Previous entries of this blog often have put a vague focus on the arts and the artifacts of war, ranging from weaponry of medieval combatants to cinematic interpretation and the contrast it has toward other forms of genre. Many questions, however, still linger about these living pieces of history that we often come to reflect on. I will be addressing several of these questions and trying to provide answers to long running humanistic questions from this: the discipline of humanities known as the arts.
A question of my initial posts that still often lingers is the agency of a soldier and the role of his weapon in describing his agency. A soldier, in essence, is not a human being, but the instrument of a larger force commanding him, thus depriving him of many of his freedoms and greatly limiting his ability to act. A soldier, however, does not agency altogether. A soldier lays a claim to agency through the greatest expression a soldier could have on the battlefield: his weapon. The weapon is for the soldier what the soldier is for the army: a means to exercise force in a manner seen fit by the wielder. A soldier is a human again when locked in combat, his weapon being his agency to commit action and earn glory and fame as a hero. Essentially, the only time when a soldier is not a soldier is when he is in a fight for his life, free from orders with only his strategy and his weapon to guide him.
Another question that yet remains to be answered is why war still exists in today’s society when we are supposedly “beyond war”. The reasoning that this is so is because we are still in a society that idealizes scenes of epic combat. Through cinema, through literature, our belief is still firm that there is something enticing about ferocious struggles and atrocities. This is not to say that many have tackled the view of a war from below, such as Grimmelshausen and Brecht with their respective works, but it is obvious that society cares more about the beauty of the fight rather than ending the horror of it.
There are many questions that are yet to be addressed. The arts themselves may not hold an answer on every question, though many of the mysteries of the humanities can be addressed through the various realms that comprise the arts. My focus will often drift into these realms in order to develop a variety of responses for the conundrum of war. A goal of this blog, thus, is the creation of a comprehensive and living collection of relevant ideas to answer age old debates and conflicts.
Liu, Alan. “What Are the Humanities?” 4Humanities. N.p., 21 Dec. 2014. Web. 14
Nov. 2015. <http://4humanities.org/2014/12/what-are-the-humanities/>.
Gilbert, John. King Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt. 19th century. Oil on
canvas. Private collection.
Tonton, Ed T., III. Rack of Maces, Daggers, and Replica Pistols. N.d.
Photograph. Arms and Armor. Ed T. Tonton.