I have been trying to figure out, as I study history, why raiders thought it was A-OK to saddle up, ride to the next village and kill everyone and take their stuff. Because they did think it was OK. In fact, they thought it proved their god was on their side.
Leaders of successful raiding parties became chiefs, kings and shoguns. Leaders of unsuccessful raiding parties became corpses. Back and forth, tribe raiding tribe, on and on. Then the victims had to get revenge on the raiders for the last raid, and so and so on. In fact, not a bad summary of history as we know it.
Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. Confucius
I stand with Hannah Arendt on this one. Evil is boring, same old stuff, over and over, nothing creative or intelligent going on, just the monotonous clank and thrum of the meat grinder.
Now and then leaders arose who were convinced they had direct orders from the higher power. These were always the most dedicated killers. Ghengis Khan had a mandate from Blue Heaven and built the biggest land empire the world has ever known. He also left a trail of blood and bones behind as he advanced. Whether you admire G.K. for his organizing skills or are repulsed by his brutality may indicate where you stand as a worshipper of the warrior cult.
Was Alexander great or was he just a cocky Greek on an immortality quest? Were the Muslim conquerors on a holy mission or was it business as usual-conquer, suppress and extract tribute? Were the Vikings admirable or just the fair-haired version of roving bands of thieves and murderers?
Were they, in fact, the last Honest Thieves since they didn’t church up their violence with high-faluting justifications?
“Let’s go kill folks and take their stuff,” may not sound pleasant, but c’mon-at least it’s honest.
The warrior cult goes way, way back and echoes down to the present. In America, for example, we want a successful chief, a manly man, a man who will kick arse and bring back heads on pikes, followed by caravans of loot in a triumphal procession.
Now, you might be saying, “Dr. Je’, you’re crazy. We left all that behind long ago.”
Then I ask you, why will US citizens never elect a short, bald man? Why does he have to look like a warrior? The last bald man we elected was Ike and he was already a war hero.
Have you noticed that all presidential candidates have to be “hard on” whoever is the current enemy?
Do you see the sexual overtones? He has to be “hard on” the enemy-if he is “soft on” the enemy, we despise his wimpy self. “Soft on communism” “soft on al-Quaeda” “soft on terrorists.” Eeeow.
But what about women? For any woman to get elected, she has to be harder than the men! An Amazon! A Valkyrie! A raving she-hyena! Female hyenas, by the way, have a pseudo-penis. Don’t believe me? Look it up.
Which just proves deep down, we still worship the warrior cult, after all.
And we should stop. Time ran out on that old idea for Christians 2,000 years ago and for everyone when we grew clever enough to split the atom and instantly incinerate whole nations in a few seconds.
If we were clever enough to do that, we’re clever enough to find a better way.
If we were clever enough to do that, we’re clever enough to question our own assumptions.
If we were clever enough to do that, we’re clever enough to adapt to the inevitability of a constantly changing, interconnected world.
Question everything- Einstein
Especially our own assumptions.