The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
Posted: Nov. 17, 2002
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Question of the Week: 95 - 1/19/2003
How Do You Feel About War?
‘Yes I'm talking about this war dance/ A patriotic romance./And I know all you poets/Have seen it all before…’ – Colin Moulding, XTC
Colin: ‘The words were originally prompted by the Falklands War in 1982. But it was too much on one piece of history. Then along came the Persian Gulf War and I put the revised lyrics to a new piece of music. It was time to bring war out of the closet again.’
And again, it would seem. How do you, from your own spiritual perspective or tradition, view and/or cope with the ideals and realities of war and armed conflict?
Do your political leanings influence how you feel?
Do you have a difficult time explaining/defending/advocating your position to other Pagans or Heathens? Non-Pagans?
| Reponses: There are 153 responses posted to this question.
|| Reverse Sort
| Politics Vs. Economy ||Jan 21st. at 1:39:56 pm EST|
|Heidi Salguero (Pottstown) ||Age: 27 - Email |
What people fail to understand is the difference between democracy -- a political system -- and capitalism -- an economic system. Anyone who believes deeply in democracy can and should fight to uphold it -- yes, through violent means if necessary. If a people are being systematically oppressed, tortured, and murdered by their government, we have a right to intervene. Because fighting man's inhumanity to man is EVERYONE'S responsibility. What no one on CNN or the evening news seems to want to say right out loud is that this impending 'war' is purely an economical one, as was the Gulf War. The focus of this attack we are planning is oil, not human rights, and that, my friends, is ALWAYS wrong.
| War Is A Symptom Of Anti-Culture ||Jan 21st. at 1:18:48 pm EST|
|Erin Christine Rausch (Napa, CA) ||Age: 30 - Email - Web|
Ophelia and Orlando: Picking at the Scab of Anti-Culture
2002 Erin Christine Rausch
"This is a terrific piece, and if I had a Corpse to put it in I would. Alas, the Corpse is in suspended animation for one year, while we print an anthology and CD from its benighted pixels. All the best, A.Codrescu" (Andrei Codrescu, known for works such as 'Road Scholar', 'The Muse Is Always Half-Dressed In New Orleans', and 'Blood Countess', commenting on my article 'Ophelia and Orlando: Picking at the Scab of Anti-Culture' in September 2002, quoted here with his permission.)
Ophelia has a Moment of Clarity, during which, she is determined, by the sociopaths who surround her, to have lost her mind. She is suddenly able to both acknowledge and eloquently express that she has lost her family to violent attempts towards controlling others beneath a facade of false altruism, that the socio-politically elevated role-model for the feminine is both timid and blindly opportunistic, and that she could see value in herself, even when her most intimate trust had been misplaced. What does not become clear to her in this moment is that her value as a person is relevent. Tragically, she falls into a pond and drowns afterwards. Could this be symbolic of being overtaken by her realizations? Could she have been pushed to her doom by an anonymous murderer? Or could she have been the only character in William Shakespeare's play 'Hamlet' who was not murdered? Perhaps she was overcome by her realizations, pushed over the edge figuritively (with literal results) by those she had confronted, and thus the foundation for an otherwise innocent accident was laid, answering 'yes' to all of those questions. Ophelia's mistake was in becoming too absorbed in what others around her wanted her to be and do, and then, upon becoming ovewhelmed, rejected her society, her roots, and lost her footing altogether. Had she stuck around, tended to her own person while still observing those around her, she would have remained standing while those around her were felled by their own plots in the end. She would have been able to further develop her hard-earned insight into human nature, and perhaps helped bring about positive changes within her society. Alas, she did not. She had her epiphany, ran away, and died, becoming immortalized as a teenaged rebel.
Virginia Woolf's character Orlando is castrated before his testicles have even fully dropped and kicked into gear. He is convinced that this will improve his vocal talent, and thus prove he has value as a person, sacrificing the value of his masculinity before it can even be realized. He can not be a woman, and wouldn't want to be even if he could because women are predominantly not valued as people in his society. However, by embracing Life as an andogynous eunich, rejecting before even knowing what he could love and achieve in Life as a whole man, he can hopefully achieve acceptance within this narrow niche. Surrounded by male role-models who frequently exude brutishness, beligerence, and visciousness, particularly towards those younger / smaller / weaker than themselves, such as a young lad, perhaps sidestepping one's own masculinity could be misconstrued as a means to not become a 'monster'. The possibility that no one, male or female, has to be a 'monster', that these thinking patterns and behaviors are choices, does not enter the picture in time. Of course, Orlando does achieve acceptance, transiently, as an icon, but not as a person, not as himself. He becomes immortalized as a teenaged conformist.
