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The Nature of Conflict

EndarkenedRationalist
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12/16/2015 1:57:08 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
"Struggle between humans is looked at as a necessary or even fundamental aspect of life. Inherent to our nature, it is a test of ourselves as a species and as an individual. Conflict leads us to grow or fall. But the height of conflict, war, is different..."

"War exists for two reasons. The first is an imbalance of power. Whether the torments of the strong or the revolts of the weak, wherever the scales of power tilt, there you will find war. When two nations, relatively equal in strength, perceive a moment of weakness in each other, war will follow. Strangely, this may be an inherently rational process. A weaker nation will not attack a stronger one because the costs of dong so outweigh the benefits. It may attack a weaker nation in order to appear stronger than it is. All of these motives may be traced back to imbalanced powers."

"The second reason is heroes. War exists because, in every age, some shining knight has stood above the masses and decorated warfare to look beautiful. Gold. Land. Religion. Glory. Patriotism. War becomes something terrible in its greatness and vice versa. Perhaps worst of all, war becomes something inevitable. It breaks out. It happens. It happens without us. We are not responsible. But we can be responsible for ending it, for bringing peace, for delivering Justice. The hero's words attract thousands of young men and women into an early grave. By making war pretty, by pretending there are rewards, that there are 'right' and 'wrong' ways to fight, we ensure the cycle continues. Humankind has never evolved beyond its earliest days because of silver-tongued figures cheering them to their deaths. The hero is the greatest villain to ever exist."

Thoughts?
YYW
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12/16/2015 3:04:56 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/16/2015 1:57:08 AM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
"Struggle between humans is looked at as a necessary or even fundamental aspect of life. Inherent to our nature, it is a test of ourselves as a species and as an individual. Conflict leads us to grow or fall. But the height of conflict, war, is different..."

Human nature, to the extent that we can characterize such a thing, is predisposed to conflict. It's also predisposed to warmth, charity, benevolence, and camaraderie. Whatever human behavior follows from a particular animating stimulus depends on the facts and circumstances (i.e. the context) in which the individual experiences the stimulus.

"War exists for two reasons. The first is an imbalance of power. Whether the torments of the strong or the revolts of the weak, wherever the scales of power tilt, there you will find war. When two nations, relatively equal in strength, perceive a moment of weakness in each other, war will follow. Strangely, this may be an inherently rational process. A weaker nation will not attack a stronger one because the costs of dong so outweigh the benefits. It may attack a weaker nation in order to appear stronger than it is. All of these motives may be traced back to imbalanced powers."

Most wars are fought over resources, but some military actions (military actions may be acts of war, but are not necessarily acts of war) can be executed as feats of military strength. For example, the US's attacking Libya in the late 80s was for that purpose... it was to remind the world of the US military's overwhelming force. Some have made similar suggestions about George Bush's invasion of Iraq.

"The second reason is heroes. War exists because, in every age, some shining knight has stood above the masses and decorated warfare to look beautiful. Gold. Land. Religion. Glory. Patriotism. War becomes something terrible in its greatness and vice versa. Perhaps worst of all, war becomes something inevitable. It breaks out. It happens. It happens without us. We are not responsible. But we can be responsible for ending it, for bringing peace, for delivering Justice. The hero's words attract thousands of young men and women into an early grave. By making war pretty, by pretending there are rewards, that there are 'right' and 'wrong' ways to fight, we ensure the cycle continues. Humankind has never evolved beyond its earliest days because of silver-tongued figures cheering them to their deaths. The hero is the greatest villain to ever exist."

Thoughts?

People are responsible for the reasonably foreseeable consequences of their actions. So, if you engage in actions that could reasonably foreseeably result in war, then you are culpable for the war that follows, even if subjectively you did not know that war was likely to follow.

