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A Focus on Symptoms, Never the Root Cause
quote biggestDoes a child not have as much right to privacy and freedom from parental conditioning as the parents expect for themselves?
It is one of the most fundamental problems facing humanity today. The future depends on how we solve it.
     ~ lede, Chapter 3 | Conditioning, from the book of children

Although Osho came close to the truth, notice he did not define the root cause.

Unconscious Procreation is
the fundamental problem facing
humanity today. The future depends
on how we solve it.  
[FIFY] (Fixed IFor You) 

Click for footnote   

On defining Unconscious Procreation

Borrowing from Justice Stewart's opinion on Pornography, the easy answer has always been…

  • It's difficult to define, but I Know It When I See It

What is presented is a simple definition of the phrase: Unconscious Procreation.

It finally hit me, and although incomplete, it seems appropriate under the circumstances.

                    Another page   Under Construction  

The phrase "I know it when I see it" is a colloquial expression by which a speaker attempts to categorize an observable fact or event, although the category is subjective or lacks clearly defined parameters. The phrase was famously used in 1964 by United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart to describe his threshold test for obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio. In explaining why the material at issue in the case was not obscene under the Roth test, and therefore was protected speech that could not be censored, Stewart wrote:

  • “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

The expression became one of the most famous phrases in the entire history of the Supreme Court.

Stewart's "I know it when I see it" standard was praised as "realistic and gallant" and an example of candor. [Wikipedia]

Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart was stuck on how to describe pornography, and Novak (his law clerk) said to him,

  • “Mr. Justice, you will know it when you see it.”

The justice agreed, and Novak included that remark in the draft of the opinion.
from: The Origins of Justice Stewart’s “I Know It When I See It” at The Wall Street Journal

   The War Zone       by: Tony Lutz

war on entropy 247Define: Unconscious Procreation

If you can’t explain it simply,
you don’t understand it well enough.
Every human, without exception, is born into a War Zone!
Unconscious Procreation is the result of parents bringing a child into the War Zone (life), without this simple understanding of the consequences of their action.

Click for WAR definition   

From: Oxford Dictionaries

Definition of war in English:

1 A state of armed conflict between different countries or different groups within a country:
   Japan declared war on Germany
   the two countries were at war for the next eight years
   [COUNT NOUN]: I fought in two wars

■ conflict, warfare, combat, fighting, struggle, armed conflict, action, military action,
   bloodshed, contest, tussle;
■ battle, skirmish, fight, clash, confrontation, engagement, affray, encounter, collision,
   offensive, attack, blitz, siege;
■ campaign, crusade, feud, vendetta;
■ strife, hostility, enmity, antagonism, discord, disunity, animus, ill will, bad blood;
■ hostilities

[ANTONYMS] peace, truce, ceasefire, harmony

1.1 A state of competition or hostility between different people or groups:
     she was at war with her parents
     [COUNT NOUN]: a price war among tour operators

1.2 A sustained campaign against an undesirable situation or activity:
     the authorities are waging war against smuggling
     [COUNT NOUN]: a war on drugs

■ campaign, crusade, battle, fight, struggle, movement, drive, mission

From: Wikipedia

     War is an organized and often prolonged conflict that is carried out by states or non-state actors. It is generally characterised by extreme violence, social disruption and an attempt at economic destruction. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political communities, and therefore is defined as a form of (collective) political violence or intervention. The set of techniques used by a group to carry out war is known as warfare. An absence of war is usually called peace.

     While some scholars see warfare as an inescapable and integral aspect of human nature, others argue that it is only inevitable under certain socio-cultural or ecological circumstances.

     For some, the practice of war is not linked to any single type of political organization or society. Rather, war is a universal phenomenon whose form and scope is defined by the society that wages it.

     Another argument suggests that since there are human societies in which warfare does not exist, humans may not be naturally disposed for warfare, which emerges under particular circumstances.


Each newborn is:
     ■ The objective of this war
     ■ The prize sought for in this war
     ■ A future participant in this war

The war for the body, mind, heart and soul of all human beings.

See also:
     ■ The War on Children
The War on Consciousness
     ■ The War on Entropy
     ■ The War on the Enviorment
     ■ The War in Heaven [Also HERE]
     ■ The War on Humanity
     ■ War on Sex  [Also HERE]
     ■ Various other War on [fill in the blank]. How many more are there?
     ■ Conventional Military War – armed conflict between clans, tribes, nation-states.

Wealthy men enthralled by Chris Kyle...The American Sniper

160 confirmed kills has been the magic number in the pastamerican sniper 225. However, as Kyle Bass might say, past performance does not guarantee future results.

  • “Bass invited Kyle to live at his house with him while Taya finished selling their place in San Diego. He introduced Kyle to as many “big money” people as he could. And the wealthy men were enthralled by Chris Kyle. They loved being around the legend. They loved hearing his stories and invited him to go hunting on their ranches. Bass would hold an economic summit every year at his ranch in East Texas. He would kick off the festivities by introducing his sniper friends.
  • “I'd have Chris and other SEALs come out and do exhibition shoots,” Bass says. “They would take 600-yard shots at binary explosives, so when they hit them it’s this giant explosion that shakes the ground.” He smiles as he tells the story. “For all the people that manage money all over the world and on Wall Street to come to Texas and see a Navy SEAL sniper shoot a bomb, it’s about as cool as it gets.”

A radical experiment in empathy:
Sam Richards at TED

I wish I could get Kyle Bass and all the people that manage money all over the world and on Wall Street to watch this 18-minute video by Sam Richards.
Maybe then they might begin to understand why Chris Kyle was killed by another veteran, and why
more US soldiers are dying from suicide than are killed by the enemy.

continued at Zero Hedge

I made a comment to that post on ZH, below is a screen shot of that comment.

comment 5712251 612

After posting this comment, I began to think more about war and how this guy, Chris Kyle, was taken by the machine and turned into a hired killer.

Unconscious Mechanical Force vs. Conscious Intentional Force

Life is controlled by a wide-spectrum of mechanical, biological forces – all operating automatically, without rational consciousness's supervision – unconsciously.





The Gaian Army is not a military force

  Under Construction  

  • “The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members.”
      ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Parents are nothing but agents of society.

The idea of a child being born into a War Zone is obvious, yet almost no one ever talks or writes about it. The whole subject is literally "unthinkable."

Gaian Corps is dedicated to raising awareness by educating the general public, policy makers, and the media about the ominous implications of unconscious procreation, the lack of discussion of this 'fact of life' as well as a lack of understanding of conscious procreation.

Population must be balanced by fair, humane and non-coersive means.


gaia_army  The Gaian Army     From: Starve the Matrix


The primary purpose of this website is to promote the creation of a Gaian Army and to support its existence.


