Women also bring a "gentleness and affection" needed by men in wartime. All soldiers will remember some connection to their wartime experiences.
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Many times the soldiers and their loved ones did not even understand each other's language. The inability to communicate only "heightened the joy of discovery for them. These women were shamed publicly. Chapter 4 is "The Soldier's Relations to Death. We know it is out there coming at us. Outside of combat, we plan for a long future. No one appreciates life more as he who is about to die or could possibly die.
When you think you can live forever, you lose sight of the value of this moment. Death becomes something that happens to someone else, especially for the young. This is part of the mystery of death: But when they are killed, no one is able to look at the horses without shuddering. Death came through with such clarity when looking at the eyes of the horses. In the war poems of Rupert Brooke, death is longed for as the only possibility of giving life authenticity and creative power.
All creation is a kind of dying.
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Combat soldiers become almost dedicated to death. Soldiers can find a meaning in their wartime experiences not available at home. Chapter 5 is "Images of the Enemy. Military ethics were disappearing. We begin to reach the conclusion: We are conditioned to hate the enemy. They become easier to kill. A civilian removed from the battlefield may be more bloodthirsty than the front-line soldier. Many WWII soldiers were appalled to receive letters from home wanting to know how many kills they had.
The front-line soldier takes prisoners and knows a human being who wants to live. Gray describes a scene where prisoners hum a tune and everyone joins in. Reminiscent of the perhaps the greatest ending to a war movie of all time: A must-see war film. But when a soldier loses a friend, his anger turns to absolute hatred and a desire to exterminate every last one of the enemy.
The German general Rommel always treated his prisoners as comrades in arms.
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Sometimes the enemy is seen as sub-human. Officers may even train their soldiers in hatred. Chapter 6 is "The Ache of Guilt. Combat soldiers often fail to support their comrades in warfare at a critical moment, either by a sin of omission or commission. Sometimes officers can expose their men to needless destruction. Add to this the unnumbered acts of injustice so omnipresent in warfare. How could any soldier be free of care after all of that?
The fact is that a great number of veterans are able to free themselves of responsibility. And our former enemies often show little regret or repentance. Germans, for their part, resent the fact that few Americans appear to regret the bombing of German cities into rubble and the burning and crushing of helpless women and children.
Gray speaks of listening to Fascist and Nazi police and party functionaries saying, "My conscience is clear! I have done nothing wrong! Gray tells a story of a German soldier who refused to fire in an execution squad. He was then lined up and killed by his comrades. Guilt often comes gradually. Older soldiers often feel the pain. There is no escaping the uniform you wear. Many American soldiers felt shock and shame at the nuclear bombs in Japan. Men of conscience know that the people there are not guilty of war. Collective guilt can overtake a country as it did in Germany.
The final chapter is "The Future of War. That desire is in others. Thus, war will go on. And may I say from experience, life after war can seem boring. The intensity of life during war knows no equal. View all 4 comments. Oct 26, Naeem rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Only those who are serious about treating war as an ethical institution. The very best thing I have read on the attractions of war come from this book. Gray fought in WWII, survived, went to graduate school in philosophy, and decided to write a book. In the Western canon, this line of thinking comes from Hegel.
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Hegel argues tha The very best thing I have read on the attractions of war come from this book. Hegel argues that war will never end so long as the warrior continues to be a viable human identity. What Hegel, Hedges, and Gray ask is: What aspects of war draw our ethical -- yes, ethical -- desires? To answer these questions Gray has chapters on the following: To treat war as a regrettable aspect of the human condition, to treat it merely as a part of us that has gone wrong is 1 to not take war seriously, 2 therefore to offer palliatives for deep social wounds, and 3 to perpetuate the hidden culture that secretly and not so secretly valorizes war.
What Hegel, Hedges, and Gray do instead is to admit and face head on how war attracts us, galvanizes us, and gives our lives substantial meaning. Then and only then do they begin to offer a diagnosis. The writing is beautiful but one must labor through this book because initially the terrain seems so foreign. If we accept the familiarity of this new country, then we return to it again and again. View all 6 comments. Nov 15, Robert rated it really liked it Shelves: An excellent read if you are in any way interested about the psychology of soldiers in war.
Gray had a PhD in philosophy when he was enlisted as a private in WWII and this book is a work of both psychology and philosophy. He discusses WWII and the soldiers in it frankly, openly, and objectively as possible; none of the good war bullshit. For the time he was writing in, the 50s, some of his conclusions are surprising and prescient.
As a veteran myself, Gray gave a specific and clear voice to many An excellent read if you are in any way interested about the psychology of soldiers in war. As a veteran myself, Gray gave a specific and clear voice to many things I could only vaguely identify about my own Iraq experience. I checked this out from the library, but will be buying a copy to flip through again.
Poignant and revealing about the soldier's experience before, during and after warfare. Very helpful for writing in a soldier's POV, in fact. I'm just reading short selections, but I bought it to keep on hand for moments when I'm struggling to get into my character's head. Dec 07, Joseph Stieb rated it really liked it. Gray, a WWII veteran, reflects on the experience and psychology on this thoughtful if somewhat hit or miss book. Clay weaves diary entries and letters into his argument, and he presents really profound and compelling experiences through these sources.
