File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_2004/bourdieu.0410, message 20

Subject: [BOU:] War, Death and History
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 11:41:56 -0400

War, Death and History 

In the First World War, human beings were proud of the endless rows of white
crosses that memorialized the dead soldiers even as the war was being
fought. They didn't realize that the war was fought in order to create the
crosses. Nations exist because memorials testify to the fact that people
have died in their name. 

Soldiers in World War did what they were asked to do: They got out of
trenches and ran into artillery shells and machine-gun fire. However, the
cause of the killing and dying was obscure; the source was murky. Wars
happen. When wars happen, soldiers die. 

Today, we are not unaware of the relationship between human agency, war and
the death of the soldier. We know that wars are the result of choices that
people make. Since we know that we have chosen war--that we are the cause of
the soldier's death--we're not so proud of memorials. We no longer flaunt
them. In fact, we sometimes hide them. We don't want to be excessively
conscious of the results of our choices.


Richard Koenigsberg's writings have revolutionized our understanding of the
sources of societal violence. To read his papers (listed below) on war,
genocide and civilizational self-destruction, 

<> CLICK HERE or visit:

Meaning of Warfare 

*	DYING FOR ONE'S COUNTRY: The Logic of War and Genocide 

*	THE LOGIC OF THE HOLOCAUST: Why the Nazi's Killed the Jews 


*	AZTEC WARFARE, WESTERN WARFARE: The Soldier as Sacrificial Victim


Yet we do want to know that the soldier has died--for our cause. In war, the
soldier dies for all of us. National glory derives from the willingness of
the soldier to give his life. If soldiers did not accede to give their
lives, there could be no national glory. Without national glory, there would
be no history. 

The death of the soldier sustains the fantasy. Soldiers die so that we can
read about leaders and wars in history books. The greater the number of
deaths, the more significant the historical event. Wars are undertaken in
order to remind us of our sacred ideals. Death in war testifies to the
reality of the ideal. Wars occur in order to be remembered--so that leaders
and nations can make history. 

People feel better when there is terrorism and war. War reassures us that
life is meaningful. Triviality and frivolity are replaced by significance
and solemnity. In order for history to continue, wars are created. As long
as wars occur, there can be no "end of history." Narratives become grand
again: The world has returned to normalcy. 

Once again, there seems to be a center. When there is a center, it is
difficult to be "multi." The center is where death occurs and is located in
the minds of those who cause death. The center is the sacred ideal that is
the cause and justification for killing. If they can die for their ideals,
we can die for ours. Without sacred ideals, there is only Michael Jackson. 

War is full of sound and fury, a tale told by an idiot. Unless you are in
the path of a bomb or bullet--then it's really real. Death and body
mutilation are the basis of war and source of history. Bombs create "earth
shattering" events. We create history in order to forget that our frail
bodies are in the process of disintegrating.


Phone: 718-393-1081 

--- StripMime Warning --  MIME attachments removed --- 
This message may have contained attachments which were removed.

Sorry, we do not allow attachments on this list.

--- StripMime Report -- processed MIME parts --- 
  text/plain (text body -- kept)


Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005