random thought


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I think it’s sometimes necessary to separate the “noble intentions” of religion, warrior codes, and so on from their historical application. If our standard is to be that we disregard or throw out any belief system, philosophy or ideal that has skeletons in it’s closet, we may as well all just become bitter cynics and drink the hemlock now. There is nothing that humans haven’t F$@^’ed up once upon a time. What is “noble” about humans is that we still have “faith” in those higher ideals and keep on trying to live up to them.

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6 thoughts on “random thought”

  1. Tom:

    I think the danger lies not in tossing out ideas after the first failure of their application by fallible men, but by taking the failures for granted and not calling to task those who might intentionally seek to undermine those ideas with their failures for their own personal reasons. Ignoring wrongdoing for expediency’s sake is a true crime.

  2. Maybe the noteworthy thing about such codes is that they’ve been adhered to at all. If we’re all fundamentally flawed (don’t mean to go all “original sin” here, but if the shoe fits…) then maybe these codes should be examined in light of whether they’ve been followed and influenced behavior at all. For example, My Lai is often held out as prima facie evidence that the US military was corrupted by the Vietnam War. Maybe, though, the more pertinent question is: why weren’t there more My Lai-type incidents? After all, the stressors to which LT Calley’s platoon were subjected were not uncommon to many other infantry units. Why then does My Lai stand out as such a singular (and singularly detestable) incident? Some will argue that there were other My Lai’s that went unreported. While it is true that other atrocities were almost certainly committed that went un-discovered and -reported, they still would have been exceptions, not the norm.
    I find it interesting how in our current political and media climate, any failure to adhere to a published or normative code of ethics/behavior is viewed as “hypocrisy.”
    My question to that is: how low is the bar set if someone has a code of ethics that he never, ever violates?
    Every culture’s version of Bushido will have aberrations and anomalies. But no one ever seems to comment on the fact that the code has been internalized enough by its warriors that the events in question are, in fact, viewed as aberrations and anomalies.
    I once saw an SF troop who had failed to perform to “the standard” tearfully talking to a medic (the guy’s failure had been physical, not moral, but I still found the incident instructive) because he had failed*. The medic re-positioned his wad of Copenhagen, spat, and asked, “What does your name tag say?” The guy looked down, surprised, and said, “Smith.” The medic grinned and said,”Whew, for a minute there I thought that you thought it said “Jesus F@#$ing Christ.”

    *When you have a jump followed immediately by a 12-mile roadmarch, it is hard to complete the hump when you broke three toes on the jump. The guy came in seven minutes over the time standard. And was distressed because he had “failed.” I’d say that inculcation of the code worked.

  3. We are on the same page Boss. It’s my opinion that the loudest “warrior code naysayers” have some sort political or philosophical axe to grind.

    Or perhaps some part of it is low self-esteem…many people who deep down want to be counted amongst the warriors choose to attack them to make their self-perceived lack feel less painful. This is especially noticeable in the teen to thirty crowd…any military man who ever got into a scrape with some non-uniform locals in a bar will probably know what I mean.

  4. I hear what you are saying Rich. But the point I am attempting to make is that some people seem to want to dismiss “living by a code” out of hand because they can point to examples where the code wasnt followed (My Lai is a good example). By no means am I saying that atrocities like that should be overlooked in any way. To the contrary, “The Code” should demand that violations like those be dealt with in the strictest manner possible.

  5. This is like separating the lesson from the teacher sort of thing. If you have a great piece of content, but the teacher is less than perfect as a living example (or the church, government, parents…you name it) it’s easy to dismiss the ideal as faulty as well.

    Living by a code/standard/values also means holding people accountable for times they fall short of those ideals, true. But, in its own way, holding others (but those ‘others’ being people who also adhere to that code/value) is still living by a code. Making the tough calls are the times when everyone’s values are tested.

    The problem is when people start to impose their personal code/values on everyone around them and no one is up to their standard… then it becomes destructive. As an American Citizen, its one thing to comment, scrutinize and take a stand based on a personal value. It’s a whole ‘nother thing to point a finger and cry ‘heretic!’ or ‘traitor’ and screw with someone else’s or livelihood.

    That’s where learning how to learn and think is probably the BEST education anyone can get.

  6. Heh. I’d throw in some vignettes about the whole “scrape with some non-uniform locals in a bar” concept, but I’m not sure what the statute of limitations on that sort thing is, so I’ll just say: ditto.

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