Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Prisoner’s Dilemma


This is story about Al and Bob and their reasons to confess or not to confess on a crime they may or may not have committed.  For whatever reasons, Al and Bob were brought in on charges, and taken to different cells/interrogation rooms; while being questioned and treated roughly the same.

With Al in one room, and Bob being in another, the police tell them they have evidence of crime X being committed by them, and that the other is already squealing and giving out the other.

This would be an intense situation for anyone, since the police are allowed to legally lie to you to get a confession, and even mores, they are telling you your friend/lover/whoever-is-close is siding with the police for said crime.  This is where the dilemma lies, Confitemini Domino et non est differentia in, “Confess or not, the difference is within.”

If you analyze the picture and the data on the Prisoner’s Dilemma, neither Al or Bob know what the other is doing because the police have them separated, interrogating them in separate rooms multiple times with multiple people al with different control questions.  All of which is created, rehearsed, and performed by the detectives to find “the holes” in your story.

Taking this mental, if not in some cases physical, torture into account, the next question that is raised is: What would a rational “thing” do under ignorance, for the “me” and the “we”.  If you analyze the picture, the argument claims that Al and Bob, by each confessing against the other, each get only 5 years, and that is the most rational thing for the “me”.

The trick for the authorities is the unknown factor of what the other associate has told the detective, and the fear of serving 20 years and the other associate being set free and clear of all charges.

This means that the most rational answer or the “We” is that neither confess, and at maximum you get an undisclosed set of time in jail; which is used to persuade people to give up their information, for example: journalists.  So, in other words, by NOT COOPERATING with the authorities and spending a short, undisclosed amount of time in the system is ultimately the best option to take if you are the accused.  The accused would be giving up something, the X, some time for example, but it is not only more beneficial, but more rational, to the group to cooperate (~C) than compete (C).

Now, there is AN IMPORTANT concept that needs to be discussed within the Prisoner’s Dilemma, in relation to confessing.  The story/picture says Al or Bob will get 20 years, while the other gets nothing, but where you have to notice is that this 20 years is really an interpretation for the breaking point of a human being.  The large number, the poor conditions, the FEAR, is meant to entice a confession.  How far will someone go to get information, history has demonstrated there to be no limit; that cannot be said about the human body, psyche, or spirit.  The problem with this extreme is that extreme individuals will go to extreme lengths to alive their goals, using the most heinous methods to extract information.

This is a brief summary of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, and some things to be wary of when analyzing this material: go here for an in-depth analysis, or here or for broad analysis.

I hope a major point that is taken away from this post is that, whether we are talking about  the environment, animals, psychology, economics, social dilemmas, or even the arms race and military escalation, the Prisoner’s Dilemma is about showing people what can be accomplished through cooperation rather than competition.  In other words, the Prisoner’s Dilemma is a sound argument that it can be RATIONAL to COOPERATE, contrary to capitalism, which claims competition is favored.

Now, this also makes me wonder about the difference of authority when analyzed from a competition versus a cooperation platform?


In A Cave Down By The River: Kantian vs. Utilitarian Ethics

There is a story about ten individuals who decide to go cave exploring at a local island.  This cave happened to also be by a water source, and at low tide the cave would be exposed and people could venture into the cave to explore; as long as they are out by high tide they will not get trapped.  On exiting, the first person gets stuck, and the other nine have to make a choice to either use the C-4 explosive they have handy, or die by the inundating water source. Meanwhile, the first persons head is just high enough that they would survive high tide.

The people will base their decisions on either Utilitarian or Kantian ethics.

My first approach to this dilemma is that of the Utilitarian.  Ones needs to understand the thought process before a decision can be made.  Utilitarianism was first brought forth by Jeremy Bentham and is a theory of right conduct that combines three elements:

First, Utilitarianism has a consequentialist structure in that the rightness of an action depends upon the net value of the consequences associated with the action.  Second, What has intrinsic positive value is happiness and what has negative intrinsic value is unhappiness.  Finally, the view is imperialist in that it is the resulting level of happiness and unhappiness for everyone affected that determines the rightness or wrongness of an action.

