In the past, I've written about a certain mindset that I see at work in the world around me. Particularly influential with young males who crave glory, speed, aggression and domination...many of whom don't even know there's a philosophy/movement devoted to that frame of mind.
But there comes a time in every man's life when the mania of youth fades. The obsession with glory, with violence, loud noises and action. Usually when they have children or come back from serving in the military. Sometimes when they survive cancer or watch a loved one die.
Life stops being a comic book, you stop seeing everything in the childish terms of a legendary battle between good (whatever you like) and evil (whatever you don't). You can then start cleaning up the wreckage of your youthful aggression and begin to actually live an adult life.
Where do women, the elderly, disabled or children fit into the adolescent ideal of a world defined by fire, hatred and speed? Of explosions and action. What did that get Germany, Italy and Japan? What has it gotten the Middle East? Ruination. Crying widows scavenging through the ashes and rubble of their bombed homes.
When the fever finally runs its course, it will leave you painfully sober and dumbstruck. It will leave you with the realization that gentleness is all that ever really mattered. Not ruling over an ant hill for a fraction of a second, so far as the universe is concerned.
But to clutch one another for warmth as we speed through this brief, cold, brutal life...to dry the tears of an old woman, to mend broken connections, bury old hatreds and die with a clean heart, that means something.
This is the final wisdom we are paradoxically born understanding, but forget as we age, because the accumulated pain and grime of the world conspires to make us ugly.
Firsthand experience of brutality rapidly destroys its appeal. It's hard to articulate. It's the feeling that what used to mean the world to you when you were young doesn't matter anymore and never did. It was never resolved, you just transcended that particular concern.
The only thing that's stuck with me since my earliest memories is a sort of nameless, primal connection that is possible with other people. Without language. To reach the softness at everyone's core that they hide from the world, wrongly imagining it is unique to themselves and their closest, trusted loved ones. Like how you can put two babies together and they're instantly like oh hey, I know you. Let's play together.
A famous green puppet once said "war doesn't make one great". Indeed there is no glory in destruction, and there can be no such thing as a glorious war between two groups of people for the same reason there can be no glorious war between two groups of cells in your own body.
Even when fighting to prevent atrocity, something had to go terribly wrong to arrive at that condition in the first place. Violence is always the result of failure. There's nobody who doesn't eventually realize this, providing they live long enough to.