Bang, Bang. Isn't That A Pretty Sound?

Embrace Violence – Two simple words, that when together, build the foundation for all that we know. A minute number of people ever stop to think about the circumstances that surround the very freedoms they spend the majority of their lives enjoying. Not the main stream core freedoms that our country was founded on, rather the diminutive pieces of thread that weave together to form the very fabric that holds our great nation together. Each day passing as the last, each day taken for granted with little to no thought about how fortunate they really are for having in their lives, those that embrace violence.

In our world there lives a relativity small group of guardians who not only stand ready to do violence on the behalf of others, but actually wait anxiously for the opportunity. Men that live outside the illusion of safety built upon walls of ignorance and denial that is our peaceful existence in this world. Men who would rather dance with the devil in the valley of the shadow of death than sit at a Starbucks, sipping a $10 dollar coffee while contemplating whether their skinny jeans are adequately squeezing all available testosterone into their systems in hope of fulfilling their latest desire of obtaining a beard.

For this chosen group, violence is the answer.
These are my people. Does that make me a bad man, or a good man? Or just a man? Maybe, as Edward Abbey said, that's honor enough.


Ymar Sakar said...

Embrace the power that Death provides. For even as the world and all humanity itself betrays you, the only thing that will remain loyal and true to yourself is your own hard work and effort.

A rephrasing of the line that only hard work will not betray you... even if humanity and the world does.

Violence is one way to acquire the power of Death. The only power that provides true equality, as all life is mortal and can die. There is no "government guarantee" that makes you immune to Death itself. Thus it is the One Power, that rises above even that of the government's cruelty and reason for existence, its monopoly on force itself can be broken.

Some people are figuring it out, good for them.

Eric Blair said...

Thank you Ymar, for that synopsis of the Hagakure.

But the article is flawed. Because, "we", through the agency of the elected government, have already decided to use violence to deal with ISIS. Probably not enough violence, but the decision has already been made, and the soldiers sent.

The fact that it isn't being applied in such a way as to defeat the problem is a matter of degree, or tactics, or both. But the decision to use violence has been made.

And I buy coffee in Starbucks pretty much every weekday. There isn't a $10 coffee drink on the menu, and the author basically beclowns himself by asserting such a thing, even if he's trying to make a point about effete hiptsers who have not volunteered, won't volunteer, and haven't even thought of volunteering, like some around here.

This piece also reeks of Nietzschean bullshit.

There isn't much difference between this:

For some, the moment that brought them the sweet taste of truly being alive also carried them away. These Eagles are forever soaring above us, forever following their brothers into battle. For those whom embrace violence are never alone. The souls of the ones whom truly lived guiding them as they continue to fight against those who embraced evil.

And for the very few that were able to seize the moment and truly live, the weight of the world bears down upon their shoulders with unimaginable force. For these men have been forever cursed with knowing that in this time, in this life, they may never taste life or feel alive like they did during those moments they faced death and won, forever cursed by doing what they were put on this earth to do:

Embrace Violence!

and this:

"The world is the representation of the sensibility and the thought of a few superior men, who have created and adorned it in the course of time and will go on adding to it and adorning it further in the future. The world as it appears today is a magnificent gift bestowed by the few upon the many, by free men upon slave; by those who think and feel upon those who must labor"--Gabriele D'Annunzio--The Virgin of the Rocks, 1895

Embrace violence? Fuck that. It's mindless nihilism.

Ymar Sakar said...

I haven't read the Hagakure, but it's probably very similar to what I wrote. Although the samurai, like Islam, were too much in love with death or honor. They would rather kill each other in a duel than admit defeat or survive to see another day. A waste of battle talent and experience.

Maybe that's a good thing with Islam, since if they had experienced fighters and H2H assassins, the West would be in even more a world of hurt than Orlando times 1000x. Fanatics with assassination, hidden blade training that outbreed via polygamy? That's not even funny. They do enough damage just with IEDs and AK 47s. They don't need stealth H2H lethal attacks that let them slip through metal detectors like ghosts.

Tom said...

I wouldn't have tagged that as Hagakure, but it's been a while. I mostly just remember the absolute duty to one's liege (contrary to other formulations of bushido) and the importance of immediate action regardless of outcome. He criticized the 47 ronin for planning and waiting, even though they got their revenge. Apparently they should have immediately attacked and died, even though they probably would have failed. (Or maybe I inferred that; I don't remember.) And, the author never experienced war. He loved violence and death idealistically, but had little occasion to put his ideals into practice.

... "we", through the agency of the elected government, have already decided to use violence to deal with ISIS ...

I don't think a decision to use violence is the same as embracing it, really. We could wipe Daesh from the face of the earth, but that would make the president look bad. Can't have that, now, can we?

But it does sound rather Nietzschean, and while it's likely he judges his own kind correctly, I'm not sure he really has a firm grasp on the rest of humanity.

Still, the article isn't really nihilistic. The author makes a clear distinction between good and evil, and embraces good:

Do not misconstrue this and think that those who embrace violence are one in the same with those who embrace evil. They share the same blood but not the same mindset. Evil would run free if not for those that understand it. The ones who embrace violence understand emphatically that there is no negotiating with those who embrace evil.

