Nobel Conference X The Quest for Peace: Robert Jay Lifton - Survival and Transformation: From War to Peace

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Psychiatrist and author Robert Jay Lifton speaking at Nobel Conference X: The Quest for Peace held at Gustavus Adolphus College. Lifton's speech was titled “Survival and Transformation: From War to Peace.”

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I do feel this is a very welcome occasion. Just the idea of giving serious thought to the Quest for Peace would seem the most appropriate and logical of Notions, but like most appropriate and logical Notions. It's rarely undertaken in our Halls of government or learning. And for that reason is now that I also welcomed the development of Peace studies here as a a serious effort in the same direction at with quite remarkable For Thought has gone into it. I see it as I'm sure others did for this conference originally talking about the Quest for Peace more readily than almost any other subject can lead to platitudes and nice thoughts. I don't think it has too many nice thoughts. I think people have really Express themselves with content in terms of the difficulties because the Quest for Peace includes every single difficulty that exists in international national and individual existence It's the ultimate Quest without which there is nothing. Of course one that must have a great sense of individual limitation in terms of what can accomplish one really must have something like the spirit of tammuz. Dr. Rhea in his novel the plague in which the plague is, of course a metaphor for evil. Dr. Rhea behaving heroically, but quietly simply tending to his patients in the midst of great personal danger over the course of the plague finally is enormously tired as a plague subsides and in his discussion with his friends Camus says, well, he knows the plague will reappear will come back and we'll never be able to really overcome it. But he also knows that he cannot be a man human being unless he keeps tending to his patients and making that effort. That's the sense in which I think we must all approach the issue with peace and we don't know as mrs. For GC said and said very well the effects of what we do they may be less and indeed more than what think they could be Want to argue that the Quest for Peace is inseparable from the way in which we survive our previous war or Wars? And not just that Wars but a holocaust and losses of all kinds. To put it another way. Human life individual and Collective cannot be divested of pain and loss and above all of death and our ability to avoid Annihilation and to survive as a species may well depend upon our capacity to derive wisdom from that pain and loss and from our confrontation with a grotesque forms of death. We have inflicted on ourselves and indeed our confrontation with death itself. I want to look at this question primarily in terms of the disastrous American intervention in Vietnam. Which in any number of ways is still very much with us. I want to emphasize that although the Quest for Peace has many Technical and organizational considerations is never merely technical. It must involve hard political and ethical considerations. And that spirit I will be talkin about political and ethical matters within the context of the Quest for Peace. I want to refer to what has been well call the post-war which now exists both in Vietnam and in the United States, of course, there's a war still active in Vietnam will go there is not active American this not direct military participation by Americans is lots of American participation in the military Enterprise to providing virtually all of the guns military equipment and indeed still advisors that have a lot to do with the cruel prison system in South Vietnam. But the War I want to talk about the post World War I want to talk about is that over Consciousness the struggle over the residual meaning of the Vietnam War as perceived by groups off and antagonistic in American society and throughout the world want to talk about contending expressions of survival that can be looked at rather systematically live implications that are enormous and a x unmanageable both intellectually and politically Know the way in which one survives a war the imagery around survival has much to do with the way in which one actually fights and ends it that sounds like a contradiction in terms but it isn't I don't think what I mean is that the Survivor imagery begins to take shape long before the war itself is over in my book home from the war which is the study of Vietnam veterans. I tried to show how extreme and immediate feelings of grief and loss. On the part of GI Spong the deaths of buddies have a direct bearing on the commission of such atrocities as me lie. Not many people realize that the combination the Night Before Me Lie the commanding officer of that unit gave a combination pep talk and funeral eulogy after the grotesque death of a much-loved sergeant was an older man the kind of father figure just a day or two before and when she spoke of that man Sergeant Parts as well, as others would died and another mine disaster a couple of weeks prior to that and the gist of his words were were we got to get back at them now? This is our chance. This is the traditional funeral eulogy in which the purpose of the eulogy is an expression of the continuity of the life of the dead person by tearing out his or her work. In the case of war that means getting back at the enemy. In the case of counterinsurgency War where everybody and nobody is the enemy as in Vietnam and you're hungry for anatomy and can't find him you create you create an enemy inevitably out of peasants old men women children everyone. This is what I mean by an atrocity producing situation. the Survivor imagery of the men