In other words, Utilitarianism equals by definition an idea that the rightness or wrongness is determined by some feature of consequences of that action, and an action is right if and only if the utility associated with that action is at least as high as the utility associated with any other alternative action open to the agent in the situation. With the situation at hand we must now take into account the interest of the community, but “it is vain to talk of the interest of community, without understanding what the interest of the individual is” (Timmons, p.89).  Timmons also states, “A thing is said to promote the interest, or to be for the interest, of an individual, when it tends to add to the sum total of their pleasures; or, what comes to the same thing , to diminish the sum total of their pains” (p89).  The interest of community, then, “is a fictitious body, composed of the individual persons who are considered as constituting as it were its members” (Timmons, p89).

After understanding the Utilitarian approach, next is the decision, and to do this in a Utilitarian method you need to calculate the Hedonistic Calculus.  This consists of intensity, duration, certainty, propinquity/remoteness, fecundity, purity, extent, and type.  To do this one needs to add up all the herons of pleasure of the consequences of actions, then add up all the dolors of pain of the consequences of the action, and then subtract the dolors from the herons to equal the total utility.  The highest utility would be the correct choice.

Hedonistic Calculus

If a party was stranded in a cave they would need to add up their pleasures, then the pains, and subtract the pains from the pleasures.  This will be the correct utilitarian choice. In this cave situation, the more people that would survive the endeavor would be the correct Utilitarian response, whether stuck in the passage or in the cave.  Meaning, the correct Utilitarian decision would be to shove the C-4 into the proper place to cause the person the  least amount of pain upon detonation so as to save the greater number of people (causing the most happiness) while inflicting the least amount of pain.

The next approach is hat of the Kantian way of thinking which was developed by Immanuel Kant.  Kant has reasons for the failure of Utilitarianism, stating that Utilitarianism has no rules and is too broad a way of thinking.  In other words, an act is right if and only if the maxim of the act can be consistently willed to be a universal law of nature.  Through a maxim, it shows that the moral worth of an action is judged.  Kant’s ethics revolve around duty rather than emotional or end goals; however quantifiable.  Kant states, “That while I can will the lie, I can by no means will that lying should be a universal law,” explaining that his “maxim, as soon as it should be made a universal law, would necessarily destroy itself” (Timmons, p117).

In Kantianism, “The conception of an objective principle, in so far as it is obligatory for a will, is called a command of reason, and the formula of the command is called an Imperative.  Imperatives are only formula used to express the relationship of objective laws of all volition to the subjective imperfection of the will of this or that rational being, the human will” (Timmons, p118).

Imperatives are either categorical or hypothetical.  A hypothetical imperative represents the practical necessity of a possible action as means to something else that is willed.  Kant states, “The categorical imperative would be that which represented an action as necessary of itself without reference to another end, as objectively necessary” (Timmons, p118).  In other words, hypothetical imperatives have “if” clauses, i.e., if I do not want to burn my house down, don’t smoke in bed.  The categorical imperative would be that which represented an action necessary of itself without reference to another end, as objectively necessary, i.e., do not murder.  Categorical imperatives do not have an “if” clause.

With Kantianism understood, one can now make a judgment of the correct cave situation.  With this understanding to duty rather than emotional or end goal, again it is apparent that the lives of nine hold sway over the life of the one.  So it would be the duty of everyone in the cave to survive while it would be the duty of the one stuck to die so others could live, again sticking the C-4 were the person would feel the least amount of pain.

The next question you would have to ask yourself is what would I do, and why?  Would you look at the situation according to the categorical numbers, or duty, or emotion, or a plethora of other ways when you find yourself in a situation like that?

By getting an appreciation of Utilitarianism and Kantianism, one can have a better understanding  of how people make choices and determines accuracy in a right or wrong situation.  Eleanor Roosevelt may have said one of the greatest sayings to deal with ethics, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you will be criticized anyway.  You’ll be damned if you do and you’ll be damned if you don’t.”

Imperialism and Expansion

It is difficult to not be a little pro-imperialist if you are an American.  We have already used drastic measures to acquire the lands we now possess so why should it be any different if we choose to claim foreign lands that we won by victory of war?  Lands that now have access to the markets of the world.  Who are some in U.S. history that have been in favor of Imperialism and what were their arguments?

A voice in  the time period that urged American expansion was President McKinley (1843-1901) who stated on many occasions that, “I went down on my knees and prayed Almighty God for light and guidance mare than one night.”  Then the truth was spoken to him, “That there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the filipinos and uplift and civilize and Christianize them by God’s grace do the very best we could do by them, as our fellow men, for whom Christ also died” (Beisner, p.199).  McKinley’s outlook on the Filipinos was basic, as stated to a group of Methodist Church visitors, “We could not turn them over to France or Germany–our commercial rivals in the orient, that would be bad for business and discreditable” (LeFeber, P. 201).  And that is how you have to think if you want to be in league with other world powers; a kind-of sociopathic mentality.

