Sunday, November 02, 2008

Warfare and Active Survival

There are only two species of mammal that indulge in warfare on this planet and they are chimpanzees and humans. Chimpanzees are also reckoned to be our closest cousins genetically and their propensity for warfare provides even more evidence for the theory of evolution. It appears that chimps and humans have worked out that intentionally killing others of the same species results in more resources being available for the group long-term that merely chasing others away wouldn’t achieve. It probably provided a good protein source as well but we covered that below. Chimps actually form raiding parties and pick out lone members of other tribes for attack when the conditions are right. Warfare has been going on since long before recorded history and is ongoing.

So what is the Active Survivalist position on warfare? The Bible states that he who lives by the sword dies by the sword and this suggests that it has long been known that taking up warfare as an occupation is probably not conducive towards longevity. Of course that makes perfect sense and I have long advocated that avoiding danger is a fundamental Active Survivalist strategy. If warfare is unavoidable it would be best to get some position that doesn’t involve hand to hand combat. Something like war room planning or logistics. Don’t be fooled by those who encourage people to fight for good causes as the motivation behind warfare is murky at best and it often comes down to access to resources or ridiculous arguments about national pride.

Another unfortunate aspect of warfare and especially modern warfare is the hive or collective mentality of it. First and foremost an Active Survivalist is an individual and notions of sacrifice for the common good should be completely alien. Individuals are encouraged to sacrifice their lives for the greater good as if we are ants or something. This leads to situations where commanders will squander precious lives on experimental offensive techniques and probes of the enemy positions and still sleep comfortably at night. It’s all very interesting but you want to avoid actively taking part in it. You might be tempted to try and become a commander yourself however to become a commander you generally have to work your way up which will involve the Russian Roulette like lottery of proving yourself under fire. In the First World War the lowest commanders had the highest casualty rates as they were the first to go over the top leading their men on a death charge toward enemy machinegun nests and entanglements.

Things have changed a bit now and most Western armies are volunteer only. Many people are tempted to take up part time military training however I would advise against this as it is just asking for trouble. I know it sounds cowardly but so often soldiers lives are just thrown away as if they are garbage and wars are prolonged for no sensible reason. You want to be in a position where you can make your own choices and not be vulnerable to the whims or mistakes of others. In the army you will find yourself at the mercy of idiots, I can almost guarantee it.You will also be at the mercy of idiot politicians and idiotic cultural mores that will restrict the weapons that you can use. For instance you will have the means to completely destroy the enemy position at almost no risk to yourself yet for reasons of sensitivity and political correctness you will be ordered to take it with a pen knife – why put yourself in that position?

If this strategy fails for you and you find yourself in the frontline then you will just have to make the most of it. Look at it as an extremely interesting life experience and don’t take things too seriously. Keep your mind on other things like reading books and physical fitness. Try to avoid traumatic things like hand to hand combat or torturing prisoners – things that might scar you for life and the next life and the next and next ad infinitum. Keep your head down and partner up with long term survivors if you can. Try to kill as remotely, calling down air strikes on enemy positions as early as possible and avoid viewing the carnage. Warfare is rarely an experience that people look back on with fond memories. If you have ever found yourself in a life-threatening situation you will know that it is not fun at all.

If you view the video above you will understand what I mean about being at the mercy of idiots. Can you imagine how much fun it would be using atomic cannons in a battlefield situation? Army commanders probably thought it would be interesting to find out and would want you to tell them.


John Carlisle said...

Hmm. Interesting topic, and pertinent. Human beings never seem to avoid war -somewhere or other, someone is killing someone else somewhere on the planet. While a pacifist at heart, I could be a conscientious objector in a time of national crisis. I would rather take a proactive stance and volunteer early in the piece as a medic of some sort. That way I can feel I'm in the business of saving lives rather than actively supporting the taking of life. Still, I acknowledge I'm taking advantage of those who will accept the duty (?), responsibility (?), of a more aggressive role. No easy answer. As I said, a good provocative topic.

John Carlisle said...

RE above comment, please read, "I could NOT be a conscientious objector...".

AA said...

I am being a little provocative with this posting. I am certainly not a pacifist yet have grown to be less enthusiastic about war as I have aged. The carnage in Iraq, while far less than what we have experienced in earlier wars, is still too great a sacrifice of young peoples lives for very little gain. I would not encourage my own children to join the armed forces with a view to "freeing" the Iraqi people. I would not sacrifice my life for those that would want to destroy my individualism. I wouldn't lift a finger for the sake of any religious extremists unless it was to push the 'fire' button.