Do you know why there are so many mass murders in the US, some perpetrated by ex-soldiers? Do you know how this problem could be minimized? Marlantes offers a solution.
I consider Karl Marlantes a hero not so much for what he did in the battlefield – he served as a Marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten air medals – but for his courage to expose to the public some actions that most of us would prefer to hide. He did this to show some crucial foibles of the system.
His courage to confess some acts that occurred on the battlefield, done by himself and his companions, stress the need for a completely different approach to the training of soldiers and to the decommissioning after they get back home.
Do you know that we – every one of us – are a potential assassin? Carl Jung explains that we have, embedded in our psyche, in the unconscious, an archetype – a shadow – that keeps all these ugly characteristics.
Marlantes had a meeting with Joseph Campbell, a famous mythologist and Jungian. When he told Campbell about his guilt complex, he got the answer: “Look, you found yourself on one side of the world of opposites. You think the other guy’s side was all right and yours all wrong?” And Marlantes recognized: “I had to admit that both sides were no angels.”
Talking about angels, Campbell, comes to my mind with his very pertinent saying that shows how the shadow can affect our lives: “My definition of a demon is an angel that was not recognized by the ego. It is a power that you denied and repressed. So, like any repressed energy, it begins to grow and to become very dangerous.. Do you prefer an angel at your side or a demon on your back? It is important to be conscious, to “Know Thyself.”
Marlantes’ book is a libel against politicians and military commanders and proposes a completely different view of wars.
Could we expand Marlantes findings in the battlefield to the problem of criminality in general? I think we can, bearing in mind that some of our youths wage gang wars in big cities similar to the ones in a battlefield.
Marlantes book – “What it is like to go to war” – is a must if you want to understand some of the foibles of what we call civilized life. A really five stars book. I strongly recommend to anyone whu wants to understand some of the failings of our civilization.
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