War and Peace in the Global Village: Part 1

"Alls fair in love and war."

"You are the soldiers and nurses of the next war. There will be another war. There always has been." George S. Patton to a Sunday school class of eight year olds in 1945.

Explaining war is a difficult task, dreams can provide a door, a window, a crack in the armor through which we can understand how the historical manifold of military plans and operations works. The dream provides a decryption key to understand the military atlas of the "perception" of the planet and the "Global Village". Read the dream interpretation The American Industrial Complex to understand more.

Anatomy of Destructiveness -or- Philosophical Problem of Aggression

Erich Fromm, "Anatomy of Destructiveness", reviews a variety of theories including anthropological, zoological, palaeontological, neurophysiological, environmental and instinctual in an attempt to frame the ofttime confusing philosophical problem of aggression. The aim of Fromm's study is to understand the "necrophilous passion". This grotesque erotic found in all paraphillic behaviours such as sadism and masochism, where the players and combatants aims are defined by control, harm and humiliation which then takes centre stage in this theatre of cruelty. Fromm tells us that mental cruelty, "is more widespread that physical sadism." Fromm informs us that the desire to destroy can be found in necrophilic dreams. The necrophillic character solves the problems and conflicts in the theatre of the mind by force and violence. For Fromm necrophilia enters our everyday language and life, he believes that in the age of cybernetics, humans are especially vulnerable to the grotesque erotic pleasures of destructiveness. The goal to destroy the enemy has been outstripped by the insane technological means of mass destruction.

War in its manifold (read human spatial geometry/topography) of activities cannot be circumscribed in a few paragraphs by any strech of the imagination, what would be needed is a whole book that stood on its own. The intent of the modules discussing war is to provide ideas of the art of war that explain some of the subjects theoretical and psychological aspects of the phenomena. The factors leading to war are often complicated and are due to a diverse range of issues. There are many perspectives on the nature and the spectacle of war found in dreams, politics, literature, art, music and film. Much as in dreams, the war film provides and inspires a historical narrative and frame story for the literary and political imagination, featuring military characters, motives, enemies, strategies, battlefields and outcomes. Think of Alec Guiness and William Holden in the film "Bridge on the River Kwai" or Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in "The African Queen". Carl von Clausewitz, "On War" although written over 175 years ago remains the definitive work and statement on understanding the dynamics of war and politics. For von Clausewitz "war in it's literal meaning is combat, for combat alone is the efficient principle in the manifold activity which is called war ".  Our nightly dreams reveal the psychological manifold of war and peace that is at work, unfolds and washes over the planet everyday.

The Epic Dream of the History of War

Tracing parts of this epic manifold the dream researcher Robert L. Van de Castle "Our Dreaming Mind", provides us with numerous dreams of historical characters such as Alexander the Great whose armies conquered most of the known Western world during the 4th century BC. Reportedly Alexander had a dream during the siege of Tyre, leading him to focus all his military efforts to capture the city, which he proceeded to do. Hannibal the 3rd century BC Carthaginian general was lured to accept an interpretation of a dream that he had to proceed to make war on Rome, by heeding the call of divine intervention. The dream was of a serpent that destroyed everything in its path, an angelic figure then appeared in the dream proclaiming to have been sent by the council of gods, bringing the prophesy of ruin for the Roman Empire. Van de Castle suggests that Hannibal's hatred of Rome may have given him cause for his own ill fated wish fulfillment. Dream interpretation then falls prey to a cognitive distortion known as the halo effect a self-serving bias of the interpreter. Shakespeare was well aware of this ironic tragic aspect of dreams and dream interpretation we find it in Calpurnia's Dream Vision in his "Julius Caesar". 

