Since man is an animal, it's a bit peculiar that anyone might refer reprovingly to his "animal nature," that aspect of humanity that can 'devolve' into blood lust and cruelty. True, these may not be the most nourishing of human capacities, but still, human beings are animals. Shit happens and all animals shit.
On Friday, my younger son will graduate from his Army National Guard basic training course at Fort Benning, Ga. He will be, at whatever remove, a soldier. Soldiers are in the business of killing, not as other animals might, in order to survive and thrive, but uniquely within the animal kingdom, as a matter of asserting some version of self.
The strength and courage and horror of the battlefield is not something I am not in a position to question or acclaim. I have not been there.
But, when it comes to my son, I do have an impossible wish rattling around in my mind and heart: How can one man convincingly tell another that if it takes balls to make a war, it takes infinitely bigger balls to create peace? This is something of which I am utterly convinced and yet have no way -- no way at all -- of transmitting. Sure, I can do the dithering peacenik two-step, wringing my hands in lawsy-lawsy dismay, explaining and dissecting till I'm blue in the face ... but transmission is simply not possible.
Every man -- every shit-for-brains man or woman -- has to learn such things for themselves.
And when it comes to my son, I hate it.
I am stuck with the fact that all I can do is all I can do.
Transmission is just another pile of bear shit in the woods.