They Said It Better Than I Ever Could...

These words that I write, they keep me from total insanity. -Charles Bukowski

Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? -Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Nov 2, 2010


Yesterday I wrote about how I didn't really feel much of any connection with the things going on around me.  How I felt kind of like I was just floating through life with little and/or no direction.

And perhaps I'm completely losing my grip on things here, but I decided to take a few minutes out of my busy workday and brainstorm like I was going to write an essay about the lack of aggression in my life.

I ran it down beginning with the phrase, "We learn to hate war."  That's where I started.  And having said that, this is how that essay would've turned out if I were to actually write it...

We are taught from a very early age that war is bad.  Fighting is bad.  It hurts people.  It kills people.  Violence is not a solution to your problems.  Violence is never the answer.

These are the things we are taught.

Unfortunately, these sentiments have about as much basis in reality as Puff the Magic Dragon.

Contrary to popular opinion, violence does in fact solve most every problem.  Let me qualify that by saying, its may or may not be the solution you were looking for but violence is in fact a solution.

Someone is talking shit to you, violence shuts them up.
A country invades another, killing a few thousand of them will get them out of that country.
Someone invades your home, killing them stops that.
Someone breaks the laws of this land, we lock them in a cage.  (By all means, a violent situation.)

I'm not saying that violence is the best or only solution.  But there is no doubt whatsoever, that violence is a solution.

Now where does this insistence that violence is a poor option come from?  About the only thing I can come up with is our society is softening.  And that softening is a function of time, it does get worse as time goes by.

The famous men of the past were men of action and in most cases men of violence.  Theodore Roosevelt, Beowulf, King Arthur, Captain America, Audie Murphy, SGT York and others.  (I realize some of these guys are fictional, but the fact that someone made them up at that time speaks to their ideas on violence.)

Now who are some of our famous men?  Dr. Drew, Dr. Phil  Oh boy, we're all going to get crushed under someone's boot if we listen to these two jokers.  And at the same time, we make movies and TV shows about criminals, vigilantes, bounty hunters, and fighters.  By their very nature these are violent professions performed by violent people.  I'm pretty sure that America has a really good case of schizophrenia.

Back to the function of time thing.  I do believe that if you were to ask a man from 1945 what he thought of violence he would probably have an entirely different view than a man from 2010.  And that says nothing for the men from even further back.  Could you imagine what the guy who wrote "Beowulf" would have had to say about violence?  And that was written sometime between the 8th and 11th centuries.

Well we've come a long way from solving a problem by cutting off Grendel's arm and hanging it from the rafter in the great hall to sensitivity training and multicultural awareness.

Some call it feminization of society, which I suppose to a point is accurate.  However, given some of the chicks that I know that doesn't fit.  Softening is a much better term.  Just out of respect (and fear) of them.  But for the most part our society is moving more and more toward feminine occupations and a feminine ideal.  Which is wholly depressing given my personal proclivities.

The new ideal has no room for aggression.  It makes no allowance for hardness or conflict.  Everything nowadays is geared to avoid conflict and resolve problems peaceably and without any hint of violence.  Most likely these are good things.

But I ask you this, and this is a question asked from the viewpoint that assumes that all this crap is feminine.  Why do women go for bad boys?  Guys who have little if any fear of conflict or violence.  And on a broader scale, if violence is so bad, why does society call soldiers hero's?  By any objective measure soldiers are simply government trained enforcers and killers.  You don't like that characterization kiss my ass, everything a soldier's job revolves around is ending someone's (the enemy's) life.  My entire world rotated around my weapons!  They got cleaned before I did.  My purpose in Afghanistan was to be a paid enforcer of American foreign policy.

That's a very base way of describing it, but its absolutely true.  When the chips are down, and the bullets are flying, none of the flag waving, or poetry, or songs, or marches, or any of that matters.  Its our soldiers versus their soldiers and someone is going to get fucking killed.  One son will prevent another from ever seeing home again.

So how can a society try to suppress violence on the one hand, and yet produce such lethally efficient soldiers as this nation does?    Again, we're schizo!

Now I've said to you before that I don't like soft solutions to my problems.  Which is why I don't particularly like being fucked in the head.  You got a cold, take some cold medicine and lay down.  You'll get better.  You don't know something, look it up.  You need something, go out and get it.  You need money, get a job.  Someone fucks with my country, throw me and a few thousand guys like me in a plane and we'll go and kill them.  Simple, direct solutions to problems.

Being fucked in the head doesn't have any simple or direct solutions.  If it did, I sure as shit wouldn't be writing this.  But my head is what's giving me trouble.

One of my favorite quotes is, "A reasonable man adapts to his environment, an unreasonable man forces his environment to adapt to him.  Therefore, all progress is made by unreasonable men."

Can't really force my brain to cooperate when it doesn't want to, now can I?

Still have so far to go, so many things to reconcile.  This ladies and gents is already shaping up to be the toughest battle I have ever fought...


I love you Mom...


  1. Ok, being new to your blog, let me say hi first.
    I'm a german living in germany, I've lived in Australia for a while some years back, I have some american soldier friends, I have lots of friends in Australia and the US and the UK, I'm fluent in english and apparently don't have an accent, except when I do. So now you know where I come from and why I am here.
    I'm also a single mum of two (3&10) so I know about legal battles and about kids fighting and small scale violence. Nothing like a warzone though. I work for a minimum wage cleaning a grocery store.

    So, my thoughts about violence as a solution...
    Yeah sure, sometimes all I want to do is knock my kids heads together until their teeth rattle and they fucking quit the fucking fighting, fuck it, ARGH!! But, you know, in time they'd definitely a) get used to it and not really care about being knocked about b) they'd grow up thinking this was perfectly normal behaviour and treat their friends and later lovers and kids the same, and I don't think that would be a healthy way to live for neither them nor their friends.
    Once you start using violence as a way to solve problems you can't stop, at least not cold turkey. You have to first find something to replace the violence with.
    When we're talking about parenting, once you use spanking as your only way to punish your kids you'll soon be hitting them with a spoon or your belt or sticks or paddles or even worse, because they will start to grow immune to the spankings. (Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with giving my kids a slap on the hand or the butt when they really fuck up and need to be dealt with swiftly and in a way that they will actually feel). But in general it works a lot better to sit the kids down and talk to them about what went wrong just then and how they can actually do it better. Chances are they just fucked up because they didn't know any better so slapping them will not really stop them from doing it again, but telling them a better way will give them the chance to actually do something differently.

    When we're talking about countries... I guess violence just encourages violence. You can't start peace by pointing a gun at someone. It's not a very peaceful thing to do.
    You need to teach peace, to teach ways to live without weapons... And I believe quite firmly it also means empowering women. Not because I'm a radical feminist but because women are the ones raising the children, the next generation. And if you raise the next generation in fear you can't expect them to live confidently and peacefully.
    I also believe that taking away women's voices is bad because, as we raise our children, we learn a lot about how to get people to act in a way we want them to. So taking away our input means letting men speak who haven't had that experience. Especially in muslim countries where women are largely living as "prisoners" of the males. They don't get to go out and do the shopping by themselves and when they feel like it, they don't get to go out and meet their girlfriends for coffee, they get to stay inside, cook, clean, do laundry, raise the children. And that is also a dangerous way to live. Because it means all you know of the world outside is what you're being told. And that also creates fear.

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