When Pop Culture occures, it is a cultural epiphany, a confrontational medium, a revolution. It plants seeds for free expression of and appreciation for both classical and alternative themes. But then something tragic happens. Ophelia runs off, overwhelmed, and drowns, afraid of what is happening, leaving her garden unattended. Orlando sacrifices his balls before he can use them, afraid of what he might become. The philosophy of Pop Culture becomes elusive, and thus degenerated. The transition from The Beatles to The Sex Pistols might be a fair example of this. (Incidentally, Jonny Lydon has produced extraordinary material since the end of The Sex Pistols.) When seeds are planted, and then abandoned, some grow into strong plantlife(or whatever other variable is placed here), while others become sickly as they grow through sprouthood, if they make it at all. These sick sprouts occasionally do survive, 'immortalizing' as a disease that can and does harm other plants. When Pop Culture is followed by Anti-Culture, this is what has happened.
Social anger, fear, and guilt are rarely without substance. Yet, when this warranted social (and self) dissatisfaction is used as an excuse to reject culture, rather than take responsibility for reforming it, it become superficial. Currently, Anti-Culture frequently sounds like a monotonous, whining, screeching, bout of hiccups erroneously advertised as 'music', or like "I'm a victim of society.", "My abusive / neglectful parents made me do ___" (fill in with anything from idiotic to evil), "There is no ___ ."(insert 'reality', or, more accurately 'perspective' - I assure you there is quite a bit of both), "Teen Angst", and "Peerpressure". Anti-Culture frequently looks like the symptoms of an oncoming migraine. It almost always contains slogans, and rarely ever any actual information, let alone genuine sentiment. It is mind-numbing, disenchanting, disinforming, and disempowering. Pop Culture is the wound exposed. Anti-Culture is the wound's excrement that has formed a scab, and inevitably flakes off. What is then revealed, after the scab is spent, is flesh and scar tissue, a detailed, accurate, substantial, unobscured view of what has happened, what is strong, what is healing, and what may need medicine. What specific type of medicine needed can even be determined at this point, as opposed to the general antiseptic of Pop Culture and bandage of Anti-Culture. We know this flesh underneath it all, the flesh that has been with us since the beginning, the flesh of our ancestors who have already seen Pop and Anti-Culture come and go thousands of times before we were born, this cultural flesh that will, through pleasure and pain, be with us to the end.
But that's just Diet Anti-Culture.
A full course meal of Anti-Culture can include suicide to genocide. It includes the adolescent compulsions to select ideologies that feed the ego during a time of insecurity and change, to be hypocritical and hypercritical, to host pep rallies to falsely justify their ideology through hyped up enthusiasm and protests against opposing ideologies to advertise their own without taking direct action, to compeat for and defend these ideologies to the point of degrading people who do not fit in with them, 'policing' them the way they feel their parents have or perhaps should, and even brutally enforcing these ideologies through theft, vandalism, beatings, rape, torture, 'gang' wars, terrorism, and sometimes even murder. Some teenagers will resort to selling illegal wares covertly to help fund their ideologies, then be shocked when their clientel comes back to haunt them, often violently. They are also frequently shocked when someone they have had in their grip explosively retaliates. Sometimes troubled teenagers go through rehabilitaion programs / regimes, the alumni of whom either progress beyond, sometimes even sharing what they've learned to help others heal / reform, while other alumni slide back into destructive patterns with blind opportunism.
In my lifetime so far, I have seen significant portions of international and infranational politics demonstrate destructive adolescent compulsions, ranging from the slight to the severe. Perhaps part of a solution to this is in the hearts and minds of adolescents. Teenagers who feel that what they have to offer intellectually, mentally, physically, and spiritually is valuable, tend to avoid engaging in destructive activities in order to protect their developing, contributable abilities. They thrive on exchanging their Poetry, whatever form it takes, with others who are also willing to do so. Whatever competiveness lies therein tend to wane rapidly under mutual appreciation, respect, and support. Conversely, teenagers who do not feel this sense of self-value tend to devalue others, wanting to drag down who they feel is enviable and demolish the pathetic. The irony is that valuable assets and abilities are usually what are employed in corrupt means to achieve these perverse ends. This observation implies that in order to stop destructive political patterns, we must start Valuing Culture.
