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Human catharsis in war

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  1. When people make mistakes, why do they say, 'I'm only human'?
  2. Living through war is like hunger.
  3. There is a paradox between the words 'powerless' and 'kill'.
  4. Soldiers suppress their humanity.
  5. The psychological state of a soldier.
  6. Soldiers commit many seemingly immoral acts.
  7. One of the most overlooked ideas of humanity.

Do you ever look at something for so long it doesn't make sense anymore? Have you ever been stuck in a moment that was your entire life? Cheated death, but regretted it afterwards? Looked at the man standing next to you and thought, ?Who will die first, you or me?? This is every single living moment of a soldier. What he thinks of when he throws that grenade, loads that gun, and looks up at a bayonet, only he knows. But to those on the outside, we wonder if there's still a human being in the empty shell of a man whose body has lived and endured too much. Soldiers are irrevocably changed after war. Most are crippled, mentally instable, or socially disabled. In Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, a man's memoir based on the author's own account of World War I, the men go to the edge of reason and back. They literally become their own worst fears as they often kill without hesitance. Yet, they retain a tenderness that is only present in those who have known compassion. Everyone, even soldiers who have killed, have humanity.

[...] What the quote is trying to convey is the extremity to which men go to in war to fight for life. The goal of eliminating the enemy in order to save yourself is so strong that it doesn't matter who the enemy is, just kill them so you can be saved. If your father was a threat to your life, you would fight him just as you would fight anyone. To feel compassion or mercy towards an enemy in war is to expose weakness and endanger your own life. [...]

[...] This compassion and concern for the wellbeing of someone else is humanity and it is present in both altruism and camaraderie, and soldiers often display such behavior, which proves that they are indeed humane. One of the most overlooked ideas of humanity is that simply to be human is to be humane. It is a fragile sense of conscience that is easily suppressed, but just as easily regained. In the big picture, humanity plays an active role in our everyday lives and comes in its variety of shapes and sizes. [...]

[...] Moreover, the front and war in general is no place for sentiments because they only hinder and diminish the chances of a soldier surviving. It makes him uncertain, weak, and vulnerable, thus he suppresses them, especially humanity because it puts his life at risk as it gives way to a certain amount of self-doubt and that is often fatal. The psychological state of a soldier is just as important as his physical state because it changes his entire attitude towards war, the enemy, and how he conducts himself. [...]

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