individually propels them toward it but the external structure of the situation creates its nature and that structure consists as described by Sacra consists of A revolution taking place in a country of low technology Revolution that has some standing with its people with a counterrevolutionary intervention by a country of alien culture with high technology that combination creates what soccer cause a genocide or situation that I'm calling the trustee producing situation and the intervening elements are the military policies in this case the policy of the search and destroy mission and the free fire zone which simply gave us little legitimacy to this policy of Slaughter and genocide. Survivor imagery around Wars is also self-propelled chelating. This is been referred to an earlier talks either as imagery of Revenge for once the feet or humiliation or else is a kind of fatigue with the entire Enterprise of War. When did look particularly the relationship between World War 1 and World War 2, which I merely suggest a year its influence upon. Let's say the Germans and the French there's a fascinating study that pressed Medica Familiar with of Verdun the slaughter Ford on bios their horn call The Price of Glory in addition to describing that Slaughter. He makes the point that the hero of Verdun Marshall Payton. Was appalled by the slaughter and became a hero by winning something like a small victory and stopping the slaughter and his resulting emotions around that survival. So who aren't suggesting probably truly I think must have had a good deal to do with his other fatigue as well as whatever rightly information. So you might have had and its inability to mobilize a sense of resistance that isn't him and many other Frenchman at the time of World War II in the Nazi invasion in the case of Germany, of course German rearmament the enormous support for Hitler was much around chauvinistic demands for revenge for her humiliation and betrayal as was received at Versailles. In my work in Hiroshima around the experience of a Survivor. I tried to delineate a general pattern it seemed consistent for virtually all survivors. I compared the patterns are in counted in Russian survivors with patterns observed by others and survivors of Nazi death camps and also in survivors of the plagues of the Middle Ages as recorded by them and written about and then compare these to some extent with effects of natural disasters and in simply the everyday survival somebody. Doing one is very close at one loves and there's a common set of Survivor themes. I want to suggest to you because the very relevant to what I want to say about War and Peace. A central theme the first of these elements is what I call the death imprint the impact of death and one's loss of a sense of involve invulnerability the kind of magic since we have the we're invulnerable and the other fellow is going to die in battle or elsewhere. And I need to confront that in some degree as a Survivor one's own death. Second is the issue of death guilt the classical question of a Survivor. Why did I remain alive while he or she or they died? And of course compounded by what everyone did a thought one did or did not do in the way of staying alive and not saving others? 3rd pattern I called psychic numbing was desensitization the loss of the capacity to feel gross would people describe it to me as a paralysis of the mind and very Vivid terms. It's a desensitization that's psychologically useful at the moment of experiencing Holocaust because it protects one's to protect one from feeling would otherwise be emotionally overwhelming protects one's sanity. So to speak or temporary death in a sense protects one's psychic life, but of course over the course of time for survivors of Hiroshima that numbing could give way to depression to spare and long-term constriction and withdrawal, so it's not without its consequences. as I looked at the issue of psychic mom, and I also asked questions about desensitization at the other end of the weapon those who create whether a scientist technicians or contemplate using as politicians or military men nuclear weapons and the need for such psychic numbing in order not to be able to feel what goes on the other end of those weapons and indeed psychic numbing and all of us around issues of nuclear weapons and much else. 4th pattern of the Survivor has to do with a suspicion of all relationships of Suspicion of a counterfeit what I called suspicion of counterfeit nurturance. And finally the overall struggle of the Survivor that really encompasses all these psychological themes is that of giving form or significance or meaning to one's death immersion in order to give meaning and significance to the rest of one's life. This is the survivors search for. Form and meaning or his formulation of his experience a very specific to convey my sense of Hiroshima totality of nuclear weapons in the background of all of our questions about War and Peace. In Hiroshima people experience from that one moment that Split Second of exposure to the atomic bomb, but I came to call a lifelong encounter with death over several stages the first stage of the moment it fell in the Dreadful scenes of a saw. The second stage came days to weeks later with the outbreak of acute radiation effects grotesque symptoms involving every system of the body, but especially the circulatory system and off resulting in death. That was mysterious and seemed almost Supernatural to them at the time. The third stage has to do with the increased incidence of Leukemia and certain other forms of cancer and other conditions only slight statistically but a definite increase in incidence among those significantly exposed to radiation, which whatever its limited nature statistically has an enormous psychological effect in maintaining death imagery