Thursday, April 01, 2004

Response to the military idealog

Its not wrong to formulate views based on experience... we are all the sum of our experiences.. but with alittle bit of wisdom to discern how our experiences came to be. Look at the 'glasses' you were wearing as you made your observations. Being in the military puts you directly into the experiment- so to speak.

Your views were not unlike those of some folks I viewed one vacation trip a few years back.... I was in considerably better shape than today... in fact daily exercise (a mile in the lap pool in the morning, 3 mile run after work and jumping on my road bike to knock out a run up to virmond park) put me into triathlon shape... believe it or not. Well... I went on this barefoot island cruise with a bunch of strangers... and a girl i was seeing.... anyways

One particular day we went snorkeling off the shore of a small cay near the bahamas... while in the water with flippers, I found my ability to motor around was vastly superior to most of my shipmates on the trip. Well I found myself scooting far from the vessel- against the buddy system rule- but when have I ever adhered to rules eh! But in so doing, i came across an interesting revelation, when sufficiently distanced from the ship and shipmates, I began to encounter an extraordinary amount of aquatic life. Schools of beautiful fish were assembled just beyond view of my shipmates. They were just there assembled and watching as if to be amused that all us land lubbers wobbling about in the water were some kind of circus come to their reef.

When I returned to the boat, I realized that as my shipmates began to recount the fish they'd seen... that there was a great discrepancy between their experience and mine. The difference was I went beyond the port of call...

Its one thing to travel the world... its quite another to travel the world as a soldier of a superpower. Quite different, to travel to a port of call- verses the vast expanses beyond the sphere influenced by ships that pull into port and provide leave to military men. Sure you can say you went further out than most of your peers... but I'd imagine many others of similar stock, have also ventured out as far as you. Quite a different thing to travel incognito... or unencumbered with association to any nation... then you truly experience the real sentiment of a people.

Just like the fish waiting for our boat to leave, many people act differently when put in a situation where they know the origin of a stranger...

Not to say your observations should not be integrated into that which makes you up.. your perceived genetics so to speak... Its right to base your views on what you perceive to be your reality... but just as the rest of my shipmates went on to perceive the reefs in the bahamas are not very populated with fish... the reality is that they were wearing glasses when they observed... and being part of the experiment meant they affected the outcome. I just got lucky to stumble on the observation that by breaking the rules.. I got outside the experiment. And I'm thankful for the revelation.

One other point, I don't think most foreign people hate us at all... my guess is that most people pity us for being so complacent –so ignorant of the world dynamic. They don't hate us, they don't like our corporate and governmental arrogance as it relates to our actions round the world... much like kids on the block don't like the bully... unless he's standing right there.... then you acquiesce. People want in because the essence of our republic is the closest thing to self determination on the planet... but the trouble seems to be that we masses become so lax in our free civilization, that we get numb to the manipulations by a select few. I think if you really zipped off round the world and asked... you'd find that to be closer to the sentiment than actual hatred. - well that is except in the middle east... some of the masses... not connected to any government or policy... who've been caught in the middle of our war on terrorism... might not be so kind in their view of America.

Philosophy isn't worth salt if it's not put to the test.

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