A Day of Infamy

Pearl Harbor

Dateline: December 7, 2010.


I cannot celebrate war. But on this historic day sixty nine years ago, my life and the lives of everyone I knew were changed for ever after by one horrid war. Our part was a minute fraction of lives changed by it. Its anniversary never passes without my own vivid memory of exactly how it was in my young life.

We heard about it on the old Philco radio that Sunday evening. I confess it didn’t really sink in. too deeply. I was nine and my life had never been affected by war before. I’d read about wars but in sterile books, it wasn’t vivid and certainly not personal.



Monday, at school - I was in music class. We were singing - “Ruben, Ruben, - Rachel, Rachel.” The girls sang “Ruben, Ruben, I’ve been thinking, what a great world it would be - if the boys were all transported far beyond the northern sea.” Then the boys returned the verse, except they addressed it to “Rachel, Rachel”.




All of a sudden, in the middle of the singing, the rather primitive intercom system came on and interrupted. I can visualize and hear that speaker box mounted high on the front wall of the classroom above the teacher’s desk. It was not a high-fi sound system. In a scratchy voice, the school Principal came on and said the United States had declared War on Japan. He said the President was about to make an announcement on the radio. Then he played President Franklin Roosevelt’s LIVE radio announcement of it, the one in which he called December 7, 1941, “A Day of Infamy.”



Before long kinsmen were being drafted or volunteering to go into the military branches. In music classes we learned the songs for each branch of the service, and sang “Any Bonds Today - bonds of freedom, that’s what we’re selling, any bonds today” and "Over There". Of course, our entering into the War was not just against the Japanese but all the “Axis” powers, including Germany and Italy. We sang “The White Cliffs of Dover” in empathy with the British who were, with France, Canada and the US, the “Allies” in this dreadful conflagration.


And immediately. movies, music, - everything reflected the country’s involvement in “The War”. My brothers-in-law were called to duty and as soon as my brother got out of school, he went on in. I didn’t know my George then, but he volunteered for the Navy the same year as my brother, 1943. My Dad was 51, a WWI veteran. a producer of key wartime goods, and was exempt.

In more industrial areas, women who could went into the factories to fill in the jobs men had left to go into the services. They made the airplanes and the other machinery it took to arm the men and perform the work of war, whatever it was. The women who stayed home worked harder than ever to make do with rationed supplies and "keep the home fires burning". It was what they wanted to do, to do their parts, and what they were expected to do. Everyone did his or her bit without whining or blaming, except of course "the enemies". That is one of the many horrors of war. Civilians in those "enemy" countries and troops in their camps were also pumped up to hate and blame the other side. Most of the individuals only knew that there were enemies because there was the war. If they'd met over the back fences, they would have talked about each of their own children, their hopes and dreams and invited each other for tea or coffee. But that was not to be - when war had dominance. Its" reasons" were mostly intangible. Its effects were more than vividly and viscerally tangible.


So rationing began. All the goods needed to outfit, feed and arm the troops were rationed to civilians, among them: meat, sugar, coffee, butter, leather, wool, rubber tires, gasoline, metal goods (tin for cans, steel for tanks and guns), all rationed. Few everyday items were untouched. Each household had books of their allotted number of “Ration Stamps”. Suddenly everyday life changed dramatically. Many products we took for granted were limited and substitutions for those rationed materials were found to manufacture clothing, shoes, tires, foods. In looking through some old mementos my parents kept, I recently ran across a ration stamp book.


The war helped the parts of the economy in which, as I mentioned, my Dad was a producer. He was a sheep and goat raiser. Wool and mohair were his products. They were essentially needed for military uniforms and blankets. Remember, this was all before the development of man-made fabrics, though the war did inspire their development.   Civilians needed other alternatives, since the natural fibers were being saved for the troops.  Nylon did make its entry for parachutes, and it touched off the "plastics" industry.   


"Victory gardens" sprang up so folks could raise more of our own foods. One had to be impressed with the willingness, resourcefulness and fervor with which the population rallied to the "war effort". Horrid as war is, it is good that people do their part if and when it erupts, as it seems inclined to, people being as they are. Hopefully better ways will develop.

The same kind of spirit of cooperation and even self-sacrifice of the "extras", of having everything our own way, would go far in helping the spirit of our country - indeed, our world - to look deeper and wider for solutions to conflicts, as well as to various disasters, both natural and - as now - economic. Everyone cannot have everything exactly perfect. But all, really trying to improve things, can do wonders.


So after that day of infamy so long ago, nothing was ever to be the same again all the way to December 7, 2010!

But back then, for the next several years, war was how it was, affecting everyone, though each in our own way. Our homes were opened to wives and families of servicemen-in-training in our towns when nearby military bases opened or became activated. In our sleepy little towns with insufficient housing for the influx of families who followed their husbands wanting to be with them as long as possible, we simply took them in. Wives who were nurses and teachers joined our workforce to boost our town's efficiency and economy. But our homes which were already just big enough for our families were suddenly bursting at the seams with the extra indefinite "guests". My parents and I slept on our screened sleeping porch all winter so that the two wives and their children we took in could have our bedrooms and another, the guest room. I'll admit that, as a little girl whose home was suddenly not my "home" as I'd known it, I rather resented the imposition! Space to play and activities were all severely limited. And of course, for my parents it was surely more so, though I never recall one complaint. We all knew it was necessary.

The pace of life was quickened unmistakably all during those war years. And the pace of death, - more so, as families received news of their loved ones who died in battle or of wartime theaters' diseases and injuries.

Afterward, everything was different, as I wrote about in my Magnolia hub series.


Ever since then, the Earth has been plagued with CONSTANT war. Korea, Vietnam, The Cold War, Central America, Desert Storm, Africa, iraq, Afghanistan, The War on Terror and many another war in which my country was not directly involved. War's effects constantly trickle down into every household and every human action. Everyone is affected either directly or indirectly; everyone suffers the effects of wars. And they are waged for intangible "reasons", fueled with greed and intolerance.

War is such a tragedy. Those who risk their lives and serve deserve all the honor we can bestow and it is right to pause to remember them. But WAR itself and those who stir it up and fan its flames deserve no honor. It is a crime with multiple criminals and multiple upon multiple innocent victims involved. Whichever “side” one’s people are “on”, it is a travesty against all humanity. The youngest and most potential lives are snuffed out and families bereaved from then on.



I knew a young Vietnam vet in 1973 who'd returned to his prominent Louisville family and wife, all of whom rejected him because of his ordeal and what it had done to him. At times he'd seem to want to talk about it all, but really just couldn't voice it. It was like a thick aura around him, clinging to him, enclosing him, shutting him off.


I wrote this poem sabout it:

They took away your childhood

And put you back a man,

Estranged from Man.

They gave you nothing in return

To mend the tears within your heart.

And when you tried

To kill the pain,

They punished you.

You feel despair.

To live, you must jump gaps

Beyond the common stride

To find a peaceful place

The other side,

To heal, to grow, to be.

And find recovery.

Had they shattered your body

And left it lay, untended

As they did your soul,

It would have been an outrage.


______© Nellieanna H. Hay

written 8-25-73



There are other alternatives to resolving differences but until human beings are willing to try to resolve them with fellow human beings and to tolerate differences in civilized ways, this planet will be in turmoil. It is vastly more practical to find ways to reason together. My beloved George, who knew the horrors of WWII and did his duty valiantly, always said of conflict, "Come let us reason together".

War destroys. Why do we CHOOSE to destroy our lives, our civilization, our WORLD?? It makes no sense at all. Past are times when being a "dove" was pie-in-the-sky idealism. War has become a hideous luxury we can no longer afford.

No other species upon Earth mass-kills its own species, let alone takes out the most virile of its members, as humans do. We think we have the “higher intelligence”. Do dolphins war? Do even whole colonies of even “natural enemies” in nature war? NO. So why don’t homo sapiens use our superior minds and hearts to resolve our disagreements and live in peace and harmony amongst ourselves at least as successfully and well as the intelligent dolphins do?


