Tuesday, August 29, 2017

What do Kahlil Gibran and Carl von Clausewitz Have in Common?

What do Carl von Clausewitz and Kahlil Gibran have in common? Maybe just the “ka” sound? Clausewitz famously said that "War is the continuation of politics by other means." Kahlil Gibran was the author of The Prophet, a cult classic for Timothy Leary's "turn on, tune out and drop out" generation of the 60's and someone who is not usually associated with conflict. However here is what he had to say on the subject: “Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.” So is there anything latent in these quotes  that would allow for belief that it was possible for the human species to confine its energies to making love not war? The answer would seem to be negative once again. Gibran's words presuppose a condition in which the soul is in a state of perpetual conflict.Whether the cause of this lies in the advent of consciousness is not spelled out and in the case of Clausewitz the presumption is that conflict is part of the human condition with war and diplomacy merely reflecting varying gradations of hostility. But while one might wish there was a common ground in shared humanity there appears to be little in common between the Indian mystic, who became a publishing phenomenon and the oft-quoted Prussian General and author of On War.

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