War and tension as a way to qualitatively transform and progress Recent blog posts

War and tension as a way to qualitatively transform and progress

In my last post here I cited Fukuyama's (1992) discussion how war brings people together, avoid softness ands boredom and lead to progress and transformation


Francis Fukuyama (1992). The End of History And the Last Man. New York The Free Press





p. 329


A liberal democracy that could fight a short and decisive war every generation or so to defend its own liberty and independence would be far healthier and more satisfied than one that experienced nothing but continuous peace.

p. 329


Hegel believed that without the possibility of war and sacrifices demanded by it, men would grow soft and self-absorbed; society would degenerate into a morass of selfish hedonism and community would ultimately dissolve.

p. 330

Hegel says

War is horrific but also experiences of heroism and sacrifice, friendship and valore take on new and more vivid meanings, and life transformed by the memory of having participated in something greater than themselves

Common purpose in the quiet days of peace would be hard

Experience suggests that if men cannot struggle on behalf of a just cause because that just cause was victorious in an earlier generation, then they will struggle against the just cause.

of a just cause because

They will struggle for the sake of struggle.

They will struggle…out of a certain boredom: for they cannot imagine living in a world without struggle.  And if the greater part of the world in which they live is characterized by a peaceful and prosperous liberal democracy, then they struggle agaiubst the peace and prosperity, and against democracy.

Paris 1968 example – France one of most free and prosperous societies no struggle and sacrifice in their middle-class lives went to streets

Rejected life in a society in which ideals had somehow become impossible.

p. 331

World War I

European publics simply wanted war because they were fed up with dullness and l;ack of community in civil life.

Public demonstrations for war across Europe

Much of the exuberance of those crowds reflected the feeling that war meant national unity and citizenship at long last, an overcoming of the divisions between capitalist and proletariat, Protestant and Catholic, farmer and worker, that characterized civil society.


wanted Sense of togetherness and war   


1914 – Europe experienced hundred years of peace since the last major continent-wide conflict settled by the peace of Vienna

This period century saw the flowering of modern technological civilization as Europe industrialized People became bored and wanted and demonstrated for war.  This led to World War I and World War II and about hundred million people dead.

This brings me to something I wrote eleven years ago when I was working the ideas and theories of the applied dialectical method and argued how much the self needs to be in war with itself and all the tension that this amounts to in order to move forward, progress and qualitatively transform.  I was a piece written in freefall where the words just came to me and fall in me .

Please note here that the freefall technique in creative and therapeutic, cathartic, ontological writing implies throwing oneself into and falling, without a parachute, within the words as they come, the thoughts prior to their full formation in the person’s cognition and the unplanned structures that are being shaped.  This is without setting off to contain and internalise them.  It is indeed a therapeutic, cathartic and creative writing method that is designed to connect individuals with their innermost intention in writing and to enable them to write with authority and grace. The reader could consult the works of Barbara Turner-Vesselago (1996, 2009), on whose definition of freefall writing I drew in the above description of it, Angelica Wienrich (2009), the Lapidus – Creative Words for Health and Well-being group (Lapidus, 2009), Judy Marshall (2004, 2001, 1999), Natalie Goldberg (1986, 1990 1993) and Susan Wooldridge (1996, 2007) on freefall writing and the use of the freefall technique in creative and therapeutic ontological writing. 


In my suggested applied dialectical approach, the enquirer is having an authentic reflective, auto-dialogical, auto-critical and self-analytical conversation, dialogue and discussion with himself/herself.  He/she is typing and logging things down within a direct, raw, spontaneous, creative, reflexive and authentic, reflective or de-reflective, free association or Gestaltian freefall mode of writing. She or he is writing for healing, growth, personal and community development, empowerment and self-fulfilment, health and well-being (Lapidus, 2009) and first-person, reflective, free association (Laing, 1967).  This happens as he/she sits by himself/herself alone in front of a personal computer or a laptop and can take place in his/her private home, his/her study, a coffeehouse, the local public house or a travelling train on the way to work or pleasure.