over a lifetime for these people and forth the overall identity, they developed as atomic bomb survivors as a tainted population tainted by death or they're being held to the dead constantly what I came to call as an identity of the Dead they had to feel themselves in many ways almost as if dead or those still alive. Now I'm trying to overcome this and Find meaning and significance in their experience. Many of them sought expressions of peace or piece movement relationships so that they could find such significance for their ordeal what they was seeking what I think we all seek in our lifetime has to do with a connection with our biology and our history that I referred to as a symbolic sense of immortality. We and they she could over number of modes. They're quite obvious in a way biologically. We try to live on not only through but in our children and their children and communities as the biological becomes biosocial Religiously a theologically the Sands either of a life beyond death or more fundamentally, perhaps the sense of and some like confronting a reason conquering death Spirit through spiritual attainment, which is been the basis for the creation of all religions and the model provided by the creator of each religion. third by our works the sense that what we create will continue to live beyond our limited lifespan and that may be great works of art or science or humble influences upon other people of a doctor on a pee on his patients or a teacher on his or her students or whatever. Another mode is that of nature itself a sense of living on in Eternal nature, which we sense survives us all and all coaches provide imagery this time. And finally that's a truly psychic mode that of experiential Transcendence that have psychic experience. So intense that time and death disappear. Part of what I think is happening to us in our culture. Now is that the existence of nuclear weapons as well as other imagery of total Annihilation along with simply the velocity of historical change have combined to render us uncertain about virtually all of these modes of symbolic immortality. Who can believe that we will live on in our children? Or and I works. Or in some Conquest for a confrontation with death or life after death or even in Eternal nature in something like a post Atomic. We're all the world which has nuclear weapons have been used. We know that even nature susceptible to those weapons into our pollutions. And I think that it's the doubt about these modes that leads us to lean. So heavily on a quest for Transcendence. We need Transcendence somewhere. We need connections Beyond with self and we often seek if you intend so I can experience with its do drugs meditation or intensity in political and other social forms of activity. None the less there is some malignant possibilities around the loss of a comfortable sense of continuity or symbolic immortality and that has through the widespread numbing that I began to suggest but even worse than that is a tendency toward worship of technology and even worship of our technology of Destruction. Adele formation I speak of is nuclear ISM in which we begin to worship and see all kinds of not only Godlike destructive capacity but also unlimited capacity to create and save us in the very agents of our potential Annihilation the very Weaponry. This would be the ultimate human heresy. And Ward self of course nuclear or conventional has to do and it has been suggested. I think by the speaker's has to do with an in this mode of thought with a quest or a rather desperate need in many cases to reaffirm one's own Collective sense of immortality as a nation or people at the expense of another's if one can create a victim who is death painted who can lack that continuity or symbolic immortality one can all the most strongly reaffirm one's own. Well with that overview of Hiroshima and it's a formidable one. Let's take a look at the psychology of the Survivor around the Vietnam experience. Let me try to make it Vivid by asking you to recall 3 scenes that I want to suggest to you that some of you might have witnessed in one of our media or another the first is a gathering at the White House almost a year ago in which the president hosted most of the returning Christmas of War Irving Berlin was there to leave the scene of God Bless America and Bob Hope's wife recited a prayer in the speech the president made he gave his most belligerent defense was International domestic programs and it was conducting association with the Watergate. Scandal. You shouldn't affect a call to reactivate the deadly Romance of War its glory and so on and to Salvation so far as that was possible the synthetic Romance of the Vietnam War the honor of American participation. Are and what we achieved and so on the pows are being used as the center that call to Rally the nation around a sense of immortalizing glory and of course around us Nixon himself or within the lowest common denominator of narrowly conventional nationalism and patriotism. Of the other two scenes that also it was straight modes of survive in Vietnam as opposed to certain other Wars are the peace demonstrations of Peace at the end of World War II and a 1973 at the end of the American Military involvement in Vietnam. In 1945 flash recently on the television screens were Recollections of the scene at Times Square. VE Day the night of VE day. I was showing these film clips on in connection with the television discussion that I participated in and they were clips of pure Mass Joy, which I know to be authentic cuz I was there in that crowd as a 19 year old medical students and I might say to that I was not chagrined at the use of the atomic bomb. I lacked the morrow sensitivity to grasp what it meant. I was relieved like I guess most of the people in the world is ending and then I