An 1899 U.S. Senator, Albert Beveridge spoke strongly that, “The Philippines are ours forever, territory belonging to the United States, and just beyond are China’s illimitable markets” (RTAP, p218).  Beveridge furthered, “The Filipinos are a barbarous race modified by three centuries of contact with a decadent race” (RTAP, p219).  Economics are at the forefront of Imperialism, as stated by Beveridge, “The mineral wealth of this empire of the ocean will one day surprise the world, and the wood, hemp, copra, and other products of the Philippines supply what we need and cannot ourselves produce” (RTAP, p219).

President Theodore Roosevelt, the man among men, believed first and foremost that it was important to uphold the country’s honor in the community of nations.  T. Roosevelt stated, “All the great masterful nations have been fighting nations” (American History, p659).  November 6, 1903, the United States recognized Panama and set up a renewable lease on a canal zone, putting into movement the construction of the Panama Canal.  This cunning use of tactics to acquire land in Panama is imperialism in a very true form, even to the point that T. Roosevelt sent in covert ops to secure a sympathetic government that would cooperate with American way of thinking.  T. Roosevelt also initiated the Open Door Policy in Asia and started into motion many future messes in the Philippines, but made a lot of profit in doing so.

General Arthur MacArthur stated, “Our occupation of the island was simply one of necessary consequences in logical sequence of our great prosperity, and to doubt the wisdom of occupation was simply to doubt the stability of our own institutions and in effect to declare that a self-governing nation was incapable of successfully resisting strains arising naturally from its own productive energy” (American History, p.656).  It was supposedly the Filipinos fault that they didn’t willingly choose to be civilized, and the U.S.’s justification for conquering their lands.

Alfred T. Mahan, an influential Naval commander around the turn of the 20th century, brought forth the notion that all great empires have a great Navy.  Navies required things to be an effective force: coaling stations far from home for example.  Mahan also claimed that this military strengthening accompanied the proposition of connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to compete with Europe for East Asia markets.

So, in building the Navy and treating the Pacific like a highway rather than a burden, America would become a military power first, economic power second.  China’s markets and the Philippines natural resources were too much for greedy men.  Not only were the Philippines ripe for conquest, but so was the Hawaiian Islands, many other smaller Pacific Islands, Alaska, and the Caribbean; all were strategic points for controlling the world markets and roads to new markets in China.

A final reason, but in no way exhaustive, for America expanding is Manifest Destiny.  A way of thinking that says it is God’s mandate that we take over the world and educate and uplift all others to our level of thinking.  Manifest Destiny, two words that have been the reason for where we are today, yet no longer hold any value.  Upon completing the previous goal of submitting the North American continent, the same method was then applied to the world.

Why not use the same way of thinking, of conquering, that worked for our fore-fathers.

Senator Beveridge is a prime example of pushing Manifest Destiny, stating that, “It is noble land that God has given us,” about the Philippines. (RTAP, p208-209).  Beveridge also ties in patriotic duty to this concept, so if you do not believe it is God’s will, then you must see this action as a patriotic duty that America expands.

This is all crazy talk!!! Who determines what is right or wrong is a huge responsibility, especially when the fates of millions of people hang in the balance.  Should we have just went in and destroyed any opposition against the U.S. where it is encountered, thankfully that is a debate for those above my pay-grade, but at least now i can make the claim that it is ludicrous.

Our civilization may have started because we went in and took other peoples land and resources, so it shouldn’t be surprising that when we wanted more we just went in and took it.  It should also be surprising that those who were going against imperialism were just talkers, and little to no doing was involved.

At the time the conclusion was simple, America needed to expand beyond its borders if it was going to compete and survive with any of the other world powers.

World Power is a term that incorporates certain truths, one is that trade is involved, two is that there are more likely many conflicts.

Isn’t it exasperating , though, that America stopped expanding that way that it used too?  Also, do you see America caring about the world’s POV more than its own?

