While attending my course on “War and Literature”, and listening to the conversation, I found myself struck by an intellectual question presented by another student. This student asked, “When does paradox become hypocrisy?” Immediately afterwards I wrote the response, “A good war is a war that teaches it’s mistakes without one having to live with them.” At first I didn’t know if I had truly responded to the question. I analyzed both the question and response carefully through the literary devices and found myself satisfied with the responses standing.
When analyzing the response I first had to return to the question. “When does paradox become hypocrisy?” Referring to this question I had to ask if my response held a paradox. “A good war is a war that teaches it’s mistakes without one having to live with them.” Considering that a paradox is a statement that seems self-contradictory, and that “a good war” is the introduction to the response, suggested that “a good war” is a paradox. However, why is it that “a good war” is a paradox? War can best be defined as active hostility. Good can also be best defined as being well behaved. Considering these definitions and the response, “a good war” would certainly be a paradox because active hostility is contradictory to being well behaved. However, most would assume that “a good war” was the responses paradox, and to assume otherwise would be insulting to someone’s intellect.
So then one has to ask how it is so commonly understood that “a good war” is a paradox? To conclude this question, one must consider that most of everyone was raised with the developmental understanding of good and bad. Most of everyone also would commonly agree that war is not good. So why do people still go, and why do we not learn from “it’s mistakes without someone having to live with them”? From statistics taken in the year two thousand fourteen, seven percent of America’s society is a veteran, and in that year there were near three hundred eighteen million citizens. That means that over twenty two million American citizens are veterans of foreign war. So how is it that we can convince over seven percent of our citizens to go risk their livelihood? We determined that war is wrong so how do we replace the ideas of good and bad? To better answer that question, it is better to replace the employment of a soldier with a painter. In order to make someone who is not a painter become a painter, one would have to go through a series of tasks.
First, cut off access to other mediums. Do not allow that person to work with anything other then painting. If they want to write a letter home, they paint it. If they want to create something three dimensional, they paint it. If they want to tell a story, they again, will paint it. Now there is no difference between the painter with their paintbrush, and the recruit with their rifle. Second, apply influences to praise the ideals. The same recruited painter now needs to be surrounded with people who share the same ideals. The painter cannot have the influences of sculptors, graphic designers, or any other ambassador of other art form. The painter needs the overall support of peers with the subject matter. This again, is no different from the soldier and their peers. Third, discourage all other ideals. The facilitator, who is regulating the transition between non-painters to painters, needs to openly degrade the ideals of all other art forms. The facilitator needs to make sure that the recruits hear their passionate opinions about how other art forms are “wrong”. This will guide the recruits to also share the same ideals.
This relationship resembles the relationship between Drill Instructors and their recruits. Fourthly, revival the title has a distinguished history of renowned individuals. For a painter, there are many distinguished individuals that made a dramatically difference within the realm of art. For some examples, there is Vincent Van Gough, Pablo Picasso, and Leonardo De Vinci. It is up to the facilitator to idolize these individuals in front of the forth-coming painters. This will give the recruited painters the expectations they need to become idolized into their new profession. This will also make the recruited painters strive to achieve the same honor. For the recruited soldier, they hear about the selfless actions of the Medal of Honor, Prisoners of War, and Purple Heart recipients. For them, they also strive to achieve that honor. Lastly, provide the graduate with a quote that brands them with honor. For instance, EARTH, Semper Fi, or Army of One. This will give the graduate something to display as pride and unite them forever with the other individuals who also have endured the same training.
Now returning back to the question, “when does a paradox become a hypocrisy”, the response needed to be evaluated for the literary device of hypocrisy. Is “a good war is a war that teaches it’s mistakes without one having to live with them”, a response of hypocrisy. Through the development of good and bad, we have concluded that war is wrong. To suggest otherwise would propose a state of insanity. Insanity is a derangement of the mind or not conforming. Since we have conclude that the popular choice is to say that war is wrong suggests that people who desire to go to war, miss war, or idolize war are insane. So are they insane? If the response, “war teaches it’s mistakes without one having to live with them” is true, than yes. However, the statement is hypocrisy and hypocrisy is the pretense of having. So reverting back to the practice of transitioning from non-painter to painter, the recruit became a painter. Now what if, during the transition, the recruit never got the opportunity to paint.
The entire time the recruit was given black ink to practice the techniques of painting, but never received oil or acrylic paints. The recruit sat through sessions where they viewed images of others painters and their colorful paintings, only to never receive color to paint with. After the transitions period, after the recruit was given the title of painter and hope to finally paint with color. However, the restriction continues and they again were never given oil or acrylic paints. They had practiced the trade for years without actual execution. The outcome is apparent. They will forever long to paint. This is the situation with the soldier. The soldier practices with blank ammunition for years, views images of warfare, practices the techniques of warfare, and never gets to execute their practices in war. The outcome is apparent. They will forever long for warfare. So in regards to the response, from the soldiers perspective, they would disagree because war cannot “teach it’s mistakes without one having to live with them.”
They themselves desire warfare. However, for sanities sake, they would suggest the response to be true in the company of other American citizens. This is the pretense of having and concludes the statement to be hypocrisy; at least from the soldiers perspective. So does the statement apply to other citizens of America? Again, the response to the initial question suggests that war is wrong and a sane response is to agree with the statement. This implies that American citizens do not see the statement as hypocrisy. However, how much money is accumulated over the showing of one Hollywood movie about warfare? How much money and time is spent reading through the stories about warfare? How often do people find excitement when sharing a conversation with a veteran where they can ask personal questions about their experiences? As peaceful people who agree with the statement, American citizens curiously find something compelling about war.
It is not my position to accuse the masses of being warmongers. However, to defend the integrity of my response, the response is hypocrisy. It cannot “teach it’s mistakes” if people live vicariously through the experiences of war. Without war that satisfaction is taken away and the entertainment lost, suggesting that the mistakes aren’t learned; they’re idolized. To propose other wise is the pretense of having or also known as hypocrisy. So can war teach “it’s mistakes”? Can the statement ever become true? Lets again look at the question, “when does paradox become hypocrisy?” and compare it to the response, “a good war is a war that teaches it’s mistakes without one having to live with them.” In order to make the response true we would have to rephrase the question. This time we will ask, when does paradox become integrity? We have concluded that the response to the initial question is both a paradox and hypocrisy, but we have overlooked one literary device.
Personification is the representation of an abstraction in the form of a person. In the response we suggested that “a good war” is a paradox, and if “war teaches it’s mistakes without one having to live with them” is hypocrisy. However, the response also suggests that we have personified war. So in order to make the statement, “a good war is a war that teaches it’s mistakes without one having to live with them” true, we have to remove the personification and rephrase the response to “a good person is a person that teaches their mistakes without one having to live with them”. By removing the literary device of personification we have successful removed the other literary devices of paradox and hypocrisy, and gave the response integrity.
If a good person were to teach others about their life’s mistakes, maybe others could learn from them. It is the gift from the veteran of foreign wars to express to others the mistakes of warfare. From that point forward, it is up to the recipient of the gift to learn from the veteran’s mistakes. War cannot teach it’s mistakes because war as a whole removes the personal aspect of warfare. It gives the individual a number instead of a valued story. However, the individual’s personal story, the veteran, includes the emotional toll of warfare. From that personal story, the audience can now begin to understand the dysfunction of warfare and that personal story can be identified as the gift.