had a little second thought and a sense of all when I read about the bomb and what it did maybe some of that stayed with me. Contrast that with the scene in Times Square that also shown on some television screens in 1973 at the time of the Accords and January January 27th. I guess it was a few Vietnam veterans gathered in Anger Times Square itself looking CD is it now has become almost deserted some of the veterans drinking others apparently on drugs most simply and raged screaming at the camera at the society that haven't been deceived by the war and ignored upon coming back one, especially in Rage black better and shouting you can tell that bastard the war is over. These scene suggest some of the Survivor imagery now have an impact on American life. Now. I'm thinking about the pows. When was begin with the assumption that even prior to that being received by the Pentagon and administration. They have the survivors need to try to give some significance to what they've been through to their death immersion in this case a two-fold survival that of the war itself there on, but in the ward and out of there. Of imprisonment in Vietnam, which was indeed an ordeal. The Survivor formulation or significance for these men involves the struggle to find meaning in those lost years after seven or eight years for some of them and convince themselves and the country that there was some redeeming value in that experience. One way of claiming honors to call for the traditional definition of the socialized Warrior the kind of warrior code that every culture creates within which honor consists of standing up on the pressures of imprisonment. This approach has been emphasized. I would stress not only the struggle of the pows to achieving significance in honor and their way of formulating their experience. But also the Survivor Mission a few of them took on an addition that a restore National honor and pride and relationship of some kind of positive feeling about America's contribution to the Vietnam War. Now once one has said this about the genuine Survivor struggle in these men have indeed suffered and deserve sympathy that I think all veterans of this war deserve. All of them have been victimized by the war Americans in Vietnamese. Nonetheless one must quickly add and emphasize the enormous Embrace orchestration and manipulation of their Survivor conflicts by the Nixon Administration for political purposes results of the pows. I made an instant Heroes probably the first war in human history in which the heroes of the war are the returning prisoners of War so hungry. Were we for Heroes in a war that produced? No American Heroes the difficulty about this manipulation of a survival the pows the malignant danger of it is that It also insisted we learn nothing from the Vietnam War and simply return to simple-minded glorification of the American version of the warrior ethos. At the opposite pole of the ant War veterans with whom I've worked for about 3 years and Rakuten the you are kind to Summer Center New Haven and my work with these veterans has been simultaneously investigative psychological that is and political that is I made a decision to join. In fact, I already was in The antiwar Crusade sometime before that while also working with them as an investigator and in some sense as a therapist because they were hurting as they put it and they wanted us to professionals work with them to to help psychologically and I came to a position of advocacy investigation which does indeed try to combine the heart in the mind and try to illustrate that these are not antagonistic elements that ideally they should seek some Harmony and I felt a deeper relationship to my professional work my scientific work as a psychiatric investigator. For embracing these ethical questions and perhaps I'd ever experienced in the past. I want to describe some of the elements in their Survivor struggle. At the other end of this Continuum that I'm describing. And I want to briefly relate those two currents taking place in United States in the sixties because these men are not isolated from the rest of American society the end of War veterans. In contrast to the traditional veterans Survivor ethos, and you may know that the the ethos of the traditional veterans returning from war is to find his significance. By glorifying that war and his role in it and often exaggerating with the war stories told of the help of a few drinks and as encouraged by chauvinistic veterans groups. What the anti-war veterans have done instead and this is what is historically so important is to seek that Survivor significance by expressing the birth certificate of their War to find meaning in revealing its meaninglessness. They're Survivor Mission becomes out of telling the truth about the war as they perceived it no matter how unacceptable that truth has been to the American people as a Grassroots effort. Buy a significant minority of veterans of a war to oppose their War while still being fought their unique in American history. No part of the truth is he's been and part of the message as survivors. They seek to convey is an understanding. The American presence in Vietnam is an atrocity producing situation. It was the norm in Vietnam. When was psychologically virtually required to commit atrocities to avoid atrocities. When had to be exceptional. I was able to interview a man. We've been at me lie and would not fired. I spent I spent 10 hours with him. Much concerned about his experience by the whole meal. I've been trying to reconstruct but also trying to understand what had enabled him. Not only not to fire but not to hide the fact that he didn't fire as a few others felt compelled to do a few others also did not fire but we're afraid of group disapproval or even ostracism if that fact were known and hit that fact, he