To put this into context, a conventional army, the Dominator's Army, exists to control and conquer by force and violence. Destruction, killing and war are its hallmark. The basis of its organization is to enforce loyalty, obedience and unquestioned sense of mission. Unfortunately, the Dominator's Army is also an option to young men and women (especially the less advantaged) looking for stability, a career, a place to call home and a well defined and predictable future, and for a young person without many opportunities, this often becomes their best option.

The Gaian Army is an alternative whose purpose is to train youth to learn to overcome the brainwashing and programming of the Dominator society, which their family, their education and life in general has placed upon them. It exists to prepare youth to become Real Men and Real Women. It offers a similar sense of belonging and mission, as well as a future.

Related, what are the choices facing young people as they become adults? Leaving aside the choices for men, those for females seem even more limited. In my opinion, an almost universal reason that women decide to have a child is a sense of security that it is commonly believed a child will bring to their life. I believe it is a similar need for security that motivates people to join the army, or become a monk or nun. I also believe that the Dominator society controls people through their children.

In the Dominator's Army, young men (and women) are paid to learn, train and practice at killing.

Nowhere in soceity is there a similar place for youth to go and be paid to learn, quite the contrary in fact — an education must be paid for. In the Philippines, for example, even elementary schools charge for admission.

Once one's education is completed, or once the money runs out to continue, youth must find a job, and spend most of their waking hours "working for a living" which leaves little free time to pursue a higher education, even in self-study.

So, who though up that scheme? The Dominators of course!

Telestic Mission

think_for_yourself_smallTelestic mission to teach, enlighten, guide, enrich — in short, to encourage and cultivate human potential.

Definition of telestics:

  1. The study and application of aims, intentions, purposes.
  2. The art of detecting and formulating aims or goals.
  3. The practice of open source guidance or self-direction, based on a clear choice of goals framed in an abstract paradigm or a guiding narrative, a vision-story.

From Greek telos, "aim, purpose, goal." Related to the designation used among ancient seers and teachers in the Pagan Mysteries, the telestai, "those who are aimed."

from Chapter XLII, The nonlinear dynamics of love and complex systems - Debugging the Universe

So, let's state the hypothesis. The only reasonable hypothesis that I can state is that one which comes from the unknown system taught by Gurdjieff. This system tells us that the World has a certain purpose. It tells us that not everything works well. It tells us that there are certain "bugs" in the construction.

It is quite possible that using the meta-language one can prove that any program on that scale must have bugs. So, the Universe is a program, a program which has bugs, but which has the built-in capacity for self-improving.

There are, therefore, certain units that are brought to existence with this specific purpose: to self-evolve to a degree high enough to be able to find out the methods of debugging.

So, let's get on with Debugging the Universe, starting with our minds.


For the sake of arguement, three assumptions are made:

  • There are unseen / unknown forces beyond the realm of the Earth — forces which greatly influence life on earth.
  • The source material is a combination of truths, half-truths, lies, and outright deception. Verify everything.
  • Humans as batteries in the Matrix is a crude but apt analogy.

Try to connect in your mind what I said about the study of good and evil, mechanicalness and consciousness, morality and conscience, and then put the question, 'Is conscious evil possible?' That will require study and observation, but from the point of view of the system there is a definite principle that conscious evil is impossible; mechanicalness must be unconscious.

Q. The idea of evil being always unconscious is rather difficult to understand. Can you explain it a little more?

A. I said, first of all try to find for yourself what you call evil, not by definition but by examples. When you have a certain number of examples, ask yourself, could they be conscious? Could evil things be done consciously? Later you will see they could be done only unconsciously. Another answer is that all you call evil can happen mechanically, and it always does happen mechanically, so it has no need of consciousness. (Fourth Way, p 27-8)

Girl Army

Originally, I called it the "Girl Army" based upon the need for an alternative for childless young females.

Also originally, I called "unconscious procreation," by the term "unconscious breeding".

Then I began to read from John Lamb Lash's website, where after reading the following, I revised it to "Unconscious Procreation":

  • “. . . because breeding happens for the wrong reasons and continues unabated, without conscience or foresight. I object to unlimited procreation of our species, as did Gnostics who condemned human breeding habits as ignorant, joyless, and irresponsible. Those ancient seers and guardians of the Mysteries were dedicated to fostering the genius of our species through education, vocational training, and visionary practices aligned to the living earth. In that role, they opposed the breeding of future generations merely to serve the existing one. In short, they objected to human use of progeny as a means to an end. Sadly, this is just how it goes with almost all breeding in the human population. But no solution to this problem can be achieved through eugenics programming or a geopolitical mandate, only through individual accountability.”

While continuing to read at Metahistory, I learned a little about the Gnostic tradition, and about the mythical figure "Sophia".

"Sophia Army" instead of "Girl Army"? Close, but doesn't quite work, IMO.

As Gaia can be substituted for Sophia, that was a natural -- the Gaian army.

Funding the Gaian Army

Local, community based enterprises such as Urban Agriculture.

Online Internet enterprises such as the Cyber Care Café, including membership fees and online donations.

Ongoing charitable giving modeled after Save the Children and World Vision.




Unconscious Procreation for Dummies

Procreation describes a basic function common to all forms of life — reproduction.

Unconscious Procreation for DummiesFor all practicable purposes, the word, Procreation, has the same meaning across all classes of living organisms — from protozoa to modern man.

Why is there no distinction made / no alternative word (or phrase) available to differentiate the process of procreating by the only conscious living being (Man) as opposed to all other forms of (non-conscious / unconscious / instinctive) living organisms?

For example if the noun phrase "Unconscious Procreation" is also a pleonasm (redundant phase), that fact in and of itself indicates no distinction made with Procreation within the English language.  (See: Google search to verify that  Unconscious Procreation" is virtually unused in the English language.)  Also indicating redundantcy is the lack of evidence for "conscious procreation".

Does Conscious Procreation exist anywhere in the Universe?

If "There is no true divinity except Man." (LINK), then there is no such thing Conscious Procreation, because it sure is not happening here!

  Use of Force     When a woman and a man together create a new human being, they are forcing the creation of a new soul. Whether that soul becomes the incarnation of a pre-existing soul, or takes on a brand new identity is irrelevant.
The fact remains that a soul was forced into incarnation.

Use in Phrases

Results from Google Search (exact phrase) Results

Google Search

instinct to procreate
About 229,000 results
natural procreation
About 59,200 results
nature to procreate
About 42,700 results
human nature to procreate
About 11,500 results
procreative urge
About 14,300 results
procreative instinct
About 9,850 results
natural urge to procreate
About 27,500 results
natural drive to procreate
About 10,900 results
procreative force
About 7,680 results
procreative drive
About 5,270 results
Word Analysis

Unconscious procreation — a noun phrase that is virtually unused in the English language.  (see: Google search)

It is probably by definition a pleonasm (redundant phase).  Redundant due to the lack of evidence for "conscious procreation".

