William james the moral equivalent of war. William James 2019-02-04

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The Moral Equivalent of War by William James

william james the moral equivalent of war

And when whole nations are the armies, and the science of destruction vies in intellectual refinement with the sciences of production, I see that war becomes absurd and impossible from its own monstrosity. Those wars were purely piratical. History is a bath of blood. Without risks or prizes for the darer, history would be insipid indeed; and there is a type of military character which every one feels that the race should never cease to breed, for everyone is sensitive to its superiority. Virtues are held by individuals. Men now are proud of belonging to a conquering nation, and without a murmur they lay down their persons and their wealth, if by so doing they may fend off subjection. If you desire to properly plan out everything then nothing could be best for you as testing engine.

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William James: Son, Brother, Hero

william james the moral equivalent of war

The military feelings are too deeply grounded to abdicate their place among our ideals until better substitutes are offered than the glory and shame that come to nations as well as to individuals from the ups and downs of politics and the vicissitudes of trade. If we speak of the fear of emancipation from the fear-regime, we put the whole situation into a single phrase; fear regarding ourselves now taking the place of the ancient fear of the enemy. Tolstoi's pacifism is the only exception to this rule, for it is profoundly pessimistic as regards all this world's values, and makes the fear of the Lord furnish the moral spur provided elsewhere by the fear of the enemy. Life is a kind of passionate, throbbing, exultant phenomenon. Why should they not blush with indignant shame if the community that owns them is vile in any way whatsoever? Die Weltgeschichte ist das Weltgericht; and Dr. In my remarks, pacifist though I am, I will refuse to speak of the bestial side of the war- regime already done justice to by many writers and consider only the higher aspects of militaristic sentiment. Die Weltgeschichte ist das Weltgericht; and Dr.

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Jon Roland: Introduction to The Moral Equivalent of War

william james the moral equivalent of war

It binds people together—not just the army engaged in battle, but the whole community. But there is no reason to think that women can no longer be the mother of Napoleonic or Alexandrian characters; and if these come in Japan and find their opportunity, just such surprises as The Valor of Ignorance paints may lurk in ambush for us. One obvious factor the drive to increase wealth, status and power. In such a contest, what is brought home is how fear and pain can be transcended by means of courage. For more free audio books or to become a volunteer reader, visit.

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William James: Son, Brother, Hero

william james the moral equivalent of war

The cruelty of those times is incredible. Why should men not some day feel that is it worth a blood-tax to belong to a collectivity superior in any respect? Patriotic pride and ambition in their military form are, after all, only specifications of a more general competitive passion. The original published version of this document is in the public domain. It is plain that on this subject civilized man has developed a sort of double personality. Japan now is culminating; and by the fatal law in question it is impossible that her statesmen should not long since have entered, with extraordinary foresight, upon a vast policy of conquest — the game in which the first moves were her wars with China and Russia and her treaty with England, and of which the final objective is the capture of the Philippines, the Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, and whole of our Coast west of the Sierra passes. We must make new energies and hardihoods continue the manliness to which the military mind so faithfully clings.

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William James: The Moral Equivalent of War

william james the moral equivalent of war

The planetary conditions once for all are such, and we can stand it. War is the strong life; it is life in extremis; war taxes are the only ones men never hesitate to pay, as the budgets of all nations show us. It's profits are to the vanquished as well as to the victor; and quite apart from any question of profit, it is an absolute good, we are told, for it is human nature at its highest dynamic. The cruelty of those times is incredible. Without war, life become insipid, colorless, and hardly worth living. The notion of a sheep's paradise like that revolts, they say, our higher imagination. Patriotism no one thinks discreditable; nor does any one deny that war is the romance of history.

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Jon Roland: Introduction to The Moral Equivalent of War

william james the moral equivalent of war

But I have no serious doubt that the ordinary prides and shames of social man, once developed to a certain intensity, are capable of organizing such a moral equivalent as I have sketched, or some other just as effective for preserving manliness of type. James uses this as a positive side effect of war, but I find it just another reason to avoid war if at all possible. He uses patriotism as one of the reasons why we should partake in war, and I concur. Two younger brothers, Garth Wilkinson Wilky and Robertson Bob , fought in the Civil War. Or such is James's argument.

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William James’s “The Moral Equivalent of War” • TPL

william james the moral equivalent of war

However, it seems a bit contradictory for him to say this after professing his support for war. What is James trying to say here? It is the essential form of the State, and the only function in which peoples can employ all their powers at once and convergently. War is, in short, a permanent human obligation. His own solution is advanced not as a practical measure, but merely as an illustration to show that the world is full of opportunities for the peaceful development and continuation of the martial qualities of human life. A major of warfare is the desire of one group of human beings—usually governments, but often the general population of a country, tribe or ethnic group—to increase their power and wealth. To coal and iron mines, to freight trains, to fishing fleets in December, to dishwashing, clothes-washing, and windowwashing, to road-building and tunnel-making, to foundries and stoke-holes, and to the frames of skyscrapers, would our gilded youths be drafted off, according to their choice, to get the childishness knocked out of them, and to come back into society with healthier sympathies and soberer ideas.


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Wikispaces

william james the moral equivalent of war

And perhaps eventually, if this process continues, the need for social identity will fade away to the point that empathy extends indiscriminately, to and from all human being, so that it becomes impossible—even for power-greedy governments—to exploit or oppress other groups in service of our own desires. We could be poor, then, without humiliation, as army officers now are. This essay was written for general dissemination as a publication of the American Association for International Conciliation, February, 1910. If war had ever stopped, we should have to re-invent it, on this view, to redeem life from flat degeneration. See my book The Fall for a fuller discussion. Where is the sharpness and precipitousness, the contempt for life, whether one's own, or another's? Ask all our millions, north and south, whether they would vote now were such a thing possible to have our war for the Union expunged from history, and the record of a peaceful transition to the present time substituted for that of its marches and battles, and probably hardly a handful of eccentrics would say yes.

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Moral Equivalent of William James

william james the moral equivalent of war

This will give Japan what her ineluctable vocation as a state absolutely forces her to claim, the possession of the entire Pacific Ocean; and to oppose these deep designs we Americans have, according to our author, nothing but our conceit, our ignorance, our commercialism, our corruption, and our feminism. Its dread hammer is the welder of men into cohesive states, and nowhere but in such states can human nature adequately develop its capacity. He was subject to a variety of psychological symptoms which were diagnosed at the time as neurasthenia, and which included periods of depression during which he contemplated suicide for months on end. He proposes that the moral equivalent of war against men is… war against nature. I myself think it our bounden duty to believe in such international rationality as possible. In the more or less socialistic future toward which mankind seems drifting we must still subject ourselves collectively to those severities which answer to our real position upon this only partly hospitable globe. I find this to be a very valid point, however it does have a fundamental flaw in it.

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The Moral Equivalent of War by William James

william james the moral equivalent of war

That this is a question on which much may be said for the opposition, James, though a pacificist, admits with his usual fair-mindedness, pointing out that militarism is the sole nourisher of certain human virtues that the world cannot let die, and that until the peace party devises some substitute, some moral equivalent, for the disciplinary value of war, their utopian goal is neither desirable nor possible. What the whole community comes to believe in grasps the individual as in a vise. There is something highly paradoxical in the modern man's relation to war. The military feelings are too deeply grounded to abdicate their place among our ideals until better substitutes are offered than the glory and shame that come to nations as well as to individuals from the ups and downs of politics and the vicissitudes of trade. He is best known for the movement called pragmatism, which valued ideas solely for their practicality and usefulness.

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