Monday, September 25, 2017

Laws of War


In order to talk properly of war we need to widen the context. World bank data says that ⅓ of the world live in countries affected by fragility, conflict, violence (FCV) and this is likely to reach nearly 50% within the next 1-2 decades
  • Fragility → Conflict → War
  • While Outright war affects 10% of world population, only 11 countries in the world at peace today
History by its nature can only talk of events in/of time, space, specific to cultures, nations, income-groups etc.
So what are the universal factors (ie not time/space/culture/nation dependent) that conduce to humanity's perennial propensity to war?

Basic Laws

We start by inquiring: How come something so universally acknowledged as horrible can be so prevalent?

Attitudes to war come in many shapes and guises. And range between these two extremes

We are each one of us responsible for every war because of the aggressiveness of our own lives, because of our nationalism, our selfishness, our gods, our prejudices, our ideals…
And only when we realize, not intellectually but actually, as actually as we would recognize that we are hungry or in pain… will we act.
J Krishnamurti

How/why the F____! is war MY problem?

So where to most people sit on this spectrum??
In prelude to WWII Niemöller showed how mostly everyone starts on one side… And moves towards the other… But by then its too late!
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

Rules of the Game

If a sprinter and boxer compete
  • Who wins??… Depends on…
  • Whether the competiton is a race or a boxing-match 😎
  • Was the Iraq War fought around Baghdad?…Or on CNN?
  • Or more recently how much is Trump's prowess with twitter to do with his victory?
  • ▣ Wars are not won on merit or morals or even strength/power.
  • ▣ Wars are won on who sets the terms, the rules-of-the-game
You cant fight tanks with bayonets!

Human beings must war

How can human beings be ever NOT at war? Is it feasible? Even conceivable?
Lets ask a seeminly different question: Can human beings ever be sexless?
If it were why would would the Hollywood standard formula of guns+boobs always so guaranteedly sell?
The trick is to understand that while war is deeply ingrained in us the sphere of war is a choice
Enter the Bhagavad Gita which uses the allegory of a mythical great war to couch a real great teaching.
  • ▣ War is necessary and unavoidable
  • ▣ The sphere of battle is a choice
  • ▶ Spiritual battle (jihad in Koran, dharma-yuddha in Gita, etc) can save the planet


Who foots the bill?
  • ▣ No war can happen unless someone foots the bill
  • ▣ The people who have that much money can only be highly successful businessmen
  • ▣ Highly successful businessmen don’t embark on failed ventures
  • ▶ War is a hugely profitable business…
  • ▶ …of billionaire sponsor

Heisenberg Effect

  • News and other media seemingly dispassionately report facts (so-called)
  • Those reports change the facts themselves.
    [And this is not about malicious/fictitious/fake news but well-intentioned reporting]

Law 4

  • ▣ In any business, two customers are better than one.
  • ?¿ Why not support (aka bet on) both sides?

Just a Statistic

  • ▣ 1 death is a murder, a million deaths is a statistic [Stalin]
  • ▣ Are the millions Syrian/Iraqi/Afghan deaths even a statistic?? Related to

Log-Scale is Hard

  • Two buses fell off the bridge in monsoon… Caused more distress (to us!) than the million dead Syrians/Iraqis.
  • Can we stop running away and accept…??
  • That we do not feel thousand as we feel ten; and million we hardly feel at all. Because…
  • ▣ Conceptualizing the log scale is psychologically hard
  • ▣ It is (meta)psychologically hard to see how hard the above is
  • Million is not a number — Its a meaningless sound


  • Hitler ‘killed’ 6 million jews
  • However Hitler never opened a gas-tap ie he did not personally kill a single person!!
  • [Except himself]
  • Yet…
  • In Iraq+Syria+Afghanistan 3-4 million have died
  • What about Hillary/Obama/Bush?
  • ▣ Killers are not decided by killings but by losings
[Aside: Churchill was nearly as much genocidal of Bengal peasants as Hitler was of jews, but no one — not even most Indians — can bring themselves to say that Here is an odd exception ]


  • ▣ Winner writes the history books
  • ▣ Loser is written about

Imaginary vs Real war

  • ▣ Any war needs two wars at least to subsist: one real one imaginary
  • ▣ The imaginary one is between countries, religions, races, etc

Real One

Politicians who divide Families divided
Generals demanding bravery Soldiers who die
Religious leaders who exhort faith and jihad Pious whose faith is shaken by the terror
Rich who get richer Poor who lose what little they have
Weapon-maker Canon-fodder

Ravi's Law

Q: Isnt Buddhism a peaceful religion (unlike the Abrahamic faiths)?
Ravi Ravindra: Do you think the jails of Thailand are filled with Christians or Muslims?
In more abstract terms: Criminality and Religion are un-correlated; ie
  • ▣ Criminality is uniformly distributed across the world
    ie its Equal to castes races countries


