News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Military Ethics, Broken Body, Self-Image

Friday, December 09, 2005

Military Ethics, Broken Body, Self-Image

The military has always attracted my attention. I grew up in the town where the US Army has its war college. As a child, my friends and I roamed their campus fishing along the town stream. As a teenager during the Viet Nam War, I was "arrested" and fingerprinted for refusing to stand and pay respect to the flag at evening reveille. This is also where I had my first LSD experience. I remember vividly going to a Disney film and watching the world end on-screen.

Contrary to what the the preceding might suggest to you, I've always admired those in the military for their sense of duty, strong convictions, and discipline. Dying for what one believes in is a passion that's not only noble but worthy of respect for those who oppose the entire idea of what might be perceived as "mindless" adherence to regimen and dogma. But I have always been impressed with the freedom of thought by many in the military and the clarity with which they see the world.

So, this article about the Stoic values of the military is worth looking at. It reports on how wounded miliatry deal with the changes to their bodies and their continuing aspirations to living the military ethos:

Still, Ashby's voice ought not to be silenced. For him, like so many military men and women, “being able to work hard and play hard” is precisely a matter of having an exemplary body that can be routinely tested in grueling ways. To be deprived of that contest is no small change in the terms of one's happiness and conception of self.

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