Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman's "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society" is a fascinating work. It's required reading for much of the American military officers and law enforcement personnel. There's many counter-intuitive points in there, including that the vast majority (approximately 80%) of soldiers during the American Civil War and World War II never actually fired with the intent of hitting the enemy.
This paragraph stood out to me -
[In Dr. Jerome Frank's] Sanity and Survival in the Nuclear Age, […] he points out that civil wars are usually more bloody, prolonged, and unrestrained than other types of war. And Peter Watson, in War on the Mind, points out that "deviant behavior by members of our own group is perceived as more disturbing and produces stronger retaliation than that of others with whom we are less involved." We need only look at the intensity of aggression between different Christian factions in Europe across the centuries, or the infighting between the major Islamic sects in the Middle East, or the conflict between Leninist, Maoist, and Trotskyist Communists, or the horror in Rwanda and other African tribal battles, to confirm this fact.
Another nugget from Grossman: “You are only as sick as your secrets" intersects nicely with radical honesty.
This doesn't really surprise me. People who are fond of procedures and strict order are inherently violently averse to >other< people in their direct environment being unruly. It's typical of a pocedural (and rigid) mind to impose their views and value system on others. It's also common of such a person to gain a position of influence, thanks to their discipline. This type of mind generally ends up defining and shaping strict-order-based organisations (such as the military).
By the way, I love the new look&feel of your blog! :)
Happy new year!
I am hoping you would share your resources for your reading on Japanese history. Book titles and/or urls would be very helpful.
I got that a week ago, and I kind of sat there staring at the email. Japanese history is some of the most confusing to start to learn, because different elements of Japanese history and culture all play on and influence each other. I could run you through the military history of Japan from The Battle of Okehazama to Sekigahara to the Boshin War, from there into Dai Nippon Tekoku Era, from there into defeat and the Occupation under McArthur, and then we could do a little post-war history.
I first got into soccer (football for the non-Americans) when I started playing Fifa 10 on the Wii. In that game, I would always play with Chelsea F.C. Being so much higher rated than the others teams, I could actually beat teams with them. And, my favorite player on the team was Didier Drogba, a man amongst men on the Wii screen. Since then, Drogba has moved to the Turkish club Galatasaray while I have become an artificial Liverpool F.C. fan.
Little did I know that in 2007, Didier Drogba was responsible for stopping a 5-year Civil War in his home country of Ivory Coast (or Côte d'Ivoire if you're fancy / politically correct). I've heard numerous stories about athletes being humanitarians and helping causes, but I had never heard of such an accomplishment. And for that, all I have to say is Kudos. Kudos to you, Drogba, for using your talent for such a noble cause. Al Jazeera's segment on him is one of five they had on soccer heroes. While I have not familiarized myself with the other four stories, I plan on doing so soon. This blog post, however, is mainly a praise to all of the celebrity figures out there trying their best to help others. Politics is often influenced by money, and it results in tension among different groups of people. In the Ivory Coast's instance, there was a 3-sided Civil War. With the help of the whole Ivory Coast National Soccer Team, Drogba sent out a plea to the politicians to set aside their differences and unite as a country. Eventually they were able to settle and end the five year war that had plagued the war.
(Note: A Second Ivorian Civil War emerged in 2010 but, with the help of the United Nations, was brought to an end in 2011.)
This is the thing I love about sports: it's able to unite groups of people and make them set aside their differences. Whether it's a national soccer team in the World Cup or a high school football team in the school playoffs (I just read Friday Night Lights), the bonding that is created between fans of the same is unparalleled. Fueled with the momentum of victories and achievements of the team, the result is awe-inspiring. Drogba and the Ivorian National Team used their qualification to the 2006 World Cup as the event that inspired the ceasefire.
The respect that word-class athletes gain from others is among the top in the world. Dennis Rodman's tour of North Korea and apparent friendship with Kim Jong-Un has been extremely controversial, but it shows the extent to which superstars are worshipped. It shows that they are able to use their influence to make the world a significantly better place. If North Korea is offering diplomatic peace through Dennis Rodman, why should we not at least follow up on it?