The Great War; the war to end all wars; we now call it World War I. I can’t tell you how many books and analyses I’ve read on this war. Unlike most of historical wars the causes remain murky; unclear.
So what was the desired outcome for the combating sides? Economic conflicts say many but were the issues of economic power so important that it was worth depopulating both sides of males? Was it worth putting the wealth of Britain on the bottom of the Atlantic?
It seems to me that there was no desired outcome by any player in this deadly farce. The only outcomes considered were the careers of the agents on both sides of the conflict. The German Kaiser was a fool and Churchill seemed full of ego and foolishness.
Tactics seemed to control both sides. For example, both sides had determined that what was necessary in case of war was to get to the critical points first. Thus all plans were logistical considerations to speed troops and supplies as quickly as possible to critical strategic points. When conflict looked like it might happen, the generals on both sides sent their troops to these points. The arrived together and armed conflict began. There was no interruption and conflict began. It was impossible to stop because there was no getting the diplomats on both sides to talk. The generals on both sides were stupider and more ambitious than generals in other time periods so meeting on the battlefield simultaneously suited their mindset.
No cooling off period was possible because the generals in charge didn’t want to cool off. No leadership at the political level worth spit. No clearly stated purpose for using conflict or no desired outcome of that action leads to uncontrolled violence.
Violence is non linear. What do I mean by that? I mean that the result is not proportional to the input. Thus the result can go square of the input,the cube of the input or exponentially of the input. And the direction of the resultant may be completely opposite of your predicted result.
Men seem unable to understand this at some visceral level. By men I mean males. Men talk about necessary collateral damage ( “We must not protect Coventry because that will let the Germans know we’ve broken their code.” “We must fire bomb Dresden and kill thousands of women and children in that city to show the Germans our resolve.”) and how violence must remain unchecked. We talk about rationality and tactics and strategy and from that pseudo-rationality inflict all kinds of horrors on the human race.
We are enamored of our tactics and technical wizardry. We like them so much that we never ask, “Why am I doing this and what do I expect to obtain from this action?”
As you know from the last 28 days I am obsessed with this idea of clarity. It is rational but it takes into account irrational motivations. Our human history is full of the calamities that could have been avoided by dealing with the question of clarity in desired outcome.
May you learn to use this in all of your actions.
As a last thought my own experience is that females instinctively understand the non-linearity of violence. They viscerally seem to know that it is the wrong path. Their instinct is to try other means before violence. I’ve often wondered what the world would have been like if we had treaties that said that women on conflicting sides had to talk first before resorting to violence? One thing I know; the reason there is so much violence in history against women is that males know viscerally that women are better than they are in this regard. And that if women (not women acting as men) were equal partners the world would be safer and men would not get to make as many violent toys as they do now.
My desired outcome is for us to live in a safer world that is not constructed on the basis of male feudalism. Maybe we could try something a little different to get there?