War is Peace…

This is certainly one of my more creative and intellectually ambitious posts…I’m afraid my writing skills may have ultimately failed me on this one but it is a topic I feel is at least worth an attempt since it sets up a lot of other ideas and concepts.  Feel free to give it a read and let me know what you think…I have a feeling I’ll have to revise this one a few times before I finally get it right…

“War is Peace”

“Freedom is Slavery”

”Ignorance is Strength”

We fight for freedom.  We fight for democracy.  Democracy is freedom.  Freedom is slavery.  We fight for slavery? We fight… Money is power.  Power is strength.  Money is…ignorance…We work for money.  Money creates growth.  Growth is consumption.  Consumption is resources.  Growth is infinite.  Resources are infinite.  Value is scarcity.  Resources have value.  Resources are scarce…

Psychologists call it cognitive dissonance.  It occurs when one is forced to hold two entirely contradictory truths in the mind at the same time.  Orwell perhaps had a better term for it: “doublethink”.  As human beings we try hard to prevent doublethink.  It scares us.  It paralyzes us.  It prevents us from taking decisive action or living our lives with any type of normal relationship to the society around us…a society that is bound and created by contradictory versions and perspectives of reality.  For Orwell, the ability to master doublethink and continue to function was the principle skill for the party member of the oligarchical collective.  Yet the skills required for public servants, administrators, educators, businessmen, and all members of our own society are not far from his reality.  We idly talk of things like spreading our democratic values, humanitarian and preemptive war, war against terror, perpetual economic growth amid resource scarcity, and ideals of freedom while giving little or no thought to their double meanings, their alternate realities.

When operating in dangerous and potentially life or death situations, there is little time for questioning reality or dealing with the cognitive dissonance that we know exists.  With no extraneous energy available to be wasted on close examination we simply push our thoughts to the side and operate.  We revert to our training and indoctrination.  We break our realities down into the simple and rationally suitable dichotomies like good versus evil and us versus them.  Yet in normal society we don’t often experience such extreme situations.  We only dilute reality to ease our mental drain, to allow us to go about our daily routines without thought or care for the greater impacts of our actions.  We hate doublethink in all its forms.  We hate dealing with the complexity of our intricately interconnected global community.  We hate thinking of our planet as a living, breathing ecosystem where all parts make up a much greater whole.  We hate thinking of our enemies as ourselves.  We hate thinking of the structural violence we perpetuate upon our unsustainable systems as actually doing harm to other human beings.  We hate thinking…

And yet, by learning to operate and forcing ourselves to think within the realm of our inherent contradictions we can actually come to a much deeper understanding of our unique reality as it exists.  It is nothing new for human beings.  For every yin there is a yang.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  For every truth there is a counter-truth.  For every pain there is a joy.  Balance is everything.  By facing our fears of cognitive dissonance we can come to real solutions and to much closer human approximations of reality.  Why do we feel most alive when we are closest to death?  Why do we love more deeply when we sense our love may be lost?  Why do we think most clearly when we are trying to think of nothing at all?  It is these basic truths which make meditation so powerful, which make activities requiring complete focus without thought so psychologically addicting, which make experiencing the “now” so unforgettable.  Rather than simply pushing doublethink to the side, choosing one false perspective over another we are actually moving beyond it, seeing not a slanted version of reality but the actual reality itself.

If you want to solve the complex and deeply interconnected problems of society in our time, you must first learn to see reality for what it is, to focus not on the relentlessly competing extremes and ideologies but on the middle path which transcends all of them.  You must learn to use language to describe not what you like to believe or wish others to believe but what actually exists in time, space, and relation.  Scientific language and discourse brings us close to this but it is not a complete solution as it still ignores and cannot comprehend the deeply human elements of reality.  It allows us to see a glass not as half full or half empty but as a measurable collection of molecules and subatomic particles to be precisely defined and examined, but it cannot describe what the contents of that glass mean to the people holding it.  It cannot describe their pain or pleasure, their feelings, their emotions, the deeper meaning of the given time and place.  Scientific language cannot give us perspective.  Yet perspective is a double-edged sword as a falsified or inherently biased one becomes the essence of our cognitive dissonance.

Whether we will ever as individuals or a society truly find a way to bridge our inherent cognitively dissonant realities to solve our problems remains to be seen.  Human psychology is a bitch and unfortunately being human is something from which none of us can nor would ever want to depart.  Still, by forcing ourselves to develop an understanding and acceptance of our contradictory realities we can move closer to real progress and more clearly see the path we must take ahead.  It’s not going to be easy.  It’s not going to always make us feel good about ourselves.  It’s not going to make us popular, rich, or powerful.  But if we want to change our world and give our children a true reality they can be develop to the next level of human civilization then it is certainly a mental burden worth bearing, a mountain worth climbing.  Until then we are simply prisoners to our own ideological contradictions…

The United States of America is at war with terror.  The United States has always been at war with terror.  Terror is a threat to the homeland of the United States.  The United States is at war with terror at home.  The United States is at war with terror in Central Asia, Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Latin America, Eurasia, and at home.  The United States is a war to end terror and bring peace.  The people of the United States are at peace.  The military of the United States is at war.  The military is the people.  The people of the United States are at war.  Peace is war.  The United States is a global Empire.  The Empire is in danger from terror.  The Empire is strong.  Ignorance is strength.  The Empire is ignorant…Empire never existed.  We are a free society.  Our democracy gives us freedom.  We exist to spread our democracy and our ideals.  War spreads democracy.  War defeats terror.  War creates freedom.  But freedom is a form of slavery.  God is on our side.  We are His chosen people.  They are His enemies.  He will help us defeat them.  They are us.  God gave up on this game a long time ago.  There never was a God.  WE are all we’ve ever had.  WE are all we have now.  Now is our reality…WE are our own reality…

May Peace(War) be upon all of you…



10 MAR 2012, 0445(L), Sharana, Paktika, Afghanistan


About briangdonnelly

I'm pretty much a random traveler and free thinker. Right now I live and work with the Army in North Carolina. I grew up in Missouri but am from the northeast US and have traveled a lot with the Army and life in general so I can't say I really have a "home" except where I chose to catch a few hours or rack each day. Overall, life is pretty awesome and I'm looking forward to changing the world. Hit me up if you care... Peace, Brian
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