I don't know about heroes, though. Many people who initiate war are not the people who fight it, and it's pretty unreasonable to lay the crimes of war at the soldier's feet when the commander or the general or the president is the one who created the conditions for the crime itself.
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dylancatlow
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12/16/2015 5:13:20 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
Wars are fought for more than just two reasons, but I agree that war pretty much wouldn't exist if it weren't for those two. As YYW pointed out, wars are commonly fought over resources, but that's only because one or both sides think they have the upper hand and thus have something to gain by going to war. There's no point in trying to seize resources unless you think you will actually win the war.
Skepsikyma
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12/16/2015 11:01:27 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/16/2015 1:57:08 AM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
"Struggle between humans is looked at as a necessary or even fundamental aspect of life. Inherent to our nature, it is a test of ourselves as a species and as an individual. Conflict leads us to grow or fall. But the height of conflict, war, is different..."

"War exists for two reasons. The first is an imbalance of power. Whether the torments of the strong or the revolts of the weak, wherever the scales of power tilt, there you will find war. When two nations, relatively equal in strength, perceive a moment of weakness in each other, war will follow. Strangely, this may be an inherently rational process. A weaker nation will not attack a stronger one because the costs of dong so outweigh the benefits. It may attack a weaker nation in order to appear stronger than it is. All of these motives may be traced back to imbalanced powers."

"The second reason is heroes. War exists because, in every age, some shining knight has stood above the masses and decorated warfare to look beautiful. Gold. Land. Religion. Glory. Patriotism. War becomes something terrible in its greatness and vice versa. Perhaps worst of all, war becomes something inevitable. It breaks out. It happens. It happens without us. We are not responsible. But we can be responsible for ending it, for bringing peace, for delivering Justice. The hero's words attract thousands of young men and women into an early grave. By making war pretty, by pretending there are rewards, that there are 'right' and 'wrong' ways to fight, we ensure the cycle continues. Humankind has never evolved beyond its earliest days because of silver-tongued figures cheering them to their deaths. The hero is the greatest villain to ever exist."

Thoughts?

I disagree on pinning it on the hero. The heroes are puppets of the people who, in any society, make the amoral decisions which nature demands and the people abhor. Heroes are there in order to make the repulsive palatable, to coat acrid medicine in sugar and to decorate killers with ribbons.

War exists because people exist. People will always have ingroup and outgroups, they will always other those who do not belong. So there will always be conflicts, power disparities, and the uncomfortable truth that, as Machiavelli put it, war is never avoided, only postponed to our own disadvantage. The best that people can do is be self-aware; closing our eyes against these harsh realities and surrendering our intellectual faculties to a comforting illusion can only enable our own delusion and manipulation. Dreamers, in a bitter twist of irony, seem to be incredibly well-equipped for brutality and atrocity.
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- Hilaire Belloc -
EndarkenedRationalist
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12/17/2015 3:23:34 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/16/2015 3:04:56 PM, YYW wrote:
At 12/16/2015 1:57:08 AM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
"Struggle between humans is looked at as a necessary or even fundamental aspect of life. Inherent to our nature, it is a test of ourselves as a species and as an individual. Conflict leads us to grow or fall. But the height of conflict, war, is different..."

Human nature, to the extent that we can characterize such a thing, is predisposed to conflict. It's also predisposed to warmth, charity, benevolence, and camaraderie. Whatever human behavior follows from a particular animating stimulus depends on the facts and circumstances (i.e. the context) in which the individual experiences the stimulus.

"War exists for two reasons. The first is an imbalance of power. Whether the torments of the strong or the revolts of the weak, wherever the scales of power tilt, there you will find war. When two nations, relatively equal in strength, perceive a moment of weakness in each other, war will follow. Strangely, this may be an inherently rational process. A weaker nation will not attack a stronger one because the costs of dong so outweigh the benefits. It may attack a weaker nation in order to appear stronger than it is. All of these motives may be traced back to imbalanced powers."

Most wars are fought over resources, but some military actions (military actions may be acts of war, but are not necessarily acts of war) can be executed as feats of military strength. For example, the US's attacking Libya in the late 80s was for that purpose... it was to remind the world of the US military's overwhelming force. Some have made similar suggestions about George Bush's invasion of Iraq.

Wouldn't resources still boil down to disparate powers? I mean, you won't attack someone stronger than you for resources.

