Motives of Wars



It has been suggested by one of the visitors of this website that motive is as important as the will itself. It brings me to seek the reasons behind these events and/or personalities in whom motivation flourishes.

Bertrand Russell has regarded Power as the ‘fundamental concept’ of social sciences while John G. Stoessinger regards ‘misconception’ as a reason of most wars of the 21st century. The reasons can only be justified by those involved and there would probably a peaceful solution of the conflict if both sides were willing to let go of their bias. Despotic wars cannot gather sympathy by any means except their sole lust of power. Religious wars have had a different agenda in different religions and has resulted in a different kind of society afterwards. War has always brought more trouble than what was expected. When war ensues humanity loses. Although the motive of wars varies greatly but the feelings of fighters is of importance:

“Collective excitement is a delicious intoxication in which sanity, humanity, and even self-preservation are easily forgotten, and in which atrocious massacres and heroic martyrdom are equally possible.” Power, bertrand Russell

The will to act no doubt becomes extraordinary in this situation.

Forms of Power

“When a pig with a rope round its middle is hoisted squealing into a ship, it is subject to direct physical power over its body. On the other hand, when the proverbial donkey follows the proverbial carrot, we induce him to act as we wish by persuading him that it is to his interest to do so. Intermediate between these two cases is that of performing animals, in whom habits have been formed by rewards and punishments; also, in a different way, that of sheep induced to embark on a ship, when the leader has to be dragged across the gangway by force, and the rest then follow willingly.

All these forms of power are exemplified among human beings. The case of the pig illustrates military and police power. The donkey with the carrot typifies the power of propaganda. Performing animals show the power of ‘education’.

The sheep following their unwilling leader are illustrative of party politics, whenever, as is usual, a revered leader is in bondage to be a clique or to party bosses.

Let us apply these Aesopian analogies to the rise of Hitler. The carrot was the Nazi program (involving e.g. the abolition of interest); the donkey was the lower middle class. The sheep and their leader were the Social Democrats and Hindenburg. The pigs (only so far as their misfortunes are concerned) were the victims in concentration camps, and the performing animals are the millions who make the Nazi salute.”

Power, Bertrand Russell

The ideal character according to Bertrand Russell

I’ll take four characteristics which seem to me jointly to form the basis of an ideal character; vitality, courage, sensitiveness and intelligence. I don’t suggest that this list is complete, but I think it carries us a good way. Moreover, I firmly believe that, by proper physical, emotional and intellectual care of young, these qualities could all be made very common.

On Education, Bertrand Russell

Beauty of love is in freedom


Love cannot be a duty, because it is not subject to will. It is a gift from heaven, the best that heaven has to bestow. Those who shut it up in a cage destroy the beauty and joy which it can only display while it free and spontaneous. Here, again, fear is the enemy. He who fears to lose what makes the happiness of his life has already lost it. In this, as in other things, fearlessness is the essence of wisdom.

~ Bertrand Russell, On Education

[Source of photo]

Learn to obey so that you can learn to cammand!



In the very far past I heard this quote in some movie I do not remember. Today, I read about it in ‘On education’ by Bertrand Russell. He debates on it in these meaningful lines.

He writes:

“. . . when we come to consider, not courage in this or that respect, but universal courage, something more fundamental is wanted. What is wanted is a combination of self-respect with an impersonal outlook on life. To begin with self respect: some men live from within, while others are mere mirrors of what is felt and said by their neighbors. The latter can never have true courage: they must have admiration, and are haunted by the fear of losing it. The teaching of ‘humility’, which used to be thought desirable, was the means of producing a perverted form of this same vice. ‘Humility’ suppressed self-respect, but not the desire for the respect of others, it merely made nominal self abasement the means of acquiring credit. Thus it produced hypocrisy and falsification of instinct. Children were taught unreasoning submission, and proceeded to exact it when they grew up; it was said that only those who have learned to obey know how to command. What I suggest is that no one should learn how to obey, and no one should attempt to command. I do not mean, of course, that there should not be leaders in cooperative enterprises; but their authority should be like that of a captain in a football team, which is suffered voluntarily in order to achieve a common purpose. Our purposes should be our own and, not the result of external authority, and our purposes should never be forcibly imposed on others. This is what I mean when I say no one should command and no one should obey.”