When I was a kid, the coolest thing that you could have in my neighborhood was a toy weapon like a gun or sword. I got a toy gun for my eighth birthday that looked like an M16 and had cool sound effects when I "fired" it. Wasn't long before I and my friends were fighting over it and sure enough, I- in a fit of rage- used it to club my best friend over the head, breaking the plastic toy. Later when I was a teen, my friend and I would go out "hunting" with our BB guns in the woods behind our houses. We just wanted to shoot something- anything to be honest. At the age of 19, I went off to boot camp in Georgia. There I got to learn how to use some real weapons of war. The recruits including myself were eager to learn how to use these weapons of modern warfare and were almost giddy about it. Dreams of valor and glorious battle in our heads as we "popped" our guns at the targets. "OOhh, I can imagine commies coming from that hillside shooting at us"- I might have thought while dreaming of being a real soldier in battle and killing or maiming enemies.
Well, evidently I like war and battle so much that I played many war themed games from being a teen onward to today. I like the strategy involved with planning attacks and defense both. I like putting myself or "my guys" in a position to "win" in any battle. Then when the battle begins, I'm excited to see how things go from there and whether my careful plans worked or not. During the battle, I look for any "cool" kill moves or vicious brutality on both sides and laugh with satisfaction as both sides fight, struggling back and forth until one side or the other emerges "victorious". Then I proceed to strip the "fallen" of any interesting or usable loot while planning for the next "engagement". I repeat this little cycle of "playing war" over and over- and it never gets old really.
Not only do I like war in games, but, I like it movies and television as well. Some of my favorite movies were about war- and everything that goes with it. You see things being destroyed or damaged, people dying and screaming, explosions and fire, ect. It is madness. It is glorious, deadly pandemonium that epitomizes the beastly nature of all humans.
The reality of war is quite different, I think. People don't die like in a movie or in a game. They die ugly, broken, in pain. There is no glorious death- there is just death. If you yourself manage to survive, you still might lose friends and loved ones. This is not even taking into account the level of damage that war inflicts on everything else- destroyed land, housing, industries, livestock, infrastructure, cities and areas maybe, entire civilizations have perished in the wake of unceasing war.
Over the course of my life, I have often questioned my obsession with war and battle. What is it about war that interest me so much? Is it war itself that I like or is it the aftermath- or spoils of war- that I seek? The disturbing answer for me is that I like war and battle itself- regardless of the reason.
And, I'm not alone in this lust for war at all. Most of the world's best selling books, games, movies, television shows or series based on war have the best ratings more times than not- easily beating out almost every theme- based entertainment.
Now I want to make clear that I am not trying to say "make love, not war" at all. I'm not decrying the "foulness" of war. I am, however, trying to understand my basic nature- what compels me- or anyone- to like anything about war as an entertaining past time or hobby.