Quoting from the Meriam-Webster definition of procreation: "Animals have a natural instinct to procreate".

Given that animals (excluding humans) are not conscious (under the generally accepted definition of the word) the usage of the noun phrase (unconscious procreation) would be an obvious pleonasm if it was used in any context of the animal kingdom.

Not to belabor the point, but it's again quite obvious that, again excluding humans, that the only kind of procreation is in fact also unconscious or instinctual — and again, therefore it is unnecessary to be described as such.  How often is the noun phrase, "instinctive procreation" used?

Entropy and the Laws of World-creation and World-maintenance

Click for lede quote from Gurdjieff   

“In the beginning, when nothing yet existed and when the whole of our Universe was empty endless space ... our Most Great and Most Most Holy Sun Absolute existed alone in all this empty space. . . It was just during this period of the flow of time that there appeared to our Creator All-Maintainer the imperative need to create our now-existing Megalocosmos, that is, our World. . . The Sun Absolute, on which He dwelt with His cherubim and seraphim, was almost imperceptibly, yet steadily, diminishing in volume. As this fact ascertained by Him appeared very serious, He decided to review immediately all the laws which maintained the existence of that still unique cosmic concentration. During this review, it became clear to our Omnipotent Creator for the first time that the cause of this gradual diminishing of the volume of the Sun Absolute was simply the Heropass, that is, the flow of Time itself.”
(Gurdjieff, Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, Chapter 36, abridged)


From:  Entropy and the Laws of World-creation
          and World-maintenance

We must remember a grim fact about
living organisms that I mentioned earlier:

no organism can be beneficial for
the universe by its survival.

So we are confronted with this paradox:
the eventual goal of all those evolutionary
processes cannot be the creation of life

because life kills the universe.

This forces us to see life and consciousness
as interdependent partners with opposing
purposes and our presence as the reconciling
ground for the two opposing principles.

Around the time of Gurdjieff's birth, science made it clear through its law of entropy that the universe is constantly losing its potential for all types of movements.

  • This potential is nothing but the sharpness of contrasts, oppositions, or contradictions that I mentioned earlier.
  • All contrasts that we see in the current universe are developments of one primordial contrast between existence and nonexistence.
  • The potential for further creation is consumed by all cosmic processes including the formation of galaxies, planets, and organisms.
  • The universe is slowly but irreversibly moving toward death.

In the above quotation from the Beelzebub's Tales, it is easy to understand why our Creator had to create the universe. On the other hand, it is difficult to understand how the created universe can be maintained without going down the drain. The Sun Absolute's state described in this passage is characteristic of a thermodynamic system that has reached equilibrium at a high energy level. It cannot survive without creating lower worlds. The owner of a commercial organization burdened by the excess of money may make a similar decision. The manager of a power plant producing more excess heat than it can handle will also make the same decision. How can we be assured that the decision was not an egoistic one? A great suspicion arises about the goodness of the Creator and his ability as a Maintainer.

From this point of view, creation appears distinct from maintenance. Creation can be a one-time affair requiring only one push. All subsequent events might have proceeded automatically. We are horrified to find that Beelzebub seems to confirm this view. How then can maintenance be achieved? Beelzebub mentions two general directions of all cosmic processes. He calls them involution and evolution. I associate involution with the top-down flow of events in the process of creation; evolution with the bottom-up flow of events in the direction of returning to the source. Biological evolution is not necessarily a process of evolution in this sense. We understand how involution follows the act of creation but how can evolution happen?

What we might call the law of involution is called the law of entropy in science. Toward the end of 19th century, following Rudolf Clausius' formulation of the law of entropy, scientists became aware that whatever they studied in the physical world obeyed this law. They also became convinced of their inability in detecting any law that might act against it. Young Gautama Siddhartha must have had a similar realization before he left his palace. The entire universe was slowly moving toward death; local and temporary exceptions would never change the general direction of this movement. The more they tried to see the whole picture of what's happening, more hopeless they became. The following description about the law of entropy will explain you why.

Entropy and the Terror of the Situation

The law of entropy is another name of the second law of thermodynamics. Later on, the concept was found to be applicable to a great variety of academic fields including biology, ecology, economics, information theory, and the study of human mind as an information processing system. The applicability of the law of entropy to the information theory confirms Gurdjieff's insistence about the materiality of knowledge.

In terms of thermodynamics, the first law called the law of the conservation of energy ensures that the total amount of energy within a closed cosmos shall remain always the same in spite of anything that may happen in that cosmos. The second law of thermodynamics, the law of entropy, does not deny the conservation of energy in a closed cosmos but predicts gradual loss of its quality with time. This exactly is the problem that our Creator All-Maintainer took very seriously. The law of entropy is defined as follows:

  • A law that governs the direction of all physical changes taking place in the universe. With time, the energy within a system will inevitably tend to become distributed in the most probable pattern, which consists of all the individual particles of the system engaging in random, disordered motion. (OED)
  • The amount of entropy within a closed system irreversibly increases with time. (common scientific formulation)


Many popular books written on the subject of entropy console the readers by inviting them to pay attention to the apparent state of orderliness in the universe we see now. They argue that the richness and beauty of forms and structures that we see in the world prove the existence of a hidden law of evolution. This sounds true. However, these arguments often ignore the fact that the universe is losing its potential constantly by creating these forms and structures. Are these forms and structures helping in counterbalancing the law of entropy in any observable way?

Another serious error behind this way of thinking is the misleading definition of entropy as the factor of chaos and inverse of orderliness. This is not a part of the original definition of entropy but is the result of what is known as the Boltzmann's interpretation. This interpretation may be correct in what scientists call "ideal states" but not in reality, where the definition of orderliness becomes very subjective. For example, in purely thermodynamic sense, our universe in its initial chaotic state was in a state of lower entropy than in its current state of orderliness. In a wider sense, when particles stop fighting with each other and begin to co-exist "harmoniously," we often see it as orderliness while it actually may be a process of running down. There are two types of chaos and likewise two types of orderliness: one that holds much potential and another that results from the loss of potential. Rather than making a judgment about entropy based on the state of apparent orderliness and chaos, one should apply the concept of entropy to discriminate between these two types of chaos and of orderliness. This subject came to be addressed remarkably well in the field of complex system dynamics but only very recently. Readers should be aware of the Boltzmann's interpretation because many popular books and scientists still accept it in spite of recent criticisms that are more persuasive.

Finally, there are those who tried to look for a hidden law of evolution in the working of forces that enabled the appearance of organic life on Earth. This also is a valid line of inquiry but here also it is easy to fall into the pitfall of wishful thinking. It is again useful to return to the original thermodynamic concept of entropy. Each organism constitutes a thermodynamic system and its survival depends on keeping one's own entropy lower than that of the environment. In other words, each organism feeds on negative entropy and excretes positive entropy. No organism can be beneficial for the environment by its survival. Vegetation on Earth is exceptional because its openness to the sun helps the Earth. Still, in a larger scale, our sun is constantly dissipating its energy through its radiation, thereby increasing the entropy of the entire universe.

