Sunday, October 2, 2011

War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning?

I 've been trying to stay ahead of my History Through Film class by watching many pre and post war black and white Japanese films. I am always on the look out for information on and off line and of course CBC often provides a great scope of resources, that in turn leads me to writers, artists, books, and video, etc.,  usually broadening  my educational horizon.

Presently I am engrossed in gathering such material for my research paper involving historical Feminism in Japan. I am not at all surprised to see how many women are more often than not, at the forefront of protest against war, particularly in Japanese society. The antinuclear movement was initiated by Japanese house wives in 1954. These women soon collected 30 million signatures against nuclear development of war weapons. I am not surprised by this fact, because war is a man's world, that is life taking, and women as mothers, are life givers, and so it makes sense women would be involved in fighting non-violently for peace.

No where else in the world has a country experienced so profoundly, a change and fracturing of identity and what has been described as the "meaning of time" because of the atomic bomb. Yesterday I spent the day watching I think, one of my all time favourite entertaining films, The Big Lebowski and then, watched a required film for our History Through Film class entitled, Fire On The Plain, based on the 1951 novel,  Nobi, by Shokei Ooka.

These two films might seem diametrically opposed but the common link and theme, being anti-war, though, the presentation and context expressed, is extremely different. Today I happened to hear Chris Hedges on CBC radio, talk about his most recent book, " The World As It Is. " I'd never heard his name until today. He is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute, a writer, past war correspondent, turned war philosopher. I was riveted to the radio and listened intently until the interview concluded. I then went on the usual Google search to learn more about him. I found a lecture he'd given in 2004, based on his book, "War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning", in 2002. His writing and thoughts are, I would dare say visionary, prophetic like and I think profoundly insightful.

Interestingly he has an English degree and often quotes  and cross references historical poems and writings about war from  Keats, Greek poets and mythology. I found this very engaging because of my brief exposure to these themes while taking my Romantic Poetry class this Spring. We read many poems on the topic concerning war. It was both enlightening, and depressing.

While watching his video, I made correlations between abuse, which is about power and control and war as being about the same . Chris Hedges also makes a comparison with war and addiction, stating,

" The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug. " The correlation and connection he makes between violence and communication is disturbing.
" Violence has become the primary form of communication".
In our western world we naively believe our primary form of communication is the cell phone, online and through social media.

The implications of what he says is profound I believe, and causes me to think deeply about many of the  the statements he makes.

" Human beings become a commodity."

" Euphoria of the crowd propels society over a cliff."

" In the rise of power we always become smaller, it absorbs us and we become pawns."

" Remaining human is the only anecdote and victory."

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