India Uncut

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Who wants to be 'brave?'

In an exceptional post on Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory, Jai Arjun Singh writes:
The real question is: in the face of war’s insanity, is it reasonable to expect a sane person not to be a coward, to choose death over life.
Indeed, if I may ask a question of my own, is it not a form of insanity to be ready to give one's life for one's country? It's collective madness, and if we all had enough self-interest to refuse to risk our lives for nebulous causes, then who would go to war at all?

Sadly, self-delusion is as much a part of our evolutionary programming as self-interest is. And so it goes.

Update: Coming to think of it, this is an unfair post. Joining the army doesn't involve self-delusion, but is perfectly rational. You sign a contract agreeing to fight for your country after balancing the perks and the good life that being in the army bring against the likelihood of actually fighting in a conventional war, which is pretty low in most countries. Then, if war actually happens, you simply go by the terms of your employment contract.

But you get my point, I'm sure!
amit varma, 4:11 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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