Theoretically speaking, for anything in the universe to be able to be of any use for the whole, it must be connected with a source that never dissipates itself by its radiation (or in contact with a certain emanation that never dissipates its source). Beelzebub speaks of such and laughs at the poor scientists of the planet Earth who are ignorant of this. He makes an absurd statement: Our Sun Neither Lights nor heats. What he calls Our Sun may not be the same with what we call our sun.


Exactly at this point, we must remember a grim fact about living organisms that I mentioned earlier: no organism can be beneficial for the universe by its survival. So we are confronted with this paradox: the eventual goal of all those evolutionary processes cannot be the creation of life because life kills the universe. This forces us to see life and consciousness as interdependent partners with opposing purposes and our presence as the reconciling ground for the two opposing principles.

6.2.3 Towards a Definition of Life © 1979 R.A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved [LINK]
Life is negentropic
and self-organizing
aperiodic crystal.

  What is entropy?     Thermodynamic and statistical principles are among the most fruitful tools of scientific inquiry. They are equally applicable to simple and to complex systems, living or nonliving, terrestrial or extraterrestrial. As Dr. James P. Wesley, Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Missouri in Rolla, tells us: "The relationship of life to the environment is, above all, a thermodynamic relationship. Wherever man may go and whatever alien lifeforms he may encounter, the thermodynamic behavior of life will always be basically predictable."1717

The idea of entropy is often involved in modern discussions of the definition of life.

What is entropy? There are really two relatively straightforward aspects of this concept. The first ties in to the thermodynamic aspects of matter, having to do with heat and energy; the second pertains to statistics and order in any system.

Thermodynamic measure of energy
Statistical measure of disorder

Entropy in the thermodynamic sense is a distinct, physically measurable quantity, much like length, temperature, or weight. At a temperature of absolute zero, to take one example, the entropy in a lump of matter is exactly zero. If the temperature is slowly increased in tiny, reversible little steps, the increase in entropy is mathematically equal to the amount of energy (in joules) divided by the temperature at which it was supplied. This holds even if a change of state occurs, as from solid to liquid.

Suppose that we melt a cube of solid ice at 0 °C. If the mass is 1 kg, the increase in entropy can be calculated as exactly 1223 joules/degree. Entropy in the thermodynamic sense is thus a very real, physical quantity.

In the statistical sense, entropy is a measure of the disorderliness of a system. It seems rather clear that when we melt our 1 kg block of ice, the neat orderly arrangement of water molecules in the cube is destroyed. The rigid crystal lattice is converted into a less ordered system — the continually changing, sloshing, randomized distribution of molecules in a liquid.

When the orderliness of a system decreases, the entropy correspondingly increases. The situation is analogous to the state of the public library when the shelvers are out on strike. Books are removed from their proper places but are not returned. Disorder and randomness — entropy — increase.

The greater the structural complexity of a system, the more information is required to describe it. The more organization a system has, the more information and the less entropy it possesses. But information and orderliness, on the one hand, and entropy, on the other hand, are irreconcilable.

It is the business of the universe to
destroy complexity and to become
progressively more randomized.”

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that entropy and disorder shall always increase and that information will naturally tend to be degraded and lost in any isolated physical system. (Such isolated systems drift from less probable states to more probable ones.) It is the business of the universe to destroy complexity and to become progressively more randomized.

How does this relate to life? Organisms appear to present a rather curious thermodynamic anomaly. Living systems "violate" the Second Law, by developing well-ordered systems (themselves) out of relatively chaotic systems (their food).85 At first blush, lifeforms seemingly oppose the "universal drive to disorder" mandated by thermodynamic principles. They organize their surroundings and produce order where there was little or none before. Entropy is actually reduced.

This apparent conflict has only been resolved in the last decade or so. Classical treatments dealt with idealized, isolated systems which transfer no energy or matter between themselves and the external environment.2213 In sharp contrast, most systems in nature are nonisolated "open" systems, exchanging matter and energy with the surroundings.

  Open systems / Energy flow / Local decrease of entrophy   

Energy by itself is not enough — there must be a useful flow of it. This means that to support life, an environment must possess both a "source" and a "sink." Energy emerges from the source, flows to the sink, and is there absorbed.

Living systems customarily establish themselves as intermediate systems, interposed between some source and some sink in the environment. Then, they utilize the energy flow from source to sink to power their own internal functions.

The total entropy of the entire system, which we shall label E, is the sum of the entropies generated in two separate places. First, there is the entropy caused by the source-to-sink energy flow which we shall call S. Then there is the entropy generated by the intermediate system (the living organism) due to exchanges of matter and energy with the surroundings. If we call this L, then we know that the change in total entropy DE = DS + DL.

The second Law of Thermodynamics demands that the total entropy E of any isolated system always increase. Hence, the amount of change must always be positive, so DE > 0. The flow of energy from source to sink (S) consists of irreversible processes, so it too must always cause entropy to increase: DS > 0. Consequently, -DL < DS is our only constraint.

 … local pockets of negative 
 entropy change.

What does this mean in plain English? The last equation above simply says that while the entropy of a living system is always permitted to increase by the Second Law (e.g., upon death), a short range of decrease is allowed as well. That is, it is thermodynamically permissible to have — "negentropy."

… the essence of life is that
it feeds on negentropy.

Life involves a continuing struggle
against increasing entropy.

Dr. Erwin Schroedinger was really the first to point out that the essence of life is that it feeds on negentropy.1678 An organism able to transfer disorder from itself to its environment can reach a plateau for which the steady-state entropy within the living system is less than the formal entropy entering it.85  Life involves a continuing struggle against increasing entropy.

Living systems thus increase local order at the expense of a larger decrease in order within the environment.

Does life really violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics? We’ve seen that organisms can effect a local decrease in entropy by maintaining an energy flow.* This leads to an ordering of the intermediate (living) system. So the Second Law does not hold for nonisolated systems (L), but only for isolated ones (E). It is invalid for lifeforms alone, but does hold if that same living system is considered in conjunction with the medium in which it is immersed.

Life by itself is a nonisolated system capable of achieving negentropic conditions locally. Life plus environment is an isolated system, for which the total amount of entropy must always increase.

As one writer puts it:

Living systems convert order in their surroundings into disorder, and thereby increase their own internal order. To say that living systems feed on negentropy is equivalent to saying that their existence depends upon increasing the entropy of the rest of the Universe.2213

Click for larger image & additional explanation

figure 6 4
A schematic presentation of the origins of living things.

The first graph shows the population of structures — molecules, for instance — against some measure of size
or complexity for a case where a free-energy flow has spread the composition to include species of high free energy.