As for Gestalt free fall writing, as I already noted above, I draw on the works of Turner-Vesselago, (1996, 2009), Wienrich (2009), Lapidus (2009), Marshall (2004, 2001, 1999), Goldberg (1986, 1990 1993) and Wooldridge (1996, 2007). 


Indeed, in her impressive website on Freefall writing at http://www.freefallwriting.com/freefall/home.html, Barbara Turner-Vesselago (2009) noted that


As the name suggests, Freefall invokes the courage to fall without a parachute, into the words as they come, into the thoughts before they have fully formed in the mind, into the unplanned structures that take shape, without prompting, to contain them. 


She also expressed in that website her aspiration for freefall writing to help writers to


connect with their deepest intention in writing, and to write with authority and grace. 


Similarly, by the term “free association”, I refer to the process of relating ideas without strict preconceived rules of writing and communication.  I am meaning by it the practice of writing whatever comes into the mind and feels, senses and experienced to be authentic, true and right.  I very much enjoyed the way Laing (1967) in the Bird of Paradise had written about experiences, feelings and life from his work as a psychiatrist and an “anti-psychiatrist psychiatrist” in some sort of very uneasy, emotional, spontaneous and free, and even grotesque, poetic free association writing.


Turner-Vesselago, B. (1996). Freefall: Writing Without a Parachute. Toronto: The Writing Space.

Turner-Vesselago, B. (2009). This is a very impressive website on the Free fall writing technique. www.Freefallwriting.com.  Retrieved and accessible from this URL address on the 16th of September, 2009.





Christmas Day, 2003 (25th of December, 2003)



Human Existence was written in July, 2003, when I was embarked full time on a new and novel academic journey of self-discovery and self-analysis, self-reflexivity, self sense-making as my answer for the conception and accommodation of the human existence and the human subject in the world.  Doing so was my dream for about two decades throughout my very complex life.  I left, then, empiricism and the attempt to find what I am looking for in what I do not look for, to construct productivity out of the failure by looking inward in the failure and outward in me and my solution.  It was new and intriguing, scary and appealing.  I made my personal objective to create a self a public, academic one as the basis for a new heuristics, structure and the niche.  What I was looking and sought for myself throughout my entire life.


I moved out of the ‘self’ that died in March, 2001 and to the attempt to find and create a new self.  This self lost its security and itself.  It panicked.  It was too secured and happy for a while.  It was terrified and died temporarily.  I am not even sure whether it was real or an illusion.  Not that it matters to me.  I am looking for security, happiness, pleasure, balance and gratification not reality.  I do not believe in reality. This self hopes to be resurrected, to learn from its mistakes that were made by terror, past experiences and inexperiences and to emerge stronger as another, refined and more mature and wise self.  This self aspires to gain gratification, happiness, energy, vitality and pleasure.


The feeling of acceptance was incredible then.  I was full of energy.  It was a remarkable, scary start.  I was extremely young, passionate, immature, romantic, zealous and forceful, full of energy and vitality.  I soon became ecstatic and lost myself so as to look for myself and to be a lot happier and marinated in pleasure, gratification, energy and happiness.  I lost my guards and my cynicism in the process.   I was aware of it and became increasingly terrified of it.  The more I tried to calm down, the more terrified I became.  I moved quite far, extremely fast.  It all gushed.  I outgrew myself. I waited myself to blow up.  I dreaded the explosion.  Yet I wanted the explosion to come up already and to take its inevitable course so that I will be able to be past it already, to get rid of it and to be after it.


Within days I have managed to cover distances that I have tried to embrace and cover for two decades and was forcedly tied down and not allowed to pursue by myself and the world.  Things happened.  I have grew old and matured.  I became very tired and exhausted.  I needed to keep up with the pace I dictated to myself.  I rushed and gushed and stormed and pulled everyone and everything else with me like in a powerful avalanche.  This madness and extreme rush confused me and petrified me.  The blood went right to my head. 


