I don’t know anything about war


Sometimes it feels as if my young age just tries it’s hardest to prevent me from understanding the world better

I can read poetry and watch movies and nod my head in approval when they say that some lessons are only learned through cold and hard experience

I can bask in the wisdom of those metaphors and praise that high intellect, but knowledge of my ignorance does not cure me of it

How am I supposed to understand anything about war?

Or anything about global warming?

Or anything about nuclear weapons?

Or anything about mass extinction?

Or anything about global destruction?

I can appear to be all high and mighty and cite books I’ve read and facts I’ve learned and studies I’ve heard about

I can pretend to be an omniscient philosopher and tell you all about how poisoned society really is, how destructive the politicians and preachers are, how the entire world is going to hell

It hasn’t even been a full two decades since I had been granted the opportunity to start existing in this universe

Two decades, that’s nothing

The only armour I have is a brain full of nostalgic memories that are somehow supposed to prove that I am now well versed with the concept of living, that I’m better than that clumsy, stupid child I used to be

But I’m still lost in the same sea of dreams

I’m still holding on to the same illusions

I try to grasp the straws of reality, I beg the demons to enter my soul so that I can proudly say that I know what pain is, that I know what loss is, what desolation feel like

I am an adult now, please accept me into your country club of doom

Haven’t you heard? The new trend this season is to believe that there is no ultimate purpose of human existence and that free will isn’t real

We’re all playing the same game, aren’t we?

In schools all over the world they teach us about Thoreau; that crazy philosopher who went out to live in the woods for a while. And the underpaid, overworked teachers feed us the same lines: reject conformity, walk to the beat of your own drum. It’s a concept that’s been beaten senseless by the establishment

Yet nothing changes, does it?

You say you want a revolution? The Beatles have asked, some time ago

The era of hippies living in communes, tripping on acid, wearing flowers in their hair, and protesting on college campuses is dead. It died way before any war ever ended

Are we still waiting on that revolution?

It all starts with one person, I’ve been told

Maybe we should stop chasing the comfort of defeat and open our eyes

Maybe this time, it will be for real

But what should I know, I’m only a child

This is a response to Against the Next War from Café Philos. He’s starting a movement over there, you should check it out.

38 thoughts on “I don’t know anything about war

      1. Thanks Paul for being such a shameless advertiser of my work. In this case (as in any others, to be honest) it is much appreciated. I also shared your post, don’t have a facebook/twitter, but within my private networks.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. By the way Tracy Chapman sang that a revolution sounds like a whisper.
    So maybe we do not only have to open our eyes but also our ears, listen to the stars, but also to the poor folks on the street, the ones who lost their beat.. I cannot go on, I’m really moved by what you wrote.

    Especially how you just casually managed to slay this stupid ideal of “marching to the beat of your own drum”. What a stupid thing to say, what if I prefer a harp? Or a flute? Yes they are not rhythmic instruments, but what the hell?!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So true. The sounds of a revolution can be heard everywhere if we just pause to listen. I’m so glad you liked this. Thank you. I wrote about my very confusing feelings, and was scared that they wouldn’t be understood.

      Phrases like that are overused to the point that they start to mean the opposite of what they were made to convey. Same thing with “think outside the box” Why can’t I think outside of an octagon? Or something non-geometrical at all?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. EXACTLY! Sorry for shouting.

        And box? Really, I mean nothing abouthe brain doesn’t even slightly resemble a box, this phrase clearly referencing to the categorizing of items in one’s mind yet the original author probably missed his classes on neurobiology. If there were boxes in our brain, we were furniture.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And if you think about it, the concept of a box can extend beyond the brain: a family can be a box, a neighborhood, a country, a society, western civilization, the entire world, the universe. In that sense, the phrase does not work.

        And I’m sure someone in this world who is “thinking outside the box” can claim that humans are essentially furniture. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Now I wanna listen to “Little boxes” 😀

        The problem with some branches of mechanistic thinking maybe? I don’t know to much about that, but I guess it might stem from that.

        I’m sure there is not only one *sigh*

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Kat, I take your post as excellent evidence that at least one cliche is actually true — “The beginning of wisdom is recognizing that you don’t know much at all.”

    Now as Chapman says, we’re starting with a whisper here. There’s just four of us so far (Bruce Gerencser reposted the poem), and maybe this won’t go any further than that — but here’s the thing as I see it. These wars of aggression are not only immoral, but they risk triggering the worse thing that could happen — a thermonuclear war. Maybe our voices are like words spoken in a hurricane, but at least we’re not taking it all laying down.

    My two cents.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I don’t think that’s much or a cliche, though. It has an actual meaning that most people don’t care to realize. That’s what makes it different.

      Although this is a whisper, it’s really not just the four of us. I’m sure that there are many people out there in the world who are thinking in the same way we are. We just haven’t found each other.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t say it as a negative thing. I find comfort in the fact that there are others out there, like you, who think it the same way. If you would like, you can check out the link in the bottom of my post to see how all of this began.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What an excellent post. You’ve captured the role of innocence in someone who hasn’t really experienced a “war” in their lifetime, and yet questions the very essence of it. It is a probing piece of writing that brings up many questions, including the legitimacy of lobbying for something you aren’t even sure you can define, but yet, in your heart, you know isn’t right.

    I’ve been meaning to write a post on a war-related topic, and then link to Paul’s poem, but just haven’t found the time to do so. Hopefully soon!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! That’s the essence of what I’m trying to convey. The feeling of believing in something, but still being very clueless about it. But we can’t just learn about war to really understand it. Such an understanding comes only from experience, I think. And I can’t wait to read your post of this topic.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Seeing as Paul has press-ganged me into his army of peace-makers – which makes me very happy – I decided to come over and say hi. I’m delighted to meet you. You have a fresh, intelligent, unpretentious voice, Kat.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kat, I’ve been enjoying your articles for some time now, but I must say this is my absolute favorite work of yours thus far. I like it because it possesses a completely no-bullshit attitude, it’s honest, and very articulate. “…country club of doom”. What a great line! The end line is great too, and it reminds me of Bob Dylan’s classic anti-war song, “Masters of War”.
    You might say I’m young
    You might say I’m unlearned
    Though there’s one thing I know
    though I’m younger than you
    Is that even Jesus would never forgive what you do.
    – B. Dylan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I have to say that this is also one of my most favorite poem I’ve written. I really like anti-war songs from the sixties, like the Beatles, Barry McGuire, Crosby, etc. Vietnam war protestors were mainly college students who managed to avoid the draft and didn’t really understand what the war really was both because the government hid a lot of details and because the were privileged enough not to have to fight in it. Yet they morally knew that the war was wrong, so they fought it at the home front. This is where the inspiration for my poem came from.


  6. You write the best, introspective, intelligent essays. I could spend hours reading your posts and working my mind into a hypomanic frenzy! Btw can you add me back to the two Mafia groups on hangouts. I was going through a personal crisis and quit them. Also, I’m wondering if you’ll be interested in the philosophy prompt Mafia challenge. With your skill, I think you’ll give it justice. Check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thank you so much for your kind words. Hypomanic frenzy? I’ve never had my writing be described that way.

      I just added you to the groups. Sorry that I didn’t see your message.

      I saw the prompt on the Mafia, and have been thinking about it over the last few days, and I think I will write about it soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A lot of writers make me feel deeply and I adore that, but you always make me think. My mind starts shooting off in different directions after I read you, and hence the hypomanic frenzy. And you’re very welcome.


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