In 312 AD, Christ appeared to the Roman Emperor Constantine in a dream telling him to inscribe the light of a cross on his soldiers shields, so as to safeguard his men against the enemy. After defeating the enemy, Constantine ended the persecution of Christians and endorsed Christianity as the official religion of the Empire. In the 13th century AD Genghis Khan had a series of dreams that inspired a ruthless military career, Khan created an empire that spanned Persia, Afganistan, southern Russia and Northern India. In 1863 Otto von Bismarck had a dream which would lay the foundation for and later propel the German Empire into the 20th century leading to World War I. Riding on a narrow alpine path, Bismarck's horse refused to proceed, using his whip to strip away the rocky wall of the impasse, a broad path appeared. Bismarck saw the dream as a sign of confirmation of his plans to invade Austria. According to stories, Hitler during World War I had a nightmare in which an avalanche of earth and molten lava buried him alive, with blood flowing down his chest. Hitler woke up and left his dugout for some air, when enemy fire started Hitler sought the safety of his bunker, only to find that a direct hit on the dugout had wiped out all his fellow soldiers. While this story remains unsubstantiated, we can be sure that Hitler had dreams. Hitler who was reportedly interested in the occult arts, interpreted the dream as divine intervention that would pave the road for his destiny of creating the Third German Reich (Empire) and his new World order. Charlie Chaplin The Great Dictator would satirize Hitler's plans for world domination.

Epic Philosophy of War -or- On War

Researchers of war tell tell us that the epic philosophy of war can be viewed as an art, a game of strategy such as chess, as a pastime, or as an adventure. In Anatol Rapoport's  introduction to von Clausewitz's On War, he identifies three main teleological traditions in the philosophy of war: namely the cataclysmic, the eschatological, and the political. In the cataclysmic or catastrophic philosophy of war, it is metaphorically likened to a fire or an epidemic. Much like a contagious disease, the cataclysmic view holds that war is outside the control of human free will. In an eschatological philosophy of war, it is compared to the dramatic dénouement of a religious spectacle. The eschatological perspective of war believes that the path of history will lead to a final conflict, after which society will be free of war. While the political philosophy of war sees combat and war as a tool, as a means to a political end. Von Clausewitz tells us "war is the continuation of politics by other means". The political philosophy of the language metaphors of war have historically circulated in the warriors imagination, the dream of battle and the celebrations of victory and agonies of defeat.The views of war change with the prevailing winds of the poetic attitudes in different historical times and in different places. Darwin's survival of the fittest provided a poetic and biological frame story for the teleological basis of war, Freud saw the "death drive" as the chief cause of war.

From a poetic perspective, historians and other "experts" have used many metaphors to imagine and explain wars. For example the Everyman's historian  A.J.P. Taylor described wars as being like traffic accidents. In this sense wars can be seen as commercial vehicles that often collide due to competitive business interests, who all want a piece of the pie. When disputes arise over issues such as national sovereignty, territory, resources, ideology and a peaceable resolution is not sought, fails, or is thwarted, war often results. Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" is one of the greatest novels ever written, is an epic combination of a number of literary genres of the political imagination, such as the historical novel, family novel, Bildungsroman, psychological novel, all of which metaphorically explores the driving forces of the course of history. The Great man theory of historical movement is investigated in the subject and person of Napoleon and is found to be lacking, instead Tolstoy appears to subscribe to the theory that history is driven by those hard-boiled characters as later popularized by Ernest Hemingway's literary style. 

Homo Ludens and the Hostile Imagination

It has been suggested by a variety of social researchers that various forms of aggression exist such as the predatory, status or dominance seeking, fear induced, frustration induced, drive inhibitions, territorial, protective (maternal and paternal), and instrumental goal directed learning. Johan Huizinga "Homo Ludens", children learn patterns of social behavior though their make believe play, war being one domain of antagonistic play behavior. For example child learns to imagine the enemy early on in it's socialization into it's culture, thereby cultivating and culturing a hostile imagination. Fables and fairy tales teach children to fear evil, personified by some enemy or other. In many fairy tales the enemy is personified by a wolf that treacherously creeps towards its usually innocent victim. Children's action heros fuel their imagination for war gaming and role playing games. The perennial toy soldier has been a poetic figure that has shaped the child's violent imagination and courage under fire. William Sargant Battle for the Mind has shown, that the mind is where future rhetorical battles of public opinion will be fought. In the original film and the remake of the Manchurian Candidate, soldiers are kidnapped and brainwashed to become sleeper agents with sinister intentions. A recurring dream provides clues to the truth.

