24 The Warrior Archetype

Episode Twenty-Four: Heroes And Villains

If history is written by the (ultimate) winners, it’s no wonder that we in the West view the Persian king Xerxes as a villain and the Spartan king Leonidas as a hero.

But the warriors of the East were men of honor too, trained “to draw the bow and speak the truth.”

Let’s investigate the Warrior Archetype today for how it regards enemies … and why we in the West value certain styles of combat over others.

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7 Comments

  1. Brian Nelson on November 5, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Steve,
    Refreshing to try to think of the battle from the Persians’ perspective of duty, honor, country. I found this to be easier to do while listening to this than (insert embarrassed emoji) it has been for me to try to see things from the perspective of political ‘adversaries’ here in US the past few months.

    I had a similar short-lived epiphany when reading “Hunting the Caliphate” by MG(R) Dana Pittard and Msgt(R) Wes Bryant. Great read, from the senior officer and senior NCO, each chapter a different perspective. At one point, MG Pittard is trying to get the Obama Administration to ‘pay attention’ to ISIS to little success or avail. I felt the frustration and rage against the indifference of politicians viscerally.

    Then, in a flash, I thought, “Oh. Maybe this is how – insert any disenfranchised demographic – must feel about – insert any administration’s lack of effort on their behalf.”

    Collective vs Individual sovereignty is an argument that will likely continue as long as man exists. I think the answer is found between the tension somewhere. Is the Divine within or from above? How should leaders behave?

    All of my instructors at DLI in Monterey were all native Russians. Something many of them noted was that the Russian people liked a ‘strong leader’, insinuating that the Russian people preferred Autocrats over the Western ‘soft’ leaders of democracies. Hard to understand from our perspective, but interesting and insightful nonetheless.

    A timely post and exercise in cognitive jiu jitsu as we come out of an increasingly hyperbolic and irrational election season.
    Thanks.
    bsn

  2. Andrew+Lubin on November 5, 2020 at 10:14 am

    OK, I’ll take point…

    Perhaps “honor” depends on how the war is conducted?

    Go back to 2007 when the Air Force wanted to award their drone operators (sitting comfortably in an air-conditioned stateside office and going home nightly to wife and children) a just-released ‘Combat Action Medal’ on the idea they “actively participated in either air or ground combat.” The other service members, notably the Marines and Soldiers living and fighting in Iraq and Afg’s heat, dirt, squalor, and real combat, rightly howled their opposition.

    Are drone operators combatants, in the historic sense? Hell NO! But then I was 2x in vics that were IED’d (Ramadi and Helmand), so I believe you’re not in combat if you have no risk of being killed.

    I’ll also argue the West has lost it’s way in warfare. While drones, HIMARS, Cyber, etc are using technology to defeat the enemy and keep our KIA/WIA counts as low as possible, we’ve far overdone the comfort factor. Both Bagram and KAF had Burger King, Orange Julius, Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Harley Davidson, beauty parlors, and others catering to keeping our newest generation of combat troops comfortable. The Pentagon today is more able of a way to manage a war than fight one, and there’s really no honor in being a manager.

    Next up…?

  3. Joe on November 6, 2020 at 8:22 am

    The angle that caught my attention in this one was “different types of combat.” It brought to mind a book I enjoyed a long time ago, Richard Bach’s novel “One.” In the story, he and Leslie are flying in their seaplane and somehow get caught in a space that’s in-between time and place, between multiverses. Wherever they land on this vast shallow sea, with apparent webs underneath looking like connected sandbars, they fall into some alternate universe and meet other versions of themselves — another present, a distant past, a far future.

    In one chapter, they’d landed in a world that had transformed the practice of war. Nations still had air forces and armies and navies, but “combat” had evolved. Those competitions between nations were now acted out for global network broadcast, like a military ESPN, like a giant paintball game.

    Richard and Leslie are talking to the alternate versions of themselves. They asked “Linda” how their world was able to transform. I transcribe:

    ***
    Linda: “We had wars, too, years ago. World wars, till we knew the next one would be the end of us.”

    “What did you do? How did you stop?”

    “We didn’t stop,” she said. “We changed.”

    She smiled, remembering. “The Japanese started it all, selling cars. Thirty years ago, Matsumoto got into air-racing in America — a publicity stunt, they put the Sundai automobile engine into a raceplane. They mounted microcameras in the wings for the National Air Races, shot some good footage and turned it into the first Sundai Drive commercials. Nobody cared that they finished fourth, Sundai sales went out of sight.”

    “That changed the world?”

    “Slow-motion, it did.”

    “Along came Gordon Bremer, the airshow promoter, got the idea to put TV microcams and laser-tally guns in showplanes, laid down the rules, offered big prizes for air combat pilots. It was a local show for about a month or so, then all of a sudden, air combat was a spectator sport like nothing you’ve ever seen.”

    ***

    https://archive.org/details/onenovel00bach/page/144/mode/2up

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