Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The Warrior and American Sniper

I decided to take my 15 year old son to see American Sniper. I don't go to the theatre or watch movies at home very often, so I surprised myself. Movies in general just don't interest me, or maybe it's just I don't feel like I have the time for them. But after listening to a hour long discussion on NPR about the movie, some lines by James Hillman came to me: There is a love and beauty in war that many of us don't want to see. And if we want to oppose war we have to go to war ourselves in our hearts and minds. We must imagine into the hearts of our enemy (All paraphrased).

Then I started second guessing myself, so I thought I'd better consult one of my elders and mentors. I pulled Robert Bly's "Iron John" off the the shelf and opened up to the chapter on Warriorship. This quote sealed it:

"We can all add further details to the account I've given of the decline from warrior to soldier to murderer, but it is important to notice the result. The disciplined warrior, made irrelevant by mechanized war, disdained and abandoned by the high-tech culture, is fading in American men. The fading of the warrior contributes to the collapse of civilized society. A man who cannot defend his own space cannot defend women and children. The poisoned warriors called drug lords prey primarily on kingless, warriorless boys.

"And it all moves so swiftly. The massive butcheries of 1915 [World War I] finish off the disciplined or outward warrior, and then within thirty years, the warriors inside Western men begin to weaken. The double weakening makes us realize how connected the outer world and the inner world are, how serious the events of history are." (Pg. 156, Iron John)

It's an interesting thought that part of the reason civilization is collapsing is because there aren't many warriors around to protect women and children. It brings up the question, at least in our house, what does it mean to be a warrior? I look forward to going to the movie and the discussion afterwards.


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