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Monday, July 11, 2011

Imaginary foes

A military leader talking about teaching his daughter that their enemies were lowly and deserved being hated and hurt. The reason for the war might have sounded righteous in the ears of some:  the people were poor and hungry and the war spoils gave them food. The prisoner of war commented "Her belly might be full, but her spirit will be empty," referring to the indoctrinated daughter.

This is a scene from Star Trek, but even if the series is science fiction, this fragment struck me as depicting a very real issue.
War is a matter of perspective. The side that you're on is in the right and the other one is wrong. Maybe from all points of view.


This is why the devil was created, so we could have an embodiment of evil to hate and fear. Likewise, many artful leaders have led their people to war against make-believe foes. See the crusades, Hitler's wars and possibly others.

It doesn't only happen in war either. We see it in everyday life. It's called discrimination. It's when we think one person or one group is bad just for a single trait we might not like or simply don't understand.

Sadly, these fallacies can cost lives and the happiness of many people. It only starts with one small misconception.

5 comments:

  1. I'm interested in the thought that we have created the devil in order to have something to fight against. Perceptive as usual. Thanks for the post.

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  2. I do believe that the devil has been invented and so have the gods, for similar reasons.

    Fear and hatred are very powerful and destructive emotions, but also very irrational. It's easy to harness them.

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  3. I love the way you articulate your thoughts and beliefs. Now me, I would have mumbled and floundered on this subject. Just for the record, I agree with you.

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  4. Carol, I don't believe a word you're saying!

    I'm actually translating a book about Hitler's psychology and it touches on this subject as well.

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