Today, in Canada, is ‘Remembrance Day’ (November 11th) but my fear is that it MAY be serving more to bring about ’selective forgetfulness’.
I do not believe it ‘subtracts’ from the respectful intentions of our remembrance to ‘add’ to our ‘remembrances’.
Should we forget the mothers and sisters of those young German boys who couldn’t bear to see their mother starving or their sisters turning to prostitution, humiliated indirectly or directly by the insensitivity of the people ‘in power’ in the world, having been made ‘the latter’s prisoners’ by the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles ending WWI?
Their mothers and sisters know that their love and caring for their families made them prey to radical calls to action against those powerful others, a calling which saw many of them pay the ultimate price, their own young lives. Their mothers and sisters know that they were ‘the collateral damage’ of retribution aimed at their fathers. Everyone knew, at the time of the Treaty of Versailles, that the ‘innocents’ were going to pay the price. Journalists of the era captured this overt injustice in cartoons such as the following;
Harold Nicolson, a British delegate at Versailles, declared the treaties ‘neither just nor wise’, and called the delegates ‘very stupid men’. But Winston Churchill believed that the treaty was the best that could be achieved, and that ‘the wishes of the various populations prevailed’, a tough attitude of the type, it could be argued, that keeps the military-minded continually employed, making them, at the same time, both heros in vanquishing ‘evil others’ and cultivators of ‘evil others’ in a continuing cycle, … very much like that of a dynamo wherein there are two pairs of opposite poles at right angles to one another (ninety-degree phase-shifted). While the real action associates with the one of the good/evil pairs (the action or ‘kinetics’), the orthogonal good/evil pair is breeding the next cycle (building potential energy for it). These inverted, phase-shifted polarisations are what sustains the continuous cycling.
So, let’s not forget the mothers and sisters of the ‘innocent boys’ that lost their sons and brothers, gone to cannon fodder, every one, in a world dynamic bigger than them and continuing on so long as people use the notion of incarnate ‘good’ and ‘evil’ as ‘forgettance’, to block the remembrance of the ongoing cyclical nature of war, where ‘who gets punished’ is always ninety-degrees out of phase with ‘who gets blamed’.
This arises from our Enlightenment representation where we confuse idealisation for reality by ‘accepting the notion of a sovereign state’ as a reliable substitute for the visible’. The ‘sovereign state’ is not a ‘local thing’ but is continuously renewing itself, in the manner of a convection cell in a flow. We can say that ‘Germany is on the warpath’, just as we can say that ‘Katrina, the hurricane, is on the warpath’, but the reality is that both Germany and Katrina are ‘gatherings’ in the flow of the common habitat-dynamic they are included in, otherwise known as ‘humanity’ and ‘nature’, and they are inextricably woven into the entirety of this web-of-life that they are included in; i.e. ‘All men are brothers’ and ‘All wars are civil wars’.
But there are those that, when they hear talk like this, particularly close to our Remembrance Day ceremonies, get very emotional and say; ‘Don’t make excuses for terrorists and terrorism’; i.e. ‘don’t make excuses for ‘evil-doers’’.
They suggest that ‘evil’ can be incarnate in a person; e.g. in a person like Hitler and persons like ‘Hitler’s henchmen’. But on what grounds do we ‘stop our remembrances there’? On the grounds that human beings are ‘really’ the Enlightenment representations of them that we have accepted as reliable substitutes for the visible’; i.e. that they are ‘local, independently existing organisms with locally originating (internal purpose-driven) behaviour’? This ‘idealisation’ of what an ‘individual human being is’, does indeed tell us that his behaviour originates and takes form in his interior on a ‘first cause’ basis; i.e. that his ‘inhabitant dynamics’ are the ‘cause’ of the ‘habitat dynamic’, and so, if the dynamics he causes are rape, murder, pillage and destruction, then it follows that those actions originate within him.
This is a convenient ‘forgettance’ in that we need look no farther to find the cause of these evil doings than the evil ones who caused them. The interdependence dynamics of humanity can thus isolate the cause of what is going on within its overall flow, what is ‘going wrong’, to local sources of evil doing. That’s convenient because it means, those (good guys like you and I) who are pointing the finger at the evil doers have nothing do with it.
Whether we are talking about storm-cells in the flow of the atmosphere or human being, it is more realistic to understand that the inhabitant-dynamics are the result of the habitat dynamics, rather than the cause of them. The proliferation of ‘pathogens’ occurs when conditions are fertile for them to do so in the dynamics of the habitat in which they are living inclusions.
If ‘remembrance’ is too selective, it becomes a troublesome ‘forgettance’ of the type that keeps the four-pole (two crossed pairs of poles) dynamo of war and peace cycling on.
My oldest maternal uncle, Tony, served in the Canadian Army in WWI. He was twice buried in the mud by the explosions of shells and had to be dug out. He was also mustard gassed. He died early because of respiratory complications. After his return, when his youngest brother was born, he is remembered for having remarked ‘more cannon fodder’. Apparently, he saw war as arising more from Enlightenment society’s popular ‘Darwinist’ model of ‘might-makes-right’, the accepted ordering principle of imperialism and colonialism, an implicit ‘social Darwinism’ which pre-dates Darwin’s theory and which some claim, was what inspired how Darwin packaged it; i.e. the universe unfolds/evolves in a very ‘fluid’ manner, like convections cells gathering and regathering into new forms in the flow, so there is no imperative to make Enlightenment representations in terms of ‘local organisms’ with their own ‘local agency’ as foundational the presentation of the notion of evolution. But if one does, one perpetuates the inverted view that the inhabitant dynamic is the source/cause of the habitat dynamic rather than the habitat dynamic being the source/cause of the inhabitant dynamic (and its creation or gathering dynamical form).
Ok, I have reached the one-thousand word mark, which my friend Henri says, should not be exceeded, so I will stop here. I argue with him, but I try to listen and respond, at the same time.
Let ‘remembrance’ and the sense of respect for lives lived with harmony-restoring intent, go so far and so deep as to reveal the nonsense of locally incarnate ‘good’ and ‘evil’.