was very clear in public about not firing. There's several elements in his life that I could come upon from my long interviews with him. And I I finally came to three very important reasons and you'll see the not exactly the ones that piece Nick wants to hear but part of one's commitment in this work is to be rigorous intellectually in one's investigative work as well as looking for complexities as well as concerned and ones and two were Passions. The first element was that this man had been brought up with a strict Catholic teachings and although he had left formal Catholic religious involvement and really went to church the teachings stayed within him including especially imagery about limits Beyond which one does not go. A second psychological fact was that he'd run. It was a loner mostly off by himself living by the ocean and was less susceptible to groups including the combat group than most others. But finally, perhaps the most important influence of all he had kind of floundered prior to joining the military had enlisted and then found himself in the military Excel dog training procedures. Love the military plan to make it his career and his life and when he got to Vietnam and especially to me like he was appalled by what he saw as Unworthy of military honor as he had imagined it. An important point though and it's what I meant when I said earlier that in some ways the military has lost as much as any institution in American society around the Vietnam War and around issues of disillusionment, but he had to be quotes maladapted to the norm as it existed in that combat group in order to avoid firing at me lie. Guilt is very much a part of the Survivor imagery the anti-war veterans not guilt of the Maricopa kind but rather would I have come to call and animating relationship to guilds which becomes a vital part of energy for transformation. No guilt has gotten a bad name in our culture partly because of the excesses of pre-modern religion around guilt and partly because of the psychoanalytic cliche about to be getting rid of one's guilt analyzing it out. So to speak as part of a process of of fewer end and adaptation but guilt is a necessary human emotion. And with these men discovered was that their guilt could be energizing if they could confront it and its sources And guilt and becomes the anxiety of responsibility. Of course, they weren't seeking to take on all the guilt as much of the country would not like them to do they were saying to the rest of the country. Look what we did. Look what you did and sending us there. You better take a look at it to they wanted the country to share the guilt. Was that a hard time achieving anger and rage very much Central to this Survivor imagery and we Professionals in the rap groups decided. We were not in a cooling roll. It wasn't our task to cool the anger and rage but rather to help them get to the source of their anger and rage and in many cases redirected toward what they would find to be appropriate targets and often against the war. Incidentally anger and rage and not necessarily war-making emotions. They can be alternatives to war. They are still verbal Expressions often necessary and often very useful. And of course, they tied in with the anger and rage all through American society during the sixties just as the guilt I described tied in with the guilt and sometimes constructive guilt or animating relation to guilt of many young relatively affluent Americans feel toward blacks third world people or towards the Vietnamese, which could be energized into a change in themselves and toward further political activity. The veterans Survivor formulation also include the fundamental political critique of Spiritual Authority in the society and you know in the rap group's I was quite impressed at the particular anger these men had for is they call the chaplains and shrinks? We know what chaplains are and you probably know that shrinks are shrinks as they're not always to Van nickname for members of my profession. I wondered why they were particularly angry a lot of people but I wanted why they're so especially angry at Chaplin's and shrinks and what would come out with Beast or something like this when some of them would experience a combination of Morrow repugnance and psychological pain and they become become Inseparable at some point in combat in Vietnam and they would seek out a psychiatrist or chaplain if they are fortunate to see why are unfortunate the case might be The chapel of psychiatrist would often help them. To get over that feeling. And we may need Duty and to help them in effect in the daily Commission of war crimes. Deal worth at least Mansfield it's one thing to be ordered into combat under these circumstances. Another thing to have one's very moral sensibilities undermined by those who represents ethical Authority where the spiritually of psychologically in our society lot of thoughts about my own profession and about issues are professionals. This is come up again and again during these talks and perhaps a word about that now is in order to and looking at the The usage I look back at the use of the word professional. I wanted you know, how did we get to that point of ultimate corruption which it would cause it was in and I'm not playing any better than my colleagues were there. I served in Korean probably did similar things. Professional originally as many of you probably know stems from religion during the Middle Ages that meant something very close to confession professional confession of Faith Off in relationship to religious or somehow by the eighteenth Century. It had come to mean acquisition of skill or profession of skill by the 19th and 20th Century. It has become almost totally associated with technical knowledge and technique. So we turn full circle from face to Technic. I'm