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Full Version: Dexter Filkins' Forever War
The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > The Monkey Hole > Arts & Philosphical Sundries
I'm just curious if anyone of you frequent readers, heard about the latest book of this Pulitzer Prize winning author.

The way this war correspondent writes about the absurd facts and often surrealistic aspects and situations soldiers can get into during a war, is intense and realistic. It's just an impressive, already called classic, piece of work.

I've served in the Dutch Air force for a while and know stories told by war veterans, so to a certain extent I'm fascinated by the contents of this book.

One of my favorite stories are about the rather hilarious tactic they once used to distract the population of small villages in Iraq to search their houses for weapons. But you just have to read this book to find out.
I think absurdity and surrealism are good words to use to describe what is likely the ultimate example of human folly. One only needs to look at warriors after they return home to see the devastation that has happened. Any soldier who doesn't come back with PTSD either was never really in the thick of it or is not really human.

I will look for this book next time I'm in a bookstore. Sounds like a decent read.
Guru Antar Singh
I'm extremely intrigued and all too fascinated by the process and product involving the human mind and how it reacts to stimuli. Each word that tickles our ear and every still captured within our eyes imprints itself into our psyche like RNA. I just ordered this book and can't wait for it arrive. Thanks for the suggestion. One book that may interest you, though it has nothing to do with war or battle directly, is Sleeping, Dreaming and Dying by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It's a superb, in depth and unrelenting dive into the gray entity that exists between western science and Buddhism as these topics are very commonly explored and all together praised in all Buddhist schools. It's a great read for anyone of any faith, scientific outlook, ignorance or lack of any of the above.
synthetic buddhist
Didn't they(whoever "they" is) find some years ago that those who came out of war psychologically unscathed were pretty much criminal psychopaths to begin with? I have no solid data to back this 'assertion' up, so feel free to contribute any, but those people are out there and I suppose someone has to be a mercenary for a living…

Absurdity and Surrealism have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
When you look at the training you learn a lot. Marching songs that include lines like: "Napalm sticks to little children …" are clues to how it begins. After that it's just obeying orders. Then the veteran returns to The World and is sitting in a playground watching his toddler on the play structure, and it flashes back, and instead of cute kids playing he suddenly sees the charred remains. Such a person is damaged forever.
Guru Antar Singh
The topic of conformity and the effects of pertain to so many aspects of daily life, not just war and the process of building the perfect "soldier". Everyday, I meet men and women in the business world who have become violent, cold and disillusioned. Men who have grown into their father's suits on the verge of suicide due to failed investments. Women, sitting blank and unattentive in front of Oprah's dancing image and the irony of QVC. Children who are brought up in a world of commercialism. In America, we are so often exposed to the quarles of the dollar. The product? Perception. Breaking someone down to our perception of them is a violent act in itself. If you need an example… look at the person who wrote this post. Look in the mirror.
synthetic buddhist
The Conformity thing is one of the biggies, no doubt. As a tattooist, I've seen some interesting "cultural" developments in the last 2 decades; I originally got tattooed to "separate" myself from the majority, not so much deliberately isolate but to make a decided statement of self, without regard for any outside opinion. The act had much more "power" back then, and for whatever reason seemed to get me somewhere I liked.
As the obsession developed, I ended up doing it for a living, for better or worse. At this point it has become huge, and if one wanted to lean towards the Embittered end of the spectrum one could say I am being paid to admit the very people I wanted to separate from into the club. The effect of the TV shows is undeniable, and from one view it has been made into another superficial commodity, the arguments for that point are many and convincing.
Now it seems that having tattoos is no big deal(except in the Midwest!) and I'd be inclined to agree, but what concerns me is not the prevelance or lack thereof of act itself but what people are doing with it. What my eyes see are hundreds of people looking for something to express themselves and having no clue what to say, so they get what their friends already have or worse yet, some vacuous celebrity. I don't see that as a cause as much as a symptom. The ones who make my day are not the ones who pick certain imagery(although drawing a cool picture is definitely more fun) pre se but those who are saying something relevant to their experience. That to me seems to be what its about, and so many people obviously don't know themselves and want naught to do with Big Questions that might point one in the direction of that awareness. That's what concerns me.

If any of y'all are familiar with Smedley Butler I thought he broke the whole Military thing down pretty well and with a surprising prescience. At least to bleedin' heart peacenik like me…..
Yet, for some crazy reason, I remain an optimist. Primarily because I believe that the universe knows what it is doing. The times we are in feel much more like birth pangs to me than the end of the world. I truly believe that the good guys will win, as it were.
Doctor Love
Look on the bright side, it's entirely possible you have no free will whatsoever and are merely a product of your genetic makeup, environmental upbringing, and psychological idiosyncrasies. You couldn't make any choices but the ones you do out of result of your biology and experiences. Therefore, you might as well relax and go along with the ride. Of course you will or you won't anyway if that is the case, since once presented with that option your genetics and environmental upbringing will dictate the course of action and not any romantic notion of authentic choice. If you find that notion appalling, then take heart, I'm not sure it's correct. But if it is, then of course I could have no other point of view.
We have total free will. Biology and back ground be damned.
Any fool can also see, as a species we have expanded to the point of collapsing our environment. The correction is near.
Jaded Prole
synthetic buddhist
Damn Doctor, that sounds like the old 'God's Will' excuse in different clothing. I'm more inclined to agree with Kirk. Unconscious biological imperative might have gotten us here, but free will gives us the opportunity to get out of it.

Although without war, how would the herd be thinned? Disease and famine come to mind. Something's gotta give. What we have going now sure as hell can't be sustained.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Doctor Love @ Nov 29 2008, 02:41 AM) *

Look on the bright side, it's entirely possible you have no free will whatsoever and are merely a product of your genetic makeup, environmental upbringing, and psychological idiosyncrasies.

That forces me to recommend a book, Steven Pinker's "The Blank Slate". It methodically and thoroughly examines the origins of the notions that we are products only of our environment and refutes them quite plausibly. That doesn't mean we have no free will, but rather it means that free will is manifested within the confines of each individual's particular wiring. That also doesn't mean people can't rewire themselves. But I think the evidence presented in the book is compelling that people are less products of their environment and upbringing than is commonly assumed.
QUOTE(Kirk @ Nov 29 2008, 11:48 AM) *

Any fool can also see, as a species we have expanded to the point of collapsing our environment. The correction is near.

As Terence McKenna said, the event horizon is now visible. Most people I talk to can sense it. The collapsing environment is one of the most visible (and audible) signals. In the Amazon I learned a language of a more subtle realm, and it says the same thing.
QUOTE(Kirk @ Nov 29 2008, 10:48 AM) *

The correction is near.

The singularity is nearer. The world is not at an end, we're entering a new period of enlightenment. Exponential growth of knowledge is about to explode as you wouldn't imagine. The last few decades were nothing.
Jaded Prole
Looks to me like any enlightenment we achieve will be a lttle late as we enter a new geologic age which I call the Ophukacene.™

Something about this reminds me of the Restaurant at the end of the Universe . . .
Myopia is often caused by watching too much television.
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