Can we not find the hidden generational motor of violence in the stories we tell our children? The ever-present enemy grows up with us, and is particularly important to politicians and national leaders. The Jews were Hitler's enemy. Ronald Reagan personified the USSR as "the evil empire". Death is a territory that the child learns early on in its psychological development and becomes an essential part of the everyday agonistic game of life. John Dollard (et al.) "Frustration and Aggression" believes that the "problem of aggression has many facets". Dollard's theory uses as "its point of departure the assumption that aggression is always a consequence of frustration." When our desires and goal-seeking activities are obstructed or thwarted, frustration results.

Said otherwise, we subjectively learn paths or behavioural sequences in reaching our desired prospective goals, when the psychological sequence is blocked or inhibited, aggression becomes directed towards the object(s) of the source of the frustration ranging from fantasies of revenge to physical violence. The subjective prospective itinerary of the frustration-aggression behaviour sequence can be found in a variety of personal situations which regulate subject and object, such as wars, malicious rumor, verbal castigation, deception, a well-thought out plan of revenge, lynchings, protests, class struggle (status frustrations), pain avoidance and so on. The pleasures of hatred in all its psychological and behavioural vicissitudes can be found in dreams. A tragic vicious cycle of destructive gratification, a generational subjective repetition compulsion is created and installed in the collective and individual psyche which politically and ideologically reinforces the frustration-aggression sequence. The politics of frustration is often evident in the blame game for the purpose of winning votes or public opinion and support. Dollard tells us that in order to politically survive democracies, facist and communist States must provide healthy forms of gratifications to their citizens if they intend on surviving in the future.

Psychoanalysis of War -or- The History of Narcissism

In "Life Against Death: Psychoanalytic Meaning of History", Norman O Brown searches for a libidinal Body Politic, with societal adaptation organized by an animistic science based upon our natural erotic and pleasurable sense of reality. As a work of radical cultural primitivism, Brown advocates the compelling needs of the body (ego) over conflict, repression and inhibition in civilized society. Brown's "Love's Body" is a metaphor and allegory for the successful narcissistic sublimation of libido (also known as psychic energy) that produces the creative and sublime products of mind, culture and civilization, which covets wisdom, truth, justice, industry and love. Educational systems would be dominated by an ecology of mind, body and soul. Failures of sublimation are the metaphoric and imaginative basis for depression, destructiveness and the tragedies of loving. Seen through the perspective of Brown's theory, the failed politics of the libido are the true source of the grotesque pleasures of war, destructiveness and strife.

Andrew Bard Schmookler Out of Weakness: Healing the Wounds that Drive us to War tells us the quest for superiority is a narcissistic issue, one that is associated to our dramaturgical self-image and self-esteem. Defending this looking glass image becomes a matter of vital security. Schmookler believes that civilization inflicts psychological traumas on the child, especially male children. These traumas are primarily caused by psychopathological power struggles. The dramatic logic of the narcissist is dictated by the overwhelming need to run the show. The free will of warriers, becomes the instrument by which the contest of wills is decided. This nightmaric superiority contest leaves many psychologically wounded in the process. This unending traumatic historical experience creates a generational self perpetuating cycle of trauma in its wake. Said otherwise, trauma is deeply entrenched historically and psychologically, by the interpersonal adversarial equation of strength found in the expression, might makes right. Seen in this light, the politics of the warrier has dictated the course of written history. The 1st century BC Roman poet Virgil "Aeneid" provided the Roman Empire with the literary epic warrier foundations of Rome. After the Trojan defeat by deceit and not on the battlefield, the Trojan warrier spirit lived on. Out of the ashes of Troy, the Troyan survivors of the Trojan War, specifically in the person of Aeneas, a character found in Homer's Illiad finds a new home and politically rebuilds, providing the founding heritage, mythology and the virtues of character seen in reasoned judgement and duty of all Romans to Rome.

