Sunday, March 23, 2014
Lifting the burdens
Title: What it is like to go to war
By: Karl Marlantes
A work of courage and intelligence that challenges us to consider issues most of us would rather avoid. Karl Marlantes has thought deeply about the psychological impacts and lifelong burdens of killing in war, based on his experiences in Viet Nam and subsequent self-examination. He bravely exposes his own feelings of exhilaration in attacking, as well as the soul-numbing and shame he felt later.
Marlantes presents a critique of how our soldiers are trained to understand the concept and act of killing fellow humans. He makes suggestions to help them to better prepare for this tremendous moral responsibility and to deal with their emotions afterwards. He connects various aspects of serving in a war with mythic literature and Jungian archetypes, and argues for a spiritual warrior approach to killing. He does not imply that killing in war can or ever should be without emotional consequences for the warrior, but hopes to help future veterans heal and reintegrate into society more successfully than they have done in the past.
Bronson Pinchot does an excellent, nuanced reading. I felt he was speaking utterly sincerely, as if from his own experience.