Give Peace A Chance
Give Peace A Chance

In time and in space

Lives overlap,

No matter whose,

No matter where.


We touch in each similar

Familiar place,

Adhering in each exact same place,

Ad repelling where opposed.


Yet in each place we touch each other,

In all the Universe

There is no other

To compare.



______© Nellieanna H. Hay

written Dec. 7, 2010

More by this Author


Comments 57 comments

ralwus 6 years ago

A wonderful reflection of WWII's influence on you Nellie. Loved the poem too. There really is no victor in war but so many victims. Bless you and thanks for sahring these memories.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

I just added a new poem I wrote earlier this morning, which actually inspired the hub, but I forgot to use it! Hope you see it too. The war did influence me but millions of others, the more. That's really the message. My personal little experiences of it were so minor by comparison, but I hope they make it more real to the readers.

Thank o so much for the visit and comments, dear Charlie.


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 6 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

It leaves a growl in my stomach the way war's become as simple as signing a contract and the impersonal seperation of frontline and policy...WW2 put the US in a world-guardian position that is too depended on and condemened at the same time,exuse me for now Nellieanna,I need to go take some Pepto Bismal,lol;)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yes. It is stomach-turning. Too bad all the signers of those contracts can't be given a dose of something to cure them of it.

Thanks for your ever-thinking comments!


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

I need a double dose of Pepto Bismal to get over the distorted stories about many wars and what caused them; the December 7 is just the biginning and 9/11 will not be the end of the many lies we are being told.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

I know, Petra.

And possibly if we knew the truth about the Napoleonic Wars, we would find many lies and propaganda, too. It is important to not fix all the blame on one side or even on one era. Alexander the Great - all wars have unsavory backgrounds and "insider information" and agendas. If PEOPLE would simply not swallow it, it would stop in a hurry.

The enemy is WAR itself. And war is a tool of other agendas which PEOPLE buy into. There is a mentality which assumes that the way to get what one wants is to TAKE it and to meet with resistance to that with violence. It permeates human mentality so that it's easy enough to activate when those "contract signers" for the wars call for the cooperation of the people - they get it, even when it means sacrificing life, limb and home.

Thank you for the visit and comments. Hugs.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

"But WAR itself and those who stir it up and fan its flames deserve no honor. It is a crime with multiple criminals and multiple upon multiple innocent victims involved." Nellieanna, these words of your should be inscribed on every heart. There is no honour in war, as you say. Those who stir it up usually sit at home in comfort and rake in the profits while the "youngest and most potential lives are snuffed out and families bereaved". So true and so sad, so very sad.

Thanks for sharing these profound thoughts. As I wrote in my Hub about my life's journey, Hitler has somehow overshadowed my life from birth until today. I was born during his dreadful war and his made racial ideology inspired so many in this country, though they would later deny it, and they set up their own version of it which caused unbelievable suffering.

You are wonderful, lady! Thank you.

Love and peace

Tony


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

I agree wholeheartedly with you, and don’t even want to add a word to this perfect hub you’ve written. So sad that too many people, and in particular leaders, still have the intelligence of a primitive human being, which can, today, be compared with the intelligence of an average toddler between three and seven. Mankind – its knowledge, views, perceptions and interpretations - grew since the beginning, but some men (and women) are still centuries behind the rest. Great hub, Nellieanna, voted UP and UP and UP.


SilverGenes 6 years ago

Nellieanna, I'm not sure what the answer is when dealing with people like Adolf Hitler. There is no reasoning. Sometimes, war is inevitable just from a defensive standpoint and such was the case when it began for Britain, Canada, and the allies in 1939. Yes, it is horrific. Unfortunately, the public is kept in the dark and are asked to trust the leaders of this world which, in my humble opinion, is a huge mistake. Perhaps we could avoid conflict if the ordinary people were more aware of what is truly going on. I had hopes for the computer age removing some of the powers of leadership by disseminating truth but then censorship appears, as we are experiencing right now with the Wiki issue. Maybe if that kind of information had been floating around in the 1930s, a person like Hitler would never have had the opportunity to rise to power. Just a thought from someone who likes the idea of freedom and truth. Superb and UPPED :)


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

The really scary thing about Hitler, and the second world war is that he got in through election. Germany was a democratic country in 1933. If enough people can be fooled, in any of our countries, the maniacs can be in power tomorrow.

Thanks for an interesting, and very well written article Nellieanna.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 6 years ago from Northern, California

War. Such a brutal force full of hurt feelings and feet that stamp about the room in a vengeful state as would a three year old. The loss of young lives and old alike at the hands of powerful cowards has long escaped my understanding. That being said; I will remember and honor with majestic respect those innocents who gave their lives at the concept of protecting ours. December 7Th has and will live in Infamy, as many souls reel in the quake of a lie and dispersal of human life. I will continue to salute the stars and stripes in honor of these beautiful souls of past and the living souls of our fighting men and women of today.

I am as always honored to read your valuable work~ UP and awesome...

K9


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

TONY - Yes - the intolerance and racial discrimination and hatred is terrible and the more so in that too often the everyday folks are willing to hop on that bandwagon. More often than not, the less educated and more prolific folks need someone to scapegoat, so those in power can almost always count on that to get them into their corner, regardless of those leaders' own real agendas which may have little to do with racial bigotry as much as just with padding their own nests. I must read your hub you mentioned. Seems I've gotten behind in my reading! I don't like to miss yours!

Yes - that kind of bigotry is almost more devastating than the actual battlefields, which, after all, have a closure finally. Bigotry seems to be like the concentric circles on the water when a pebble is tossed into a pond- - ever expanding and only most painfully resolved, and still with aftereffects. I really hate it.

Thank you for reading and for the great comments! When I realized what day it was, I had to write about it, if only a little piece. When I sat down and started typing, I could hardly type fast enough. I had written about the war on my Magnolia series hubs, from a different view, - the effect on families.

Anyway - that war was a big pebble in a big pond.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Martie - Ah yes. Your comments are good additions. I've tended to reserve my real feelings about this subject, having been often surrounded with those who are ready to jump on the bandwagon of hatred and violence to "fix" things. I dislike rancor even to the extent of resisting fighting with those folks.

I believe that it is impossible to talk one ideal and demonstrate its opposite, though of course -it is often tempting! I've begun to simply persist in what I truly believe and let it speak for itself.

Sometimes my tongue is almost raw from biting it. On a larger scale it is not unlike having to resist mentioning glaring grammar errors. One cannot set oneself up to correct all the wrong thinking one sees. One can be courageous and stand up for the standards one does support --- by practicing them, though. No sense in espousing "come let us reason together" by turning around and smacking those who don't agree or want to part with weapons of war. Fighting them is how wars are perpetuated. Ith has to stop somewhere but it's a tightrope one must walk.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Alexandra - I know. Those who have become so warped are already up and at'm. One of my early hubs talked about the importance of starting teaching a better way at the crib and I even used Adolf Hitler as an example. http://hubpages.com/education/The-Deviant-Mind

But I cannot imagine that the US could have accepted the bombing of our peaceful fleet and done nothing to retaliate. And war still had a certain kind of honorable aura. Hadn't been too long since people marched line to line in person in bright colored uniforms to fight it out. But as soon as one thinks about the outcome of WWII and the cost in lives and other valuable resources - on both sides, then one must try to consider what brought the country to even having a fleet of warships. What was known by leaders that might have prevented the aggression?

One of the best war movies was made long after the war - "Tora, Tora, Tora!" showing it from both the Japanese and the American perspectives. They were all PEOPLE -people with families and homes and dreams for the future. And leaders are not clairvoyant to fully see and anticipate the future and what their actions will ignite. Unless there is a desire on BOTH SIDES to find better solutions, they are unlikely to materialize.

It's a much more basic problem than what to do when aggression makes a move. Like bullies, aggressors have axes to grind which probably started in their childhoods. But the attitude of peace has to start with people who can see the light. I, too, like freedom and truth. There is also a need for fairness and compassion in the formula.