| Post Script ||Jan 21st. at 12:54:01 pm EST|
|Etain (Ohio) ||Age: 31 - Email |
I do want to add something to what I said earlier. I do not believe in war as I have stated before. But I do feel our country needs to protect itself...of course it would be silly not to protect ourselves. But it would need to protect itself from an enemy that is clearly identified. It's not clear who the threat is. A group of terroists attacked us...yes, but they're dead. They have a connection with Bin Laden...yes, as far as we know. Does this tie into Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destructive...you tell me. That's a hell of a jump if you ask me.
I never heard the U.S. gov't's explaination on why they thought the terrost group was connected to Hussein and why we are after him again. Doesn't anyone else think that it's too much of a coincidence that we went through two terms of Clinton with no problems (except maybe keeping his p***er in his pants)and now we are doing the same dance with this guy in the Middle East?! I suspect retribution for pissing off daddy Bush in the early 1990's. If someone here knows all the answers please tell me. No seriously, tell me why we may be going to war. And please give some concrete, substantial evidence that doesn't point to oil, money, saving face for King George I, or retribution. I am all ears and would sincerely listen.
I must add that, technically, the men that attacked our country are DEAD!!! If our elite US intelligence & military knew the force behind these men (some claim to and some do not)then they could have gotten rid of them with out a war. Forgive me if I've read too much Tom Clancy, but the fact is that we have paid assassins in our military that do their job. They get their targets. What we have in this country is a propaganda problem.
There is a lot we don't know about folks. Every time you read or watch the news, question it! You're not being told the truth. Example: go to the article on the Vox about "UU President Wants to include God in creed" This is absolutely NOT true. I checked. The president had to send a statement of apology b/c the reporter quoted him incorrectly.
To the person that asked if "we vote". You bet I do. Every election, locally and nationally. But then I think you should direct that question to the thousands of black voters in Florida that voted and were erased from the voting rolls. But then that's another story.........
| Morgan Winterfrost - On Canadians ||Jan 21st. at 12:28:07 pm EST|
|Tina Horn (Washington, DC/Columbia, MD) ||Age: 34 - Email |
My grandfather fought in WW2 as a navigator on a B17 bomber called Boom Town. He worked with Canadian fighters in England and was always a little in awe of them. When we could get him to talk about it, he would say that they were "...the fiercest bastards..." (in a complimentary way). And he wouldn't have ever messed with someone from the Canadian forces. No draft up there, by the way, my fellow Americans, just volunteers.
| Over 10,000 Years Of Evlolution?????? ||Jan 21st. at 12:23:53 pm EST|
|serindipity (Florida) ||Age: 40 - Email |
Well, the human species has been evolving over 10's of thousands of years and this is the VERY BEST that we can do or accomplish as a species ---- PATHETIC!!!!
We as a species deserve mass exstiction if we cannot do any better than this!
| A No Win Situation ||Jan 21st. at 12:18:40 pm EST|
|Tina Horn (Washington, DC/Columbia, MD) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I think that, even if you win a war, you lose. Especially now, in the global village that we live in. There's not any way to win. I would love to live in a world where there were no war, and I don't know or understand what drives nations to war. That's probably hopelessly optomistic, but then, if you don't have a goal, you'll never get anywhere.
I do know that there are individual people who feel called, as strongly as a religious calling, to be warriors. I know that if my loved ones were directly attacked, I could defend them. I don't know if I could start something though...
| No War! ||Jan 21st. at 11:47:15 am EST|
I think that war is the most useless, foolish, and foul thing ever created. I believe that all the weapons are terrible and I wish that science had not discovered most of them. Now, I understand that this war might help the ecconomy and all, but that just angers me. Why does killing mean that people will be able to get a job? It doesn't make sense. I'm the first to admit that I am very politically illiterate, so maybe that is why I don't understand.
I also hate the idea of war because not only do innocent people die, but so do plants and animals that just happen to be in the way. It is a completely painful process and I am very angry that this country is throwing itself in that direction. I wish that the people in charge could learn that killing their citizens is only a way to temporarily end a conflict. There has to be another way!!! To bad no one cares to discover what that might be.
| Complicated Issue ||Jan 21st. at 11:01:28 am EST|
|Rowan (the Deep South) ||Age: 38 - Email |
I can speak for myself only but I believe in freedom and I believe we have to protect what we have because it is pretty much like elementary school, a bigger kid will take your stuff if you don't stand up for your rights.
