War As A Form Of A Dialog Between Cultures

1061 words - 4 pages

If we are talking about dialogue, the first thing that comes into our mind is verbal, oral dialogue. And a good example of this in contemporary cultural context is translation. However, this is fairly new form of communication and the three much earlier and older ones are: war, love and trade.

At first sight they seem to be rather different, but in fact they have a lot of common features and in real life are closely linked together. A good illustration for this is marriage, which clearly belongs to the love-discourse. But it also involves trade (the widespread tradition of "selling" brides, dowry) and war (kidnapping brides).

As I already mentioned, war is the one of the oldest and most developed forms of a dialogue between cultures. We know that in its earlier stage of development Culture does not acknowledge others beside it. At that stage Culture is directly opposed to the everything around it: we, who live in side the Culture, are human creatures and the others, who live outside our cultural context, are not. However, with further development there the need arises for communication with Others, the need for dialogue.

War is the announcing of the presence of "the Other" de facto, even before Culture has acknowledged it yet. How can we say this? It's because we can only make a war with somebody who is equal to us. We can't do battle with somebody who is weaker - this kind of action is called ´hunting´. If we make war with somebody who is much stronger than us, it's not dialogue but monologue (nuclear bomb vs. stone axes). Particularly embarrassing in a cultural context is a civil war - you can't really fight against yourself.

Now - what are the reasons for war? It seems that there are so many, but actually they can be divided into 2 groups: 1) real reasons and 2) fake reasons or, let me put it in other way, cultures can fight for resources or for ideological reasons. Basically, war for resources is almost always the main reason and ideological ones are used to only cover it up. Why is this kind of smoke screen necessary, I'll come to that little later.

Firstly, reasons based on needs for resources could be divided into three main types:

natural resources (land, forests, minerals, water)
human resources (wives, slaves)
communication (roads, rivers, mountain passes)

Secondly, ideological reasons, which basically could be divided into two main types:

religion (quite a weak reason, has reached its peak nowadays, esp. Christianity)
following the Law (most common reason)
the wrong eating habits
the wrong sexual habits

So, as I said before, the first are real reasons and the others are so called ´cover-up´ reasons. The reason for ´cover-up´ is simple. Every culture has its Law, and the first and most important prohibition is that you should not kill another human being. Even if he has better lands or a prettier wife. But - you can kill a man who is not a real,...

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