Thanks for great comments, my dear friend.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Christorpheranton - - Yes! A perfect example of how any political system can be twisted and used for underhanded agendas. PEOPLE are too willing to buy into horrid ideas and it probably gives them a sense of power too at the time. Are you familiar with Eric Hoffer's "The True Believer"- about mass movements and the crowd mentality which fuels them? So long as people are patsies for hype and glitter, they'll be prey of someone who flashes it and says "follow me" right on over the cliff like the proverbial lemmings. Sad - but there are ways to bring people up with a little more sense, I hope. Thank you for these comments. Christorpher.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

K9 -- yes, too many immature people of all varieties and nationalities fuel the confrontations. Seems that foresight isn't any longer than noses.

I also honor our flag and what it and we are supposed to stand for. Certainly my heart goes out to those who are brave and willing to defend it for what they personally believe it means. I just seem to be less and less able to close my eyes to hypocrisy and out-and-out wrong principles to begin with. This country has attracted people for its fairness and offer of opportunity and compared to many others, it has fulfilled the promises. But people - individuals who claim the greatest of allegiance are often the very ones who are most intolerant and punishing (or fully willing to be) of those who have come - as most all families who are here now came from elsewhere at some point - to seek a better life. All to willing and eager to shout "Go back where you came from!" while saluting the flag and saying their prayers. And these emotions are used by leaders to get folks ready to go into battle.

So there's plenty to be corrected, as well as much that could be built upon for the betterment of the country and its citizens. The need is to sort out the wheat from the chaff, perhaps.

I'm honored when you visit and for your comments! Thank you!


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 6 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

I hate war and we never seem to learn from the past just how devastating it is. War makes the world go around. Very informative and well written. Thank you.


rx4u 6 years ago

Nellianna- Thank you for your eloquent reminder of a past we must never forget. My Father, Uncles and several close family friends were in WWII. The tragedies they endured continued to affect their lives long after the war ended. I couldn't understand it all as a child, but as I look back now, one question continues to resonate in my head- "How do you train someone to kill another individual in cold blood and then expect them to be able to turn those emotions off when the war ends?" I have great respect for our soldiers, but have to question "the system." Thanks again for your wonderful insight!


SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 6 years ago from Philippines

I think we enjoy killing.Just look at hunting for sport. Buried deep within our psyche the primal instinct lays dormant waiting for those moments when the lust for blood arise.Society merely regulate it for practical and survival reasons..


Tinsky profile image

Tinsky 6 years ago from Brisbane, Australia

"There are other alternatives to resolving differences but until human beings are willing to try to resolve them with fellow human beings and to tolerate differences in civilized ways, this planet will be in turmoil." - Thanks for your thoughtful hub Nellianna, I hope the messages you have provided reach the eyes of those who need to embrace the change our Earth and civilization desperately needs.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Lisa - so apparently true. War certainly does make the PEOPLE in the world go 'round and 'tound in round after round of fighting. I tend to think the world would be just as well off without it and would rotate happily & as efficiently if people were sitting around a "Round Table" discussing and working out the issues instead, though. I know you hate war a much as I do. Let's start a campaign to outlaw war! Thank you, dear feisty gal, for you very welcome comments! Hugs.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

rx4u YES!!! Isn't that the truth! - We seem to have the odd notion that our young men and women we send off to fight battles for who-knows-what-purpose-really - can go to strange places and kill strangers yet return to our own more familiar - but still strange homeland, also full of strangers to each other- - and just leave behind on those foreign shores,- all that training and mentality, all the psychological conditioning which allowed them to accept mass genocide as their duty and to sleep with a clear conscience. Where is the reasonableness in THAT aspect of war? - As if there were ANY reasonable aspects to it to begin with, which I cannot see or, hearing of them, cannot justify as reasons to kill our own species with abandon.

We really do have to question a system which promotes this. At the same time, we do have to respect those who try way beyond normal call or duty to do what they've been taught they must do if they are to be deemed worthy. They are worthy and deserve not only respect but genuine love, - enough to stop making our young people have to accept such a fate.

Thank you for your well-considered comments.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Tinsky, thank you. I'd also like to hope that messages for a more peaceable Earth would reach and touch the hearts of those who know only the ways of struggle to the death. Yet personal experience and observation show that many even more eloquent pleas for pausing and contemplating are at best minimally effective in setting off any appreciable move in that direction. The propaganda for war's necessity is very internalized in societies around the globe. But it was learned, so perhaps it could be unlearned and other more peaceable and rational ideas instilled. I am, after all, an optimistic realist and a realistic optimist Within the confines of reality, a better way is possible If I didn't think so, I wouldn't have the courage to express such views or look forward to a better day for myself and my loved ones.

So even though it is a warlike world, I also believe most people in their hearts of hearts would prefer a peaceful life to pursue their dreams, have their families or chosen life's work without having to either go off and fight in or pay for the practice of WAR - which eats up most of the national resources and plenty of its tax dollars, as well as killing off a large percentage of its best & most promising young! Why anyone who really thought about the facts of it would support it is hard to figure. I guess it's "traditional" just as boiling people is to cannibal societies.

Is it sensible or humane - or progress, though? unh- unh.

Thanks again for your great comments and compliments!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Silent Reed - I didn't skip over your comment. I replied to it but something happened and I lost it into cyberspace. Let me try to reconstruct it now that I find it's missing from the comment thread.

I was both agreeing that much truth may lie in a primeval thirst for blood, but further elaborating on that instinct as being primarily one of FEAR. The primitive urge to "kill or be killed" - rather than simply to kill for the fun of it. True, hunting reflects it - early man faced hostile conditions which required him to be at-the-ready to defend himself and those whom he wanted to survive him and carry forth his genes. That is surely a primal urge. And fear of being the loser in such a confrontation meant that he had to be a better killer than the would-be attacker, be they lower or equal animals. Fears were handed down as well as skills of self-defense, even up to and including offensive ones, - getting in the first attack assured not being possibly surprised and overcome sleeping in the cave. Some may have come to enjoy it, to become the aggressive bloodthirsty savages whose mentality was so governed by their innate fear, that they decided they'd just as well destroy entire villages of possibly threatening "others" and be done with it.

However there also were those whose fear was mitigated with intelligence, rationality and even compassion. So to think that all of humanity is at best latently bloodthirsty, hostile and governed by primeval fear and mindlessness is a little too limited, I think. What this is about is cultivating a more safe Earth in which killing first and asking questions later is not the prime principle or wisest course. It's about cultivating the higher instincts rather than passively accepting the worst that is in our heritage. It's in knowing we are not slaves to ancestral barbarism based on fear, and on recognizing that our survival NOW is dependent on NOT murdering ourselves, but in using our higher faculties to more peaceably and rationally settle the territorial and ideologic issues among ourselves.

Oh, by the way, yes - I'm female. Even ancestrally females were not the prime defenders or offenders when it came to killing first and asking questions later. But all males have one female gene for every male gene, so all is not lost. There is no overriding genetic necessity for barbaric, and act-first/think later behavior! If it must come out, at least limit it to hunting with regulations and a kind of ethical honor involved! And eat the poor animals, rather than killing our own species. Baby steps, baby steps for the killer instinct - that's better than none.

This was a good issue to raise, though, SR and I'm glad you did. There is no sense in ignoring any phase of what is involved. There is not 'magic bullet" (wow - even the terminology for resolving problems is full of weaponry!) for ending WAR. No genie will grant three wishes, including "peace on earth". It must be up to people who see the VALUE in and necessity for a better way of settling things. And it is not "some other people" - it R us, each of us.

Thanks, my friend for your valid observations and the opportunity to discuss them.


Sophia Angelique 6 years ago

Nellianna, this is an absolutely brilliant hub. You and I are on the same page. When I wrote my poem, "Waking Up to War", this is what I was thinking of. You did an amazing job. Thank you.


Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

As long as one part of humanity teaches their children to fear and hate another part of humanity there will be reasons for War. History teaches us that yet we no longer teach history in our schools which leads to ignorance another great ingredient of War.