Franco Fornari "The Psychoanalysis of War", thought that war was the paranoid (political) transferance and projectiion of grief and mourning. Said otherwise the fear of loss becomes a powerful primal political motivator. The nations and countries we live in play an unconscious maternal narcissistic attachment role in our feelings, thoughts, being and dreams as expressed in the symbiotic concept of "motherland" which must be defended at all costs. For Fornari war and violence grows out of the child's need for love which develops into an attitude to defend the object of our desire to which they are attached. For adults, nations become sacred (mythological) objects that are in need of being defended against the enemy and the alien, thereby producing soldiers who are ready, willing and able to go to war against and face these hostile forces. The enemy is perceived as a force that desires to destroy our objects of love.

Fornari believed the spirit and ritual of sacrifice to be the quintessence of war which features the individual willingness of human beings (especially men) to offer themselves up and die for the safety of their family, community and country, by giving over their bodies to their nation. Fornari calls war the "spectacular establishment of a general human situation whereby death assumes absolute value." We believe we are secure that the ideas for which we die, must be true, because "death becomes a demonstrative process." The just cause legitimates sacrifice and war. In this sense, the security of the communal political frame work of a speech community rests, is held together and upheld by the Public will to sacrifice its own for the cause. The individual and group narcissistic delusional  "true believer syndrome" such as witnessed in cults suicides and suicide bombings can be explained in this way. Dying for an idea, an ideology serves to preserve the mythological safety of that which they love. We can find this shared national narcissitic attachment experience of the ritual of sacrifice (part of the rites of passage) and grief and mourning in the collective dream patterns of Civilization. Seen through Fornari's theory, the call to war is rhetorically achieved by the politics of loss.

The Rhetoric of Agonistic Power -or- Love and Hate in the Global Village

The Scottish psychiatrist Ian Suttie "The Origins of Love and Hate" finds the politics of patriarchal culture at the developmental roots of the origins of jealousies, envy, hatred, and especially the Freudian Oedipus complex. While Suttie does not talk about dreams, it can be infered that the ideology of patriarchy shapes the dreams of the culture, while the culture shapes the dreams of the individual. Suttie asks; "Is love a fiction, an illusion of a weak mind shrinking from reality, and if so how and why should our minds (regarded as incapable of loving) ever have created the ‘idea' of love?" Suttie believes that the taboo and inhibition of emotional love not the inhibition of sexual love is the primary cause of psychopathology. This male goal inhibition of affection and tenderness reinforces more sadistic and cruel interpersonal political forms of dramatic play and behaviour. In this sense war becomes an psychopathological extension of this patriarchal political fate of father, mother, son and daughter.

Michel Foucault's "Care of Self" volume three of "The History of Sexuality" reviews the ancient Greek dream interpreter Artemidorus discussion of erotic dreams. For Artemidorus, the erotic dream is viewed as a prospective social scene. It politically foretells "good things and bad" in one's occupation, family, status, and friendships. In his attempt to decipher the sexual dream and dreams of pleasure, Artemidorus asks one unwavering question: who penetrates whom? The act of penetration is the core erotic activity and the raw material of interpretation and the source of all allegorical meaning of the dream and therefore social, political and economic reality. For Artimedorus, the erotic dream and act are seen as a military and economic game and metaphor of superiority and inferiority. The metaphor of penetration poetically and imaginatively places the partners in an agonistic game relationship shaped by power and arousal which places the combatants in poetic roles of domination vs. submission, master vs. slave, authority vs. subordinate, superiority vs inferiority.

Erotic rhetorical ideology acts as the poetic political figure of speech and as a rhetorical gestalt, binds the various parts of the community and its members with its ancestral agonistic power game of superiority and inferiority, submission and dominance, past, present and future are made into an epic whole, shaping the course of history. The arousal, erotic pleasure and sexuality can be viewed as instruments of power; once thus understood it is not a great leap of the imagination to understand that in historical retrospect, sexuality is one of the world's oldest, most powerful, and most subversive weapons and aphrodisiac. The human mind and body becomes subject to the ideological agonistic political genealogical (past) influences of the socialization process which a child can choose to either accept or reject, obey or rebel against.