As I promised to myself in ‘human existence’ and in ‘self’, I have done things for myself and only for myself.  I kept up my promise.  Too well, perhaps.  The dilemmas appear in my autobiographical narrative ‘self’ that was so pure and beautiful and touching piece of writing as I am constantly told.  I only wish life could be so too.  I used others and tried to be of use in order to be able to use.  I tried to be kind, loving, decent, saint so that I will be able to use and become happier and more secured.  Am I saint? No.  I am me.  I tried to be saint before.  I could not do it all my life.  I tried to make happy and to be happy in the process.  I became exhausted.  I lost the energy and was drained from and of it.  I panicked and became petrified. 


I now finally put the title down and write.  It is more poetry then autobiography as it was distinguished and told me in September by critiques.



Me, Me and Me


I talk about human existence now in December, 2003, Christmas day.  And I shout my humanity in my old, tired and weary, experienced, feeble and sore voice.  I shout the same stuff again in a different fashion.  I now say it very directly and forcedly.  I am tired.  I am angry.  I am not in the mood for playing games and to try to entice or to be nice and to indulge you.  I just wish to say my piece and to move on. 


I shout my own personalized truth, directly as I see it now.  I was burnt and hurt and I say ‘I do not have a culture.  I do not have a race.  I do not have a gender. I do not have a class. I do not have a nationality.  I do not have an ethnicity. I do not have a religion. I do not have a belief.  I do not have a shared public language. I do not have unconsciousness and preconsciousness.  I do not have just compassion and love.  I do not have an ideology.  I do not have you.  You do not have me.  I do not have a doctrine.  I do not have an idea.  I do not have a clue.  And I have nobody else or nothing else to escape to.  I just have me.  Me, Me, Me and Me.


I am just here with me for me.  And I cannot escape from the me.  I am sunk within me and I am drowning in me.  I am marinated within the me.  There is no way out from me.   It is a huis clos in my life time, in my being and existence here[1].


Not able to escape from the me is making me lost within the me and to lose me.  I have asked me (myself) to go call me and to summon me as I was lost and I have lost the me who went to call me.  It just disappeared and got lost as well. So I lost the me whom I sent to find me.  How pathetic it is of me.


I am angry at and with myself for being lost and losing myself and even managed to lose the one who was supposed to find the lost me.  I am so frustrated and hurt and disappointed from me.  I go chasing for me and hunting for me.  I am full of vicious revenge.  I am scared and petrified.  I do it with so much passion, hatred, love, destruction, construction, pain and will and desire to learn, improve and better.  But I am full of fear of destructive and destruction.  I try to save me from me whilst at the same time very angry and pouring all this anger, disappointment, frustration on and at me.   I try to defend myself and to attack back.


You are reading this.  And you may be laughing and jeering now.  You may be scared of me and repulsed by me.  You may be puzzled.  You may understand vaguely.  You may run to your alcohol cabinet and reach and grab the scotch in desperation, whilst saying I am the only one who makes you drink.  I do not know. You may think that I have completely lost it, that I have finally lost the last bit of sanity, rationality and ‘normality’ that I have had and that has kept me from becoming pathologically ill and to still make perfect sense to you.  Possibly.  Originally, I said it as part of an amusing absurd anecdote to get in touch with you and to interrelate with you.  It was said when I was completely scared, overwhelmed and in panic. 


But this writing actually makes sense to me and makes me certain.  It makes me self-assured, more powerful and confident.  It makes me understand things.  It permits me to go on and move on.  Every joke has a serious side for/of it.  I will now answer back to you.  You are pathetic yourself.  You tell me I am all ‘me, me and me’ and in an autistic, subjective search and quest of myself.  My critical ‘I’ complained that I try to chase my own tail and do little but that.  


I say. You turned to culture, to religion, to public, to language, to objectivity, to reason and rationalism to social and cultural norms and acceptances, to models, theories and explications that you do not believe a word of it.  You wish for me to relate and teach and communicate.  You just acted it to escape from your ‘me’ and your immersion with/in it.  You do it to make sense and to be secured and to find yourself.  But you do not.  You are just scared to death and petrified and lost.  I say to myself ‘just write what you feel and see where you go and end up in’.  Hopefully, I won’t end up sedated somewhere.