As long as we tell ourselves we can have it all and ignore all around us who cannot we will breed jealousy of our self centred selfishness and greed and instil want and hatred from those whose noses we rub in the dirt by our life style.

For as long as man has walked upright he has defended what is his and is willing to take what the other will not freely give.... What we call civilization is a shallow veneer of mere tolerance, see how quickly an angry shout can incite Mob Rule and on to become a lynch mob... is War such a large step away ?

War is wrong, as individuals we all agree yet as a group we accept it, support it and when we participate in it, it returns us back into individuals who merely want to survive.

However as long as we breed and tolerate Ignorance, Selfishness and Greed and at the same time filling all others with Mistrust and Fear there will be War !

What we need is a common enemy, one that threatens all mankind one that might, just might, unite the World in a just cause. You could be forgiven for believing that Disease, Starvation and Poverty might be such causes but Alas !!!

Trouble is, the only threat to the world bigger than any of those is Man himself !! Sad isn’t it ?


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Sophia - thank you! I just went to your site and dug back through your earlier hubs to find the one on Waking Up To War - and left a comment there. Excellent poem!

Hugs!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Merlin - I totally agree. And the key phrase throughout is "For as long as. . ." That has a possible terminal point. It may be annihilation of the human species. OR it could be a beginning toward a better outcome, including termination of war.

Difficult? Of course, as all steps out of the caves - and retrosteps back into it have always been. Possible? Yes. Probable? Maybe. You hit the nail on the head putting the real blame on each of us who turn our heads from seeing what it IS and tacitly supporting it. Yes, it's supremely sad, but is that a justification for accepting it as inevitable and for doing nothing toward improving it?

Perhaps we need to begin to think about what we CAN do to improve it rather than focusing on what we CANNOT do, which is making others do or think anything contrary to what they embrace. But one major and important thing each person CAN do is begin to eliminate "Ignorance, Selfishness and Greed" from our own arsenal of conditions, practices and traits and to extend more rational treatment toward others. We could begin to reason with our own fear and mistrust and avoid like the plague any residue of hatred and demeaning others because their views or cultures differ from our own.

MOBS are composed of individuals. We are only one individual apiece - but that is THE one we CAN influence. Really becoming "civil"- ized is a pretty good New Year's Resolution - and it is always an individual process. Our schools can teach ABOUT and certainly our parents should and do try to teach and to DEMONSTRATE IT, but in the final analysis, it must be internalized individually and then demonstrated daily - individually. No progress can be achieved by giving up or pointing to the others who are barbarians. We may not know how much theirs is a response to how we treat them and what we demonstrate and that we can change.

I can only question one part of one statement in your comment: "War is wrong, as individuals we all agree yet as a group we accept it, support it" and that is the "as a group we accept it," because each as an individual must accept it before the group to which we adhere has an opinion. Groups only exist as individuals in them agree to whatever it is. When individuals think and act on their own thinking, groups will of necessity follow that lead. The illusion of "group mentality" has imposed itself and provided a hiding place for individuals who are unwilling to stand alone for principles, if need be. The probability is that if each did stand, a noticeable group of like mindedness would emerge.

Anyway, accepting the status quo which leads to self-destruction makes no sense, even if it is powerful. Power is from the tacit support of folks who really do NOT fully support it.

Thank you as always for your wise and considered thoughts, my Hub guru. Hugs and XOXOXO!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 6 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California

Nellieanna,

History loses context but for personal connections. I loved reading this hub even though I believe humanity's greatest shame is it's inability to avoid conflict.

Happier thought, Dec 7th is my bithday!

Chris


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Wow! Happy Birthday Chris! Good Sagittarius, too! Hope your birthday was glorious and the next year will be wonderful for you!

Yes, the reality of being there was what part of what I wanted to bring to it. It was real and not just a story in the history books. There were lots of everyday changes and effects, even as a youngster. It was very real and in itself experience sometimes tends to make things seem more or less normal or acceptable. But I also wanted to show beyond a doubt that war us horrid and conflict is futile as a solution.

Thank you so much for the comments!


jrsearam profile image

jrsearam 6 years ago from San Juan, PR

Your memories reminded me of my grandmother's recollections of the war. One particularly interesting story my grandmother told me had to do with German U-Boats. Apparently before the US entered the war, German U-Boats patrolling the Caribbean would float just off the southern coast of Puerto Rico, near the city of Ponce and would play bavarian music and spout propaganda over loudspeakers which carried the sounds far beyond the shore. My grandmother actually saw their lights on a few occasions as she stood near the water on moonless nights with my grandfather. I was always entranced when she told that story. The image of a Nazi U-Boat so close to a coast I know so well, out in the dark ocean, like a stalking shark, always gave me chills. Thanks for the wonderful and interesting read...JR


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

jrsearam - wow - that must have been truly terrifying for your grandparents to be so close to that enemy effort to influence Puerto Rico allies!

I had no such first-hand experience, but only the changes the war caused and the information from my brother in the Army and based in the Philipines and my brother-in-law who was in the Army and based first in Italy and then in north Africa - in Morocco and Libya. Only many decades later did I meet my husband who was in the Navy in the South Pacific.

But in the US, it was well known that "Tokyo Rose" broadcasted propaganda and American songs to try to influence the Allied troops in the South Pacific. Whether or not the Allies tried to influence citizens of Axis countries and military personnel of Axis troops was not mentioned. Perhaps they did or didn't do it. But the conflict was at all levels. Those are among the tragedies of WAR. Whether participants are "for" or "against" - they are battling and innocent observers like your grandparents are caught up involuntarily in it.

Thanks so much for your comments and visit! I did hear that the Caribbean islands were victims of Axis subs and efforts to influence the populations.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

This was a fitting piece to help us remember Pearl Harbor and I am glad to see someone willing to to do that even though it brings back memories of war. As a people, Americans do not seek war as a solution but we do often find ourselves in situations in which there is little effective alternative. Japan made a very foolish decision to attack the United States, even their supreme naval commander observed, "I fear we have but awakened a sleeping giant". Much like the 9/11 tragedies, by the time all the dead are counted and the destruction measured, the majority of the American public is calling for some measured action against the perpetrator. In the case of both Japan and Germany, I see there was little or no room for negogiations since both countries were in the hands of monsters. The shame of it all is that war too often comes down to a disagreement between two people and the rest are innocent victims in the power struggle. I think that shall always be the way it is for the world will never rid itself of the fanatics who seem to have a charmed way of gaining control (i.e. Hitler) and then bringing their tyranny down upon the world. In that light, one can say that the option to wage war is a gift of God for the alternative of living life under a typrant such as Hilter would be unthinkable. Thanks for a well-written and thought-provoking write, Nellieanna. WB


Joyus Crynoid profile image

Joyus Crynoid 6 years ago from Eden

Thank you Nellieanna, for this remembrance. So much has changed since that Day of Infamy, and yet so much remains the same.

Here's something relevant for today's anniversary:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb2YSAVHmIE&feature...


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Wayne, thank you for your valuable input. Yes, it was fitting to recall that day and as you noted, considerable valuable thought has resulted. Serious discussion raises awareness, and that is needed even more BEFORE situations fester and become too late for reasonable options- as you so accurately pointed out that they do! Choices at that stage get tough and consequences, tougher and more costly. As wiser folks than I have cautioned, too -- failing to understand history sets us up to repeat it. One can’t help but note the constant repetition in progress! Is that a clue or what?

Obviously mass leaders such as Hitler don’t just spring up overnight but more gradually gain control right under people’s noses. A few "red flags" get ignored & our arrogant lackadaisical nonchalance ambles along blindly while villains are fully focused, recruiting supporters, staying attentive to every opportunity & deliberately turning it all to their advantages, including using our inattention, arrogance & refusal to consider our parts in it to fuel their growing malice & power. Sports coaches & players study other teams’ behavior & strategies long before the Saturday, Sunday & Monday night games more effectively than people heed Hitlers-in-the-making! Difference is that the games result in sterile scores, shiny trophies & rewards for both teams while real life’s result in fields of graves and shattered lives for both sides. There are no real victors in it. The losers merely start to replot their strategy & the winners bury and honor their dead heros and exploiters of it all bank their profits.

