed the nation as being "addicted to oil", which seems to me to be more believable than being addicted to war.

Bush II meant oil addiction was to be considered as a social addiction, based on habit and commercial systems, rather than on some unavoidable physical or mental need.

I wondered if the addiction to war is both, that is, both an addiction based on habit and commercial needs, as well as being a physical or mental need.

Depending on one's experience it could be all of the above.

The cosmos has imposed upon us, and all other planets, the requirement that we pass The Test or we cease to exist.

Why is peace so unattractive in our culture?


  1. Here's a thought. Having usurped the legal right to violence, where else can youngsters calloused to violence by years if TV and video games, having little economic opportunity, and with a lot of pent up aggression and no legitimate channel for expression go but to the military - the police normally having too many restrictions on the use of force?

    Once turned loose in a war zone, where the enemy has normally been demonized to the point of being sub-human, the rush of expressing that most basic of animal instincts - killing freely with near total impunity - has got to be intoxicating indeed. Unfortunately, putting that beast back in its cage after its been given free reign for months or years has got to be equally problematic.

    And THAT'S the hidden effect of war that we'll still be dealing with long after the bombs stop falling (assuming they ever do). In addition to all the very real physical wounds that will be with the veterans for a lifetime, we'll also have yet another generation of psychically impaired - many of whom will go undiagnosed and untreated - who will infect and cause damage to society that will never be fully accounted for.

    All this war shit ain't gonna end well for anyone, probably least of all, US.

  2. disaffected,

    You got it, you get it, and I hope peace is your reward.

  3. Nice post. Interestinly enough, doubt is persona non grata in Tibetan Buddhism. yep. No more crows.

    Havn't seen Hurt locker. The name turns me off. Do you recommend it? I have been thinking of seeing Shutter Island.

    Peace is much more complex than war, and takes long time commitment. War is a big splash, which we hapily report when it goes our way, and which results in handwringing when it doeasn't. beyont that, war does not tax our criticle thinking skills; Gung Ho!

  4. Kathy,

    I have not seen the movie Hurt Locker either.

    The author of the post at HuffPo linked to in this post does not like the ending of the movie.