This doesn't mean that I think everything that the US has done throughout it's history has been right, on the contrary, I think back to some blunders that stagger the mind. I also believe other countries have done some terrible things. Or has any country done anything? Our world is made up of individuals that make mistakes frequently, I myself have done some really stupid things and I continually amaze myself at the trouble I can get myself into. People, individuals, make those mistakes, everyone is responsible for their actions.
I don't know any politicians personally, (I think that speaks well of my judgement right there!), but I don't think we can expect miracles from any elected official because he/she has to take up where the last one left off and there are so many variables to consider. For example, if we are friendly with one country, another country may not like it and they may get jealous! I don't mean to trivialize this but could YOU do better? As for myself, I don't think I have nearly enough knowledge/information about all those variables. If we do one thing, it affects another like a chain reaction.
I don't know as much as I could about governments but I do know people and if an ambitious leader sees the US weakening in any way, they will pounce. King of the Mountain is a game we used to play as kids, remember? It's the same.
What we can do as citizens of the US and as citizens of other countries is to make our voice known, write your congressman/representative/leader/king/dictator/whatever, let them know how you stand on important issues. One thing is for sure, the leader would like to remain popular with the people and mob does rule.
I am all for getting the hell out of other countries and staying home for the next 100 years. We have so much in this country, so much to be thankful for. If we don't protect it though, we are saying what our forefathers did wasn't necessary. My friends, one of the reasons this country was founded was for religious freedom. If we'd all stayed in Europe, we might not be able to speak our minds on this website! Something to think about.
If you are a student of History, you can pretty much see why things are happening the way they are. No, war doesn't make sense to me but I would fight for my freedoms and to protect my family. We should pray for our elected officials, that they will make the right decisions regarding our future.
By the way, just a question to all the US citizens reading and responding here, Do YOU vote?
| Why? ||Jan 21st. at 10:46:30 am EST|
Why are so many people so narrow minded? Think about whats really going on.. I value life as much as the next person but not when their threating to kill me and my family. Most of my family is or has been in the millitary. I had family killed in 9/11 and in the gulf. You people with your views of life blinding whats going on around you. Get a clue Americans are dying over some god and some guy. If you dont want war move to China, or wait till someone you love gets killed. Then wait and see how quick your views will change
| I Have More To Say ||Jan 21st. at 10:22:06 am EST|
|jade (canada) ||Age: 16 - Email |
i normally don`t write twice, but a lot of people seem to be having problems with my opinion. i want to say that my comment was not out of anger, but out of passion. this is a topic that i feel very strongly about. i respect all you people who have family or friends that wahve gone to war, and i do not think that all americans are dumb and blind. but my opinion stands. this war should even exist, there is no point, no profit, except for the u.s., they get the oil. what you must understand is that there are two sides to every story, i based my opinion on facts from both sides. i did somme research. a lot of people ignore the other side, and accept the truth that they are told. i do not hate americans, but i believe that the american gouvernement, and bush, are inefficient. i don`t want this war, i don`t want any war! i want a chance to grow up and raise my kids, and have a family. if thing keep on going the way they are, the way bush is making them go, there will be no world to live in, just a bunch of corporations. this is to the person who said i should be thankful for being able to "speak such profane insults", yes i do thank them. if the gouvernement in the u.s. was efficient, and not greedy, i would have nothing to complain about. obviously this is a global problem, there have been protests all over the world to oppose this "war". and i agrre for what they stand for. i believe that wicca helps you broaden your horizons, why are so many people so narrow-minded, unable to seek the REAL truth. i hope that some of you had a chance to visit the website i mentionned before. and if youy have any problems with what i said, feel free to e-mail me. i will be glad to hear your comments directly! maybe you could learn a thing or two from me. and once again , my opinion stands firm. the states want to be the supreme power of the world, we should do anything we can to save the world from them. dear mr. president, i think you`re absolutely insane! and you have no idea what you`re doing, your just a greedy man who wants to impress your daddy! too bad you couldn't do that in school, with your low iq and everything!
| Sadness ||Jan 21st. at 10:06:03 am EST|
|Rose (Boston, MA) ||Age: 25 - Email |
This is a tough question for me to answer, because on one hand, one of my patron deities is the Morrigan, the Irish war Goddess, and on the other hand, I abhor violence.
