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Session: The Nature Of War
This is a Session within the Topic War
 
 
“The sword is the pride of man....War is the climax of human ingenuity, the object of supreme efforts.” Abraham Heschel, The Prophets
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Goal
Understand what is true and relevant about each perspective, and how together they reveal the underlying truth about war
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Perspectives & Resources
Perspectives are short paragraphs summarizing any point of view about the Topic. Explore each View and then vote on it.
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"War is where man’s noblest virtues can function"
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Topic: The nature of war


War is where man’s noblest virtues can function

Perpetual peace is a dream – and not even a beautiful dream – and war is an integral part of God’s ordering of the Universe. In war, Man’s noblest virtues come into play: courage and renunciation, fidelity to duty and a readiness for sacrifice that does not stop short of offering up Life itself. Without war the world would become swamped in materialism.

The army is a "values-based institution where loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage are the cornerstone of all that we do" (the 'army vision' website).


 

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Addresses the root issue
Flawed, one-sided, or superficial
 
How to Explore a Perspective
Relax, focus. Take a step back and look at the Perspective from all sides. Now, zero in at the center!
 
What is the Bias?
What assumptions does it make? Whose interests does it serve?

What is your Personal Experience?
How does it make you feel? How do your experiences, privileges, and personal interests affect your understanding of it?
Now, enter the heart
▶ Say something good about what you disagree with, even if there are flaws.
▶ Find causes, not symptoms. Ask what lies at the root.
▶ Have respect for people with different views, insights, and priorities!
 
Opinion added by
Visionary Society
on February 23, 2018
 
This is the opinion of Henry von Moltke
"War is compulsory education for the other party"
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Topic: The nature of war


War is compulsory education for the other party

Violence in its many forms, as an involuntary quest for identity, has in our time come to reveal the meaning of war in an entirely new guise....War is a sizeable component in the educational industry, being itself a form of education. War as an accelerated program of education--compulsory education for the other party--is obvious the moment that it is mentioned."

 

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Addresses the root issue
Flawed, one-sided, or superficial
 
How to Explore a Perspective
Relax, focus. Take a step back and look at the Perspective from all sides. Now, zero in at the center!
 
What is the Bias?
What assumptions does it make? Whose interests does it serve?

What is your Personal Experience?
How does it make you feel? How do your experiences, privileges, and personal interests affect your understanding of it?
Now, enter the heart
▶ Say something good about what you disagree with, even if there are flaws.
▶ Find causes, not symptoms. Ask what lies at the root.
▶ Have respect for people with different views, insights, and priorities!
 
Opinion added by
Visionary Society
on November 03, 2017
 
This is the opinion of Marshall McLuhan
"War is the climax of ingenuity, the object of supreme dedication"
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Topic: The nature of war


War is the climax of ingenuity, the object of supreme dedication

"The sword is the pride of man; arsenals, military bases, nuclear weapons lend supremacy to nations. War is the climax of ingenuity, the object of supreme dedication....The most basic way in which all men may be divided is between those who believe that war is unnecessary and those who believe that war is inevitable; between those to whom the sword is the symbol of honor and those to whom seeking to convert swords into plowshares is the only way to keep our civilization from disaster."

 

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Addresses the root issue
Flawed, one-sided, or superficial
 
How to Explore a Perspective
Relax, focus. Take a step back and look at the Perspective from all sides. Now, zero in at the center!
 
What is the Bias?
What assumptions does it make? Whose interests does it serve?

What is your Personal Experience?
How does it make you feel? How do your experiences, privileges, and personal interests affect your understanding of it?
Now, enter the heart
▶ Say something good about what you disagree with, even if there are flaws.
▶ Find causes, not symptoms. Ask what lies at the root.
▶ Have respect for people with different views, insights, and priorities!
 
