Whence War?

War is hell. War is inevitable. Everyone agrees with the first assertion but not all agree with the second. Some believe war is natural to mankind and history seems to prove it. Others would then argue, if that is the case, why bother to try to prevent it or stop it? To come to some sort of judgment, it might help to go back in time and understand the roots of war to find the basis for this irrational characteristic of mankind; the answer may lie in our past.

Where did we as warriors come from? Recent DNA Paleolithic anthropological research confirms that all our ancestors came out of Africa some 100,000 years ago in a remarkably small exodus, their number was in the order of only 4,000 individuals. With such a small founding gene pool, the variance between individuals cannot be all that diverse. Modern man (H.sapiens) is pretty fixed in his traits and warfare appears to be one of them, as those that survived and bred over the ages were those that survived conflicts.  Even Albert Einstein wondered if man had within him a latent "lust of hatred and destruction" that once aroused, led to "the power of a collective psychosis." Sigmund Freud held to that notion all living organisms wanted to die to free themselves of all stimulation, but that self-annihilation was contrasted by the instinct to live, causing the death wish to be redirected outwards.

Anthropologists have made many studies of hostility among Pleistocene people who fought wars against "foreigners" - those that spoke a different dialect or language.  Territory, as it is even today, was a major factor in bringing about a war. American Indians fought ferocious tribal wars among themselves. Modern historical records of wars in just about every azimuth of the globe fill countless volumes. Some were opportunistic (acquisition of land, women, natural resources, slaves, and the like) others were religious or ethnic.

It must have been in the nature of humans for them to ascribe to war so much within so many religions. The idea of destruction and eventual renewal often appears in religious texts and many civilizations had/have their god of war. God is depicted in the Old Testament as wrathful, punishing those that dare go against His will even unto successive generations. The concept of world destruction inheres in the apocalypse in Revelations, where God brings about massive destruction on the human race, leaving only 144,000 survivors.

War does not have to nvolve brigades of men to be defined as war. As a matter of fact, a duel by its definition from its Latin origin duellum, means a war between two persons. Warfare can be a sophisticated, ritualized affair involving thousands of participants or an unruly affray where a handful of rustic combatants hack and thrust at each other with such crude implements as chains, iron bars and baseball bats.

It helps to understand the collective unconscious of man when one realizes that aggression and war is not something exclusive to man.

Humans as well as other animal species appear to be biologically predisposed toward aggression. Many people have witnessed fighting among birds and fish; even ants make war among themselves, this is an unlearned aggression. Higher vertebrates possess a similar unlearned drive towards violent behavior.  Chimpanzees have been observed locked in lethal violent clashes with outside bands; such traits have been recorded in other mammal species, such as wolves, lions and baboons.

The Y chromosome that came out of Africa with the first humans seems to carry a collective self-destructive factor that persist through generations and could be an inevitable, invisible birthmark in man. If it were not intrinsic, not an archetypical characterization, where would man have gotten the initial traditional symbolism, sacrament and ritual of war within religion?

Since war involves self-destruction, could it be that man's unconscious view of war includes a periodic transformation of the world they know, a regeneration that has more vitality than the previous mundane condition; a collective re-birth of society? God knows.
War is hell. War is inevitable. Everyone agrees with the first assertion but not all agree with the second. Some believe war is natural to mankind and history seems to prove it. Others would then argue, if that is the case, why bother to try to prevent it or stop it? To come to some sort of judgment, it might help to go back in time and understand the roots of war to find the basis for this irrational characteristic of mankind; the answer may lie in our past.

Where did we as warriors come from? Recent DNA Paleolithic anthropological research confirms that all our ancestors came out of Africa some 100,000 years ago in a remarkably small exodus, their number was in the order of only 4,000 individuals. With such a small founding gene pool, the variance between individuals cannot be all that diverse. Modern man (H.sapiens) is pretty fixed in his traits and warfare appears to be one of them, as those that survived and bred over the ages were those that survived conflicts.  Even Albert Einstein wondered if man had within him a latent "lust of hatred and destruction" that once aroused, led to "the power of a collective psychosis." Sigmund Freud held to that notion all living organisms wanted to die to free themselves of all stimulation, but that self-annihilation was contrasted by the instinct to live, causing the death wish to be redirected outwards.

Anthropologists have made many studies of hostility among Pleistocene people who fought wars against "foreigners" - those that spoke a different dialect or language.  Territory, as it is even today, was a major factor in bringing about a war. American Indians fought ferocious tribal wars among themselves. Modern historical records of wars in just about every azimuth of the globe fill countless volumes. Some were opportunistic (acquisition of land, women, natural resources, slaves, and the like) others were religious or ethnic.

It must have been in the nature of humans for them to ascribe to war so much within so many religions. The idea of destruction and eventual renewal often appears in religious texts and many civilizations had/have their god of war. God is depicted in the Old Testament as wrathful, punishing those that dare go against His will even unto successive generations. The concept of world destruction inheres in the apocalypse in Revelations, where God brings about massive destruction on the human race, leaving only 144,000 survivors.

War does not have to nvolve brigades of men to be defined as war. As a matter of fact, a duel by its definition from its Latin origin duellum, means a war between two persons. Warfare can be a sophisticated, ritualized affair involving thousands of participants or an unruly affray where a handful of rustic combatants hack and thrust at each other with such crude implements as chains, iron bars and baseball bats.

It helps to understand the collective unconscious of man when one realizes that aggression and war is not something exclusive to man.

Humans as well as other animal species appear to be biologically predisposed toward aggression. Many people have witnessed fighting among birds and fish; even ants make war among themselves, this is an unlearned aggression. Higher vertebrates possess a similar unlearned drive towards violent behavior.  Chimpanzees have been observed locked in lethal violent clashes with outside bands; such traits have been recorded in other mammal species, such as wolves, lions and baboons.

The Y chromosome that came out of Africa with the first humans seems to carry a collective self-destructive factor that persist through generations and could be an inevitable, invisible birthmark in man. If it were not intrinsic, not an archetypical characterization, where would man have gotten the initial traditional symbolism, sacrament and ritual of war within religion?

Since war involves self-destruction, could it be that man's unconscious view of war includes a periodic transformation of the world they know, a regeneration that has more vitality than the previous mundane condition; a collective re-birth of society? God knows.