I say.  In fact, you are so scared of yourself, of being alone with yourself so you went to get the turkey and crack a cracker or to fast and to invent and see gurus and easy explications, answers and clues or to forget and disregard everything, yourself included.  Perhaps you make yourself part of the world and go to the world. You try to make yourself believe in order to escape from yourself.  You would turn everywhere and to everything and anything.  You would starve yourself.  You would suffer.  You would cleanse and be cleansed.  You would pretend to love and compassion.  You would invite me.  You would turn to others’ sufferings. 


You would come up, invent and refine theories that no one understands.  You would invite others. You would pretend to be an atheist.  You would pretend to be a liberal.  You would pretend to be socialist or feminist. You would try to find easy answers and salvations.  You would turn to ideologies, ideas, doctrines and beliefs.  Everything is so easy and simple.  But it is an illusion and deception.  You are so scared of yourself, to face yourself and to be yourself.  You would not last five minutes.  I have.  It is where I find most gratification and confusion and pain and frustration and non-pathological madness[2].  But confusion is reality and knowledge.  Questions are knowledge. 


You did not even go looking for you.  You did not even call for yourself.  You chose the easy way – out – perhaps.  You were/are just lost.  That’s it.  You gave up and looked elsewhere.  You are petrified.  You chose to remain lost.  You were so scared of yourself that you preferred just to be lost and to forget yourself.  You did not even admit to that. 


So who is jeering now? Whose laughing at whom?  Perhaps you and me are insane, each in his/her way.  Lets call this thesis ‘the search for the lost sanity/insanity’ and get rid of it.


And thus I asked me to go look/ing for me.  This is a sheer act of bravery I think. You may say it is an act of insanity.  This is security.  Sanity or insanity are irrelevant as far as this notion is concerned.  I am lost.  And I am aware of it.  I admit it here.  I shout it clearly.  It is my conclusion.  And I have no clue.  I just have me and my allegedly being here.  And all of this mess and chaos.  This is my strength and my security.  It is my balance.  It is, in fact, my sanity.  It is my ontological stability.  I cause it and construct it.  It is my chaos and mess.


I go out in the freezing cold and look for it.  I wait to myself around the corner.  I jeer at me.  I insult me.  I try to protect me.  I am petrified of me.  I assault me.  I assault me back.  I try to separate me from me.  Stop fighting I say to the me.  I do not listen to me.  I fail in my peace making mission to prevent war. And a terrible, messy, vicious bloody fight commences. 


I need to protect myself from the world and to be happy.  I need to make sense for myself.  I am scared of the answers.  Yet I have so many questions and dilemmas and internal paradoxes and confusions.  I want to rest and I want to find a balance and security, ontological stability and sense making.  I want to fight and live.  I want to fight to have the best version of me possible and feasible.  I want peace and tranquility.  I want to comprehend.  I am terrified from and of what I will find out and comprehend.  I wish to be left alone.  I want to go on forward and to progress.  I want me.   I disagree with myself completely.  I lose patience with myself.  I lose my tolerance towards myself.  I turn to me.  I am the only thing that is there.  And I truly care and love me.  I turn against me.  And I start to fight with me.


I am aware of the destruction destructive power of it.  I am also aware of the utility and benefits of it and the progress it/I can make for me.  You observe and you are puzzled and confused and scared and you confuse me.  I do not want you but I know I may or will need you in this war with myself.  I say ‘I just have a me. Me, me and me.  And I am dreading it.  And I am petrified of the me.  I turn to you to save me of/from the me that chases me, follows me around and offends and offenses me.  I hurt me.  I went looking for me and was assaulted by me whilst looking for me.  So I run away and go to you. 


You are puzzled and need a security for yourself.  So you make demands.  I am defined by you and given conditions and ultimatums by you.  I turn to the me and yell at me.  Why did I go to you [for]?  I really wish to be secured, to feel good and balanced.  But not at all costs.  I will never make compromises in some things and elements.  I refuse to lose myself and to alienate myself from myself for you.  I do not have a clue.  Not having a clue is the only thing I know and feel secured and sure of.  If I’ll go to you I’ll lose me.  I do not know whether to accept or reject.  I do not know who I am.  I do not know if it is a good thing or a bad thing.  I confuse and puzzle me. 