Grim said...

The President said, of the Orlando shooter and his ilk, that they were "nihilists." That is of course the last thing that they are.

I'm not a big fan of Nietzsche. I am of the Havamal. I suppose there are plenty who have drawn on both Nietzsche and Norse mythology, but I strongly prefer the other to the one. As the Havamal says: 'Never stir on your road a step without your weapons of war; for you never know, when away from home, when you'll need your spear.'

Tom said...

One of the issues I do have with this article is the emphasis on a tiny number who allegedly understand what the vast majority allegedly never even think about.

A minute number of people ever stop to think about the circumstances that surround the very freedoms they spend the majority of their lives enjoying.

One statistic I've seen estimates that about 5% of the population in the US has concealed carry permits. Certainly not all of them embrace violence, but how can you possibly say they have never considered the matter? I guess "minute" is a judgement call; I don't think 1 in 20 is "minute."

But let's go further with this "stop to consider" issue. What about military families? Does the author really think the spouses and children of soldiers deployed to combat zones never stop to think about the cost? What about police officers and their families? They don't think about it? Really?

Anyway, it may seem like a small thing, but rhetoric matters. If the sheepdogs want the sheep on their side, maybe they shouldn't spend so much time denigrating the sheep. Maybe part of the military-civilian divide is that some of the military side spends so much time building that wall instead of looking for common ground.

Tom said...

Oh, and if we actually are (God forbid) heading toward a civil war, now would be the time to win hearts and minds. After everything blows up, doing that will cost so, so much more.

Ymar Sakar said...

Apparently they should have immediately attacked and died, even though they probably would have failed.

The wiki quotes had the author saying "what if the target had died first in the year the ronins prepared to kill him?" Then the Ronins would have dishonored themselves by refusing to commit seppuko, and also failed to get revenge on their target. The Hagakure thus preferred sure fire results now, rather than long term strategic planning.

I prefer the Ronin pov, as Miyamoto Musashi was also a ronin for much of his career.

The samurai serve, and in that context, that means Obeying All Orders, no matter the cost.

Ymar Sakar said...

A minute number of people ever stop to think about the circumstances that surround the very freedoms they spend the majority of their lives enjoying.

They should have used the Three Percent rule there.

Via the bell curve of normal statistical norms, the 3% are outliers for the most part.

It's a way that has consistently worked for pinpointing the number of individuals in a mass of conforming sheep or masses. The actual numbers are hard to pinpoint, because once a few people start the ball rolling, there's a band wagon effect.

Tom said...

The Hagakure thus preferred sure fire results now, rather than long term strategic planning.

Well, "sure fire" in the sense that they would have failed and died, but in dying preserved their honor. The ronin themselves preferred sure vengeance. Either way, really, nothing is sure in life, and they knew that, too.

The samurai serve, and in that context, that means Obeying All Orders, no matter the cost.

No, that was not the case. That is what Hagakure teaches, but not by any means what most forms of bushido taught. (Each clan had its own bushido, of course.) In most forms of bushido, the bond between a bushi and his lord was honor-based; if the lord dishonored his vassal, the vassal was actually honor-bound to kill his lord. In addition, the war sagas provide a number of examples of bushi disobeying orders when they thought it would give them greater personal glory.

What happened, though, was that the revolutionary government in the early Meiji era needed an ideology, and they decided on Hagakure because they most prized obedience. With government propaganda and control over the education system, in a matter of decades, most Japanese people had come to believe that it was the only historical form of bushido. Of course, many former bushi and their kin knew otherwise, but they had no freedom to challenge the government's ideas.

Anyway, it was this post-samurai, modernized form of bushido that got transmitted both to the Japanese and the world, which is why many people today see obedience as the primary characteristic of the samurai. It's just propaganda, though.

Tom said...

I went back and read the article again. His point about Daesh is right, but the whole ubermensch/untermensch mentality ... I just can't buy that.

On the other hand, if you just focus on the idea of embracing violence and forget the Neitzschean crap, I think he's right.

Anyway, it's a mixed bag. I have an idea for a much longer post that goes into greater depth on these topics, so I think I'll have a drink and maybe watch some Blue Bloods. Maybe it'll go away.

Tom said...

Going back to Yamamoto, he was a mid-Edo period samurai and what did they know about war?

Instead of dwelling on those warrior-bureaucrats, let's go back to the Warring States period, back when bushi were real warriors and so was everyone else because a couple of centuries of constant warfare meant even farmers and monks had ample opportunity to kill and be killed. Paul Varley makes a strong case that disobedience and treachery by samurai were pretty common in those days. It is quite likely that the emphasis on obedience and loyalty comes from that very thing: obedience and loyalty were in short supply.

You know, it's like when a culture passes a thousand laws against some particular kind of crime. Rather than meaning that that culture didn't have any of that kind of crime, it's evidence that that culture had a serious problem with that kind of crime and kept trying different ways to stamp it out.

Tom said...

Varley's Warriors of Japan is a good source on this. It examines the war tales from the 10th to 17th century. It's been so long, I can't remember the others right now.

Tom said...

Ikegami's The Taming of the Samurai was good as well, IIRC.