A story: I was living in Canada on 11 September 01. It was my first day back for a new semester of grad school. Everything was looking good, it seemed. I was scared, shocked, and horrified when I heard the news. I didn't go to school or work that day, I stayed in my apartment and watched the news. My teachers and my boss were very understanding, as were my classmates. I spent most of the next few months trying to explain "The American Perspective" to my friends, and getting into long-winded debates, because everyone looked to me, as the lone American in the group, to explain what Bush was thinking. I also tried to explain the possible reasons why the attack took place (thanks to class work on modern Islam in the Third World). It was after winter break that my attitude changed. I went to my parents', and our neighbor had decorated his house by stringing an American flag Christmas light set from the porch, and parking his Harley in front. My brother began singing "Osama got run over by a reindeer", and I saw a sign in another neighbor's window that read "America Bless God." No, that is not a typo, I went back to that house to double, and triple check. I thought to myself, that is the attitude that landed us in this mess in the first place.
After that, I stopped trying to explain "The American Perspective." There was none. The so-called War on Terror was a knee-jerk reaction: "We done been bombed. We better go get us some revenge." It seemed more like the Hatfields and McCoys than anything else. It disgusted me. It still does. This isn't a war. Unless it has happened secretly, I don't believe that Congress has _declared_ war. If Bush wanted to get rid of Hussein and Bin-Laden, then he could have. It would not have taken years, and been this drawn out.
What we have now is not a war, but a propaganda campaign. It is a way to boost popularity and oil prices. If there is a ground war, then it will occur at the best time to ensure Bush's re-election. When it is over, innocent civilians will be dead, and so will a few soldiers. America will be more of an isolationist, jingoist country than before. More of our citizens will be subjected to detentions and registrations. More of our civil liberties will be taken away.
If a real, physical threat existed, then I believe that we should fight. We should not fight to increase popularity or bank accounts. We should not fight to "save the economy". Physical force is the last resort. One should never be the instigator. Defend yourself, your home, your country, but there is no such thing as pre-emptive defense. There should always be a diplomatic solution.
| Here's A Thought ....... ||Jan 21st. at 10:02:10 am EST|
|Etain (Columbus, Ohio) ||Age: 31 - Email |
From my own spritual tradition I'm against war. I think that if people want war it's usually coming from a man's point of view. (I'm not male bashing here so don't send me emails)I'm only pointing out the obvious that the men are in power & they are calling the shots. I would like to think that we would be evolving by now and come up with other solutions than war, but I honestly don't see this happening for a long time. We are doomed to repeat our history (of annihilating people) if we do not learn from the past. Not just our past as Americans, but the past of the collective world we live in.
My tradition values life. ALL LIFE. Just because our government thinks the bad guys are over in the Middle East doesn't make it so. We are bombarded with so much propaganda in the country that it makes the citizens wonder what is the REAL truth.(And some don't bother questioning it. A lot of our US citizens put their faith fully into the gov't and think they're doing a fine job.) My feeling is if you don't question authority you will go over the cliff with the rest of the sheep.
We're told THEY are the bad guys and we're the good guys defending democracy as it should be. We, the United States of America, are making the world a better place. Give me a break. There is so much hidden from us that we will never know the real truth... all in the name of national security. What if WE are the bad guys? Just look at our own history and what we've done to our own American citizens. Not to mention other cultures and peoples in different lands.
Ask yourself why there is a United Nations? And then ask youself why our government chooses to NOT pay their UN dues? We are constantly a police dog for the world but who is policing us. Well, apparently Homeland Securuty and Patriot Act will police it's citizens but who's policing OUR government. There's a reason why there needs to be checks and balances in life. People with power loose control of a realistic persective and become corrupt. In this case the checks and balances should come from the UN. But our government chooses to do what it wants in the name of democracy and global concern for all. That's crap. It's all the about the money and power.
I'm not sure if my political view has anything to do with how I feel about war, but I do think both majority parties are crazy and extreme. I think it may have been someone here that said "Democrats think the world is unfair and The Republicans make sure it stays that way".
So I am done ranting and if you've made it this far I thank you for reading my book of a response.
Peace and blessings
I'm paraphrasing but:
"If everyone took the saying 'an eye for an eye' literally the world would be blind"~~ Gandhi
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