Prevention is the keyword in each phase of something that stews under the surface for years or even for decades before erupting. Effective prevention needs to start early & it requires as much careful attention and awareness as bullies give to creating a need for it. EFFECTIVE is a key word here for prevention involving wisdom, working out issues before they expand out of proportion, so as to avoid late-show knee-jerk desperate measures and bringing out the big guns after issues fester past a point of no return.War is not the most intelligent knee-jerk too-late-for-anything-else reaction. But it is all too typical of human behavior. When will we learn?

So people seem surprised & shocked when it breaks out, all armed and dangerous. But it didn't just get to that stage suddenly.

We humans allow most of the ills which befall us to develop, both on the personal & the collective levels, whenever we’re too busy or preoccupied to pay adequate attention. Sometimes even being lazy or scared or intimidated sets us up. We find, though, that accepting our own responsibility in it provides us hope of gaining a habit of making more timely, appropriate & effective choices. Either way, though, meantime, bullies are never too preoccupied, lazy or indulgent to plot and scheme, to lay foundations and prepare their agendas and to strengthen a position to prevent interference when the time comes to act - ie: when we have waited too long to try to negotiate and resolve issues! They’re often quite open with theirs and simply take our apparent indifference as permission to proceed. They don’t take our ineffective opposition seriously. Blustering anger & clever jokes & cartoons depicting their ugly activities merely fuel and speed up their agendas. We empower them with ridiculing and joking about them. They should be taken quite seriously if we are to be respected and taken seriously ourselves. They know how to push our silly buttons & get a rise out of us and that provides opportunity to get us into a win or lose mode in a game they’ve prepared for all their lives while we were twiddling our thumbs and failing to pay attention.

They've probably been laying plans starting back when they were humiliated, abused or steered wrong when young. They were not born bullies or monsters; it happened gradually. Before that path even started, parents had opportunities to prevent or redirect their courses. Parents are not always fully attentive either, though. Somebody changed young Hitler’s diapers. When did they fail to notice his resentment & bad attitude as it began to emerge? Did they think to demonstrate a better way to treat & respect others by the way they treated & respected him? Or didn’t they miss that lesson so that he began to figure out a how to fix it in his own childish way? Whatever, it started somewhere & grew powerful under everyone’s nose.

Oh, Wayne, you are so right that often by the time people react and the mess gets underway, it all too soon becomes obvious that it's really a power struggle among a small number of people at the top, whose issues are likely to be quite other than what people they recruit are fed as reasons to support their power play. They fully understand that we little folks must think it all has honorable reasons, but those are seldom more than a veneer.

But we’re not mere bystanders to life and we need to be more vigilant. Major mistakes are almost always results or consequences of choices, but usually it's not just a single huge choice, but rather a series of much smaller ones. Then along the way people are convinced to vote for a Hitler without taking note of the fact that the person isn’t even shy about intending to deny people’s basic rights and to establish a single-minded agenda (his, of course) quite forcibly. Then people wake up and act like it was their first opportunity to see & be forced to choose a dramatic course of action, one which will take many lives & deplete the community chest, putting its contents in the hands of both the agressor & their own recruiters - without the slightest inkling of their own part in it’s getting to that horrid stage & accepting it as inevitable. Will we ever grow up and get smarter?

Thank you so much for your heartfelt and valuable comments, Wayne. I hope you’ll visit more often!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh yes, Joyus. It is something to remember John Lennon's senseless murder. And such a great song and messag:. “War is Over”. How long ago? 30 years as of Dec. 8th. Did anyone heed the message - “if you want it” ? sigh. Seems like not enough did want it over.

Thank you for your gracious response here. I’m honored by your visit.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Great hub Nellieanna. Roosevelt and the higher ups "promoted" Pearl Harbor to be hit. Roosevelt and the round table knew about the attack hours before, days before, and weeks before. 911 is very unsettling to me. There are WAY too many questions and few answers from those in charge of our country. Thanks!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yes, those unexplained fuzzy fringes of possible likelihoods to the backgrounds of these events are truly disturbing. My memories of those late 1930s even include a few leftover impressions of my parents' discussions around the breakfast and dinner table and my Dad's concern about how things were moving. He was seriously opposed to the many red flags he noticed. He could see that the administration's CCC camps were not the real solution to depression-induced poverty.

His personal philosophy was that people need to be productive and those camps merely provided "busy-work", not really valuable production. He was alarmed about the things going on in Europe, as well. It was so obviously NOT acceptable.

Whatever else, though, the fruits of these tragic situations prove their lack of merit. For one observable result, it does appear that war was a great "solution" to the Great Depression and that it was a political feather in the administration's cap to end that ongoing horrid result of earlier bad management at the top & worse choices by the populace. So - the bad results of choices pile up and grow in consequences.

Each horrid choice and its fruits lead to worse ones. They stand as proof.

Yes 911 & unanswered questions about it leave a very bad taste in my mouth, too. Most important is to avoid the same horrible mistakes and outcomes in the future.

And even more important to really be aware and to examine the unique situations going on. It's far too easy to step out of one frying pan into a blazing fire, thinking it's the same old kind of pan. It probably is not. Those who are too fanatical about having "perfect solutions" may be our next biggest headaches. We need some quiet voices of reason - not an ability to stir up passions and knee-jerk reactions.

Thanks for your meritorious reply, Micky.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

All I can add to your brilliant hub is that I wish I could sit these 'great' men which are still worshipped and celebrated in a cellar night after night. You could hear the aircrafts approaching and the dull thuds of the bombs coming closer and closer. My mother sat there with two little children. I don't know how she could take it every night till the dawn came. We used get dressed when we went to bed because when it went dark the bombers came. I still can't bear the sirens or hear bombs falling. I was too young to realize the danger and took everything in my stride but my brother understood but was too young to cope with it. He was begging and pleading all the time.

The top would never declare war again.

I am sure everybody of those top lot knew what Hitler was up to from a start. Why couldn't they have taken him out, straight away? Not when he and his mob was in full power. Our officers who were from the Kaiser and Bismark tried.

Unfortunately, the devil had to have its way. The Prime Minister at that time in England called him 'the coming man of Europe'. What did really go on?

I still resent Bush started a war again and robed Blair in. What if the Arab world would have stood by Iraq? The world would have gone up in flame again. They had more luck than brain.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oops my electricity just went off. Need to light some candles. Second time today. I'll be right back. I want to reply to this, hello, hello. I didn't realize you were "there" when all that horrible stuff was going on. Thank you for sharing your first-hand experience here. What an incredible one it is, too.

Be right back.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

I was on my laptop and it went on battery but it was right at dark so I needed to leave and check out other things. By the time I was lighting a candle, power came back on. But I confess that I am a little anxious, since it happened twice today. The first time earlier today was when I was getting ready for a dental appointment but at least it was daytime. I'd just been home and getting settled in and was checking my comments when it went back off again. Very worrisome when it's happening several times. No weather problems going on to account for it, either.

Now I'm leaving one candle burning just in case!

I'm really appalled by your story of those war years and how it impacted your family. I have another online friend who was born in 1939 during the London Blitz when the Nazi planes just kept flying over and dropping bombs. His parent couldn't hide in their bomb shelter cellar because something had caused it to be flooded so they had to just hide under the dining table in the house. It was a blessing in disquise because the bomb shelter was bombed to smithereens and though the dining room was nearly destroyed too, their hiding place under the heavy table protected them from the falling debris and devastation. His father wrote a memoir and it was all described in it.

I can only imagine how frightening it must have been for your mother and you children.

Mothers are always the most scared for the children, too. My mother always thought of me first in any kind of dangerous situation. The closest I've been to anything so disastrous is to wait out a tornado warning with my two young babies in Waco, Texas in 1957. It passed us by, though. But that heavy hot sense of impending disaster was so thick, one could almost cut it with a knife.