Whatever the outcome, debate, or argument, events cannot go about any other way because they are a part of history, it just really makes one think about the way the world would be if America stopped imperial expansion.  Had America continued, yes millions would have lost their lives, but would there have been a greater good in the outcome?  The world lives in fear today that at any moment someone could carry a nuclear weapon in a brief case, or shoot up a communal gathering place.

There was a time for this expansion, when America was the sole owner of atomic weapons,  but that window has closed.  We now live in a world of imminent, mutually-assured destruction.  Is it still a time of expansion?


How did Americans Respond to the Great Depression

Simply, there is no easy answer.  Every American experienced pleasure or pain during those troubled years, and formed bonds with their loved ones or destroyed them unlike anything comparable before in America save modern day.

“There is no longer I, There is We, the day of the individual is over,” Dorthy Parker said.

That quote is the easiest way to describe the response Americans responded to the Great DEpression.  Of course modern day can look at those events and say, well why didn’t you do this or that, but hindsight is 20/20.  To have lived during the turmoil would give those who nay-say a ,different perspective of the world.  “What is going to become of us?  You can’t sleep, you know, You wake up at 2 a.m. and you lie and think” (America’s History, p737).  The depression only one-sided, affecting onyl one culture in America, Whites and Blacks , and everything in between, felt the crisis.  Some prospered but most suffered.

With life nearly impossible in the “Dust Bowl,” as well, many people fled the country and headed into the cities, where poor housing and disease ran unchecked.  Also, with the Riot of 1935 in Harlem, NY, desperate events finally led to extreme measures.  For example, something as simple as a boy stealing a penknife, and then arrested and set free, escalated with rumors that the cops killed the boy.  Riots ensued shortly after, resulting in 125 arrests, 100 injured, and three dead.  This is to show how stressed and harrassed people were that they would set fire to their own homes, but this is also a common act by those living in poor communities as well.

Another response to the depression was President Roosevelt launching his New Desal program his first term.  Roosevelt, who relied heavily on his “Brain Trust” of professors from Columbia and Harvard, promised “Act Now”, and in his first months he participated in a legislative session known as the “Hundred Days,” where Congress enacted fifteen bills enacting multiple social reforms.  Also, after his inauguration FDR declared a national “bank holiday,” and then called Congress to pass the Energency Banking Act.  This permitted banks to re-open if the Treasury Department inspection showed they had sufficient funds. (America’s History, p739)

There are many different outlooks to pursue: economic, social, labor, gender, race, culture, religion, penal, philosophical, environmental.  These are just some of the responses of the Great Depression, do you have your own story, personal or familial?

A Discussion on US Labor History

It can be argued that the United States had the bloodiest and most violent labor history of nay industrial nation in the world.  Harsh working conditions and poor wages led union workers to revolt.  This, along with the employers quick and violent action and the governments lack of participation in wage and peace keeping, left the late 1800s a bloody time in American history.

The main reasons, for example, railroad workers revolting in the late 1800s was because of poor wages, but Laos because of union cohesion.  In most of the riots.   That occured at the industries, if the employer would have given proper recognition to the union status, violence may not have broken out.  The attempts to quell or destroy the people from gathering also had violent effects in the revolt.  Also, had there not been influential mob leaders antagonizing the rioters to continue, many of the riots may have disbursed without casualties.  In the strikes and riots of the late 1800s, sit-ins would be the result of the employer not budging when demands for better wages by the union were asked and not recieved.  One answer the employers deduced is to employ outside non-union help and have them formally sign a contract staying the employee would not join a union.  The hiring of non-union personnel enrages the peaceful petitioners into all out mob-destruction, usually ending with the calling of state and federal troops, and dead and wounded with thousands in property damage.

Along with the poor wages, the mistreatment of union workers, while employed, was another factor in the revolts.  The harsh working conditions only fueled the unions to show hatred for their employers.  The quick firing of employees, too, led to angry mobs forming.  Employers quickly sending for federal aid in peaceful sit-ins turned them violent quickly, only after troops arrived and harassed those on strike.  Also, the breaking of contracts with unions because of an expiration date excuse on the unions’s contract was a way around paying workers in Homestead, PA, for example, which resulted in a bloody massacre.

The governments stance in the strikes was to let the state handle its own affairs unless troops were attacked, which would result in the governor or chief of police asking for federal troops.  The involvement of soldiers led to strikes becoming more violent, but also led to those on strike becoming disorganized, weak, and quelled into giving up on the strike.  President Clevland, for example, stated it was not a federal right to deal with matters of judicial procedure, yet government troops were used frequently.