"The second reason is heroes. War exists because, in every age, some shining knight has stood above the masses and decorated warfare to look beautiful. Gold. Land. Religion. Glory. Patriotism. War becomes something terrible in its greatness and vice versa. Perhaps worst of all, war becomes something inevitable. It breaks out. It happens. It happens without us. We are not responsible. But we can be responsible for ending it, for bringing peace, for delivering Justice. The hero's words attract thousands of young men and women into an early grave. By making war pretty, by pretending there are rewards, that there are 'right' and 'wrong' ways to fight, we ensure the cycle continues. Humankind has never evolved beyond its earliest days because of silver-tongued figures cheering them to their deaths. The hero is the greatest villain to ever exist."

Thoughts?

People are responsible for the reasonably foreseeable consequences of their actions. So, if you engage in actions that could reasonably foreseeably result in war, then you are culpable for the war that follows, even if subjectively you did not know that war was likely to follow.

Well...if a lady dresses in scanty clothing and walks down an alleyway at night, is she responsible for the rape that might follow, even though she subjectively did not know it would?

I don't know about heroes, though. Many people who initiate war are not the people who fight it, and it's pretty unreasonable to lay the crimes of war at the soldier's feet when the commander or the general or the president is the one who created the conditions for the crime itself.

I was confused about this until I realized you were calling the soldiers heroes. I think the author of the quote was insinuating that the general/president/etc were the "heroes' and the soldiers were victims of manipulation.
TheFlex
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12/17/2015 3:54:10 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/16/2015 1:57:08 AM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
"Struggle between humans is looked at as a necessary or even fundamental aspect of life. Inherent to our nature, it is a test of ourselves as a species and as an individual. Conflict leads us to grow or fall. But the height of conflict, war, is different..."

This is very accurate.

"War exists for two reasons. The first is an imbalance of power. Whether the torments of the strong or the revolts of the weak, wherever the scales of power tilt, there you will find war. When two nations, relatively equal in strength, perceive a moment of weakness in each other, war will follow. Strangely, this may be an inherently rational process. A weaker nation will not attack a stronger one because the costs of dong so outweigh the benefits. It may attack a weaker nation in order to appear stronger than it is. All of these motives may be traced back to imbalanced powers."

I think "imbalance of power" is very broad and general but it does cover the majority of the reasons as to why wars are fought. I think there are other reasons wars are fought though than just an imbalance of powers. Like YYW pointed out wars are fought over resources. They're also fought over assassinations of political figures, religious beliefs, living space/conquering of lands, and other reasons. I don't think it's just the difference in powers between countries.

"The second reason is heroes. War exists because, in every age, some shining knight has stood above the masses and decorated warfare to look beautiful. Gold. Land. Religion. Glory. Patriotism. War becomes something terrible in its greatness and vice versa. Perhaps worst of all, war becomes something inevitable. It breaks out. It happens. It happens without us. We are not responsible. But we can be responsible for ending it, for bringing peace, for delivering Justice. The hero's words attract thousands of young men and women into an early grave. By making war pretty, by pretending there are rewards, that there are 'right' and 'wrong' ways to fight, we ensure the cycle continues. Humankind has never evolved beyond its earliest days because of silver-tongued figures cheering them to their deaths. The hero is the greatest villain to ever exist."

I don't think wars happen because people want to be heroes but they are more of a byproduct of war. They are what happens when war has already kicked off and you need a movement to help support the war.
Emilrose
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12/17/2015 4:17:15 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
It can be summarized a bit more simply than that and I think it somewhat overlooks the psychology of human beings~~the most fundamental reason war exists is because people, by their very nature, are flawed. Thus some are unable to overcome their most *primal* instincts and the desire to see death and destruction, in addition to the detachment that they view the 'enemy' or other side with.