From a rhetorical perspective, rhetoric informs the political formation of individual and national imagination and identities via identificatory processes which establishes, configures and maintains the discourse, affiliation and motivation of a speech community. Rhetoric in domestic politics targets the arousal and fulfillment of audience (individual and communal) expectations and prospects. A rhetorical or behavioural assault on the body politic or social order of a community, can be viewed as a threat to the political boundary maintaining function of keeping the peace by the personified face of the law which regulates civil conflict. Rhetorical conflict can originate from without the national body politic such as seen in war or it can come from within. The true political dissident understands that they are breaking the law and they do so fully aware of the civil consequences in terms of punishment. That is an essential part of the dissidents rhetorical intention.

Rhetorical criticism examines how communicators make intentionally use of language. By discovering the ideological motives behind points of view inherent in the rhetoric of dreams, social-psychological influences such as persuasion, propaganda, conformity, and prejudice become clear. One of the greatest propaganda films is Triumph of the Will by Leni Reifenstahl which documents the staged spectacle of the political religion of the Nazis at the 1934 Party Congress in Nuremberg. In contrast Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator satirizes the propaganda machine of the Nazis and Adolf Hitler.

Politics of Rhetorical Violence -or- Ideological Criticism of Personality Disorders

As far as I am aware, the work and theory of Otto Kernberg Aggression in Personality Disorders and Perversions has never been used to explain the psychological nature of war. Kernberg's theory provides a clinical frame work for personality disorders and paraphilias, with a particular focus on aggression. Kernberg sees hatred as the core affect that organizes severe personality disorders, perversions and psychosis. Kernberg from a clinical perspective reveals to us the psychological splitting vicissitudes of erotic hatreds. From a psychological perspective a person transfers their conflicts, grievances and hatreds onto other people transforming them into misanthropic prejudices, stereotypes and scapegoating against ethnic groups, gender groups, social classes, races, nations and so on. It is these misanthropic hatreds that we find acted out nightly on many dream screens, these hatreds in all their grotesque vicissitudes are the primal and archetypal cause of war. Wars can be perceived using Kernberg's clinical perspective as a perennial and perpetual borderline personality disorder, one in which national and international paranoia and depression fluctuates, vascillates and historically cycles between between domestic and foreign war and peace.

As Kenneth Burke has shown in his rhetorical analysis of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf", each ideology fashions the public discourse via dominant narratives. When narratives conflict such as in the rights of children, women, blacks for example, these narratives may be subject to censorship, suppression and oppressive forces. Of interest is that Hitler in his last will and testament shortly before his suicide, directly speaks about the greatness von Clausewitz, of course Hitler's Mein Kampf was a political manifesto of warfare in this creed, the Jihad of its time. Even in the face of death, the dark political objectives of Hitler's "Triumpf of the Will" are clearly and ironically visible in his will. Pathological power relationships are revealed through dream work and the roles they play in speech communities. Rhetorical violence or hate mongering found in psychotic maneuvers of prejudiced metaphors of class, race, gender and appearance that condition and distort speech and thought. Language has been pressed into service as a political instrument and weapon in the ceaseless war between dominant and disenfranchised individuals and groups. We see and hear them everyday, armies of political rhetorical metaphors are constantly at work, such as those found in advertisements, press statements, interviews, addresses to the nation, reinforcing their own political, economic and ideological positions.

The desire for peace is in conflict with traditional dominant mythological ideologies organized around the tools and instruments of violence such as the weapons of armed forces which use a gun or the atomic bomb. Ideological criticism of dreams views narratives and texts with reference to making the problems of political authority, power, race, sexuality and class transparent. Dream interpretation can expose the oppressive, deviant and subversive actions of individuals and groups to political ideological criticism. What becomes clearly visible is the prejudicial instrumental construction of social reality by authority and the censored aspects of communication, memory and emotion which have been replaced by dominant narratives. In this sense the winners of wars write the history. How can a global dream of peace be achieved where such deeply entrenched political and emotional climate of animosity, hostility, violence and fear exists and rules?

