Tuesday, June 29, 2010


And while in metaphysical mood, I also discovered the story below. For years I have been pointing out, often unbidden, that the Nazis’ industrialized holocaust might not have been so effortlessly contemplated had not Hitler and his henchmen already witnessed the industrialized holocaust on the Western Front during World War I. I reasoned that, once you’ve seen 80,000 men slaughtered in an afternoon, the rest is easy. Finally it seems that academia and The Boston Globe have caught up with me. I would question, though, if our current malaise might have more to do with a growing awareness of the imminent collapse of planetary environmental systems than US neo-colonial warfare, and that’s why so many folk want to escape either via The Rapture or the promised apocalypse of 2012.

“A psycho-medical diagnosis — post-traumatic stress syndrome — has gained legitimacy for individuals, but what about whole societies? Can war’s dire and lingering effects on war-waging nations be measured? Can the stories of war be told, that is, to include aftermath wounds to society that, while undiagnosed, are as related to civic responsibility for state violence as one veteran’s recurring nightmare is to a morally ambiguous firefight? The battle zones of Fallujah and Kandahar are far away, but how do their traumas stamp Philadelphia and Kansas City — this year and a decade from now? The US Civil War did not end in 1865. Its unleashed spirit of total destruction went west, and over subsequent decades Blue and Gray veterans savaged the remnant native peoples. The Indian Wars built upon Antietam and Shiloh. World War I was only the beginning of industrialized nihilism, with the decadence of the 1920s and the global collapse of order during the 1930s Depression coming in train with the civilizational suicides of the Somme and Verdun. The extremities of World War II generated a pathological paranoia in the Soviet Union, and a debilitating American insecurity that spawned, on one side, cultural banality, and, on the other, a garrison state. After Vietnam, citizens of all stripes proved permanently unable to trust their government. That killed shared meaning. America’s wars left moral wreckage in their wakes. The chop continues.” (Click here for the whole thing)
Image by David DeFigueredo

Click here for P.J. Harvey


Diamond Jim said...

The majority are mad already.

Jon said...

Interesting that this has reached the mainstream but any number of eco psychologists, feminists and observant weirdoes have pointed out that modern western society follows the same rules as a severely traumatized dysfunctional alcoholic family.

Secret Rapture said...

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