David Bruce: Resist Psychic Death — War, Wisdom

War

• The United States certainly gets into a lot of wars. Journalist and cartoonist Ted Rall once spoke with a British reporter who came up with an amusing idea for keeping the U.S. out of wars. The British reporter said, “If the average American cannot identify three cities in a country, the U.S. should not invade it.” According to Mr. Rall, “Given that the average American doesn’t know their state capital, much less three cities in, say, Canada, this would transform us into a pacifist society overnight.” Of course, ignorance abounds, and not just among common American citizens. D-Day took place at Normandy, and the Allied forces brought tons of food for civilians because the Allied forces thought that food would be scarce in Normandy. Actually, Normandy had plenty of food, although other places in France had food shortages — Allied bombs had destroyed train lines that normally would have transported food out of Normandy to the rest of France. Military officials telegraphed Eisenhower: PLENTY OF FOOD. SEND SHOES.”

• Quakers tend to be pacifists. In 1854, Eli Jones, who was a Quaker, was appointed Major General of a division of Maine militia as a joke. Mr. Jones responded that if he were to accept the position of Major General, he would “give such orders as I think best. The first would be, ‘Ground Arms!’ The second would be, ‘Right about face! Go, beat your swords into ploughshares and your spears into pruning-hooks, and learn war no more!’”

• When the Nazis were ready to march into Athens, Greece, during World War II, people went shopping for necessities, emptying the food shops quickly because they knew that food would soon be scarce. In addition, writes Maria Callas’ mother, who was there, “The beauty shops worked overtime, for when war threatens, most women decide to have their hair washed and curled before the shooting starts.”

• British anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942) once spoke with a cannibal who was aware of the vast number of casualties in World War I. The cannibal asked how the Europeans were able to consume so much human flesh. Told that Europeans did not eat human flesh, the cannibal was horrified and asked how Europeans were able to kill human beings for no reason.

Wisdom

• Long ago, before Christ, a man traveled to the Han-ku Pass in northwest China. The Keeper of the Pass recognized the man and talked to him. The man was Lao-tzu, aka Old Master, and he planned on journeying into the wilderness and never returning. The Keeper of the Pass begged him to first write down some of his wisdom, and after thinking for a while, Lao-tzu agreed. He wrote a brief condensation of his wisdom on bamboo tablets, and then left, never to return. The bamboo tablets contained the Tao Te Ching, aka Tao Virtue Classic, and it speaks of Tao and its principles, the most important of which is to work with nature, not against it. This book did not remain static, for it has been interpreted and reinterpreted — the result of additional wisdom, as shown by the varying ancient texts that have come down to us. A famous passage from the Tao Te Chingis this: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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