Dreams of War: A Jungian Perspective

The Jungian psychologist James Hillman "A Terrible Love of War", tells us that the scene from the film "Patton" defines and sums up what his book attempts to comprehend. The defining moment of the scene is when American General Patton played by George C. Scott is found while touring the aftermath of the World War II field of battle, he picks up a dying officer, kisses him and says: "I love it. God help me I do love it so. I love it more than my life." Hillman presses and inducts our minds into military service in order to understand this historical significance of the love of war. In quoting the Secretary of defence during the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara, we are told; "we can now understand these catastrophes for what they were: essentially the products of the failure of the imagination." In a simular voice nearly two generations later, the National Security agency director Michael Hayden is quoted, telling us when comparing Pearl Harbour to Al Queda's attacks on the Twin Towers and America, Hayden said, "perhaps it was more a failure of imagination this time than last." Hillman asks, "is it war's fault that we have not grasped its meanings?" Hillman calls for a paradigm shift of our imagination, I call for a complete understanding of collective dream patterns which can provide the pragmatic global foundation and framework  for such a shift. Working through and healing the psychopathological causes of individual and collective hatreds found in dreams is essential if humanity and the planet is to survive.

To reinforce this psychopathogical hatred theory of war we can turn to the prophetic dream of Carl Gustav Jung Memories, Dreams, Reflections; "In October (1913), while I was alone on a journey, I was suddenly seized by an overwhelming vision: I saw a monsterous flood covering all the northern and low-lying lands between the North Sea and the Alps. When it came up to Switzerland I saw that the mountains grew higher and higher to protect our country. I realized that a frightful catastrophe was in progress. I saw the mighty yellow waves, the floating rubble of civilization, and the drowned bodies of uncounted thousands. Then the whole sea turned to blood." Other visions followed with a similar thematic, Jung decided to interpret the visions as his being menaced by a psychosis, when World War I broke out, he thought otherwise. If we follow his initial archetypal interpretation, then what Jung had imaginatively tuned into was the developing collective psychosis of hatred that was soon going to sweep over and envelop Europe, Europeans and Western Civilization. Hatreds were going to barbarically strip away the venier of civilization leaving a cataclysmic oceanic wave of bloodshed, bloodbath and body count in its wake. Jung felt nauseated (sick) by the grotesque scene, shouldn't Everyone?

The Principle of Hope and the Political Anatomy of the Dream

Ernst Bloch, The Principle of Hope, called for a society based on loving (versus hating) dream work to restore our fractured society and to stop the betrayal of our children, the betrayal of our animistic nature, and the betrayal of mind, body and soul in Western society. Hope can be viewed as allegorical poetry of archetypal light, expressing the spectrum of the coloring of individual and communal consciousness by love and hope (versus hate and despair). In this sense, our  imagination is colored by dreams and daydreams of a better life and the nightmares and fears of hate and discontent. Dante's "Divine Comedy" is a literary work that features the poets descent into the dark corruptions of hell in hopes of finding a path to the light. Bloch envisions hope as a light-meter of history to measure the ideational content of utopian light of dreams versus the dystopian darkness in nightmares of a society. The dream interpretations found elsewhere at the IIDR website makes the collective allegorical dynamics of light and darkness as it relates to this light-meter visible. Humanity need not be doomed to a tyrannical dark vision of fatalistic destructive ideological power struggles and combat based on the misanthropic hatreds of ethnic groups, race, gender, class, religion and appearance.

Socrates a founding father of Western philosophy and Civilization can be seen as a political dissident who has remained in our conscious collective memory because he chose capital punishment. In the American body politic one of the great practioners of civil disobedience was Henry David Thoreau who refused to pay taxes lawfully imposed, Thoreau wrote the famous essay "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" (1849). Thoreau's body political objects of attack were twofold; the American involvement in an "unjust" war with Mexico and more specifically the American policies on human slavery. In order for the political criticism of the anatomy of a speech communities body politic to be effective we must use the dream as the primary object and subject of social research. If we are able to reveal and expose the everday global literary dynamics of the "Anatomy of the Dream", only then can and will real dynamic peaceful social change of Dream Vision become pragmatically possible.


All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.