When War Is Wisdom

It’s so interesting. A year or so ago I would have looked at events which are sad and terrible and tragic (and of course they are, as we view and experience them), but now I see there are two things playing out:

sleeping solider world war 1

1) Our ‘filter’ on those events, which creates a feeling and viewpoint on them.

2) The wisdom behind them, which is really the outcome that was brought about because of thinking that looked real.

That’s independent of the ‘real world stuff’, and of course wisdom is also neutral. It’s neither good or bad, until we make our judgement on it.

It’s just ‘what is’, and what naturally follows on from actions taken on thinking that looked real.

An example. I was reading about the Battle of the Somme the other day – you’re probably wondering why, but it was for another project!

Anyway, I’m 99.99% certain you’ve heard of that battle, but it was a famous battle of World War 1 that took place between July and November 1916 on the banks of the river Somme in France.

Now, wait for it – what you probably didn’t know is that ONE MILLION men were either killed or injured during the 140 days of this battle. Over 20,000 British men died on the first day, which was the single bloodiest day in British army history.

Many of them simply ran or marched towards the enemy over completely open ground, and were simply cut down in their prime by machine gun fire.

And all for what? To gain a ridiculous seven miles of territory over the Germans over the space of four months.

When I read about this (I’m a history fan, if you can tell!), I just thought about how silly, tragic and senseless it was, and how war is so senseless in general.

I get that you have to defend yourself if attacked, but that wasn’t what this war was about, and as we know, many wars simply aren’t about this!

But then, I thought in terms of this understanding and how even this battle was also wisdom unfolding.

Millions of people from ordinary citizens to soldiers, generals and politicians thinking this war was the right decision, that attacking or defending territory was the thing to do, and that putting on a uniform and going into battle was the thing to do.

Even if there was clearly a very good chance you weren’t going to come back in one piece.

We can say that war is horrendous, and of course it is really, but have you ever seen old black and white photos of soldiers on or around the battlefields?

Well I’ve seen a few, most recently this week, and in many the men are smiling and laughing, gesturing towards the camera, and looking like they are enjoying themselves.

In one really cool one, there is even a soldier sleeping sitting up in a trench with a contented smile on his face, his gun beside him as his fellow soldiers watch on, laughing and bemused!

I remember being surprised to hear how men (and some women of course) looked forward to going off to war. It seems crazy but to them it was a chance for adventure, to travel and explore and be paid a steady wage away from home.

Of course, it makes perfect sense that there would be happy moments before, after and even during battle, just like these moments happen regardless of any situation.

To them, going to war was wisdom.

To those who instigated war, it was wisdom to do so.

And to fall in battle was wisdom, because this was the ‘wise’ and expected outcome of all that came before it.