Dedicated to anyone- any person that has ever lived on this planet or will ever live on it and has the human characteristics of being mortal, remembering, forgetting, thinking, desiring and feeling.
If you were to go to a war what would you take with you? Would you take some photo, a piece of clothing, cards, cigars, drugs, ink and paper? What would be the purpose of taking this item with you? Is there any purpose of it in fact?
War is a meaningless experience.
A formal explanation of war: “an organized and often prolonged conflict that is carried out by states or non-state actors. It is generally characterized by extreme violence, social disruption and an attempt at economic destruction”. What is understood by this definition is that the reason why wars are carried out is due to a discrepancy between the views of different states or non-states actors. These people are humans, and as such are limited and may not always see the full picture of things. Thus, the thing they are fighting for may not be something that is entirely good for everyone.
A vivid example for the meaninglessness of wars is Cold War. Basically, it was a political conflict between communism and democracy. Russia fought for the first one and the United States of America fought for the second one. Both parties believed that the regime they fought for should be followed by the whole world in order to have a better organized society.
In effect none of the regimes won completely. Currently, most of the countries are neither fully democratic, nor fully communistic. Thus, even though both sides considered their view to be the right one, it was right for a certain period of time in a certain area.
The Cold war is not a typical example of a war in terms of the fact that there was no direct fighting, but the causes of the war are usually the same, political, economical or both. The solution that people have found to solve these conflicts is by carrying out a war.
The effects of war are as stated in the formal definition- extreme violence, social disruption, many casualties etc. Thus, war is meaningless as it tries to solve mainly political and economical problems by means of violence and in effect the things that are fought for have no universal significance or impact and pass in usually less than a century.
Goal when being at war
Wars do exist, even though they are meaningless, and many people are drafted to fight to them.
The best thing any human can do while on a war is to survive. So what do you need to take with you in the war? Don’t worry! -The army is so carrying that they will provide you with everything you need for your survival - a gun, a uniform etc.
Every other material thing is dead weight.
If you examine the things people usually take with themselves. The items can be divided into two main categories: sentimental items and items for spending the leisure time. All items…
Sentimental items bring memories back to the soldiers. However, what is the effect they have on the soul of the soldiers? Items might have two effects. The first effect that they might have is to make soldiers nostalgic and remove their focus from the war. This eventually will result into them getting killed. The second outcome of bringing a sentimental item with you is somewhat opposite- it’s to motivate you to be a better soldier and to motivate the others so that you win battles and end the war soon. However, do you really need these sentimental items? Don’t you have the memories in your head? Aren’t there even more accessible to you, since you don’t need light to read letters or to see a photo? So isn’t it better for you to just bring back a memory in your head? You decide…
The second category contains the leisure activities. When you go to war, you are expected to fight, any distraction might be fatal. Would have Curt Lemon died, if he didn’t get distracted? No! And this is just one example that shows that enemies are everywhere even if they are not.
An argument against this is that people go crazy if they end up being all alone. A way to solve this is to talk to people. Each person has an unlimited amount of stories to tell or to imagine, a hundred advices to give and a thousand jokes to tell. So people should take this aspect of war, the fact that they will meet people that they would have never expected to meet in war, and use them to their benefit.
In both cases, when you think of either items taken into war for spending leasure time or just sentimental items, it’s seen that they can all be substituted by the mind, either by talking to other people or by just thinking by yourself.
“What would you take with you if you were summoned to war?”
The answer that I would give to the question “What would you take with you if you were summoned to war?” would be everything and nothing.
Everything is… Everything are the things I have seen, the items I have felt, the smells I have smelt, the foods and drinks I have tasted, the emotions I have felt, the memories I have stored, the books I have read, the thoughts I have had and that go on in my mind now, the history I carry in my veins...
Nothing signifies the fact that everything I possess will eventually fade.
Nothing signifies that even though I have “everything”, I still know nothing in a larger scale as all of the secrets of the universe are hidden from humans.
The reason why I am carrying this “item” with me is simple- I am a human and as such I posses the quality to see what’s around me with my eyes, to store it in the nerves of my brain afterwards and to make connections between things, which enables me to think and evaluate the surrounding.
The plain fact that I am human also means that sometimes I can forget and that one day or another, my existence in this world will end.
I am carrying this “item” because I am human. I am also carrying it because I want to, because I have chosen to.
As I said the fact that I’m human makes me to see, hear, touch, smell, taste and evaluate the environment. In this sense, I have been made to carry this everything. In the same time, I know that due to the fact that my brain has a limited capacity. Thus, in the same time that I’m carrying everything, I am also carrying nothing, as compared to the unlimited knowledge of the universe, mine is finite. Furthermore, some beautiful moment, I will die from this world and everything that I have collected in my mind will fade away. Thus, I have been assigned to carry everything and nothing.
In the same time, I am given the opportunity to choose whether I want to keep everything, or whether I want to give it away. No one is stopping me from committing suicide. What’s more, one of the ethical principles states that if I have a sane mind, I can choose for myself what to do with my self and my body. Thus, in a sense I am given green light to end my life if I chose to. I am both made to carry everything and nothing, but I can choose whether I want to have everything, or want to be left with nothing, which as Epicurus would say does not matter because I JUST WON’T BE THERE.
Is this human characteristic of having everything and nothing, simply good or simply bad? No, it is not. It is both.
Having a “soul” demands to carry some things. It demands that you feel, you feel both the good and the bad; you think, you think of both good and bad and you also think about the universe, about the meaning of the human life, of the existence of God or about what has created the universe and in fact what’s the purpose of it? And the answers to these questions have remained a mystery and most probably will remain such because science has not progressed enough and most probably will need more time than the time it takes for the Sun to ignite and the human race of this small planet Earth that by some chance managed to synthesize O2 will disappear.
Do I wish to just leave my human nature and stop bothering myself with these questions that cannot be answered? Sometimes I do. I wish to forget the pain, I wish to know it all but realize that I cannot and then I ask myself what’s the meaning?
But then again, what will be left of me if I leave my human nature, I do not know. What I do know is that just this nature will make me understand or not understand what follows death. I will either see the meaning, see what comes after death, or I just won’t because there won’t be anything to understand. I know that there’s no reason to rush into death, because maybe there’s nothing after it and all of my existence might just be here and now. So I want to have the “everything and nothing”, I want to feel and learn.
The weight of the item I will bring with me to war is controversial and depends on the point of view.
A scientist would rationalize this “everything and nothing” and discuss that all of my memories, thoughts, knowledge etc. is stored in the brain and he would say that “everything and nothing” is in fact my brain. Thus, he would say it weights around 1.4 kg.
To me, on the other hand, the weight of everything and nothing weights more than the whole world. It is everything I have ever known, everything that I will ever learn and what I will ultimately maybe blank out. Thus, to me “everything” is like the vast universe that is ever on expanding until at some moment it collapses and I die, but yet, I may not be certain that I will forget because there still is the opportunity of an afterlife.
If the universe would have to have a viewpoint on the subject or if there truly were a God that created the universe, I believe that the weight of my “everything” 1x10^-(the largest number ever existing), meaning almost equal to “nothing”.
Thus, the weight of everything and nothing can be reduced to zero, considered as everything or just be rationalized to the size of the average human brain.
Where would I be without it?
“Everything and nothing” is making me human; it makes me who I am.
If I lose both things, it would be like the situation when you divide 0 to 0. It’s a none defined situation.
What is defined is that if I stop carrying everything, I would be a human vegetable- no feelings, no thoughts, no thing.
And if I stop carrying nothing? I would be God.