Friday, December 4, 2009
The Art of War
Disclaimer: I'm always the first to admit that my shamanic conversations could very well be a product of my active imaginaion. But frankly I've never thought about armies and war like this before yesterday. The conversation felt very "real" to me.
I approached them so differently yesterday. I behaved deferentially, bowing low and gazing at their chests, or the floor rather than right into their faces. Then I sat on a bench and simply listened.
What I "heard" from the infantry guys and chariot driver was all about the beauty of a well disciplined army, marching in formation, all of one mind. They compared the army to similar forms in nature, horses running across the steppe, flocks of birds flying together, schools of fish. They spoke of armies as man's birthright, a way to live in harmony with nature. But what about the violence, the killing? I wondered. What I "heard" was, At the confluence of two mighty rivers there is chaos and destruction.
Hmmm. That's pretty interesting. But I remained unconvinced, because of the violence and death. What I "heard" was There is no such thing as a pretty death. In battle, fighting for what you believe, death is fine, perhaps better than death from rotting. I think "rotting" refers to growing old or dying from disease. What do you think? Longevity is greatness, but death is inevitable. Go bravely, with honor, they said.
The archers talked to me about their art as a quest. The arrows are seekers, flying first into the air to speak with the gods, then finding their truths. Truths? Were they trying to say "targets?" Sounded like 'truths' to my inner ear, but who knows?
The generals and high ranking officials "spoke" to me about modern warfare of which they take a pretty dim view, apparently. These days we no longer fight like men, according to them, but either as animals, hiding in the trees or by pretending to be gods, throwing fire from the sky. We are no longer fighting as men which is a Big Problem.
They told me the art of war is lost, not only because of our tactics which separate us from fighting as men, but because we don't believe in what we're fighting for, we don't even know what we're fighting for. When I wondered what we're supposed to do now, they "said" that we must now find another way. The age of war is done.
I wish I wasn't the only one listening!
It's a lot to think about, but right now I'm out the door now to work on the living; I'll have to contemplate later. Happy Friday, y'all!