Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The Veil of Civilization

Uh-oh. It's another one of those wierd titles again. You know this means trouble right? I posted once on Vox's blog about this. Sadly, it took Joseph Conrad, and Ernest Hemingway whole novels to explain this one, so my trying to do so in less than 1000 characters was simply an excersize in futility. Much like spelling, and grammar can be.

So what is this and why am I talking about it? Well, mostly because its fun, and I've thought a lot about it, and like I say at the top of the page, it's my blog dammit.

What this is about is why people do stuff, or more accurately, its about why they don't do stuff. There are certain actions that average joe just never considers taking. The Veil hangs over him, and prevents him from seeing through. Any action outside the Veil stirs up nasty feelings. He assumes that if he takes one of these actions, something unspeakably terrible with happen. God will strike him down, the sky will fall. He'll end up in a motel room with Hillary Clinton. Heep bad juju man.

The only way past the veil is experience. People tend to think of military men as dangerous because of their training. It's not the training. It's the experience. Combat vets of the same training level are far more dangerous than non-experienced fightes. A combat vet has seen beyond the veil. He knows how the real world works. There is no fancy frilly civilization for him. It's all an mirage, and he knows it. He knows that he can shoot you in the face, and God will not strike him down.

Some may relate this concept to primitivism but it's really more about the nature of man. The Veil is one of the gifts our Lord has given us to seperate ourselves from the beasts, but should we choose to lift it, we, without fail, become more beastly.

Vox will often write about combat dojo's. This is also related to the Veil. You don't just learn to take a punch. You have to learn to release what aggression is within you. Someone who's never been in a serious fight will hesitate. A veteran fighter will simply wade in and throw a punch. He's seen this side of humanity, and it doesn't scare him.

If you hate Hemingway, then consider this, and then look back on his writing. Consider it as well when you think of The Heart of Darkness by Conrad.

Civilization is a made up set of rules set to limit the strong and protect the weak. It's critical to remember that to some people, there is no Veil. There is no conscience. You must never assume your opponent will hesitate, because he might not, and then you are lost.

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