War also exists because of financial and power gain~~another two things that many people are unable to resist. I take the view that all wars occurr due to collective failure to place *intellect* first, and to recognize all other individuals as equal; meaning equally deserving of respect, and equally deserving of life.
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ironslippers
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12/18/2015 1:54:00 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
I'll simplify - human nature to dominate
Everyone stands on their own dung hill and speaks out about someone else's - Nathan Krusemark
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Vox_Veritas
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12/26/2015 9:41:52 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/16/2015 1:57:08 AM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
"Struggle between humans is looked at as a necessary or even fundamental aspect of life. Inherent to our nature, it is a test of ourselves as a species and as an individual. Conflict leads us to grow or fall. But the height of conflict, war, is different..."

"War exists for two reasons. The first is an imbalance of power. Whether the torments of the strong or the revolts of the weak, wherever the scales of power tilt, there you will find war. When two nations, relatively equal in strength, perceive a moment of weakness in each other, war will follow. Strangely, this may be an inherently rational process. A weaker nation will not attack a stronger one because the costs of dong so outweigh the benefits. It may attack a weaker nation in order to appear stronger than it is. All of these motives may be traced back to imbalanced powers."

"The second reason is heroes. War exists because, in every age, some shining knight has stood above the masses and decorated warfare to look beautiful. Gold. Land. Religion. Glory. Patriotism. War becomes something terrible in its greatness and vice versa. Perhaps worst of all, war becomes something inevitable. It breaks out. It happens. It happens without us. We are not responsible. But we can be responsible for ending it, for bringing peace, for delivering Justice. The hero's words attract thousands of young men and women into an early grave. By making war pretty, by pretending there are rewards, that there are 'right' and 'wrong' ways to fight, we ensure the cycle continues. Humankind has never evolved beyond its earliest days because of silver-tongued figures cheering them to their deaths. The hero is the greatest villain to ever exist."

Thoughts?

Who wrote this?
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Greyparrot
Posts: 14,241
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12/26/2015 11:33:38 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/16/2015 1:57:08 AM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
"Struggle between humans is looked at as a necessary or even fundamental aspect of life. Inherent to our nature, it is a test of ourselves as a species and as an individual. Conflict leads us to grow or fall. But the height of conflict, war, is different..."

"War exists for two reasons. The first is an imbalance of power. Whether the torments of the strong or the revolts of the weak, wherever the scales of power tilt, there you will find war. When two nations, relatively equal in strength, perceive a moment of weakness in each other, war will follow. Strangely, this may be an inherently rational process. A weaker nation will not attack a stronger one because the costs of dong so outweigh the benefits. It may attack a weaker nation in order to appear stronger than it is. All of these motives may be traced back to imbalanced powers."

"The second reason is heroes. War exists because, in every age, some shining knight has stood above the masses and decorated warfare to look beautiful. Gold. Land. Religion. Glory. Patriotism. War becomes something terrible in its greatness and vice versa. Perhaps worst of all, war becomes something inevitable. It breaks out. It happens. It happens without us. We are not responsible. But we can be responsible for ending it, for bringing peace, for delivering Justice. The hero's words attract thousands of young men and women into an early grave. By making war pretty, by pretending there are rewards, that there are 'right' and 'wrong' ways to fight, we ensure the cycle continues. Humankind has never evolved beyond its earliest days because of silver-tongued figures cheering them to their deaths. The hero is the greatest villain to ever exist."

Thoughts?

War exists because people are not born equal.
EndarkenedRationalist
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12/29/2015 10:19:50 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/26/2015 11:33:38 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 12/16/2015 1:57:08 AM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
"Struggle between humans is looked at as a necessary or even fundamental aspect of life. Inherent to our nature, it is a test of ourselves as a species and as an individual. Conflict leads us to grow or fall. But the height of conflict, war, is different..."

"War exists for two reasons. The first is an imbalance of power. Whether the torments of the strong or the revolts of the weak, wherever the scales of power tilt, there you will find war. When two nations, relatively equal in strength, perceive a moment of weakness in each other, war will follow. Strangely, this may be an inherently rational process. A weaker nation will not attack a stronger one because the costs of dong so outweigh the benefits. It may attack a weaker nation in order to appear stronger than it is. All of these motives may be traced back to imbalanced powers."

