Saturday, March 05, 2005

We're Defeated Again

The most poignant line in a long while was uttered at the conclusion of the movie "Seven Samurai" [Kurosawa] by the leader of the Samurai. At the end of the battle, the village is saved and four of the seven samurai have been killed. The leader says "Again we're defeated." The woes and the truth of battle are espoused in that simple idea. "It is the farmers who are victorious" the Samurai finished. As always it is the soldiers and the military that lose even in victory. They lose their innocence, they lose their civility and they lose their comrades. The victors are always those who either cannot defend themselves or those who direct the warriors in combat.

Certainly the celebration of the victory should be shared, but a hollow celebration is not a true celebration, is it? The victory of having buried men that you've trained with, watching friends and leaders die, the victory of another man and with it his family's patriarch. Yes, victory, can be quite decieving. In battle men die, that is fact. In battle men kill, that also is fact. But with those facts come this: Warriors are to be feared before and after the battle, but during the fight they are to be revered and worshipped. They are weapons that are wielded by some that have no business wielding them. They are always the losers, that is the way of war.

Kurosawa shows us this. Kurosawa also makes an argument for the ronin, and for the samurai culture in general. "This battle will bring us no money and no renown." And yet several samurai accept the challenge. Each have differing reasons. Each have different outcomes. Seven againts 40. Seven. For the sake of protecting the villagers, for the sake of rendering assistance where it is needed.

Ask yourself this: If you were asked to help defend those who could not defend themselves, would you be one of those seven? Would you?


Anonymous said...

To be one of those seven is to be a martyr, you may not be dying for your religion, but you are dying for somehting you believe in. I believe that I would be one of those seven, for I have been in a case just like this in the past......and I chose to defend the one who could not defend themselves, and even though I was defeated, I still felt like I won, But maybe it is because I was defeated that I won, but did I win? I have lost more than I have gained because of that battle-and this war has not yet come to an end, I fear for my own safety, and I fear for the happiness of those I love, But at the same time I Hate the ones I love, I Hate them with a passion- for they are the ones who directed me into battle, and i fought for them, but they dont recognize my sacrafices, my death was to no avail.

There is a saying of the elders' that goes, "Step from under the eaves and you're a dead man. Leave the gate and the enemy is waiting." This is not a matter of being careful. It is to consider oneself as dead beforehand.

kmvr said...

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless made or kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
— John Stuart Mill

Edster said...


You make a good and legitimate point. In fact, I think that you made my point more directly than I did. But then again I have always had a penchant for using sideways logic to get people to realize for themselves that which should be obvious.

And since you are seemingly fond of John Stuart Mill, I'll leave you with this one: "A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury."

kmvr said...

People have been brainwashed into apathy and indifference I think. The television blasts out images of shock and horror 24 hours of the day and people eventually shut down because it's too much to take in. They become de-sensitized to a lot of things over time.