I want to ask what really went on before almost every war of the 1900s. So much politics and they seemed to overshadow everything the more after the monarchies were deposed, Seems like people became like kids when the teacher is out of the classroom, - wild and vying for leadership.

it's hard to believe the mottos and purported reasons during the conflagrations which disturb and destroy every life in the countries where they are underway.

Dangers of the world going up in flame are never obliterated so long as wars are still the main recourse to settling things.

Thanks for you valuable input, HH.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

This is a beautifully researched and admiral hub my friend. You made me feel a part of the action, so many times I've seen this played over and over on t.v. in various forms.

It most definitely was a day of Infamy. I had the sickening feeling when I took a boat tour of the wrecks that lay beneath the waters in Oahu. I was on my first honeymoon and being newlyweds we took in all the touristy things.

I will never forget that awful feeling in my gut seeing those sunken ships and the terrible loss of life. Your poetry compliments this never to be forgotten assault on Pearl Harbor. However like you say we are the only species on earth who destroy each other on such a grand scale.

When will we ever learn? Never is the answer, we are bent on destruction, pillage, rape and murdering one another over STUFF...and this has gone on since the beginning of time. We just are now capable of killing millions of humans in one go,our weapons allow for total destruction of our earth.

Thank you for this share it is etched forever in our minds as is 911. Peace and hugs from me to you.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yes, Ken, unfortunately now if we can't get on a better course for our species, we could destroy not only ours but all the others in the moment of one huge tantrum.

The hope is that we might turn the tide which has prevaile with our kind, as you say "since beginning of time" - - if we consider that time began when humans learned to measure it. Since before that - - well, much had transpired before we WERE an existing reality here on this Earth. I feel inclined to think that we could get wise but whether or not we do, somehow the wheels of reality will continue to turn, with or without us. Our fate is in our hands. But we are dispensable and if we are so stupid as to do ourselves in, so will it be. The Universe will not miss us.

Thanks for the comments and food for thought, my friend.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

This is a really touching and poignant hub. I sometimes wonder WTF is wrong with us as a species. We just keep doing it. I think the war urge is an evolutionary trait that worked fine for monkey-people competing pre-agriculture, but after farming came about, it didn't turn off. So now we fight over shiny coins and black goo in the ground. (sigh).

Oh, and your animals don't fight thing got me thinking, and there is something I saw on National Geographic the other day that is the first animal since army ants that I reminds me of humans. (So, basically, there's army ants, Asian Gaint hornets, and humans - so we're no better than bugs as a species; how nice.)

Here's a link. It's pretty hardcore, but very interesting: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/206326/asian_giant_h...


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thanks for the read, Shades! I'm always honored when you visit!!

Do present-day monkeys gang up on other monkey tribes to display war-like dispositions?

You may well be right about warring being an evolutionary trait. In fact, during mating seasons many mammalian male animals become highly competitive among each other and do a stylized war-dance, but after the season is over and the nascent females are all set to carry on the species, the males resume their good-ole-boy camaraderie without fatalities; only the intimidation leaving one or several "top males".

Could be only a hop-skip-and-jump for humans to accelerate & continue (since mating is year-round in our species) and so they continue to refine the competition for whatever prize is at stake & in order to show off & impress females and each other by their superior military skills and devices. Among the "sides", there remains the good-ole-boy camaraderie, so all evolutionary instincts get exercised. But too bad a next evolutionary step isn't taken so that it is considered cool to excel at negotiation and getting along together, rather than primitive urges. Really requires higher intellect to move on up. But it needs to be acknowledged and brains are applied to war games.

Thanks for reminding me of deadly warring insects. Good to bear in mind that we are on a par with them!

Fascinating video, too, Shades. Violent, to be sure, though technically the hornets are not warring against their own species, though bees are probably distant kin.

Then that video battle to the annihilation of the bees is followed on the video lineup by an equally violent video game for human kids encouraging a no-holds-barred war effort similarly destructive with digital strength, implying that sort of effort is what it takes and means to be really strong. Any wonder they grow up wanting to implement their war strength and warlike "last hope" programmng of watching and playing that genre of "games"? sigh.

Is it political or economic propaganda? Both?


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

Well, I think it's just a game that appeals to the same thing that appeals to grown ups but is within reach. I played with plastic guns and army men growing up, and when the first primitive tank and airplane video games came out I was all over them. Think how popular the board game Risk was, and Stratego, and the good old fashioned "cops and robbers" ... it is what it is. I doubt its propaganda, it's more like smart marketing. You go where the desire/need is and sell to it.

I did just hear a report on all the benefits of those wargames on NPR though. For all the violence,turns out there's some significant cognitive upsides to the games. Not minor ones, either. So, who knows, maybe the games are part of the evolutionary process. If we get lucky, maybe war, if it must go on, can be come more and more robotized and we kill each others robot armies. There's a win/win scenario. Males get to keep fighting, the military industrial complex gets to keep making stuff, the defense contractors get to keep selling stuff, which employs lots of people who get to have jobs, and all the while people get to live too.

Maybe? lol (Science fiction has been at that idea for decades.)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

That's certainly a possibility, Shades. War minus death has value. There may be effects other than the positive ones you mention, however. Depersonalization of human activities in one area has shadow effects in others. These are already fairly apparent, in fact, when kids of grade school level have no second thoughts about pulling out a weapon and killing someone who thwarts a whim or when they taunt a class mate to the point of suicide and literally see nothing wrong with it.

Of course there are also other factors, but these are somewhat the product of games which depersonalize many activities and leave no actual consequences in their wakes. Kids are not always aware of the fine lines. And it seems that gone are the children's stories with a "moral" drawn at the end, which were the norm not all that long ago for what they were worth.

But improvement is to be desired and yes, science fiction has long prefaced real changes, some for the better, but not necessarily always considering the inevitable side effects on the plain ole human psyche, which progresses much more slowly than science and technology gather momentum. Not every doable appeal to human nature has equal value or merits cultivation. Feeding the destructive in human nature may need to be questioned & modified. Simply assuming that people are gong to be violent & that the urge must be appeased may be a cause of continuing and accelerating violence. It's worth thinking through.

From a strictly practical view, - if one "side" has achieved more technological readiness for robot war than the other side, - it could bode disaster for one or the other. Or would everyone be expected to wait to begin till all sides are equally prepared? Could be but these are considerations not to be ignored. There've been few examples of that sort of cooperation in other forms of warring. Strong countries attack weaker ones without a second thought. If these are the same urges being appeased - it does seem a little fraught with problems. Weaker countries tend to find other ways to even the score, such as random terrorist attacks and guerilla warfare. Rules of engagement tend to serve the strong more than the weak and to push the weak into a corner of desperation.

But I loved Wonder Woman as a kid and have an imagination that thinks of many "what-ifs" . Had I been born a few decades later, I'd be in the thick of technology, I'm sure. But the advantage of when I was born is having a respect for the best of the past, along with genuine enthusiasm and excitement for the future. It would be great if it could be made to work well and worse by exponential multiples, if not.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

I think you are right about too much development on the war side. But how do we get development on the good side, the moral side? Religion has been decimated by the communication age. Too many people talking for the modern iterations to stick. But just "doing the right thing" is not enough to MOTIVATE people. "Doing the right thing" is the baseline, and there is only falling short that has any "rewards." The loss of a good, binding religion I think is problematic.

I have to say, I believe moral writing will come back. The reductive and pessimistic literary trends have to get tired soon. People need and want hope. Once everyone has seen every possible iteration of fart jokes and skateboard accidents and other mindless funny events over and over, at some point their souls will hunger for substance. Then fiction will rise and find its place in the Kindles and iPads. Least that's my hope.