The riots of 1877 were violent and bloody, and always led to the union being dispatched and the government and private employers winning the day.  It is no wonder why the unions revolted.  With no compromising on the employers side and little recognition to the unions, the disrespect led to chaos.  The employers were taking away the only way some people knew how to make a life.  The terrible wages for the work asked is another reason for their revolts.  Are the wealthy really that vague and blind that blood is the same as a dollar sign?  With the lack of government support the unions had no rights in the private sector, besides what the owner decided, and since they fell under state law, the government could intervene and then wash its hands of the matter and claim it intervened in a private matter, who were not/could not be brought up on legal charges.

So who really ran the government when the soldiers would go to the call of private corporations whenever they needed, and for whatever reason?

Have things changed since our government is still run by private corporations?

Are we ever going to change our understanding of value and retake the standard of wages, decided by the people instead of those who want to oppress the people into slave labor.

Just because we add a zero do we have more? Or are the zeros created by some other entity that does not have yours or societies interests in mind, a profit-driven mentality that reigns?  Good questions for research and introspection.

Opposition to the Dropping of the Atomic Bombs

“From what we read in the general media, it seems like almost everyone felt the atomic bombings of Japan were necessary.  Aren’t the people who disagree with those actions just trying to find fault with America?” (Hiroshima Who Didn’t Agree with the Atomic Bombing, 1945).

How is someone supposed to argue against this statement, against the collective acceptance of a nation?  How is someone supposed to change the mind of a madman with their hand on the button?  By looking at the words and deeds of those involved with the project and decision, other possible alternate solutions to ending World War II can be formulated.

Lone Rakassan standing after atomic blast
Lone Rakassan standing after atomic blast

Dwight Eisenhower stated in a 1945 edition of Newsweek that he, the General of the European Theater and later President of the United States, “gave misgivings on why he believed the bombs should not be dropped.”  First was because it was his belief that Japan was already beaten an it was completely unnecessary.  Secondly, because America should avoid shocking the world’s opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives (Mandate for Change, p380).

Also, Chief of Staff to President Franklin Roosevelt, Admiral Leahy, stated that this barbarous weapon should not have been used and that he was not taught to make was in that fashion (I Was There, p441).  Leahy also stated that the Japanese were looking for a way out, a way to keep their honor.

Even one of the designers of the bomb stressed not to make it.  After Germany surrendered, Leo Szilard tried to meet with President Harry Truman, but he sent Secretary of State to be, James Byrnes, instead.  Also, Szilard urged the bomb not being used, stating in the Franck Report, “We believe that these considerations make the use of nuclear bombs for an early, unannounced attack against Japan inadvisable.  If the U.S. Would be the first to release this new means of indiscriminate destruction upon mankind, she would sacrifice public support throughout the world, precipitate the race of armaments, and prejudice the possibility of reaching an international agreement on the future control of such weapons.”  Another interesting comment in the Franck Report states, “It will be very difficult to persuade the world, as indiscriminate as the rocket bomb (German blockbuster) and a thousand times more destructive is, to be trusted in its proclaimed desire of having such weapons abolished by international agreement” (Political and Social Problems, Manhattan Engineer District Records, Harrison-Bundy Files, Folder # 76, National Archives).

Fat Man
Fat Man

The luxury of hindsight cannot stop the bombs from being dropped, atomic or otherwise, but a look at the alternate solutions in the minds of the time is an interesting addition on why President Truman made his decision.   The first solution came from General Spaatz, in charge of Air Force operations in the Pacific, who came up with announcing to the Japanese that no ground assault would take place and that constant bombing would continue on military sites until Japanese surrender (Herbert Feis Papers).

Ralph Bard, a member of the Interim Committee, gave a couple of alternatives in a memorandum to President Truman; 1) wait for Russia to put pressure on Japan by occupying Manchuria and furthering the blockade of materials to mainland Japan, 2) A possible notice of 2-3 days so minimal human life would be taken (Harrison-Bundy Files), 3) Douglas McArthur states to this biographer that he does not understand why America asked for Japan’s unconditional surrender when Japan already agreed to surrender if the continuation of the imperial reign could continue.  America declined the offer, dropped the bombs, then let the continuation of the imperial reign anyway (William Manchester).

