The Start Of War

My eleven year old son asked me the other day why wars start. This is obviously a very difficult topic to explain properly, so I decided to over simply it for him as much as I could.

I told him, the usual causes of war are not much different than why we have fights on a school playground. Often one person has something the other person wants, and the instigator feels he has the power to take it from them, sometimes it is a physical object, but sometimes the bully feels threatened by the victim’s perceived power, and feels the need to take their power away, before they become too powerful.

Of course the other key ingredients in wars are a total disregard for the needs of others, or human life in general, and a defiant victim standing up for themselves.

I then used this short video below to show him exactly why wars start. Enjoy !


13 Responses to The Start Of War

  1. Hilarious! Yup, don’t steal!

    Enjoyed!

  2. Scott, when you think about wars, that kind of organized slaughter, they seem so crazy, so absurd, it’s hard to imagine they actually happen. Hard to imagine so many human beings can be mobilized to pursue their own destruction and the destruction of others. And yet they do happen, and almost perpetually. My current theory is that wars are caused by an unwillingness to exercise self-control. By people ruthlessly succumbing to their fears and own selfish interests.

  3. @nothingprofound
    NP, your comment touched me, it was very well written and has provoked more thoughts for me.

    I have been in active war zones several times in my life, and have been shot at while I was there, but I also feel a sense of “How could this be real?” How could people do these things?”

    I do not find it so mysterious how nations create such war ready zombies. Most societies condition their young to follow leadership and feel nationalistic from very early childhood. Many are forced to wear uniforms, and stand before the flag for national anthem, and some nations even enforce the idea that a divine being is the one that needs them to do such things.

    In many countries I have lived, two year olds are sitting in diapers, and military style shirts, on the ground during a National Flag Ceremony five days a week, since toddlers are now expected to be in school as well in most of Asia, and the age is also getting younger and younger in the west these days, with pre-school and pre-pre-schools. I guess they can never start too young.

    School systems seem to make us into such wonderful soldiers.

    I really wish all the manpower and resources wasted on warfare was used instead to build gleaming utopias all over the planet, but it seems those that steer the soldiers around have consistently less savory agendas, and there seems to be a never ending supply of soldiers to toss into the frey.

  4. Good thing they started producing Twinkies again.

  5. @Ely North
    Ely,

    Was that actually a box of Twinkies?

    I do not think that is the boxed cake section of the store, and I see no hostess logo, or blue bar that normally would be on a Twinkies box. Also, the video was uploaded in 2010, which predates “The Great Twinkies Shortage”.

  6. I think you summed it up pretty well for your son, Scott. What did he say about your response and the video? I was about your son’s age when the war in Vietnam finally ended, and I remember seeing all the graphic and poignant images from that war in magazines, and knowing people whose brothers and sons died in combat. None of it made sense to me then, and it still doesn’t now.

  7. @Helena Fortissima
    Thanks Helena,

    My son was very thoughtful about my response and laughed really hard at the video.

    War is such a waste of resources and only breeds even more evil in the world in my opinion, those that experience the horrors of it are left emotionally scarred, and that will effect the family and community for at least another generation, but as long as people keep wanting to have them, the only thing people can do to survive is to fight back.

  8. Hi PBS, :]

    I think its mostly about greed, fear and hate. Other times it may be justifiable.

  9. @Jayme
    Greed, Fear, Hate, those are some of the very worst emotions, it is no surprise it can bring out the worst in man.

    • Sadly religion and race are the other 2 main reasons war start.

      • Although I think religion and race are great ways to separate troops from their enemies, and what most people face at the ground level and on the news, I don’t think they are the reason wars start.

        I still agree with what my history teacher told us in High School. All wars are about greed.

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