Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day 2014

Time once again for the annual apology to the human sacrifices made necessary by the human predilection for violence. The fact that many of them are proud and happy to serve underscores how deeply ingrained the habits of combat are. They may be hopelessly ineradicable. Still, dreamers dream.

When someone suggests that humanity might redirect its energy from warfare to more productive and cooperative behaviors the smart kids say things like, "As soon as human nature changes, and we are no longer naturally nasty, violent, and savage. Human nature has not changed in all of human history (and prehistory, evidently). Once it does... yep, we're all over that." Indeed, it probably isn't even worth trying, because it's just a ploy to sucker weaklings into disarming and reaching out in trust and attempted friendship.

In a world of warlike beings, peace is temporary. One can only hope that the shit does not hit the fan in one's lifetime. Good reason not to have kids, because if you got lucky they probably won't.

War evolved with us. It comes from the unquestioned emotions of an animal, mixed with the higher level of imagination that develops in larger brains. Even as we could imagine peace we could also dream up more and better ways to take each other out. The temptation to try to eliminate a bunch of the competition supersedes the notion that we should make a stronger effort to kick that habit. Warily we square off, jab a few times, test the defenses. When the time seems right an aggressor launches an attack. The game is on. But it's not a game. It's a disgusting slaughter. We vie to see who is better at it. The survivors of this are called veterans. We revere them because of the hell they have faced. And the smart kids shake their heads when someone says they hope we can move beyond it some day. That day is never coming. But you know another Veteran's Day is, and another and another.

Thank you for your service, you poor fuckin' bastards. I really do wish you the best in the coming year and ever after.

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