"The second reason is heroes. War exists because, in every age, some shining knight has stood above the masses and decorated warfare to look beautiful. Gold. Land. Religion. Glory. Patriotism. War becomes something terrible in its greatness and vice versa. Perhaps worst of all, war becomes something inevitable. It breaks out. It happens. It happens without us. We are not responsible. But we can be responsible for ending it, for bringing peace, for delivering Justice. The hero's words attract thousands of young men and women into an early grave. By making war pretty, by pretending there are rewards, that there are 'right' and 'wrong' ways to fight, we ensure the cycle continues. Humankind has never evolved beyond its earliest days because of silver-tongued figures cheering them to their deaths. The hero is the greatest villain to ever exist."

Thoughts?

War exists because people are not born equal.

So, power disparities? Glad you agree. :-)
PeacefulChaos
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12/30/2015 2:05:44 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/16/2015 1:57:08 AM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
"Struggle between humans is looked at as a necessary or even fundamental aspect of life. Inherent to our nature, it is a test of ourselves as a species and as an individual. Conflict leads us to grow or fall. But the height of conflict, war, is different..."

I would argue that it's not just between humans. I think struggle is a fundamental aspect of any form of progress, period. Without struggle, how can progress be made? This, of course, does not necessarily denote a conflict.


By making war pretty, by pretending there are rewards, that there are 'right' and 'wrong' ways to fight, we ensure the cycle continues. Humankind has never evolved beyond its earliest days because of silver-tongued figures cheering them to their deaths. The hero is the greatest villain to ever exist."

I believe the standards set in war are done so that death is as quick and swift as possible instead of painful and drawn out. This is done, perhaps, out of human nature, so that even the horrors of the world don't seem as bad as they are. If we did not do this, do you think war would really end? No, it would merely grow more brutal and vicious, and humanity would sink deeper to more brutish ways.

I would not argue, however, that this (and the concept of a hero) results in a cycle of wars, or that we have not evolved in this sense. Too many factors can be attributed to the causes of war, though we may make them broad enough till we categorize them under one. Generally, I would say the natural cycle of humanity follows that of nature, in its spring, summer, fall, and winter, and in the most barren and life-desolate times, war appears (i.e. winter).
Greyparrot
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12/30/2015 2:36:27 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/29/2015 10:19:50 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
At 12/26/2015 11:33:38 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 12/16/2015 1:57:08 AM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
"Struggle between humans is looked at as a necessary or even fundamental aspect of life. Inherent to our nature, it is a test of ourselves as a species and as an individual. Conflict leads us to grow or fall. But the height of conflict, war, is different..."

"War exists for two reasons. The first is an imbalance of power. Whether the torments of the strong or the revolts of the weak, wherever the scales of power tilt, there you will find war. When two nations, relatively equal in strength, perceive a moment of weakness in each other, war will follow. Strangely, this may be an inherently rational process. A weaker nation will not attack a stronger one because the costs of dong so outweigh the benefits. It may attack a weaker nation in order to appear stronger than it is. All of these motives may be traced back to imbalanced powers."

"The second reason is heroes. War exists because, in every age, some shining knight has stood above the masses and decorated warfare to look beautiful. Gold. Land. Religion. Glory. Patriotism. War becomes something terrible in its greatness and vice versa. Perhaps worst of all, war becomes something inevitable. It breaks out. It happens. It happens without us. We are not responsible. But we can be responsible for ending it, for bringing peace, for delivering Justice. The hero's words attract thousands of young men and women into an early grave. By making war pretty, by pretending there are rewards, that there are 'right' and 'wrong' ways to fight, we ensure the cycle continues. Humankind has never evolved beyond its earliest days because of silver-tongued figures cheering them to their deaths. The hero is the greatest villain to ever exist."

Thoughts?

War exists because people are not born equal.

So, power disparities? Glad you agree. :-)

More than that, ability disparities almost always manifest into power disparities, among other things.
EndarkenedRationalist
Posts: 14,201
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1/4/2016 11:26:08 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 1/4/2016 11:08:44 AM, sravani wrote:
useful information about the nature of conflict

Thank you for sharing it

Thank you for your comment. I appreciate that.