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One of my closest and oldest friends just told me last night that he wants to join the Army. I was completely shocked. He had never seemed interested in this before and never really mentioned it, and now he’s decided to not go to college but sign up with the military instead.
At first I just didn’t say anything, but then I got really pissed off and told him not to do it. I believe in peace and am just so upset at the idea of someone I’ve known and loved for so long participating in this kind of violence. I basically told him that if he goes through with this, I won’t be able to be his friend anymore. I can’t stand by in good conscience and let my friend go kill people or get killed, can I?
Pissed Off Pacifist
Dear Pissed Off Pacifist,
Take a look around at your life and where you are right now. How do you think we got here? Millions of humans literally going through hell to carve out this convoluted, if comfortable, version of reality from the raw and brutally indifferent earth. The ground we’re on has literally been built on the blood and bodies of countless lifeforms who died in a raging battle to build the world as it is now. It’s a world that is deeply flawed and full of ugliness, needless suffering, blind cruelty, and screaming insanity, but it is the world we have built together, one way or another. No one can exist and say that this is not their world — you built it too, and we are maintaining it every moment we live in it. No matter how badly we want to avoid violence, we must acknowledge the violence that we emerged from — the sacrifices of so many often nameless people and creatures who really did die and kill to make what we all are engaged in now.
We are always standing on hallowed ground. Everything is stained with blood, and to exist at all is to benefit from the sacrifice and savagery of the countless victims and villains who came before us. We don’t have to be happy about what they did or how we arrived to live in this luxuriously decadent moment, but we must acknowledge that nearly everything we interact with daily has come with a price. Much had to be lost for anything to be gained. Many people truly did give up everything, or had everything taken away, in order to help build what we now can take for granted, in all its complex and flawed beauty…
Photo by Anthony Dubois