not advocating we go back to Total pre-modern faith for the source of our professional or the expression of professional lives. But rather that we at least take a look at the ethical component that we've lost. And combined ethical components as professionals and as I've been advocating on the podium with our technique and I'll Skillz is of course we still require. And this of course again, which part of the struggles of a 60s on the part of a lot of people around just these issues another very important aspect of their Survivor struggle had to do with what they call the John Wayne sing. I was simply a euphemism for well, you probably can't imagine a certain stance or Superman illness or machismo, which they realize was Inseparable from their relationship to the military-to-military glory into war-making. And once we had talked a great deal about the war, we probably talk more about these issues and anything else during the course of these rap groups male-female relationships as they began to realize that extra hitting themselves from this particular image of maleness, which includes toughness never showing weakness or sensitivity not even aesthetic sensitivity. never even showing very much in the way of feeling as a man and being a being loyal and an unquestioning way to One's group and what it tells one to do in this case the military in the war making love a society now, it has some attractive elements tool because it includes also courage and loyalty but explicating themselves from this image of maleness, which is Emphasized by the culture in other cultures to they came to recognize Inseparable from their extrication from the war itself in the deepest personal way and of course that has enormous significance for the larger society and that certainly connects. Directed many the struggles of the women's movement. Another part of Survivor imagery had to do a struggles around what I've called the gook syndrome the need to victimize and non-white people or the relative ease with which one can victimize a people more of that that is quite different from oneself. And of course it had to do with struggles around these issues again during the 60s and the whole effort of third world identification that is taking place in many parts of our society special money on. In all these they connected with these forces in American society rather than functioning and isolation. I saw taking place in these veterans a three-way transformational 3-stage transformation that I came to see this way first confrontation, which really meant confrontation with dying in Vietnam one's own potential death of death of one's buddy or of one's alleged enemy. The second stage was once when asked that question where was worth dying anybody died in the Vietnam, when was asking basic questions about the war in about oneself second stage, is that a reordering an inner reordering of emotions and feelings often around guilt than what I call the animating relationship to guilt. Stages out of renewal a sense of new self including in the rediscovery of play and playfulness again, very much emphasized by youth culture during the sixties and part of what I've come to speak of as the protein style after the note. Torious shapeshifter in Greek mythology Proteus the relative ease with which we can experiment with various immersions identifications beliefs these days having a historical logic reason that I've already suggested very much related to this transformation was a spirit of play as I said and of mockery and humor which could be seen two emergencies man re-emerging that man. Again was very much part of what was going on in the sixties and often misunderstood mockery and humor off in central to the success of any anti-war or anti this racial discrimination protest and I had lessons in that myself that I might share with you on a couple of occasions one of them when I together with a group of fellow professionals writers artists University people decided to engage in civil Obedience so that we would share the experience with the young and our sense of responsibility. That should be neglected had elaborate reasons, which had to do with the First Amendment principle of a citizen's right to redress of grievances. We went first to Congress and then to the Senate and also around what we took to be the Nuremberg obligation. Of individual citizens to resist the crimes the war crimes one's own government. But in any case we knew we were going to that the House of Representatives and we're going to sit outside the chambers present our petition to the speaker of the house as we did and we're going to insist that go into emergency session would not leave until they did so that they could end the war. Well, you know what happened we spend the night or two in jail, but just before going off to the action and we knew that we would spend the night in prison or or more for that. Somebody had the wisdom to invite the Gregory to address us. And he could see a shaking and I both were all scared. We never done anything like this. We were all brought up to obey laws and Gregory looked at as he's done this many times. Of course, he looked at us and he said, you know, you people look a little scared. He said up but don't be afraid to hear the first time. I did it just because I was very scared but you know what I did I just found myself a couple of nuns and I walk behind them. Are many lessons in that I guess that's what I said before about Christianity. Little thing you said in a seamless. Was he said I don't take this amiss, but I do want to just remind you middle class white folk at this is one time. You can't call the police. After that, the rest was easy. But I would seriously emphasize the enormous significance of mockery humor and play in this process. Now some is probably true that most veterans