Have you ever read John Gardner's book _On Moral Fiction_? I'm a believer in that. In fact, I have a novella I'm thinking about self-publishing (because it's a novella and if I don't self publish it, it will just die unread) that is an example of what I call moral fiction. I should have you read it, and see what you think.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Shades - what great reflective thinking! It seems that religion now tends to be more esoteric, aggressive and controversial, so possibly more about promoting violence rather than mitigating it. The rabid zealot feels an urge to annihilate those who disagree, all too often, is what it seems. Of course, that is not brand new, either.

But why is doing the right thing not something people can be motivated to do? Can't it be rewarded and/or rewarding? I happen to think that early example & training in the home is where the motivation to do the right thing must really begin. But what do we see, even in this season of giving? Not toys or goodies to instill or expand on many of the better instincts, but to encourage the opposite. And then parents are also self-absorbed in the other kinds of toys, as well. So . . . . I know it's not popular, but mothers and/or dads need to be on hand for kids from day one. But when making more money to buy more toys has become more important - well - results will out.

I like your idea of moral fiction. I have not read John Gardner's book about it but it sounds worthwhile. I have read some earlier works addressing the situation of the decline of religion and what happens then. One was Walter Lippmann's "A Preface To Morals", copyrighted 1929. The copy I have was in a TIME Readng Program I subscribed to in 1964 along with several other books. I need to re-read it. It's been years.

He acknowledges that the loss of old-fashioned religion presents a problem of lack of AUTHORITY and certainty, supported by faith and hope. So when it lacks conviction, religion has little potentcy. He also talks about loss of relevancy and meaningfulness when people feel the loss of religious assurance.

He goes on to portray a man who is truly mature and has learned to embrace life realistically & learned how to live in the now, simply for its rewards and without panic. Such a man would not be impelled to grasp, fear would not control him. He would be strong but not with "hard resolves", but out of freedom from tensions which vain expectations stir. He would feel he had the entire universe, rather than just the prisons of his own fears and hopes. He would enjoy beauty and the business of living with delights of LIFE rather than hopes for some future nebulous something. He would be better at life for being calmer and less frantic. Whichever way he saw life in progress - whether the comedy or the tragedy of it, he would be free to affirm as being what it is, as it occurs, without fear. Lacking gnawings of fear & vain expectations at his innards, he would move easily through life as an affirmative influence on others and a whole being in himself.

Another work which impressed me about that time was Alan Watts' "The Wisdom of Insecurity" which attempts to move on from the need for certainty or even authority in arriving at personal sense of cause and effect as well as a less desperate need for a blissful certainty which religion struggles to bring into an uncertain world. I personally think that a lot of bad choices are made out of fear and dread of the uncertain, either from trying to fix things to suit or just to give up & exploit the bad stuff and have done with it.

These ideas of letting go of dependence on certainty or higher authority are not easy to disseminate, much less to sell to the public. Actually I am sure that taking matters into one's own hands, however violently, seems to fill a need for a sense of security which is, in the final analysis, not compatible with life as we know it, so is chasing an illusion. Change is the basic reality of LIFE and in change there is intrinsic uncertainty, as well as dynamic potency! Probably the only way to deal with incessant change productively is to accept it as the reality it is. Seems hard for people to do, but actually it is like accepting any reality or truth. Once accepted, there is greater freedom on the other side of the doubt and fear that it might be so.

Whatever the aim, better ways of teaching people better personal policies of behavior, such as what I think you would intend as the future of MORAL FICTION would be a good start with a likely future, especially done by someone like you with your strong link to all that does appeal to the generations in question.

Let's hope the "reductive and pessimistic trends" run thin, although I also believe that a realistic evaluation of what is happening and/or is a most likely outcome of following flawed courses should not be swept under the rug. I call myself a realistic optimist and an optimistic realist. We can't be like Lucy in Peanuts, just wanting all UPs and no DOWNs. lol.

Surely Kindles and iPads could play a major role in distribution of such work!

I'd love to read your novella on the subject of moral fiction - or is it an example of the genre? Sounds very good to me.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

I think the money and more toys thing is a symptom of the larger problem, which is that it is difficult to be motivated to do good for "merely" the sake of it. Humans are a rewards/gratification creature. Path of least resistance, maximum benefit, etc. The biology that evolved for the purpose of survival has lots of endocrine based reward systems that make for more immediate satisfaction. Sex and food are at the heart of our culture because they 'feel' good, and satisfy primal drives with little or no effort on our part. Buying toys is another example, albeit more difficult one. If you can buy your kid lots of toys, then you are a good provider. You get to enjoy endorphins of Alfa-status sensation. Again, immediate gratification, albeit requiring a quick trip to the mall (which requires a good job, which does, technically, indicate some level of provider competence etc.).

The moral behaviors I think you and I are talking about (and agree are essential and in need of revival ... interesting how that word has such a strong religious connection, eh?) require more effort. Yes, we can be motivated to good for the sake of it, but given how comparatively small the reward is (I feel good inside knowing that I have done the right thing) compared to how I feel with an easier move (I buy tons of presents, my kids are happy, my wife is happy that I have provided for her children - there's a primal system at play there - I am happy that they are all happy, my neighbors and everyone else knows I am alpha provider, etc.) The second list is much longer and more filled with rewards/chemical stimuli etc.

I think that's the problem. The drive to do good has to be supported by social pressures for it too. We are social creatures; we don't live in the isolation of our own consciences. Without the community of a religion that brings divine rewards along with shared experience, there are subtle, perhaps, but important reinforcements for social behavior (which is what "good" really means) that are lost. At least I think this is some of it.

As for the novella, I think it's an example of what I mean, and what I believe John Gardner meant. If you're up for it, I'll send it to you, so long as you promise not to share with anyone else. :)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Shades - thank you for a stimulating discussion! And I'm as good as a bank vau lt, Shades. Send it to me!! I'll love it! I promise that no other human eyes will see it from me! I won't even discuss it with others.

AH, yes - this generation - - (which has yet to prove its survivability, by the way & may or may not have what it takes) - - is not the only or the best representation of the human strain which has made it through from its onset to this time -so far. There have been other traits which have been valued over ease & self-gratification. I've personally known individuals who were examples of such traits and were humans who were motivated by a desire to be good humans, not particularly out of a quest for a future life in a promised land.

But let's say there are only lazy bums left. Well - either they must rise to the challenges which are inevitable or - no more humans.

So provider competence might need to rally into enough instinct to assure survival. But the challenges aren't negotiable. It's not compulsory that humans rally. But the consequences are simply "givens" if not.

Well, the word "revival" may have religious connotations, as does "revelation" - but both are honest words expressing things applicable to living. A revival of a more balanced life style and a revelation of rewards and/or consequences ON THIS EARTH might awaken some new motives. If things haven't yet progressed to the do or die stage, well - it just means there is more time to wise up.

The motives to use resources to buy approval from loved ones could, hopefully, be redirected to survival in the face of challenges to that condition. And in the event that the resources are cut off, resourcefulness might even be rediscovered in the stead of ample resources. The government might not be able to heed a plea. Heaven forbid, PEOPLE might have to find some little used talents and might even have to learn to enjoy it.

It's to be hoped that a serious level of basic want would NOT be required to awaken or stimulate an awareness that the present headlong plunge into ever more blindly indulgent - and possibly never satisfying - behavior can't last forever and can't salvage what is valuable in human beings. What is happening is a perfect example of neurotic desire behavior - in that more and more doesn't satisfy it.

Fortunately, the sad human picture you began here by portraying is not universal. There are many people who have a good sense of proportion which really is the key. One needn't be deprived to be aware and responsive to and willing to give better social behavior. A balance of what is good for oneself and also good for others is not an impossible dream. Many people DO choose to live in a more balanced way with consideration for others and willingness to put self aside in favor of others when it is appropriate, yet are not missionaries in third world countries.

There are social pressures for it already! Many simply ignore those. But it's a start.

As you say - they may be subtle reinforcements & too often a general assumption that manners are all passe and unpopular is actually the reinforcement of an uncomfortable tendency for people to feel "out of step" if they actually behave in kinder ways or would prefer to just say no to compulsive consumption. No one wants to break the pattern and object to being pushed into a way of life which feels wrong while so many are touting it. It takes a little courage and a little support for some folks to quit the merry-go-round of empty acquisitiveness and general snottiness. Swimming upstream feels bad, though being upstream would feel better.

