Sex and War, How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World, Malcom Potts and Thomas Hayden
If one truly feels alive in their most dangerous exposure to war, to armed conflict, to death and the risk of their own sudden death, to feel most alive when dealing out death in the killing of others then how can people who never experience war ever feel themselves to be alive?
This is a question that I have become obsessive to understand, and it is a very strong reason for my fascination in reading books about war, and in many respects this book has provided me with the most insight of any that I have read.
“If you want peace, understand war.” – Basil Liddell Hart [found on page 367]
I strongly believe that an answer to my question, above, would provide a clue to how humans can figure a way to manage to survive on this planet. I say manage to survive as in even to address the question of how we humans can find a way to survive in our environment on a closed planet system. So much of war, as is brought home over and over in this book is about resources as a means to survival, and about the connection of human sexuality to the flow, and control of resources. Poon tang or water or blood or oil or black slaves, whatever. And through this book we come to a better understanding of just how closely tied sexual politics is to the maintenance of peace.
It brings me down pretty much to our responsibility of access to birth control, family planning and abortion by choice of the specific woman and the diversion of the global military budget toward universal education -- and why our taxes should be geared toward support of that sexual freedom.
When as young man I decided to be a vegetarian pacifist I found ex-Vietnam Marines beating the crap out of me, illiterate morons punching me out because I held books like they were a purse, potential girlfriends thinking I was a fruit, and fruits jumping me in my sleep, and all I really wanted was not to end up in Vietnam... when I adjusted to a mental state that signified the next person to bash me in the face with a Budweiser beer can, or jump me in my sleep I would kill them, things changed. Life got measurably better day by day. Nowadays at this point in my life all I can hope is to think it up. Boo!
Human aggression is not solely limited to war, it is as simply manifested as relationship of husband to wife (or wives, depending on the culture -- I am still trying to relate with the idea that Osama bin Laden's father had 75 children, if I have the count correct, that is certainly more than we can say for Tolstoy), and of husbands to bands of husbands, or that boys will be boys, in troops, gangs, gaggles even as they appear to mimic the aggressive and organized nature of chimpanzees. One needs to accept a general awareness of evolutionary theory in order to relate with the underlying thesis of this book, which in short is that, our male aggressive behaviors, in war and in sex, were developed through the natural selection of the surviving specimens. The man animal that has been able to kill more, enslave more, destroy more, capture rape and pillage more has also been in general the one who has been able to have the most sexual relations, and the most surviving offspring. It may not be always the case, but enough so that the next Jr. that comes along that kills off their siblings and the siblings of as many around them as they can possibly manage will, obviously, feel alive both with the sword (the machete seems to kill more people than nuclear proliferation) and in the saddle.
I read somewhere that playing with money, as occurs in lower Manhattan that commerce built not on physical labor but on outwitting the opposition through the manipulation of numbers creates not only Masters of the Universe who buy up posh properties in the former Long Island Gold Coast (as in Fitzgerald land), but sexual dynamos who take their aggressive hunger for the thrill of the hunt manifested, bled out in the bedroom. That can all be bullmonkey, or horse adoration -- but I would be curious to read a study by Potts of the relationship of Sex and Commerce, or surprise, surprise -- to learn that politics is sex by other means.
As I have read in other reviews, the book does wander though I find things such as a footnote that says that it has been reported that an American manning a rocket silo once demonstrated that with a piece of string and a spoon he could override the carefully designed system requiring two men to initiate firing a missile – well, this just makes me feel all tingly and goose bumpy all over, particularly with my other fixation on Chernobyl... and we are even told elsewhere where goose bumps come from.
I am curious though that one time a Texas friend whom I trust told me that at Angola the snipers are women as they have found out Southern girls do not hesitate to narrow in on target and shoot when a prisoner tries to run into the countryside. I think I need more research, though hopefully not in the form of my own quality time. Been there, done that, not interested to revisit.
As a kid I was told that when we see the white light to run toward it.
We were not talking about an alien abduction experience. A few years ago I found out that when my step-father was sent off to Korea that they made a stop in Japan for a tour in the back of a truck of the flatter blacker portions of Hiroshima -- and yesterday I watched Henry Fonda tool around in an old truck in Grapes of Wrath and thought, gosh, they all look related to me. My stepfather never told me that he felt most alive in Korea, but he did mention waking in the night in a frozen trench and bayoneting the shadow of a man that was descending down upon him. And he did, some years later, tell me that he loved me.
Let us not forget the cost of peace as it rides through us each day that we are here alive.