Act of War
The nations rally again for war, and the imagination of men’s hearts is again full of violence. The petty-minded meet the small-souled on the field of battle, which now happens to be the entire Earth, and the only outcome of this will be the mutual attrition of both.
That you can “take to the bank”, as they say. We’ve passed this way before, which would be self-evident were it not for the great paucity of historical memory. In the planetary era, though, all wars become civil wars within the one body of mankind.
The Grand Delusion of men’s minds is that great things are born of violence — the “birth” of nations and eras are often associated in the mind with wars and civil wars. This presumption of the meaning of violence, however false, is even perversely today honoured as a principle — “creative destruction”. It’s a confusion of cause and effect. Again, I invoke what I call “Khayyam’s Caution” — only a hair separates the false from the true.
Wars and civil wars do not usher in new eras and orders. They efface and erase old ones. They do so because men have not learned the secret of change at the right time. Decadent societies cling to dead forms and formulas, ritual and habitual ways of thought and action, which have long ceased to have any real meaning. Institutions and values that have exceeded their sell-by date become obstacles and hindrances to furthering life. In the absence of any intelligent and conscious strategy for being rid of the dead hand of an anachronistic and obsolete past, the nihilism and destructiveness of war becomes the default means of getting rid of them.
The destruction of war is the bonfire of the vanities. It is a great illusion to confuse this violence with creativity or “birth”. The irony of Late Modern warfare is that it is not “defence” at all, but self-effacement, its ostensible purposes blunted by its inherent nihilism. In the Global Era, especially, war becomes a form of suicide.