in most Americans or somewhere in between these two ends of the Continuum that I've laid out for you the pows or at least the prevailing view among pows. Are there many the center is a monkey as well and the anti-war veterans. Are there many many veterans who are reluctant to express themselves publicly does not have anything to do with any groups or certainly the war but who reverberate the answer for veterans message since I've spoken to including those with no affiliations feel a profound sense of betrayal the idea of having been as the men saying their own colorful language fucked over by the war the war. I said, no satisfactory resolution for anyone. And yet it's very hard for people to accept that kind of pain without its having some meaning and I remember the experience. I had when testifying before Senate subcommittee on the Broom station of GIS and I met a triple amputee who was who testified quite articulately about struggles for medical care and also the doubts he and others had it with the what was worth their sacrifice. I spoke to them later and he said I asked about his future plans. He was going to run for political office in the Deep South is very articulate person. I could believe to do this, but I said look as a dissident you think you can run for political office and tell me look at me so don't know dissident. I've got to believe it was some value in that war you'd lost so much one can well understand that he had to believe it had some purpose. Of course that represents. I think we're many people in American society are can we come to believe that is purpose was illumination about the Folly of War itself. I had the chance to spend some time right after the ceasefire with the same small number the same as to what veterans without going into detail about that experience but emphasized that they were depressed rather cheered by the end of the war and I think the country was a kind of relief but it's sort of Confusion And Restless as though it wasn't all quite right. One of them said very vividly. There was no sense of an ending. They also were rather and rage and had all sorts of memories of the war and antagonistic feelings toward the government would enrage the most of all was the phrase peace with honor. Because one said it isn't peace and it's no honor but what they were really angry at was the sense that their mission of telling the truth about the war was being foreclosed because the matter of ending the war and the deck the public Declaration of Peace With Honor with the manipulation of the prisoners of War around that Declaration was shutting out the American people that message of the truth about the war as one of them said was if the door was closed. You don't think that door is completely closed. This very much of a struggle still going on in society. One of the ways of looking at the nature of that struggle is to ask whether Society can look at its corpses released what I said the beginning of the talk of its own people and of its alleged enemy. And of course in that metaphorical sense, we have to ask here in this kind of conference whether any societies Cape of looking at its corpse is in connection with a Survivor imagery of that wore the issue of amnesty becomes enormously important for this Survivor. Meaning now amnesty will affect not only a hundred thousand or so young people numbered among resistors an exile's but up to a half million people when you consider those who didn't have the Electoral or cultural equipment to seek that for resistance or Exile and had to Desert or in some of the way Express their opposition to the war. Now honestly, of course means forgetting it's the same route as Amnesia, but it would also wore it possible to achieve in a political sense be a confirmation of the significance in deed of that Survivor illumination that I'm talking about and of the morrow worth of having resisted the war. I want to come back now at the end of my talk to some thoughts that I think Irrelevant for us about survival in terms of what I've been talking about. We can look at survival and the whole issue at different levels. We can say that the human struggle is one of countering disintegration with some sense of form in a form. The form does not emerge smooth doesn't flow uninterrupted laid, it breaks down through into interruptions endings disruptions and these breakdowns or Dad's large or small all forms of death are part of the irregular asymmetrical process of the continuity of life. In the face of these dad's surrounding life Aggregates either take on must take on the character of survivals. Of elements or beings that have touch death and gone on living. My assumption is that the survival process per se is first physiological and then psychological and has significance on these many different levels one could and is always the pasta double possibility in survival experience of being weakened and held with all those psychological conflict that I mentioned held to the death. So that one lives as if dead or being strengthened by that process of survival that may be true of a cell when another cell dies next to it. It certainly is true in various pre-human animals. It can also be seen in various analogous ways and young human infants and certainly want to look upon the process of adolescence as the struggle to survive child and be reborn as an adult to struggle that is often ritualize than certain societies, especially the pre-modern societies. Certainly all through adult life when has a series of further survivals of friends people close to one people one is loved as well as of ways of life or qualities of experience and no longer seem available. Now yet Nam seems they've been an unmitigated disaster for American society and for Vietnamese society and yet because it was such a bad War if I may use that