Lao Tze versus Brian Williams
MSNBC talking head and war porn lover Brian Williams re-surfaced to fetishize the beauty of seeing pictures of tomahawk cruise missiles heading out to kill people and destroy things.
We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean. I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen: “I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons.” And they are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making what is for them a brief flight over to this airfield. What did they hit?
They hit people.
Even the best weapon
is an unhappy tool,
hateful to living things.
So the follower of the Way,
stays away from it.
Weapons are unhappy tools,
not chosen by thoughtful people,
to be used only where there is no choice,
and with a calm, still mind,
To enjoy using weapons
is to enjoy killing people
and to enjoy killing people
is to lose your share in the common good.
It is right that the murder of many people
be mourned and lamented.
It is right that a victor in war
be received with funeral ceremonies.
The translation of Chapter 31 of La Tze is from Ursula Le Guin’s version, which has become my favorite. [amazon] I like the simplicity and clarity of her translation. An older translation of the same chapter reads:
Where everyone is well armed, is a state in vain,
Matters alike are resented,
Therefore the master dwells not.
Hence the master finds residence on leftovers,
Mobilizes on righteousness.
Armaments, are instruments in vain,
Are unmasterly instruments.
Wielded only when inevitable,
Reconciliation is paramount,
Victorious without glorification.
Those who glorify, takes pleasure in massacres.
Those who takes pleasure in massacres,
Cannot win the hearts of the people.
Therefore, upon prosperity, be left-out,
In adversity, be righteous.
Hence the general is to the left,
The admiral is to the right,
Positioned in solemn remembrance.
Casualties, are mourned in consolation.
Victories, are remembered in solemness.