A Netflix movie arrived in my home the other day.
I opened the envelope and read the title:
Why We Fight.
I do not remember hearing about this film. I do not remember putting it into my queue. I suspect the social psychologist in me was drawn to the title as I am always interested in exploring why we do what we do. And I love a good documentary. Why We Fight did not disappoint.
To be clear, the "We" in the film’s title refers to the American republic. And the rest refers to the exploration of why the U.S. has been involved in a endless succession of military conflicts over the past century. The film examines warfare from an institutional level rather than an explanation of what drives individuals to violent behavior.
Why We Fight uses President Eisenhower’s farewell address where he offers a warning about the rise of what he terms "The Military Industrial Complex" to make its point. Briefly, Eisenhower described how by creating an environment where warfare is such a salient (and hugely profitable) industry, the likelihood of using this technology — regardless of the rationale — increases.
Here’s the video of address to give you the flavor.
It’s a downright prescient speech, don’t you think?
In my work, I talk a lot to clients about creating the proper environment to attract your desires because your environment influences your energy, an in turn, your energy determines what you attract. Obviously, I could go into much greater detail, but for this post, think of it in this way — there is at least some kernel of truth to the adage "if you build it, they will come."
Regarding warfare, Einstein made this point when he said, "You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war."
In terms of the Law of Attraction, with so much emphasis on warfare in the American psyche (Rambo 4, anyone?) and in the American economy, we create more of that to which we give our attention and energy. Did you know that the United States’ defense budget is more than every other nation in the world, combined? Three-quarters of a trillion dollars. That’s a lot of scratch, right? With that much emphasis, it’s little wonder that war has been created with such regularity (see the film for a full list of the wars and "conflicts." It’s easy to overlook how often it happens…).
An important point about the film is that to my eyes, it does not demonize or blame any leader in particular like a Michael Moore movie. Rather, it examines the powerful (yet oh-so-subtle) influence that the the environment ("the immense military establishment" in Eisenhower’s words) has on the "economic, political, even spiritual" realms. To my way of thinking, the message of this movie is encouraging. The movie seeks to spread awareness, and with awareness we can create change.
I encourage you to give it a look. I know if I was still teaching, I would show my students this film.
Here’s the trailer…
And, in my research for writing this, I found that the entire movie is currently available online here (though I recommend renting it without the sketchy subtitles added in this version).
This movie changed the way I looked at things (for one thing, I noticed just how many times the cameras fixed on military men in the latest State of the Union address), and I am always eager to share and connect…
I’d be interested in your thoughts.
P.S. — One for the conspiracy theorists — My friend and loyal reader The Gordonator works for the US Gov’t. Wrote me an e-mail today saying that he could no longer access this site on his work computer. Banned! We did all sorts of little tests together. Appears to be content related. Of course there could be lots of other explanations… but it is weird. Just sayin’…..