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Continued adulation of battlefield exploits point to intellectual paralysis

By Robert Mclean - posted Wednesday, 14 November 2012

It seems our thought processes have stalled, leaving us locked in an era when conquest of the other, and nature, signified elevated status.

Humans have always sought status resorting frequently to conflict and defeat of the other to cement their superiority with the ruins they have wrought being evidence of their success.

Celebration of that perverse success and, equally, the repeated remembrance of events past, even if that moment in history can be shown to be the antithesis of human betterment, draws on powerful human emotions making the event almost transcendental.


Most see participants in the conflict, survivors or otherwise, as sublime, attributing to them god-like ideals and values, adorning them in garments of splendour, awarding them medals and recognition for doing something that was simply a waste of human capacity and the manifestation of mob-madness.

An example of this recently dominated our popular media when a young man acted out the doctrines of our militant thinking; thinking that sees solutions in only physical confrontation.

Our intellectual stasis sees us trapped in a paradigm in which past events become a pattern for the future, negating adventurous and expansive thinking that allows us to understand that decency and discussion are better tools than bludgeoning another.

Decency and discussion is simply that and doesn't need to be clothed in gaudy colours, adorned with medals or given to rapturous celebration, rather just thoughtful talk and kindly consideration of the other, embracing the realization that others, whatever their beliefs or passions, cry, bleed and feel just like us.

Life may appear linear – destiny that takes us from A to B without change – but it is not for with courage and commitment, and deep thought, it is unquestionably possible to change human behaviour and make what was common, a rarity.

Our ongoing adulation of battlefield exploits needs to stop for if we allow ourselves truly expansive thinking and consider 10 000 years hence what happened at, say Gallipoli, will be irrelevant and lost in the mists of time.


Rather than looking back and devoting time and energy to what was, we should, conscious of our errors, use our vigour to build our life around realities of the moment, rather than though an addiction with imagined glories of fruitless events.

Long has the wisdom of crowds been an article of faith, but such belief is slipping away, compounded, locally, by recent city council elections and in a broader sense, the apparent inability of many to accept that human behaviour is changing our climate and, in this instance, the absence of reason about disagreements that manifest violence and how recognition means reinforcement of failed ideas leading, inalienably, to more anguish.

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