A not-to-be-missed piece on meaning-making as peace-building

Matt Talbot has written a fine piece, poetic at times, entitled ‘Some Thoughts on War for Memorial Day’ that sees war as apparently providing several forms of meaning-making. He argues, quite rightly in my world-view, that alternative ways to make meaning help those who mistakingly go to war to find peace-building alternatives

Matt builds his post around two quotations from Chris Hedges

The enduring attraction of war is this: Even with its destruction and carnage it can give us what we long for in life. It can give us purpose, meaning, a reason for living. Only when we are in the midst of conflict does the shallowness and vapidness of much of our lives become apparent. Trivia dominates our conversations and increasingly our airwaves. And war is an enticing elixir. It gives us resolve, a cause. It allows us to be noble. And those who have the least meaning in their lives, the impoverished refugees in Gaza, the disenfranchised North African immigrants in France, even the legions of young who live in the splendid indolence and safety of the industrialized world, are all susceptible to war’s appeal.

― Chris Hedges, Author of ‘War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning’

Hedges again:

‘If we really saw war, what war does to young minds and bodies, it would be impossible to embrace the myth of war. If we had to stand over the mangled corpses of schoolchildren killed in Afghanistan and listen to the wails of their parents, we would not be able to repeat clichés we use to justify war. This is why war is carefully sanitized. This is why we are given war’s perverse and dark thrill but are spared from seeing war’s consequences. The mythic visions of war keep it heroic and entertaining…

The wounded, the crippled, and the dead are, in this great charade, swiftly carted offstage. They are war’s refuse. We do not see them. We do not hear them. They are doomed, like wandering spirits, to float around the edges of our consciousness, ignored, even reviled. The message they tell is too painful for us to hear. We prefer to celebrate ourselves and our nation by imbibing the myths of glory, honor, patriotism, and heroism, words that in combat become empty and meaningless.’

Two points from me;

He underestimates the war machine that operates to bring yet more wealth to the mega-rich who run society.

Secondly if Talbot develops the post further a mention might be made of one or two of those who have evolved similar theories such as Logotherapy which was developed by psychiatrist and holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl from his time in a concentration camp in which he observed those whom meaning making helped in their survival.

Talbot’s piece is not to be missed – https://vox-nova.com/2016/05/21/some-thoughts-on-war-for-memorial-day/


Our harmony and at-one-ment rests on realizing our true purpose in this world, which is to live in the now or presence.

Roger founded the One Garden group network.

The individual, who has a memory and an …

The individual, who has a memory and an already discursively constituted sense of identity, may resist particular interpellations or produce new versions of meaning from the conflicts and contradictions between existing discourses. Knowledge of more than one discourse and the recognition that meaning is plural allows for a measure of choice on the part of the individual, and even where choice is not available, resistance is still possible.

Weeden Chis in Feminist Practice and Post-structuralist Theory

“Why structures and patterns?” asked the…

“Why structures and patterns?” asked the Young Apprentice.

“Your brain is a meaning-making organisation,” replied the Magician. “It actively seeks out patterns in order to impose meaning and understanding on events and information. It seeks out relationships between things and organises the results into hierarchies of information that will be easy to store and remember. It chunks up to generalisation and abstraction and chunks down to detail and precision.”

“Can you give me an example?”

“Sure, here’s a simple one. How do you remember the colours of the rainbow in the correct sequence?”

“That’s easy: VIBGYOR!”

“Exactly, your mnemonic VIBGYOR is a generalisation, a higher level of information than the details it triggers: violet, indigo, blue, green yellow, orange, red.”

The Magic of Metaphor by Nick Owen p69