The second graph shows what happens when some autocatalytic process begins to increase the population
beyond some level of complexity by further degrading the less elaborate, material present.

The last graph suggests how artifacts might be looked at in this process, a second and rarer, but more costly, bump.

figure 6 4 med
Figure 6.4 Life, Entropy, and Organizational Structure

  Negentropic processes   
At the most fundamental level, negentropic ordering processes are achieved by living organisms. Life drives its environment to physical or chemical disequilibrium, establishing an entropy gradient between itself and its surroundings.1144 All living systems possess this feature, and it is contended that any system engaging in such negentropic operations must be considered "living" to a certain extent (Figure 6.4).

The question is, of course, to what extent?

Rather than viewing the question of life in absolutist terms, it seems more fruitful to establish the intensity of negentropic processes as a measure of the extent of the life-quality. One of the more fundamental distinctions between "life" and "nonlife" is the degree of organization and internal structure possessed by living systems. Order and structure are virtually synonymous with information content.1012

That is, living systems do more than merely establish a thermodynamic entropy gradient — they establish an organizational / informational gradient as well. As organisms feed on negentropy, they in effect remove information from the surrounding medium and store it within themselves. It is the business of life to accumulate information and complexity.

  Aperiodic crystal     In a physical sense, these data bits which permeate all lifeforms may be thought of as being stored in an "aperiodic crystal" — a biological lattice with highly irregular small-scale nonuniformities.2213 The more effective the negentropic processes, the greater the organization which will arise and hence the more aperiodic the physical structure will become. Organization is maintained by the extraction of order from the environment.

It is the business of life
to accumulate information
and complexity.

If we consider every "autonegentropic" system to be alive, then its character or richness of expression may be defined along a spectrum from lesser to greater levels of organization. At one extreme are the viruses, which are not negentropic systems by themselves and thus cannot be considered alive in the absence of living hosts. At the other extreme are mules and bees, earlier rejected by the genetic definition of life because of their individual inability to reproduce. These animals are quite clearly auto negentropic systems possessing a vast degree of organization both in the macroscopic and microscopic realms. Thus they are not only "alive" (because they feed on negentropy to build internal complexity) but also "very alive" (because they are so internally complex).**

The refrigerator in my house technically should be considered a "live" system in the very broadest sense, as it is a well-defined intermediate system which uses an energy flow to decrease entropy within (the icebox gets colder, and well-ordered ice crystals collect on the freezer walls) at the expense of increasing the entropy in the external environment (the kitchen air gets warmer). Yet its organizational structure is minimal. Little information is stored, and there is only trivial interrelatedness even on the macroscopic scale. There is scant evidence of aperiodic crystal, no complexity at all on the microscopic stage. So the intensity of life in my refrigerator is negligibly small.

Note that "machine life" or "solid state life" per se is not ruled out. As machines become more and more sophisticated, complexity follows. Large-scale integrated circuits available today pack millions of components onto a tiny silicon wafer the size of a postage stamp. Under the microscope, significant aperiodicities have begun to appear in the latest generation of electronic devices. It is entirely possible that, in time, machines will evolve beyond the point of negligible life-quality. This is true, despite the fact that modern digital computers (which merely process data without adding any of it to their internal structure) are not yet alive at all.

  Conclusion     Xenologists suspect that there are two fundamental properties any system must possess before it can be considered alive:

  • First, it must be thermodynamically negentropic, establishing an entropy gradient between itself and the environment.
  • Second, it must utilize the entropy gradient to create or to maintain structural order internally — that is, it must be autonegentropic or self-organizing.
  • Then there is the quality of organization, known as complex interrelatedness or aperiodic crystal, which reflects the intensity of the life process displayed by a given entity.
For those who prefer succinct and pithy definitions, the author would like
to offer the following as a starting point for further discussion:
Life is negentropic and self-organizing aperiodic crystal.

* A probable corollary is the necessity for "phase separation." In some sense, the sources and sinks should be physically separated with the living system inserted between them. So we expect barriers to exist between an organism’s sources and its sinks. This prevents dissipation of the system, protects it from adverse changes in the environment, and insures the lifeform’s ability to exert and maintain control over its interior.2213 The exact nature of these barriers — whether gravitational, electromagnetic, or utilizing some hitherto unsuspected principle — has not been widely discussed.64

** While evolution and the capacity to reproduce are of immense biological importance, a system need not be capable of reproduction for it to be classified as living.2213, 62




The Philosophy of War | from: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

war 250x148Any philosophical examination of war will  center on four general questions: What is war? What causes war? What is the relationship between human nature and war? Can war ever be morally justifiable?

Defining what war is requires determining the entities that are allowed to begin and engage in war. And a person's definition of war often expresses the person's broader political philosophy, such as limiting war to a conflict between nations or state.   Alternative definitions of war can include conflict not just between nations but between schools of thought or ideologies.

Answers to the question "What causes war?" largely depend on the philosopher's views on determinism and free will.  If a human's actions are beyond his or her control, then the cause of war is irrelevant and inescapable.  On the other hand, if war is a product of human choice, then three general groupings of causation can be identified: biological, cultural, and reason.  While exploring the root cause of conflict, this article investigates the relationship between human nature and war.

Finally, the question remains as to whether war is ever morally justified.  Just war theory is a useful structure within which the discourse of war may be ethically examined.  In the evolving context of modern warfare, a moral calculus of war will require the philosopher of war to account not only for military personnel and civilians, but also for justifiable targets, strategies, and use of weapons.

The answers to all these questions lead on to more specific and applied ethical and political questions.  Overall, the philosophy of war is complex and requires one to articulate consistent thought across the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, political philosophy, and ethics.

What is War?

The first issue to be considered is what is war and what is its definition. The student of war needs to be careful in examining definitions of war, for like any social phenomena, definitions are varied, and often the proposed definition masks a particular political or philosophical stance paraded by the author. This is as true of dictionary definitions as well as of articles on military or political history.

Cicero defines war broadly as "a contention by force"; Hugo Grotius adds that "war is the state of contending parties, considered as such"; Thomas Hobbes notes that war is also an attitude: "By war is meant a state of affairs, which may exist even while its operations are not continued;" Denis Diderot comments that war is "a convulsive and violent disease of the body politic;" for Karl von Clausewitz, "war is the continuation of politics by other means", and so on. Each definition has its strengths and weaknesses, but often is the culmination of the writer's broader philosophical positions.

For example, the notion that wars only involve states-as Clausewitz implies-belies a strong political theory that assumes politics can only involve states and that war is in some manner or form a reflection of political activity. 'War' defined by Webster's Dictionary is a state of open and declared, hostile armed conflict between states or nations, or a period of such conflict. This captures a particularly political-rationalistic account of war and warfare, i.e., that war needs to be explicitly declared and to be between states to be a war. We find Rousseau arguing this position: "War is constituted by a relation between things, and not between persons…War then is a relation, not between man and man, but between State and State…" (The Social Contract).

