Reading "Acts of War, the Behavior of Men in Battle" by Richard Holmes. Some things jelled, thoughts scattered among the sections read this morning.
That going into battle is a fundamental conflict between basic survival needs and social needs. You can get killed in battle. Your animal mind knows this. But the part of your mind that knows that you are part of a group or society is stronger. For the average soldier, showing fear is a bigger concern than dying.
Yet it is, for most people, the small society of comrades- the squad, the fire team, the unit- that demands this kind of loyalty and sacrifice...
Yet the battle itself is for the good of a larger society that is not present (this is arguable, as people quibble over their petty ideas of what a war is or should be about, what is 'good' for society. Nation-states, corporations or terrorists organizations are organic, in a way, and 'good' can't be defined teleologically. What the organism or organization is willing to fight for is what is it's own perspective of it's own 'good' at the time, rightly or wrongly.)...
What percentage of soldiers or warriors consciously decide that the battle is for the good of society as a whole and voluntarily take the job, eyes wide open?
How is this percentage perceived by the soldier who are concerned only with not appearing as cowards? Is there a separation? How great is the gulf?
How much greater is the gulf between these conscious professionals and the ones they protect, the ones who stay home?
And does this come full circle, that the people most willing to die for the good of others are the ones most contempuous of the society of sheep that they protect?
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