Saturday, April 22, 2017

Oh Great Ares, How we worship you

 “When the rich wage war it's the poor who die.” ― Jean-Paul Sartre

 “War is what happens when language fails.”― Margaret Atwood

The Greek God Ares represented Victory in war, by any means.  His attributes included bloodlust in battle and slaughter.   The people of Earth know that war means death.  They know that there is enormous costs, financially and physically.  Every weapon made results in a theft, because the weapon was made rather than an investment in education, libraries, clean energy, removal of pollution, feeding the starving people of the world. (paraphrase of Dwight D. Eisenhower).

“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.”― Herbert Hoover

When I say humans worship Ares, I do not mean every human, nor do I mean that they are aware of the worship they do.  But despite war being an end to some situations, humans resort to war not as a final option, they prefer it as an option.  (See the Iraq war, and the refusal to allow inspections to prove there were no WMDs. ) 

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”― Plato

Being an American I was taught to be grateful for the sacrifice of lives in past wars.  They had died, it was said, for the defense of freedom and country.  I believe that some did.  I believe others died due to the incompetence of leadership, false beliefs about the enemy, and the fact that America has gone to war, sometimes, for bad reasons.

“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”― Ernest Hemingway

Dying for a commodity is beyond bad, unless the commodity is oxygen or water.  Just as a person who steals food due to having no money elicits sympathy if not acceptance, a person stealing lawn chairs or drive offs at a gas pump are simply bad.  The wars fought by Americans have often been about expanding or strengthening the country.  That is somewhat reasonable.

“All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal.”― John Steinbeck

In ancient Greece, Ares is said to have been hated by the other gods, and few humans worshiped him.  But they continually made war.  Here the Greeks can be seen as another group of people who paid lip service to one value (Athena, Goddess of wisdom, and honor) but lived by another.

From Homer, author of the Iliad and the Odyssey 

Then looking at him darkly Zeus who gathers the clouds spoke to him:
"Do not sit beside me and whine, you double-faced liar.
To me you are the most hateful of all gods who hold Olympus.
Forever quarreling is dear to your heart, wars and battles.

And yet I will not long endure to see you in pain, since
you are my child, and it was to me that your mother bore you.
But were you born of some other god and proved so ruinous
long since you would have been dropped beneath the gods of the bright sky."

“The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.”  ― Carl Sagan

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