The military historian, John Keegan offers a useful characterization of the political-rationalist theory of war in his A History of War. It is assumed to be an orderly affair in which states are involved, in which there are declared beginnings and expected ends, easily identifiable combatants, and high levels of obedience by subordinates. The form of rational war is narrowly defined, as distinguished by the expectation of sieges, pitched battles, skirmishes, raids, reconnaissance, patrol and outpost duties, with each possessing their own conventions. As such, Keegan notes the rationalist theory does not deal well with pre-state or non-state peoples and their warfare.

There are other schools of thought on war's nature other than the political-rationalist account, and the student of war must be careful, as noted above, not to incorporate a too narrow or normative account of war. If war is defined as something that occurs only between states, then wars between nomadic groups should not be mentioned, nor would hostilities on the part of a displaced, non-state group against a state be considered war.

An alternative definition of war is that it is an all-pervasive phenomenon of the universe. Accordingly, battles are mere symptoms of the underlying belligerent nature of the universe; such a description corresponds with a Heraclitean or Hegelian philosophy in which change (physical, social, political, economical, etc) can only arise out of war or violent conflict. Heraclitus decries that "war is the father of all things," and Hegel echoes his sentiments. Interestingly, even Voltaire, the embodiment of the Enlightenment, followed this line: "Famine, plague, and war are the three most famous ingredients of this wretched world...All animals are perpetually at war with each other...Air, earth and water are arenas of destruction." (From Pocket Philosophical Dictionary).

Alternatively, the Oxford Dictionary expands the definition to include "any active hostility or struggle between living beings; a conflict between opposing forces or principles." This avoids the narrowness of a political-rationalist conception by admitting the possibility of metaphorical, non-violent clashes between systems of thought, such as of religious doctrines or of trading companies. This perhaps indicates a too broad definition, for trade is certainly a different kind of activity than war, although trade occurs in war, and trade often motivates wars. The OEDdefinition also seems to echo a Heraclitean metaphysics, in which opposing forces act on each other to generate change and in which war is the product of such a metaphysics. So from two popular and influential dictionaries, we have definitions that connote particular philosophical positions.

The plasticity and history of the English language also mean that commonly used definitions of war may incorporate and subsume meanings borrowed and derived from other, older languages: the relevant root systems being Germanic, Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit. Such descriptions may linger in oral and literary depictions of war, for we read of war in poems, stories, anecdotes and histories that may encompass older conceptions of war. Nonetheless, war's descriptions residing in the literature left by various writers and orators often possess similarities to modern conceptions. The differences arise from the writer's, poet's, or orator's judgement of war, which would suggest that an Ancient Greek conception of war is not so different from our own. Both could recognize the presence or absence of war. However, etymologically war's definition does refer to conceptions of war that have either been discarded or been imputed to the present definition, and a cursory review of the roots of the word war provides the philosopher with a glimpse into its conceptual status within communities and over time.

For example, the root of the English word 'war', werra, is Frankish-German, meaning confusion, discord, or strife, and the verb werran meaning to confuse or perplex. War certainly generates confusion, as Clausewitz noted calling it the "fog of war", but that does not discredit the notion that war is organized to begin with. The Latin root of bellum gives us the word belligerent, and duel, an archaic form of bellum; the Greek root of war is polemos, which gives us polemical, implying an aggressive controversy. The Frankish-Germanic definition hints at a vague enterprise, a confusion or strife, which could equally apply to many social problems besetting a group; arguably it is of a lower order sociological concept than the Greek, which draws the mind's attention to suggestions of violence and conflict, or the Latin, which captures the possibility of two sides doing the fighting.

The present employment of 'war' may imply the clash and confusion embedded in early definitions and roots, but it may also, as we have noted, unwittingly incorporate conceptions derived from particular political schools. An alternative definition that the author has worked on is that war is a state of organized, open-ended collective conflict or hostility. This is derived from contextual common denominators, that is elements that are common to all wars, and which provide a useful and robust definition of the concept. This working definition has the benefit of permitting more flexibility than the OED version, a flexibility that is crucial if we are to examine war not just as a conflict between states (that is, the rationalist position), but also a conflict between non-state peoples, non-declared actions, and highly organized, politically controlled wars as well as culturally evolved, ritualistic wars and guerrilla uprisings, that appear to have no centrally controlling body and may perhaps be described as emerging spontaneously.

The political issue of defining war poses the first philosophical problem, but once that is acknowledged, a definition that captures the clash of arms, the state of mutual tension and threat of violence between groups, the authorized declaration by a sovereign body, and so on can be drawn upon to distinguish wars from riots and rebellions, collective violence from personal violence, metaphorical clashes of values from actual or threatened clashes of arms.

What causes war?

Various sub-disciplines have grappled with war's etiology, but each in turn, as with definitions of war, often reflects a tacit or explicit acceptance of broader philosophical issues on the nature of determinism and freedom.

For example, if it is claimed that man is not free to choose his actions (strong determinism) then war becomes a fated fact of the universe, one that humanity has no power to challenge. Again, the range of opinions under this banner is broad, from those who claim war to be a necessary and ineluctable event, one that man can never shirk from, to those who, while accepting war's inevitability, claim that man has the power to minimize its ravages, just as prescriptive medicines may minimize the risk of disease or lightning rods the risk of storm damage. The implication is that man is not responsible for his actions and hence not responsible for war. Wherein lies its cause then becomes the intellectual quest: in the medieval understanding of the universe, the stars, planets and combinations of the four substances (earth, air, water, fire) were understood as providing the key to examining human acts and dispositions. While the modern mind has increased the complexity of the nature of the university, many still refer to the universe's material nature or its laws for examining why war arises. Some seek more complicated versions of the astrological vision of the medieval mind (e.g., Kondratieff cycle theories), whereas others delve into the newer sciences of molecular and genetic biology for explanations.

In a weaker form of determinism, theorists claim that man is a product of his environment-however that is defined-but he also possesses the power to change that environment. Arguments from this perspective become quite intricate, for they often presume that 'mankind' as a whole is subject to inexorable forces that prompt him to wage war, but that some people's acts-those of the observers, philosophers, scientists-are not as determined, for they possess the intellectual ability to perceive what changes are required to alter man's martial predispositions. Again, the paradoxes and intricacies of opinions here are curiously intriguing, for it may be asked what permits some to stand outside the laws that everybody else is subject to?

