Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WAR AND PEACE

A Rigorous Philosophical Argument For Peace

By its very nature, peace as an idea is an elusive and nebulous concept w/ moral/ethical and religious overtones. It does not evoke any visual corollary in the imagination precisely because of its passive, non active nature. Traditionally, the "peace" movement has been perceived as a reactive and moral sentiment against aggressive action. It inherently describes passive resistance in forms of symbolic gestures responding to overt aggressive action and violence . For this reason, (its inherent passive nature) there is no dedicated body of structured thought other than anecdotal narratives describing various symbolic acts, such as Ghandi’s Satrygraha” or salt making and garment burning , or the Christ’ outstretched hand on the mount, as a few examples. All these are part of the mosaic stream of imagery in the cultural lexicon but do not in themselves constitute a cohesive body of thought. These are but reference symbols, mostly rendered as religious art that form a visual and oral menagerie. Many of these symbolic acts, like the proclamations of a conscientious objector or the burning of draft cards defy the laws and social codes of the established order. There is no systematized rigorous body of thought or dedicated philosophy of “peace,” however, other than the various allegorical parables in the Biblical or Quran traditions for example.


So, by example, what might clarify this point: Things that require action and effect material change or reorder can be written about and described in minute detail.. For example, in the construction of a high rise building there is an almost unlimited number of separate and distinct categories that require descriptive language as well as visual graphics and illustrations informing the various processes along the way. Something can be said and written about in a hundred different categories. What is said ,written, or illustrated on the page elicits visual imagery that is objective in nature. From soil compaction ratios, density and load bearing actuarial tables in the substructure, to the action potentials and variable range coefficients of the uppermost antennae on the top of the building, and all construction aspects in between. Because the construction of the building requires a series of interrelated and successive actions performed in a lineal chronology of events, much can be said of each separate phase as well as the entirety of processes leading to the end result. The essential process of building construction involves material change and reorder. This chronology and all the interdependent phases can be graphically displayed in a blue print.

Like the construction of an edifice, the science of war can and has been described in similar ways in infinite detail. There is a massive historical log on the "Culture of War" From Sun Tzu’s “ Art of War” to Clausewitz’ treatises, to the elaborate drawings of Da Vinci’s weapons, as jus a few examples. They necessarily require material change and reorder. The very first “narratives” enshrined in the canon of Western culture have to do w/ warring. In fact the very first “histories”, and for that matter epic poetries of the western tradition, describe wars and their attendant ethos. It is for this reason that we seem to have concluded that war and violence are more predominant human traits and more accurately describe the core nature of the human animal.


Homer’s Iliad and Thucydides Paloppenesian Wars, for example, are among the very first founding literary precedents upon which much of the subsequent written record builds its traditional footings. This is a crucial and profound point that needs constant reiteration if we’re to understand from what founding rock the western legacy stands upon, and , more importantly, the fundamental efficacy challenges that any of the so called “ Peace Movements” must face: The first notions of historical record keeping in the West, in written form, organized and utilized as social tool by “civilized man” have to do with the tales and ethos, the tragedies and triumphs of wars…
Now contrast that w/ what can be said of Peace… If this idea juxtaposition is rendered in acute focus, and understood, the task might seem incomprehensibly formidable: waging “peace” against war as a fundamental tenet of a more secure intra -national political order. We have inherited a legacy of storytelling where the major formative forces of history, and the character exemplars who enliven these stories seem to form hub points of turning around wars. Achilles and Hector come to mind as the proto character heroes of the Trojan War. In our American experience, for example, so much of what we hold dear, more, enshrine as the inalienable rubrics of “democratic liberties” have been preserved and enshrined through the sacrifice of warriors in the act of preserving the dear liberties cradled in the Mother or Fatherland. This ethos is precisely what drives the heroes of the Trojan War. This is what the historical record has archived.

In essence, the challenge “The Real New World Order” faces is based on the revolutionary concept of peace as the most efficient and utilitarian mode of political and economic interrelation for all. This is not an apologists appeal for the pacifist ideal at all. Wars have been necessary in an absolute sense, and still are necessary and will continue be a rationale answer into an uncertain future to some struggles for core freedoms that would be denied by despotry and totalitarian rule. But, if the concept of eternal peace can be conceived of and aimed for in a rigorous and structured body of thought, the groundwork might be laid for such a reality to actually become a part of human discourse.

What is the essential ontology of the peace movement? This seems a fairly straightforward question in the asking; but the answers are as nebulous as the concept itself.

The “peace movement” as it is referred to, is inextricably linked, in a form of binary and bipolar arrangement, to the war tradition. It arises out of reaction to and opposes actions of violence and war. It is not a first cause initiator, but rather a following response to first cause, or, less often, as a preemptive appeal to a priori threats of an aggressive nature. This is an essential point of psychology: It is not seen as a primary action , but rather as a secondary reaction.


The active volitional forces that are required to assert power by violence, ( war) vs. the passive inactive and neutral aspects of “peace” a) acts of violence and assertions of power and control are just those: acts, or action. Acts that require volitional and dedicated execution, physical exertion and material impositions of one aggressive group of people upon another people, and their property. Action resulting in material change. The active force, (war and violent acts) necessarily accomplishes and effects a material change. The passive one, peace only advances an idea which attempts to contravene the active one: war . This is why a single act of violence from a single gunman, for example, can overwhelm and control the material lives of many people who are passive, and inactive under his control though they may appeal to his relinquishing power by placating w/ ideas.

In order for the concept of peace to take hold as a unifying principle, it first must be seen to address and satisfy utilitarian concerns for national and intra-national relationships. At all political and social levels of interaction, its first necessity is to build an active, volitional and organized set of ordering principles. In short, a body of systemized, pro-active thought.In other words, “peace” needs to learn to be aggressive, needs to be an “outty” rather than an “inny” as an ordering philosophy- a first cause set of means, and not soley as a reactive 2’ nd force response. It's efficacy must have an underpinning that serves utility as it applies to human relations.

This is a sort of Hobbesian concept of achieving overall intra-societal security. The new Leviathan if you will. Instead of the “sovereign” dispensing unilateral powers at the cost of relinquishing certain individual liberties over the governed in exchange for ensured protections, it would be an idea graphed over many generations or perhaps centuries into the human collective stating that ultimate security for all must ultimately, and by strict necessity, only derive from the para mutually accepted concept of peaceful co-existence. In a sentence, a world where war is outlawed.

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