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[Xmca-l] Re: Armistice/Veterans, what's in a name?



Without conflating it with our social ineffectiveness at politics (i.e.
war), the notion of a smiling disposition is one that can be valued even
though it may invite stupification too (i.e. a canalisation of
consciousness according to the 'simple' present).  It seems that we need
and value the robust ability to get through difficult times, but that we
don't want this robustness to inure ourselves to a lack of consciousness
for possibilities.  So we have a notion of "survival by smiling, and frown
when you can afford to", which one might take as a philosophical
disposition (if this is the 'bottom truth' of someone's experience).

This isn't to say that 'green' soldiers' smiling is of the same quality,
but perhaps in the training of such men and women it is considered an
appropriate and natural form that is also compatible with the 'smiling
disposition'.

It is interesting how philosophical and political orientations (as a basis
of orientation) go largely unexamined in all streams of life.  Even to the
extent that it is the intention to avoid examining them that seems to
factor largely in many political disputes.

Best,
Huw




On 12 November 2015 at 15:58, Carol Macdonald <carolmacdon@gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear Colleagues
>
> Over the last two years I have read extensively on the First World War
> (started because I had to tutor a school child, and then I rapidly became
> fascinated). And then 2014 brought the BBC commemorations of 1914 to
> everybody's attention.  It rapidly became a new type of war, siege warfare,
> and because for the first time, the civilian armies became involved. The
> casualty lists were so long because it was a very long war of attrition,
> until Germany came out from their defences in March 2018, and the war of
> movement picked up again.
>
> Semi-fictional books including, of course, the German "All quiet on the
> Western Front" reveal the effects it had on the soldiers themselves. So
> many saw many of their friends die. It was the first time that civilians
> really started to understand what war was about and how unglamorous it had
> become. And what a price there was to pay in young men's lives. It was the
> first time there were memorials to the fallen. (Not for the fallen in the
> Napoleonic wars a century earlier.)
>
> Although I fully agree that war has become depersonalised in many way,
>  troops on the ground are still desperately affected - witness the lives of
> returning Iraq veterans, whose needs unfortunately are not taken seriously
> by society at large. Their visible scars of course, but also their
> psychological scars.
>
> Perhaps our remembrance must be for these men and women, here and now. And
> there is not a great deal for them to smile about. At least not that I know
> of.
>
> Carol
>
>
> On 12 November 2015 at 14:07, David Preiss <preiss.xmca@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > This poem of Denise Levertov came handy to illustrate the point:
> >
> > https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/california-during-gulf-war
> >
> > And it was written in 1992....
> >
> > On Thu, Nov 12, 2015 at 8:46 AM, David Preiss <preiss.xmca@gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > People is smiling because people forgot that war means people dying.
> For
> > > many countries now (USA, France, Russia, the UK) involvement in war has
> > > became an everyday matter and just a risk for a few professionally
> > trained
> > > soldiers which do that as one does other job. On the other hand it can
> be
> > > carried out from home using drones from your office space after which
> you
> > > do your grocery shopping or sending superb planes which bomb villages
> > using
> > > video-game like screens. Would a drone operator qualify as a war
> veteran
> > in
> > > the same way than a WW2 veteran? Both suffer incredible damage but the
> > > former never "engaged physically" or immediately with its victims or
> put
> > > his physical life at stake. People smile in those countries because
> they
> > > are at war and they don't know it.
> > >
> > > On Thu, Nov 12, 2015 at 3:49 AM, Tonyan, Holli A <
> Holli.Tonyan@csun.edu>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > >> I contribute seldom to this list and am a bit more of an observer, but
> > >> Mike, your statements and questions prompted a contribution.  You
> > reminded
> > >> me of my time in Australia when the history of 11/11 was so present in
> > so
> > >> many towns and cities and memorialized in many neighborhoods of
> > Melbourne
> > >> where I lived.  The formal city memorial held a lovely ceremony and
> the
> > >> city stopped to honor the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
> > I
> > >> understood the meaning of the day so much more clearly from just a few
> > >> short years there than I had from all of my life in the US before
> those
> > >> years.  That may have been more true because I was an outsider there.
> > Yet,
> > >> I am struck at how the renaming you point to so erases the history of
> > the
> > >> day as also illustrated by the Google image and the many advertising
> > >> campaigns that now so mark the holiday here in the US.  NPR did a nice
> > >> story about veterans' responses to the green light campaign Walmart
> has
> > >> begun and the yellow ribbon campaigns.  Many Veterans said they did
> not
> > >> want to be memorialized, but wanted opportunities to provide
> leadership,
> > >> support for the healing and grieving and opportunity for those who are
> > not.
> > >>
> > >> So, you ask why are the Google vet faces smiling and we can also ask
> why
> > >> there is so little memory of the grief and support for the grieving.
> > >>
> > >> Best wishes,
> > >> Holli
> > >>
> > >> ________________________________________
> > >> From: xmca-l-bounces+holli.tonyan=csun.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > >> <xmca-l-bounces+holli.tonyan=csun.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of
> > >> mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
> > >> Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 8:41 PM
> > >> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > >> Subject: [Xmca-l]  Armistice/Veterans, what's in a name?
> > >>
> > >> A few days ago I commented on the names given to a national holiday on
> > Nov
> > >> 11 which, in the US, have changed during my life time from armistice
> day
> > >> to
> > >> memorial day to veterans day. I noted that the BBC has a big spread on
> > >> Armistice day.... images of death, commemoration, grieving. On google,
> > >> when
> > >> I log in, there are pictures of a rainbow coalition of young adults in
> > >> uniform, smiling.... at what? at how wonderful it will be to become a
> > >> veteran?
> > >> Why are they smiling, have they forgotten to anticipate the grieving?
> > >>
> > >> mike
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> --
> > >>
> > >> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
> > >> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch
> > >>
> > >>
> > >
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Carol A  Macdonald PhD (Edin)
> Developmental psycholinguist
> Academic, Researcher,  and Editor
> Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa
>
> Behind every gifted woman there is often a remarkable cat.
>