Opinion added by
Visionary Society
on November 03, 2017
 
This is the opinion of Abraham Heschel
"Men of action are the involuntary tools of history"
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Topic: The nature of war


Men of action are the involuntary tools of history

“And in the same fashion all the innumerable individuals who took part in the war acted in accordance with their natural dispositions, habits, circumstances and aims. They were moved by fear or vanity, they rejoiced or were indignant, they argued and supposed that they knew what they were doing and did it of their own free will, whereas they were all the involuntary tools of history, working out a process concealed from them but intelligible to us. Such is the inevitable lot of men of action, and the higher they stand in the social hierarchy the less free they are."

 

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Addresses the root issue
Flawed, one-sided, or superficial
 
How to Explore a Perspective
Relax, focus. Take a step back and look at the Perspective from all sides. Now, zero in at the center!
 
What is the Bias?
What assumptions does it make? Whose interests does it serve?

What is your Personal Experience?
How does it make you feel? How do your experiences, privileges, and personal interests affect your understanding of it?
Now, enter the heart
▶ Say something good about what you disagree with, even if there are flaws.
▶ Find causes, not symptoms. Ask what lies at the root.
▶ Have respect for people with different views, insights, and priorities!
 
Opinion added by
Visionary Society
on November 03, 2017
 
This is the opinion of Leo Tolstoy
"War is a necessary part of democracy"
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Topic: The nature of war


War is a necessary part of democracy

The army hovers always alongside the republic as an alternative form of rule, actually ruling a sector of the population and with the potential for ruling all of it should the republic fall. Martial law is a Roman invention, and means applying the military form of rule to the whole polity.

The Republic and the army were a single ruling system. If the army was a central political institution, it was also an essential economic one. War and plunder were, after all, indispensable to the Roman economy. Such populist demands as land reform must be looked at in that context.

 

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Addresses the root issue
Flawed, one-sided, or superficial
 
How to Explore a Perspective
Relax, focus. Take a step back and look at the Perspective from all sides. Now, zero in at the center!
 
What is the Bias?
What assumptions does it make? Whose interests does it serve?

What is your Personal Experience?
How does it make you feel? How do your experiences, privileges, and personal interests affect your understanding of it?
Now, enter the heart
▶ Say something good about what you disagree with, even if there are flaws.
▶ Find causes, not symptoms. Ask what lies at the root.
▶ Have respect for people with different views, insights, and priorities!
 
Opinion added by
Visionary Society
on February 23, 2018
 
This is the opinion of Douglas Lummis
 
Would you like to add a Perspective or Resource to this Topic? Go to the Topic development page!
 
Recommended Resources (Review before voting)
 
 

General Jim Mattis on the nature of war
Retired four-star General James Mattis retired from the Marine Corps as a full general in 2013, where he served as the eleventh commander of the United States Central Command.
 
 
 

What is the Nature of War?
 
 
 
Text: The Call
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The Call


Far and near, high and clear,
Hark to the call of War!
Over the gorse and the golden dells,
Ringing and swinging of clamorous bells,
Praying and saying of wild farewells:
War! War! War!

High and low, all must go:
Hark to the shout of War!
Leave to the women the harvest yield;
Gird ye, men, for the sinister field;
A sabre instead of a scythe to wield:
War! Red War!

Rich and poor, lord and boor,
Hark to the blast of War!
Tinker and tailor and millionaire,
Actor in triumph and priest in prayer,
Comrades now in the hell out there,
Sweep to the fire of War!

Prince and page, sot and sage,
Hark to the roar of War!
Poet, professor and circus clown,
Chimney-sweeper and fop o' the town,
Into the pot and be melted down:
Into the pot of War!

Women all, hear the call,
The pitiless call of War!
Look your last on your dearest ones,
Brothers and husbands, fathers, sons:
Swift they go to the ravenous guns,
The gluttonous guns of War.

Everywhere thrill the air
The maniac bells of War.
There will be little of sleeping to-night;
There will be wailing and weeping to-night;
Death's red sickle is reaping to-night:
War! War! War!

Robert W. Service, 1914

 
 
Other Resources
 
 
Video: What is War?
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Source: What is War?
 
 
Conclusion
Ask the impossible question!
What is most important – and true – about each perspective, especially those you disagree with? Taking all this into account, what is your view about the nature of war?
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