Others, who emphasize man's freedom to choose, claim that war is a product of his choice and hence is completely his responsibility. But thinkers here spread out into various schools of thought on the nature of choice and responsibility. By its very collective nature, considerations of war's causation must encroach into political philosophy and into discussions on a citizen's and a government's responsibility for a war. Such concerns obviously trip into moral issues (to what extent is the citizen morally responsible for war?), but with regards war's causation, if man is responsible for the actual initiation of war it must be asked on whose authority is war enacted? Descriptive and normative problems arise here, for one may inquire who is the legal authority to declare war, then move to issues of whether that authority has or should have legitimacy. For example, one may consider whether that authority reflects what 'the people' want (or should want), or whether the authority informs them of what they want (or should want). Are the masses easily swayed by the ideas of the élite, or do the élite ultimately pursue what the majority seeks? Here, some blame aristocracies for war (e.g., Nietzsche, who actually extols their virtues in this regard) and others blame the masses for inciting a reluctant aristocracy to fight (cf. Vico, New Science, sect. 87).

Those who thus emphasize war as a product of man's choices bring to the fore his political and ethical nature, but once the broad philosophical territory of metaphysics has been addressed other particular causes of war can be noted. These may be divided into three main groupings: those who seek war's causation in man's biology, those that seek it in his culture, and those who seek it in his faculty of reason.

Some claim war to be a product of man's inherited biology, with disagreements raging on the ensuing determinist implications. Example theories include those that claim man to be naturally aggressive or naturally territorial, more complex analyses incorporate game theory and genetic evolution to explain the occurrence of violence and war (cf. Richard Dawkins for interesting comments on this area). Within this broad school of thought, some accept that man's belligerent drives can be channeled into more peaceful pursuits (William James), some worry about man's lack of inherited inhibitions to fight with increasingly dangerous weapons (Konrad Lorenz), and others claim the natural process of evolution will sustain peaceful modes of behavior over violent (Richard Dawkins).

Rejecting biological determinism, culturalists seek to explain war's causation in terms of particular cultural institutions. Again determinism is implied when proponents claim that war is solely a product of man's culture or society, with different opinions arising as to the nature or possibility of cultural change. For example, can the 'soft morality' of trade that engages increasing numbers in peaceful intercourse counteract and even abolish bellicose cultural tendencies (as Kant believes), or are cultures subject to an inertia, in which the imposition of external penalties or a supra-national state may be the only means to peace? The problem leads to questions of an empirical and a normative nature on the manner in which some societies have foregone war and on the extent to which similar programs may be deployed in other communities. For example, what generated peace between the warring tribes of England and what denies the people of Northern Ireland or Yugoslavia that same peace?

Rationalists are those who emphasize the efficacy of man's reason in human affairs, and accordingly proclaim war to be a product of reason (or lack of). To some this is a lament-if man did not possess reason, he might not seek the advantages he does in war and he would be a more peaceful beast. To others reason is the means to transcend culturally relative differences and concomitant sources of friction, and its abandonment is the primary cause of war (cf. John Locke,Second Treatise, sect. 172). Proponents of the mutual benefits of universal reason have a long and distinguished lineage reaching back to the Stoics and echoing throughout the Natural Law philosophies of the medieval and later scholars and jurists. It finds its best advocate in Immanuel Kant and his famous pamphlet on Perpetual Peace.

Many who explain war's origins in man's abandonment of reason also derive their thoughts from Plato, who argues that "wars and revolutions and battles are due simply and solely to the body and its desires." That is, man's appetite sometimes or perpetually overwhelms his reasoning capacity, which results in moral and political degeneration. Echoes of Plato's theories abound in Western thought, resurfacing for example, in Freud's cogitation on war ("Why War") in which he sees war's origins in the death instinct, or in Dostoyevsky's comments on man's inherent barbarity: "It's just their defenselessness that tempts the tormentor, just the angelic confidence of the child who has no refuge and no appeal, that sets his vile blood on fire. In every man, of course, a beast lies hidden-the beast of rage, the beast of lustful heat at the screams of the tortured victim, the beast of lawlessness let off the chain, the beast of diseases that follow on vice, gout, kidney disease, and so on." (Brothers Karamazov, ii.V.4, "Rebellion")

The problem with focusing on one single aspect of man's nature is that while the explanation of war's causation may be simplified, the simplification ignores cogent explanations put forward by competing theories. For example, an emphasis on man's reason as the cause of war is apt to ignore deep cultural structures that may perpetuate war in the face of the universal appeal to peace, and similarly may ignore inherited pugnacity in some individuals or even in some groups. Similarly, an emphasis on the biological etiology of war can ignore man's intellectual capacity to control, or his will to go against, his predispositions. In other words, human biology can affect thinking (what is thought, how, for what duration and intensity), and can accordingly affect cultural developments, and in turn cultural institutions can affect biological and rational developments (e.g., how strangers are welcomed affects a group's isolation or integration and hence its reproductive gene pool).

The examination of war's causation triggers the need for elaboration on many sub-topics, regardless of the internal logical validity of a proposed explanation. Students of war thus need to explore beyond proffered definitions and explanations to consider the broader philosophical problems that they often conceal.

Human Nature and War

A setting to explore the relationship between human nature and war is provided by Thomas Hobbes, who presents a state of nature in which the 'true' or 'underlying' nature of man is likely to come to the fore of our attention. Hobbes is adamant that without an external power to impose laws, the state of nature would be one of immanent warfare. That is, "during the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called Warre; and such a warre, as is of every man, against every man." (Leviathan, 1.13) Hobbes's construction is a useful starting point for discussions on man's natural inclinations and many of the great philosophers who followed him, including Locke, Rousseau, and Kant, agree to some extent or other with his description. Locke rejects Hobbes's complete anarchic and total warlike state but accepts that there will always be people who will take advantage of the lack of legislation and enforcement. Rousseau inverts Hobbes's image to argue that in the state of nature man is naturally peaceful and not belligerent, however when Rousseau elaborates on international politics he is of a similar mind, arguing that states must be active (aggressive) otherwise they decline and founder; war is inevitable and any attempts at peaceful federations are futile. (From Rousseau's notes on L'état de guerre criticizing the earlier pamphlet of the Abbé Saint-Pierre entitled Perpetual Peace, a title Kant later usurps).

Kant's position is that the innate conflict between men and later between states prompts humanity to seek peace and federation. It is not that man's reason alone teaches him the benefits of a pacifistic concord, but that war, which is inevitable when overarching structures are absent, induces men to consider and realize more peaceful arrangements of their affairs, yet even Kant retained a pessimistic conception of mankind: "War...seems to be ingrained in human nature, and even to be regarded as something noble to which man is inspired by his love of honor, without selfish motives." (Perpetual Peace)

Hobbes presents an atomistic conception of humanity, which many disagree with. Communitarians of various hues reject the notion of an isolated individual pitted against others and prompted to seek a contract between themselves for peace. Some critics prefer an organic conception of the community in which the individual's ability to negotiate for peace (through a social contract) or to wage war is embedded in the social structures that form him. Reverting to John Donne's "no man is an island" and to Aristotle's "man is a political animal", proponents seek to emphasize the social connections that are endemic to human affairs, and hence any theoretical construction of human nature, and thus of war, requires an examination of the relevant society man lives in. Since the governing elements of man's nature are thereby relative to time and place, so too is war's nature and ethic, although proponents of this viewpoint can accept the persistence of cultural forms over time. For instance, the communitarian view of war implies that Homeric war is different from war in the Sixteenth Century, but historians might draw upon evidence that the study of Greek warfare in the Iliad may influence later generations in how they conceive themselves and warfare.