If you are planning for a year plant rice, if you are planning for 10 years grow trees, if you are planning for 100 years educate your children.
Japanese Proverb
If you want to change you must start with your grandmother.
G.I. Gurdjieff
Brain development is 80% complete by age 5.
Current neurological research
From forever humans have warred.
From forever humans have striven to end war.
The recognition of this mismatch tends to throw us into two oppposite camps:
  1. Wars MUST stop NOW (or yesterday!)
  2. Wars will never stop… Its futile to try…
The first choice is unreal; the second is inhuman.
Is there no third choice?? Yes…

Time Scale

Just as a great tree needs a right timescale for its development, a war-less world cannot be created overnight. On the contrary a right timescale is key to planning a warless world. In our estimate…
  • ▣ 3 generations (ie about 90 years) is the appropriate timescale for planning for a war-less world
Another way of saying the same thing: Trump and Kim Jong-un will not stop fighting. Its useless trying.
Its more reasonable to try with their children.
It is even more reasonable to try with the retraining of the teachers of their children, ie their grandchildren

The scale-mismatch between lifetimes…

  • Govts live in years, individuals in decades, countries in centuries.
  • Mismatch between govt-life and country-life makes for non-accountability.
    eg Bush's shit is smeared worldwide; Obama does not own up to it

Crime Scale

  • Murder is the ultimate crime? NOT!
  • What about a million murders?
  • What about the destrution of a country (Iraq)
  • Or a continent (Libya → Africa)
  • Of the whole habitable universe (Trump → climate change)
  • Personalized evil is less than genericalized (killing one vs killing a people)
  • Lentrohamsanin

Lie Scale

  1. Euphemising
  2. Political Correctness
  3. Lies
  4. Living a Lie
  5. Liberalism Democracy Secularism

Human Value Scale

In the mid-nineties there were 3 conflicts at much the same time: Bosnia, Rwanda and (as always) Israel. It was notable that even in Indian newspapers they got equal coverage Despite the fact that the number of Israelis killed was in units, Palestinians in hundreds, Bosnians in thousands whereas the number of Africans in millions.
If we treat this — sq cms of newpaper coverage in newspapers of unrelated countries — as an objective measure of value of human life
we get the following world order today human beings' value relative to each other:
Race African Asian East European West European American Israeli
Relative Value 1 10 100 1000 10,000 100,000


We see in the world different groupings that have different stabilities in time
Group Country Community Caste Race Sex
Lasts for years decades centuries millennia billennia
Ism Patriotism Communalism Casteism Racism Sexism
People understand that putting one sex, one race, one caste, one community over others and hating the others on that as justification is reprehensible. Yet people mysteriously think that doing this for one country over the other is a virtue.
Ironically of all these isms, the least stable one is patriotism and is most highly regarded.


  • ▣ Is supposedly love
  • ▣ Is actually hate
Seen even in other languages, eg Country in many Indian languages देश connotes love (think countryside)
Whereas Nation वतन represents nationalism → nationalist party → Nazi ie it connotes hate-for-the-other


  • ◉ Murderer ≜ A man who kills another person
  • ◉ Demagogue ≜ A man who incites millions to kill and be killed
  • ?¿ How come demagogues are not regarded as super-criminals??


  • ▣ Small scale (individual) movements of people is a hall mark of freedom
  • ▣ Large scale transmigrations of population is disaster and apocalypse

Unity and Division

If we try to unite we only divide, we need to see Unity to end division

Long term Cost of War

How long does the cost of war last?
10 years
50 years
Indo Pak partition, WWII
100 years
1000 years
Muslim Invasions
2000 years
3000 years
David and Goliath

War Quotes

  • ▣ To my mind, to kill in war is not a whit better than to commit ordinary murder— Albert Einstein
  • ▣ Let us face squarely the paradox that the world which goes to war is a world, usually genuinely desiring peace. War is the outcome, not mainly of evil intentions, but on the whole of good intentions which miscarry or are frustrated. It is made not usually by evil men knowing themselves to be wrong, but is the outcome of policies pursued by good men usually passionately convinced that they are right — Norman Angell
  • ▣ Name me an emperor who was ever struck by a cannonball — Charles V of France
  • ▣ War, n: A time-tested political tactic guaranteed to raise a president’s popularity rating by at least 30 points. It is especially useful during election years and economic downturns — Chaz Bufe
  • ▣ The failure to dissect the cause of war leaves us open for the next installment — Chris Hedges
  • ▣ When the largest industry in the world is no longer War, I will accept Darwin's theory of Evolution — Dale S. Mugford
  • ▣ Everyone loses in a war — George Orwell
  • ▣ History = “Lifestories of Criminals” — P.D. Ouspensky
  • ▣ [In order to eradicate wars the beings of planet earth would need to]
    Stop 'Don-Quixoting' with the aim of immediately attaining the total cessation of these processes of theirs, and instead to occupy themselves with the eradication of the conviction, which has become fixed in their ordinary process of existence, of the virtue of the notion they have;
    That is to say, if they would try to attain the abolition of the practice of exalting certain of the participants in these processes (wars) to what are called 'heroes' and to reward them
    Beelzebub's tales G I Gurdjieff
    [From ]

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GCF Abstract

Our existence on planet Earth is characterised by three interacting components {Life, Values, Laws} which interact to produce a resultant ...