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.

I charge you all that each one of…

I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love.

~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

All the divine Manifestations have proclaimed the oneness…

All the divine Manifestations have proclaimed the oneness of God and the unity of mankind… The fundamental truth of the Manifestations is peace. This underlies all religion, all justice… Read the Gospel and the other Holy Books. You will find their fundamentals are one and the same. Therefore, unity is the essential truth of religion and, when so understood, embraces all the virtues of the human world.

Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, US Baha’i Publishing Trust, 1982 second edition, page 32 [↩]



To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
And to-day we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For to-day we have naming of parts.