Others reject any theorizing on human nature. Kenneth Waltz, for example argues: "While human nature no doubt plays a role in bringing about war, it cannot by itself explain both war and peace, except by the simple statement that sometimes he fights and sometimes he does not." (Man, War, and State), and existentialists deny such an entity is compatible with complete freedom of will (cf. Sartre). This danger here is that this absolves any need to search for commonalties in warriors of different periods and areas, which could be of great benefit both to military historians and peace activists.

War and Political and Moral Philosophy

The first port of call for investigating war's morality is the just war theory, which is well discussed and explained in many text books and dictionaries and can also be viewed on the IEP.

However, once the student has considered, or is at least aware of the broader philosophical theories that may relate to war, an analysis of its ethics begins with the question: is war morally justifiable? Again, due notice must be given to conceptions of justice and morality that involve both individuals and groups. War as a collective endeavor engages a co-ordinated activity in which not only the ethical questions of agent responsibility, obedience and delegation are ever present but so too are questions concerning the nature of agency. Can nations be morally responsible for the war's they are involved in, or should only those with the power to declare war be held responsible? Similarly, should individual Field Marshalls be considered the appropriate moral agent or the army as a corporate body? What guilt, if any, should the Private bear for his army's aggression, and likewise what guilt, if any, should a citizen, or even a descendant, bear for his country's war crimes? (And is there such a thing as a 'war crime'?)

Just war theory begins with an assessment of the moral and political criteria for justifying the initiation of war (defensive or aggressive), but critics note that the justice of warfare is already presumed in just war theory: all that is being outlined are the legal, political, and moral criteria for its justice. Thus the initial justice of war requires reflection. Pacifists deny that war, or even any kind of violence, can be morally permissible, but, as with the other positions noted above, a variety of opinions exists here, some admitting the use of war only in defense and as a last resort (defencists) whereas others absolutely do not admit violence or war of any sort (absolutist pacifists). Moving from the pacifist position, other moralists admit the use of war as a means to support, defend, or secure peace, but such positions may permit wars of defense, deterrence, aggression, and intervention for that goal.

Beyond what has been called the pacificistic morality (in which peace is the end goal as distinct from pacifism and its rejection of war as a means), are those theories that establish an ethical value in war. Few consider war should be fought for war's sake, but many writers have supported war as a means to various ends other than peace. For example, as a vehicle to forge national identity, to pursue territorial aggrandizement, or to uphold and strive for a variety of virtues such as glory and honor. In this vein of thought, those who are now characterized as social darwinists and their intellectual kin may be heard extolling the evolutionary benefits of warfare, either for invigorating individuals or groups to pursue the best of their abilities, or to remove weaker members or groups from political ascendancy.

The morality of war traipses into the related area of political philosophy in which conceptions of political responsibility and sovereignty, as well as notions of collective identity and individuality, should be acknowledged and investigated. Connections back to war's causation can also be noted. For example, if the moral code of war concerns the corporate entity of the state, then it is to the existence or behavior of the state that we turn to explain how war's originate. This raises problems concerning the examination of the moral and political responsibility for war's initiation and procedure: if states are war's harbingers, then does it follow that only the state's leaders are morally and politically responsible, or if we accept some element of Humean democracy (namely that governments are always subject to the sanction of the people they rule or represent) then moral and political responsibility extends to the citizenry.

Once war commences, whatever its merits, philosophers disagree on the role, if any, of morality within war. Many have claimed morality is necessarily discarded by the very nature of war including Christian thinkers such as Augustine, whereas others have sought to remind warriors both of the existence of moral relations in war and of various strictures to remain sensitive to moral ends. Sociologically, those going to and coming back from war often go through rites and rituals that symbolize their stepping out of, or back into, civil society, as if their transition is to a different level of morality and agency. War typically involves killing and the threat of being killed, which existentialist writers have drawn on in their examination of war's phenomenology.

For the ethicist, questions begin with identifying morally permissible or justifiable targets, strategies, and weapons-that is, of the principles of discrimination and proportionality. Writers disagree on whether all is fair in war, or whether certain modes of conflict ought to be avoided. The reasons for maintaining some moral dimensions include: the preponderance or expectation of peaceful intercourse on other levels; the mutual benefits of refraining from certain acts and the fear of retaliation in kind; and the existence of treatises and covenants that nations may seek to abide by to maintain international status.

A useful distinction here is between absolute war and total war. Absolute war describes the deployment of all of a society's resources and citizens into working for the war machine. Total war, on the other hand, describes the absence of any restraint in warfare. Moral and political responsibility becomes problematic for proponents of both absolute and total war, for they have to justify the incorporation of civilians who do not work for the war effort as well as the infirm, children, and the handicapped and wounded who cannot fight. Supporters of absolute warfare may argue that membership of a society involves responsibilities for its protection, and if some members are literally unable to assist then all other able-bodied civilians have an absolute duty to do their part. The literature of war propaganda relates well here, as does the penal morality for those who refuse and the definitional politics of the wide range of people who may not wish to fight from conscientious objectors to traitors.

Similar issues dog those who support total warfare in which the military target traditionally sacrosanct people and entities: from non-combatants, women and children, to works of art and heritage buildings. Supporters may evoke the sliding scale that Michael Walzer describes in Just and Unjust Wars, in which graver threats to the body politic may permit the gradual weakening of moral constraints. Curiously, considering his strong emphasis on social virtues, David Hume accepts the abandonment of all notions of justice in war or when the agent's plight is so dire that recourse to any action becomes permissible (cf. Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, sect.3). Others merely state that war and morality do not mix.

5. Summary

The nature of the philosophy of war is complex and this article has sought to establish a broad vision of its landscape and the connections that are endemic to any philosophical analysis of the topic. The subject matter lends itself to metaphysical and epistemological considerations, to the philosophy of mind and of human nature, as well as to the more traditional areas of moral and political philosophy. In many respects the philosophy of war demands a thorough investigation of all aspects of a thinker's beliefs, as well as presenting an indication of a philosopher's position on connected topics. To begin a philosophical discussion of war draws one onto a long and complex intellectual path of study and continual analysis; whereas a cursory announcement of what one thinks on war can be, or points to, the culmination of thoughts on related topics and a deduction from one to the other can and should always be made.

Author Information

Alexander Moseley
United Kingdom

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