This is one of the first major works of combat psychology, although it is really more of a philosophy book because there's not much genuine psychology in here. There were a number of points in this book I thought were fascinating. One was the differ Gray, a WWII veteran, reflects on the experience and psychology on this thoughtful if somewhat hit or miss book. One was the difference between comrades and friends. Gray argues that most people are capable of forming comradely relations because this is essentially bonding over a specific purpose and necessity.
Reflections of the Warrior of the Light – When evil appears
Comradeship reduces the individual into the group, making him more capable of fighting and surviving. In contrast, he argues that most people struggle to create friendship because friendship maintains or even enhances the individual personality in its connection to others. It requires a much stronger sense of self. Those who can't create friendship will often miss wartime terribly because comradeship was the closest they ever got to deep connections with other people. Most of Gray's points rely on inherent logic, anecdotal evidence, and his own experience rather than systematic evidence.
He's deeply a part of midth century social psychology, and you can see the influence of Freud, Hoffer, and Fromm on his work. In other words, a lot of his points just hang in the air without much evidence to back them up, as do the work of these other psycho-philosphers. For example, I don't really buy Gray's conclusion about what it will take to end war. He finds the origins of war in the appeal of war as a spectacle and meaningful collective and individual experience to those who lack meaning in their own lives. He argues, quoting Nietzsche, that people need to morally decide to prefer vulnerability to other rather than being hated or feared in order to destroy war.
He also contends that people who get meaning out of human relationships will no longer find war appealing. Moreover, it also ignores the fact that people will fight to protect the meaningful aspects of his life. There is a strong argument to make that people are becoming more anti-war and that war is less frequent today, but I don't think Gray has found it. Still, as a preliminary exploration of the soldier's social and psychological experience of war, this is an important and interesting book.
Apr 18, Maria rated it really liked it Shelves: Gray earned his doctorate of philosophy from Columbia University the same day that he was drafted into the army to fight in WWII. This is book that he wrote years later after much reflection and relying on his war journals and letters to friends. Why I started this book: Why I finished it: Deep thought in an author is rare and appreciated Sep 17, Leonardo marked it as to-keep-reference.
There is indeed something larger than the self, able to provide people with a sense of purpose they think worth dying for: Of course, one groups noble purpose is sometimes another groups pure evil. Jul 08, Francesco Barra rated it liked it.
Reflections for the working soul
Philosophical and personal, an interesting book that effectively evokes emotions and insight. May 29, John rated it it was amazing. I had read this book as a textbook while an undergraduate, but it was wasted on me then. It was just words. Now, as a slightly more mature adult in my 50s, who has served in Bosnia and a couple of times in Afghanistan, it had more resonance. I re-read it over Memorial Day weekend. I was struck by a couple of things. The first was the depth and complexity of his entries in his war journal.
Amazing that he had the time and discipline to keep up with it. Another was that soldiers are fundamentally un I had read this book as a textbook while an undergraduate, but it was wasted on me then. Another was that soldiers are fundamentally unchanged. Despite circumstances that could not have been more different than the type of total war he experienced, many of his observations ring true today. On the other hand, I was struck by the callous disregard for human life that he was exposed to daily and thought how different that was from the way war is fought now at least by the USA.
I think he'd have been amazed at the amount of effort spent on minimizing collateral death when striking a target, and the idea that the population IS the target, at least kinetically, is long gone. A great number of our compatriots leave the country and go through a lot of hardships and difficulties living and working in foreign lands just for the sake of the family. We can say then that in every drop of sweat and even at times blood dripping out of the Filipino worker, the love for the family is contained.
Living in a family and for the family makes the person a being for others, not isolated and alone but connected with another person in the strongest bond, that is love.
The greatest human need to love and be loved seem to be the ground for our being a family-oriented being. However, there are indications which show that such love has to be purified and even raised up to a higher level, if not, to its highest. This kind of love for the others, for the family, is higher than selfish love and interest and is much closer to the love Jesus showed to humanity.
The highest kind of love that a human being is capable of showing is that of Jesus, loving till death, death on a cross.
Loving like Jesus who loves His family, the Blessed Trinity. WHILE IT is true that Filipinos value the family, and that our family is the source of inspiration and the reason we endure travails at work, things should not end there. True, Filipinos take pride in being good family men and women, in having close family ties, in having supportive extended families with us under one roof. As far as psycho-emotional health goes, we have a definite edge over those who value individualism over family-because family is always there for us, holding us afloat through trying times.
Love of family can also be perverted. Take for example a woman who goes into prostitution to support her family, or a man who augments his income through estafa to be able to afford luxuries for his family, a child persuaded by an elder to help the family finances by engaging in cybersex. Think nepotism, political dynasties, vendetta among warring tribes, and recall all the other crimes these mindsets have spawned-all in the name of family.
Family is also a supreme value in the animal kingdom, and sometimes animals make even better family members than human beings in that the parents provide and protect their young fiercely and faithfully into self-sufficient adulthood. So how come human beings who are supposedly rational sometimes exploit their children, sell them to pedophiles, train them to burglarize homes, send them to the streets to beg? When the Spirit of truth comes to guide us to all truth as Jesus has promised, we will do well to rely on His guidance to lead us to the truth that the ultimate parent in our family is God whom everyone in the family must learn to love with their whole being.