The aftermath includes many interesting perspectives because the global stage is set to think, “OK, what now?!?!”  What better to start off the after math than the pilots own words wondering what they just did.  “A bright light filled the plane,” wrote Col. Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay, “We turned back to look at Hiroshima.  The city was hidden by that awful cloud, boiling up, mushrooming.  For a moment, no one spoke.  Then everyone was talking.” “Look, Look, Look at that,” said the co-pilot, Robert Lewis. Lewis said he could taste atomic fission and it tasted like lead.  THen he turned away to write in his journal, “My God, he asked himself, What have we just done?” (Special Report, “Hiroshima: August 6, 1945”).

Industrial Japan after the dropping of the atomic bomb
Industrial Japan after the dropping of the atomic bomb

General Eisenhower also comment end as well in a 1963 Newsweek interview, “The Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing” (Ike on Ike).

But Szilard may have said it best, in 1945, “We might start an arms race between America and Russia which might end with the destruction of both countries” (Leo Szilard, His Version of the Facts, p184).

With the conclusion of the aftermath, many students, soldiers, and Koreans working in factories, died, an estimated 200,000 in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki, lower numbers because the terrain dispersed the explosion.  But how many does it take to be an acceptable loss? An acceptable win?

Enola Gay banks away after dropping atomic bomb on Hiroshima
Enola Gay banks away after dropping atomic bomb on Hiroshima

There seems to be a puzzle in determining if there could have been another way than dropping a bomb that destroyed an entire city, started an arms race, killed thousands, and weaponized the future.  The greater good occurred, well, for whom?  The victor places their view in more accurate terms, even thinks their actions were provoked and necessary.  In reading the words of some of the people in charge of the decision to drop the atomic bombs, one can notice that most supported an alternate solution to the bombing, and only backed the dropping due to political and administrative pressures.

Hindsight is a comfort in a situation like this.

One final unanswerable, but debatable, question: Why didn’t they blow up an atomic bomb off the coast so the Japanese could witness they destructive power, a prior notification of wanton destruction, instead of on a population center?   Perhaps history will tell.

The Art of Slaughter; a Different Way to Understand War

In order to understand war, a brief history of individuals that shaped the way the art of slaughter is conducted must be mentioned.

War has, arguably, always been a part of human existence (Life feeds on life), and one of the oldest military documents in written history (compared to religious or civil), is Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.”  Written in 500 B.C., it may come after Chinese and Egyptian cultures, but this document is one of the oldest devoted to military concepts.  Sun Tzu says, “The art of war is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account when seeking to determine the conditions of obtaining the field” (Roots of Strategy).  The main factors include:

  1. Moral Law: people in complete accord with their ruler, follow regardless of their lives.
  2. Heaven: night and day, cold and heat, time and seasons
  3. Earth: distances, security, open ground, passages
  4. Commander: virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness
  5. Method and Discipline: putting army in proper subdivisions, promotions, maintenance of roads for supply travel, and military expenses
  • Note: The use of Fire must be mentioned, though it is not a constant, it is a factor that must be taken into account

Another man, who is regarded as one of the greatest Western military minds, revolutionized the way warfare was fought, even to date.  Napoleon Bonaparte fought more battles than Alexander of Macedonia, the Carthaginian conqueror Hannibal, and the thrice denied emperor of Rome Julius Caesar, combined.  Napoleon redefined tactics by:

  1. Creating a standstill on the battle line after approaching in columns instead of  approaching on row.
  2.  Quickly move small guerilla forces to the flanks of the enemy and engage, creating the illusion the flanks were being overrun.
  3. Bombard the standstill on the battle line with precise artillery strikes, separating the line in two and causing confusion in the ranks (as well as delaying reinforcements from countering).
  4. Send in infantry en masse immediately after artillery barrage to close, engage, and destroy the enemy.
  5. Troops would feed off the land going to the battlefield, instead of having a long supply train that is a logistical nightmare and can be attacked.

Sun Tzu was one of the first to write a military document that would be carried and revamped in time, and Napoleon revolutionized the actual way combat is fought, but the first to engage in war, that history tells us, was Lucifer, the Lightbringer/Morningstar.