And you are not going to tell me.  Your role is to give me a pause, a moment or two to rest and to recharge my energy and force in the internal struggle with and in the me.  It is best not to know.  It is the answer perhaps.


I become even more petrified.  I have to move quickly, to emerge, to be, to become and to be a being.  I cannot stop.  I do not have time or the ability and/or the volition to do so.  I need to calm myself down.  I need to find.  But I am so scared of the findings.  I go out of the me and I go to you again.  I cannot define myself as you insist.  I just wish to be with you without talking, explaining, analyzing, defining.  Just to rest, calm down, cool myself down a bit, forget and gain and regain forces and amass the energy again.  I wish to make sense to you without explaining or defining just by being confused and puzzled and in chaos.


When I am attacked by myself in a tremendous deal of ferocity, hatred and severity and passion and aggression. And begin losing the battle and risking losing the war I swallow my pride and dignity.  Then, I wish to take a pause in you in order to reorganize and recruit myself, pull myself together against myself.  It is part of a calculative maneuver to attack me back and to win against me.  It is a desire to win and recuperate some lost grounds and to attack and conquer grounds of my own.  I see myself bringing a powerful artillery and more modern and destructive firearms against me.  I see how I am so much stronger than me.  I see how I amass a massive fire capacity, destructive capacity against me. I am scared to death.  I am petrified.  So I raise a flag and shout to myself, cease fire, time-out, whatever, and go to you. 


I yell at myself that I cheat.  I yell at you to accept me and to just let and permit me to rest for a while.  You yell at me to make compromises.  You demand conditions.  You want me to tell you who I am and to define and explicate myself.  I try but I have no clue.  I am so weak and exhausted.  We hesitate and struggle – so many dilemmas, paradoxes and confusions.  In frustration and desperation, I decide to play a game with you in order to survive the me within me.  I need to entice you in order to find a refuge from me in the fight against me.  I play such a nice guy that I manage to play with you and to deceive you.  You have your own issues, obligations, ontological security and necessities for yourself and of your own.  You are distracted and off guards and I use it. 


You are easy to deceive.  I play it so well.  I am an expert in this game.  I invented this game.  It is my game.   I am so good in it that I even managed to deceive me.  I enjoy you.  You give me pleasure.  I give you my energy, my wit, my persona, my charm, my inner beauty as a poet and a human being as a me; I give you my weeping and pain and sorrow that I wisely turn to a clever sense of humour.  You enjoy me.  I stimulate you.  I energise you.  I make you laugh.  I make you stronger.  You love my wit, my cleverness, my intelligence and my experience in life.  I make you ontological secure.  I also confuse you.  You wonder.  You ask yourself.  You are, perhaps, just as masochistic as I am, as me, just as ‘insane; non-pathologically speaking.  I confuse you and you love it.  Perhaps, you call it stimulation.  It is all a game.  The question is whether this is a game in life and existence or if life and human existence are all a game and it is a/the serious part of this game.  It is possible that we are divided on this question.  Anyhow, you enjoy me so much that you turn a blind eye to the confusion and focus on the pleasure, stimulation and security I give you. 


You help me.  You shout at the me who stands there waiting to finish me off and arrange and rearrange all the massive firearms that I amassed against me.  I jeer at me.  I call myself names. I say I am nothing but a yellow coward, that I hide under your skirt, that I chose the easy way out.


You nourish me. You feed me.  You strengthen me.  You supply me.  You help me reorganize. You give me massive firearms.  And I go back to the battle stronger and far more revived and powerful. I am now able to punch, shoot and launches a massive contra-attack against the surprised me.  I yell at you and me ‘suckers’ and punch me with all my regained/revived force and supply that you gave me.  And the battle recommences.


This time, the course of battle changes around.  The losing side becomes the winning one.  I am losing this one.  So I go back to you to find a shelter and refuge for a bit.  You accept me again.  Do you know that it is not the same me whom you were so kind to help regain force and energy, gave shelter to, gave supplies and helped reorganize?


