Sarah's Reviews > War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jul 08, 08

bookshelves: non-fiction, 2008-reads, favorites, war
Recommended to Sarah by: Jonathan Morgenstern
Read in June, 2008

So excellent.

Question: Why do you feel so intensely in war? Yet it fades so quick?
"There are few individual relationships- the only possible way to form friendships- in war. ... Comrades seek to lose their identities in the relationship. Friends do not... Friends find themselves in each other and thereby gain greater self-knowledge and self-possession. They discover... unknown potentialities for joy and understanding. The struggle to remain friends, the struggle to explore the often painful recesses of two hearts, to reach the deepest parts of another's being, to integrate our own emotions and desires with th needs of the friend, are challenged by the collective rush of war. There are fewer demands if we join the crowd and give our emotions over to the communal crusade."

Question: Why are survivors so outcast and stigmatized?
There is a spiritual collapse after war. Societies struggle with the wanton destruction not only of property and cities but of those they loved. The erosion of morality and social responsibility becomes painfully evident in war's wake. Many feel used. By then it is too late.... In the wake of the war comes a normalization that levels victims and perpetrators. Victims and survivors are is an awkward reminder of the collective complicity. Their presence inspires discomfort. So too with perpetrators. But it is often the victims who suffer the worst bouts of guilt and remorse. Many victims grasp, in a way the perpetrators do not, the inverted moral hierarchy. They see this inversion in their own struggle to survive. They realize, in a way that the perpetrators again do not, that the difference between the oppressed and the oppressors is not absolute. And they often wonder if they could have done more to save those who were lost around them.

Question: Why do we feel so erotic and alive in a war zone?
"We discover in the communal struggle, the shared sense of meaning and purpose, a cause. War fills our spiritual void. I do not miss war, but I miss what it brought. I can never say I was happy in the midst of fighting but I had a sense of purpose, a calling. And this is a quality war shares with love, for we are, in love.
2 likes · Likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.