In John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” he portrays Lucifer as a charismatic leader who rallies a third of the Angels to storm the Gates of Heaven and usher in a new era of peace.  Lines are drawn in the sand and sides were forced to be made, as in every war, but ultimately Lucifer was crushed by Michael and his archangels, by which Hell is created to smite many of thefallen angels.  Milton was the first Orthodox Christian to portray Lucifer as charismatic, which caused a major uproar in 1667 when the Catholic Church’s power and influence was near global.  Milton’s book portrayed that Lucifer may not have been completely wrong in his actions, hence, the phrase was coined, “It is better to rule in hell than serve in Heaven.”

Lucifer, the Lightbringer, has a similar story in most ancient cultures.  It is the tempter that tempts with forbidden “something,” usually of which is knowledge.  In Greek mythos it is Hephaestus that brings fire to man and is struck down.  In other cultures, Norse and Egyptian, knowledge is only gained through sacrifice.  And war is a terrible outcome of heated argument between huge egos, historically over either who is right or the Other.

Herbert Hoover said, “Older men declare wars, but it is the youth that must fight and die,” John Wayne said, “Courage is being scarred to death, but saddling up anyway,” and Robert E. Lee noticed, “It is well that war is terrible, or we get too fond of it.”

Philosophy, or the love of wisdom, was introduced to the Western world through Pythagoras, and continued on by Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Heraclitus, the Sophists and Pluralists, and the Milesian School.   It can be argued that true genius in the art of combat must understand all aspects of combat, which without peace there can be no war, without love there can be no hate, without yin there is no yang.   As quoted by Ender’s Wiggins in “Ender’s Game,” written by Orson Scott Card, “In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then, in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them…. I destroy them.”

Bruce Lee is an example of a philosophical warrior.  In “The Warrior Within,” Lee explains how you can used a form of self-defense to better understand and flourish your life.  Lee’s stories and ideas have had profound meaning in ways someone could understand the philosophy of combat.

“The phenomenon of the moon in the water is likened to human experience.  The water is the subject and the moon is the object.  When there is no water, there is no moon in the water, and likewise when there is no moon.  But when the moon rises the water does not wait to receive its image, and when even the tiniest drop of water is poured out the moon does not wait to cast its reflection.  The moon does not intend to cast its reflection and the water does not reflect its image on purpose.  The event is caused as much by the water as by the moon, and as the water manifests the brightness of the moon, the moon manifests the clarity of the water.  Everything does have a real relationship.” (The Warrior Within)

Lee’s profound philosophies also include:

  • Gung Fu is practiced not only for health and self-protection but for cultivation of the mind as well.  Gung Fu was used by priests and Chinese monks as a philosophy, or way of thinking, in which the ideals of giving WITH adversity, to bend slightly and then spring up stronger than before.  The qualities of patience and profiting from one’s mistakes are part of the discipline of Gung Fu.
  • It was obvious to the master from the start of the conversation that the professor was not so much interested in learning about Zen as he was in impressing the master with his own opinion and knowledge.  As the Zen teacher explained, the learned man would frequently interrupt with remarks.  Finally, The teacher stopped talking and began to serve tea.  He poured the cup full, then kept pouring until the cup overfilled.  “Enough,” cried the learned man, once more interrupting.  “The cup is overfill,, no more will go in.”  “Indeed, I see,” answered the teacher, “like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations.  If you do not first empty your cup, how can you taste of my tea?” (The Warrior Within)

On the extreme side of understanding peace in order to understand war, Dag Hammerskjold, a two-time Nobel peace prize winner for his writings, lived through two world wars and wrote many contemplations about war and why we as a society fight.  One of his writings goes:

  • “You told yourself you would accept the decision of fate.  But you lost your nerve when you discovered what this would require of you; then you realized how attached you still were to the world which has made you what you were, but which you would now have to leave behind.  It felt like an amputation, a “little death,” and you even listened to those voices which insinuated that you were deceiving yourself out of ambition.  You will have to give up everything.  Why, then, weep at this little death?  Take it to you quickly, with a smile die this death, and become free to go further, one with your task, whole in your duty of the moment.” (Markings)

Now that there is a broad spectrum of how to think about the art of war (mind you, John Stuart Mills Harm Principle, coming soon, is an in-depth conversation all by itself), can an argument be made that we have progressed through ages of how to slaughter and/or control another better.  And is that all war is, the struggle against being either slaughtered or controlled?  What ever the reason, as well, if force necessarily needs to be used, then the Fourth Estates shaping of the information needs to be as objective as possible.  And the desire for this is for another discussion another day, Peace, Be Kind, and Get Knowned.