Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Call of Duty" making killing "cool" (game)

Wisdom Quarterly
"A lie is a lie." What no one realizes until he arrives in human "hell" is that you never get this view. Half blind behind a mask, gripped by fear, taking orders, killing anything to stay alive, then spitting at anyone stupid enough to call you a "hero" if you survive crippled having served not family or country but corporations and capitalism. VIDEO ANALYSIS

Today, of course, the worst thing about "duty" is that the term is distorted to convince youth that they have a call -- to serve in glorious, murderous campaigns for corporate-government.

"It is your duty, you maggot, grunt, pansy, punk @$$ b!tch."

"Duty" has an interesting and storied history in Indian (Vedic, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Sufi) history. One's dharma is one's social obligation.


Unfortunately, its original spiritual significance -- as one's path to spiritual freedom -- was hijacked. It became something promoting war and accepting slavery (bound to "duties" by birth, caste, race, gender, being drafted/tricked, or factors not under our direct control).

The explanation was that this birth was under our indirect control: We caused and conditioned it (by our karma, actions past and present). There is truth in this but it neglects the fact that we have almost unbounded potential right now. The Buddha did not accept caste as any barrier. Hinduism has taken ancient Vedic-Brahmanism and continued to promote division and discrimination by birth.

If war videogames wanted to be "realistic," they would stay trapped behind foggy goggles, unable to breathe, sweating, and wondering if camouflage is used so you can pee in your pants without showing how scared you were.

It is the folly of empire to ruin countries by ruining soldier's lives. We may accept defense, but we can never accept offense (even if you rename it "preemptive" defense). Invasions are not defensive. Heading off to foreign lands to burn, rape, and pillage is not defensive. Occupying other countries is not defensive. It is folly, and it is nothing new.

The threat to us comes from the government, which no long is of, for, and by the people. Occupy public spaces to decolonize minds. War is unjust, immoral, and very profitable for corporations who pay off representative politicians.

An Old Lie
The imperial Roman poet Horace fed a lie to Roman troops long ago: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, or "It is sweet and right to die for country." The US Dept. of War, Pentagon, and CIA still repeat this lie to recruits without enough life experience to have learned otherwise. Videogames do an even better job of seducing children, potheads, and chubby weekend warriors.

But war poet and soldier Wilfred Owen, the greatest British poet of World War I, said it much better:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares(2) we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest(3) began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots(4)
Of tired, outstripped(5) Five-Nines(6) that dropped behind.

Gas!(7) Gas! Quick, boys! -- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets(8) just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime(9)...

Dim, through the misty panes(10) and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering,(11) choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud(12)
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest(13)
To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.(15)


Wilfred Owen died in war a few days later.

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