You soon find out and demand explanations and explications.  “Why do you need this war, all this viciousness, all of this violence, all this pain and anger, negativity and aggression?  What do you need this for? Can’t you just be kind to yourself and with yourself?  Can’t you give yourself a break?  You can be so lovely and kind, compassionate and loving.  You have been a true best friend to me.  A wonderful human being.  You helped me so much when I needed it most. Can’t you make peace with you?  Can’t you love yourself and be compassionate?  Why do you need all of this for?”  You are really angry at me.  I touched you.  I touched your soul.  You want to help me.  I am too much for you.  You want and wish to know and find out to you and for yourself.


I owe you a response.  So I reply that I need those war, pain, self-hatred, suffering, masochism and violence to progress and emerge stronger and better.  It is the only way I know how to live and be and to emerge and to become.  I know no other way.  I need those things to be and live, to create a better version of me/myself for me/myself.  I do not know anything else.  I have done this all my life.  I succeeded.  I suffered.  I was gratified.  I loved.  I hated.  I was frustrated.  I was empty.  I was full.  I was drained. And I was energized.  And I was able to survive and to go on.


I remind you of the play out and alteration of the famous proverb that is used a lot in Israel and elsewhere by the angry liberals and socialist left who angrily and viciously protest against wars and occupation and human rights violation and injustice.  We amend and change around the proverb and say instead of the famous proverb the following one of our own ‘When the heavy guns [canons] thunder [blow] the muses are not silent – they weep, engage and protest and commit themselves’.  Sartre said that they have never been as free as during the nazi occupation.  He, himself, has managed to have his play ‘Les mouches’The flies’ performed in Paris during the occupation.  And he wrote ‘Les Mains Sales’ around this time. 


I tell you the realistic joke of neutral Switzerland not accomplishing much outside of clocks and chocolate as it ‘enjoyed’ seven centuries of peace, whilst the rest of Europe knew an intellectual prosperity thanks to all the wars.  The teller of this joke asked us to find an important, major philosophical, scientific, artistic and literary achievement by a Swiss to be compared with and in comparison with French, German, the Netherlands, Austrian, Russian, Scandinavian and British (all knew vicious, bloody wars, attacks, bloodsheds and occupations) for instance.  I remind you that the biggest progress and intellectual achievement was made in time of war.  Moderna (Descartes, Leibnitz and Spinoza) was launched during the Thirty Years War.  Post-Moderna and humanism were launched with the Bismarckian era and his wars and the two world wars.  Space discovery and achievements were fueled by the cold war.


The best philosophical, artistic and literary works were constructed during wars. We need this rush to progress and prosper.  We are masochistic and refine and improve ourselves whilst suffering and weeping.  We enjoy it perhaps.  We do nothing whilst off the guards and static in some sort of romantic and peaceful ‘La La land’, all romantic and compassionate and loving.  We are little more than the teletabies when we are in peace and all loving and compassionate.  We need fire and passion and emotions, love and hatred and pain and sorrow and weeping and condolences and sympathy.  And there is no better than a survival war for life or death to accomplish it.  There is no better than the rush and gush and fiery ferocity and the short period of tranquility and recuperation and exhaustion between wars that makes us appreciate, understand and comprehend and find out and learn.  I am in such a period right now.  And I try to use it to make sense and understand and prepare myself for the next attack and contra-attack in life, against it and against me.  I wish to learn for the next attack and contra attack and emerge stronger and wiser and better.










[1] Unlike the real Sartian Huis Clos that could only take place in death and non-being

[2] I used to say unfortunately as I believed that if you want to do something do it rightly.  If you want or have to go mad then do it rightly in the proper way.  I used to share this view with a group of individuals who were diagnosed as having psychopathological disorders I was voluntarily co-ordinating, guiding and helping throughout the 1990’s in Israel.  We laughed about it a lot.  They became better.  And I was confused and ironic and glad I could be of help.

Posted by Alon Serper on 11 August 2014 07:58:16

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