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Tribe: WAR MAKES YOU AN ANIMAL 
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 Tribe: WAR MAKES YOU AN ANIMAL
WAR MAKES YOU AN ANIMAL

Please use this thread to discuss the chapter "WAR MAKES YOU AN ANIMAL."



Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:25 pm
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Post Re: Tribe: WAR MAKES YOU AN ANIMAL
I finished the book, I enjoyed it, it is a quick read. I appreciate the fact that he didn't pad 300 pages when it wasn't necessary, he had a simple theme and used some examples to talk about it.

It definitely changed the way I think about war and other disasters. I had of course heard the idea of war being the defining event in peoples' lives, especially the World Wars, and even that some people miss that experience. But Junger really fleshed out that phenomenon. I plan to read his book "War"

I'll try to pick out some things to discuss later.



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Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:40 pm
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Post Re: Tribe: WAR MAKES YOU AN ANIMAL
I have seen this book but haven't read it yet. Thanks for the recommendation. I'm adding it to my to read list.


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Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:42 pm
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Post Re: Tribe: WAR MAKES YOU AN ANIMAL
This chapter is full of little gems. I thought his views on leadership particularly interesting. I believe that most people see leadership as a quality certain people have and they demonstrate it across a broad range of situations. Junger cites the mining disaster in Nova Scotia, Canada, (where I happen to be vacationing at the moment) where 74 miners were killed and 19 trapped, to show how different kinds of leaders emerge in response to different emergency situations. Psychologists who interviewed the miners after the rescue determined that the men who moved into leadership roles upon discovering that they were trapped had very particular personality traits. They, "tended to lack empathy and emotional control, that they were not concerned with the opinion of others .... and that their physical abilities far exceeded their verbal abilities". They were able to take immediate and forceful action.

But when all attempts to escape failed, another kind of leadership emerged. Researchers determined that the new leaders were the complete opposite of the earlier leaders. They were more sensitive to the feelings and moods of the people, they intellectualized things and were able to support men who were inclined to give up.

Junger expands on this observation to explain the male and female roles that emerge spontaneously during natural disasters and war situations, "If women aren't present to provide the empathic leadership that every group needs, certain men will do it. If men aren't present to take immediate action in an emergency, women will step in".

He cites as an example the fact that almost all the female Carnegie Hero Award recipients acted in situations where there were no men present! In other words, the roles of both sexes are necessary for a healthy functioning community, and they will be filled even if both sexes are not present to do it.



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Wed Jun 15, 2016 9:08 am
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Post Re: Tribe: WAR MAKES YOU AN ANIMAL
Junger's summary of a paper by Charles Fritz encapsulates a big part of this book's thesis:

"Fritz's theory was that modern society has gravely disrupted the social bonds that have always characterized the human experience, and that disasters thrust people back into a more ancient, organic way of relating. Disasters, he proposed, create a "community of sufferers" that allows individuals to experience an immensely reassuring connection to others. As people come together to face an existential threat, Fritz found, class differences are temporarily erased, income disparities become irrelevant, race is overlooked, and individuals are assessed simply by what they are willing to do for the group. It is a kind of fleeting social utopia that, Fritz felt, is enormously gratifying to the average person and downright therapeutic to people suffering from mental illness."

I'm also seeing shades of Jonathan Haidt's 'Happiness Hypothesis' here. Haidt said that people find happiness by engaging with their community, by being involved with others Material possessions and class don't contribute to a sense of well being.


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Sun Jun 26, 2016 9:28 am
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Post Re: Tribe: WAR MAKES YOU AN ANIMAL
40 Years - Joe Jackson

Here in Berlin, people line up to get in
To wait for the end, living in glorious sin
They've looked around and now there is no looking back
To when rivers ran red, now it's the sky that grows black
Shadows are cast as two giants roam over the earth
We light a match, but what is that little flame worth

Once allies danced and sang
But it was forty years ago

Here in D.C., they talk about 'Euro-disease'
And how the French are always so damn hard to please
Motions are passed in Brussels but no one agrees
And no one walks tall, but no one gets down on their knees

Once allies laughed and drank
But it was forty years ago

Where I come from, they don't like Americans much
They think they're so loud, so tasteless and so out of touch
Stiff upper lips are curled into permanent sneers
Self-satisfied, awaiting the next forty years

Once allies cried and cheered
But it was forty years ago

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd9KpRD6QN0


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Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:09 am
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Post Re: Tribe: WAR MAKES YOU AN ANIMAL
Quote:
The coming-together that societies often experience during catastrophes is usually temporary, but sometimes the effect can last years or even decades. British historians have linked the hardship of the Blitz--and the social unity that followed--to a landslide vote that brought the Labour Party into power in 1945 and eventually gave the United Kingdom national health care and a strong welfare state. The Blitz hit after years of poverty in England, and both experiences served to bind the society together in ways that rejected the primacy of business interests over the welfare of the people.

At first I didn't get the title of this chapter, but at the end I saw that it means that war makes us revert to what is most central to our nature as animals, that we need, and were made for, community. It follows for Junger that we're happiest when supporting each other, not when accumulating goodies. Junger says that our natural "evolution," though, seems to be to withdraw from community and interdependence as times of hardship recede. It becomes then more possible to deceive ourselves that we can make it on our own and don't really need other people.

What bothers me about some conservative and all libertarian thinking is the implied statement that we're not all in this together, that there really is no society in any meaningful sense. All that matters is our individual freedom to do what we want and take what we can get. All within the boundaries of the law, of course, but there is held to be little value in in treating our society as a commonwealth. If we just pursued our own selfish ends, then by the miracle of the marketplace we'd find that all would be provided for.



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