Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sparta, War Culture, Soviets, Star Wars

Wanting to live for another person is no more than egoism going bankrupt and then opening a new shop next door, with a partner.

Robert Musil, A Man Without Qualities (951)

When we were kids we used to love to “play Star Wars”. I noticed early on that all the joy came in the setting up part. This was all we really knew how to do, arrange our various ships and soldiers, map out territory and get ready for a battle that never got fought. It took nearly thirty years for me to see the parallel between child’s play and the reality of our day to day lives on military bases.

Our lives were a preparation for war. Our fathers flew the planes that carried nuclear weapons destined for the Soviet Union. I wonder now if the sense of anxiety that I felt when I realized that all the pieces were in place and that there was nothing left to do but fight was also a metaphor.

‘War Culture’ was to be the title of my book. The life of a child soldier inside modern day Sparta. The older I am the clearer the conditioning methods become. Beyond forced patriotism and basic religion, military life for children involves deeper forms of brainwashing that take decades to peel back.

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