phrase it may have something special some special value and what it can teach us and incidentally in terms of being a bad War. You probably know about the intense generational conflict between veterans great difficulty getting along Veterans of Vietnam veterans of World War II who could believe in the necessity of their war and quite understand up late and Veterans of Vietnam. Sometimes identify more with veterans of World War 1 when they see is having suffered simile from a war that combines Slaughter and meaninglessness. Now the lessons that we can derive from Vietnam that at least are potentially there Forest have to do with taking a hard look at the experience and it's caused his nature to causes. The causes are of course political historical and have to do with some of the things we talked about Cold War imagery the imagery of absolute American virtue and absolute communist depravity. But also the kind of tecnis is I'm going to be kind of suggest to you which now involves. He's counter-insurgency Wars in which there's an ocean of a job to be done by American know-how out there. Which means stop in, whatever it was out and buy that technisys projection. You can eliminate 50 years of the Vietnamese Revolution and thousands of years of Vietnamese history not to mention the human nature of the Vietnamese people. But perhaps even more fundamentally in regard to the Quest for Peace. We have an opportunity for another and more critical look at the entire Warrior ethos at the myth of the warrior hero. What is understood what Joseph Campbell is work makes clear is that the warrior hero in mythology uses his achievement and indeed his killing for the purposes of liberating destroying the tyrant. As and this is just simply one aspect of a hero deed equivalent to the spiritual hero as Campbell says the hero deed is a continuous shattering of the crystallization of the moment transformation fluidity not stubborn ponderosity is the characteristic of the Living God the difficulty is that virtually every culture and nation and braces warrior hero. Mythology makes its own and creates and in a way to start sit and narrows it into its own socialize Warriors. We get a warrior class or cash in each culture with the samurai in Japan and the West Point graduate are the John Wayne pattern in the United States every country has one and then Embraces the emotions around warrior hero mythology for its own narrow secular purposes. I think we've learned from the disillusionment surrounding Vietnam or at least there's the potential for learning and learning has begun to question to be skeptical of such mythology and of the deadly Romance of War surrounding it. Bianca Veterans as I suggested came with an animating relationship to their guilt the same is true of the group. I called prophetic survivors those nuclear physicist who survived their Holocaust the bomb they made that was used to kill in such a grotesque fashion by taking as their Survivor mission that of telling the world about that weapon. I would say that Alfred Nobel Had a simile animating relationship to his guilt and surviving his Holocaust being related to a family and then an Enterprise making explosives in discovering a new one of Greater and more destructive potential and the related Wars and potential destruction that he could imagine. It is this reason why Nobel Awards take on such significance because if one takes a look at the names of many people whom they've been granted. These are people who have survived some kind of Holocaust will try to bring illumination to that people to the world in that survival Ralph Bunche Albert Schweitzer Philip Noah Baker Chief with the LIE., show Linus Pauling Martin Luther King. In that sense the Survivor mission that brings illumination is confirmed by the award and symbolizations of that sort can be transmitted through the generations in a way that enriches human culture. And does that much more toward human survival and avoiding War. Somebody asked me last night being so critical of this year's Nobel award for peace. Who I would have given award to if I had the chance that was easy. I gave two possible choices would like to suggest for the future one is the Berrigan Brothers in terms of their contribution to peace and the other a group that a number of us have proposed as a matter of fact. Collectively the group of young Americans who have at Great risk resisted fighting in this war. either within or without the Armed Forces such an award would confirm a true Quest for Peace and will reflect the difficult political and ethical decisions that are required. Well, it's really the right as an artist can say these things much better than the rest of us Saul Bellow. Through his very gifted protagonist hertzog says we are survivors in this age. So fear is a progress. It will become us to realize that you were survivors a shock at the realization of such election. You feel like bursting into tears and hurts. Goes on to say as he says he thinks about histories endless succession Awards revolutions and famines, but he says perhaps we modern mankind canopy have done the nearly impossible namely learned something. And then finally a couple of poets. did a Rumpke a line that's always haunted me that I come back to again and again and that it has direct relevance to this concept of the Survivor in a dark time the eye begins to see And Richard Eberhart a recent poem called appropriately The Young and the old we are easy Riders to the fields of Grace a bombshell in the guts and finally on an ode of Joy Gary Snyder and how Wings in the shadow Elizabeth lifts on tiptoe breathing hard the whales turn and listen plunge and sound and Rise Again flowing like breathing planets in sparking world of living life. Thank you very much.


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