Just because the kids demand too much doesn't mean they can't be taught to appreciate gifts made for them with loving hands rather than whatever the PR guys are promoting as "must-haves". Kids don't have the purse strings, after all. The pressure is fake. What ever happened to parents in this picture? How come the advertisers have more authority than those who are pushed into helping create another generation of "Me, first, - too bad about you" humans? And - it's never too late to discover that there are others sharing the globe, is it?


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

I think that awareness of others sharing the globe is becoming more possible. I am really hoping that the whole thing doesn't have to fall into a heap around our heads for us to wake up. I think maybe the very thing that is fueling the selfishness and narcissism in society may save it too. The iphone camera and blogging have put the press back in the hands of the people, so maybe the world will wise up and then we can start working on finding the right balance ... which means being able to spot power gone bad and take it down quickly, etc. But, that begins to sound Utopian, so I'll stop. lol.

You know (and yes, I'm all over the place at this point) you made a comment about people finding little used talents and learning to enjoy them... I think of music when you say that, as a sub-section of this other conversation. Nobody learns to play instruments anymore. The ease of stealing someone else's music and scratching it up to a synthetic beat (for which you aren't evne playing your own drums) has replaced learning to make music. WTF happened to a culture that would rather scramble up old music over and over than actually experience the joy of making music raw, from scratch, with an instrument? That's an example of what is missing. Discipline and the joy it brings. Immediate gratification bringing about the most mundane and unsatisfying music. And it's not just "kids these days" either. This has been going on for thirty years and is only getting worse. (sigh).

Ok, rant over. LOL. I know you and I both know people, lots of them, who are "normal" and principled, so, it's just a matter, hopefully, of people getting tired of the emptiness and seeking something greater than just the next electronic fix or whatever. I sure hope so. I like to believe as a species we are drawn to better things in the end, but we are kind of like brain-damaged moths, so we don't hone in on the candle very quickly or in a straight line.

As for the novella, I shall send it straight away. (And I too have enjoyed this conversation. You are a blast. I have the luxury of being between semesters so I can bother you more often, and I have time to read hubs again. Summer and winter break are my free time, so it's nice to get to reacquaint myself with my favorites during these islands of "me-time" :)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ah - yes. Your thought that some of the means for our becoming more ingrown may also have the seeds to free us from it, - an excellent point.

But I must object to the statement that no one makes music any more. I observe that there are some excellent musicians, including new composers writing good music, and many new artists playing instruments, singing gloriously and excelling at all the musical arts - and from many countries, including our own. They do put in the discipline to learn the craft and bring originality to it. Perhaps there are some scrambling efforts, as well - but, so what? A new sound or art form may be evolving too.

Of course there are some sounds that are simply offensive (to my ears, at least )- sounds which seem to be utterly lacking in "music" - much as there are poems lacking poetic music and art lacking beauty, clothes with horrid workmanship and shabby style, hideous nauseating (even expensive) perfumes, and some nasty horrid foods. But there's always been the bell curve of extremes, especially in creative areas.

Perhaps it is a matter of being attuned or not. I like to think that I have "a good eye" and "a good ear" and "a good nose" and "a good taste" - I even think I have an excellent sense of touch. I can feel a fabric and know whether it is a natural fiber or man-made, and what exact fiber or mixture it is. I know that linen feels cool, long and smooth, wool is short, spongy, stickery and warm, silk is sticky and even has a distinctive smell, cotton is soft and eager to absorb. The man-made fibers tend to feel "plastic" - which they are. They are not absorbant feeling, almost seem to prevent moisture escaping, thugh different ones mimic the various feels of the natural ones in various ways,not including porousness.

I cringe at bad samples in all the creative areas, and some of the simply supportive areas, such as use of language. But I know that it is perhaps totally subjective. Most things are, I believe. Naturally, I'll always gravitate to what is "good" in my estimation. But there may be room and need for development beyond or outside of what is already accepted. I suppose that is what originality is all about.

And - forgive me for contradicting - but a lot of it IS also 'just kids these days'. haha!! Kids from times immemorial love to break out of the mold, rebel, and create their own sound, look, language, even. My mother, born in 1892, thought Frank Sinatra made noise, not music, when she first heard him. "Marzy Doats" was pure nonsense in anyone's book, and rock and roll - wow. Talk about a total turnaround! Possibly even Mozart was resisted by the previous generation at first. He was certainly making his own statement; and Wagner - well, at times he still seems noisy. LOL.

I think of my two children. My mother, an artist, as she always did with children, gave them paints and sketch pads and let them do what they wanted. My son, who became an engineer, painted a buidling, quite geometric and precise. My daughter, who is more arty, painted an imaginary, colorful "thing". Each creative in different ways. Such are differences in the way people do things and respond to things.

Not to worry! Your "rant" is refreshing. And nothing wrong with thinking Utopia. If nobody ever does, things tend to slide downward. Some must have vision and think upward and onward. Noticing that there is a trend for awareness that others share the globe and hope that improvement is possible is a step toward it happening. One thing I've noticed in a fairly long lifetime is that pretty much whatever mankind can conceive of, becomes possible and often materializes, though not always exactly as conceived of. People sometimes fail to anticipate the side-effects. Oh, to be sure - ideas become reality more often if there are material rewards involved, but part of a next step for humanity would be regarding rewards on a bit higher plane, perhaps.

Conversely, I doubt if much improvement would or will happen if most or all predictions and visulaizations were for downward or doomsday.

I'm delighted that you have time during the winter break to play a little and flattered that you chose to spend some of it here, bantering and comparing ideas. My theory is that without taking "me-time", one loses touch not only with oneself but even with others at a deeper level.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

Well, I suppose it may be anecdotal,but it just doesn't seem like anywhere near the same percentages of kids are learning instruments anymore. Everyone I knew growing up practically had to learn some sort of instrument. Our parents all made us. I don't know anyone that makes their kids learn instruments anymore. We did, obviously, because we're old-school, but none of their friends have. Maybe just my sphere of friends. But I've read smatterings of conversations on Hip Hop and Rap in critical theory essays that seem to suggest I'm not completely all wet. But, well, if I am, it will hardly be the first time.

You're right about art in general though, there has to be a big heap of whatever and it will be up to the ages to pick through it and figure out what was amazing and what was just crap that made people feel good for a while. I suppose I may just be suffering with on-set curmudgeonality or something. lol.

...And of course I would spend time here chatting with you given time. You are one of the deepest, most thoughtful, clever, bright, wise, funny, warm and entertaining writers on H.P. Plus we share a penchant for long-windedness which binds us :) I like to think of it more as patience and genius, but I can't find anyone else to confirm that: my kids roll their eyes when I inform them of my Einstein like brilliance and my wife doesn't buy my comparisons of myself to Shakespeare or Voltaire either. Three hundred years from now, when literary historians are speaking the name of Shadesbreath alongside those other greats, then they will see. :)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

hahaha! A certain degree of curmudgeonry is essential to a well-rounded mature person's wholeness. We have a tendency to grow impatient with wastes of time and effort on foolishness, I suppose. I bite my tongue till it aches at times. But also I feel a kind of relief that "they" will eventually get the task of either sorting down on separating what's good and what's junk or else live in the chaos.

It delights me to read, hear, see, watch, and experience good stuff and there is still enough of it to keep me happy.

I realize that there may not be the general exposure to learning to play an instrument that once was the rule. But as you mentioned, we were often "made to". Perhaps now it is more voluntary when a kid really wants to, which has value.

In a bunch of keepsake stuff I've been sifting through from my parent's' home which has been boxed up for years, I've found some interesting mementoes of my own youth. One was the Tonette instruction and music book that came with the weird little instrument everyone in 4th grade had to buy and learn to play. I already loved the piano and a wind instrument wasn't my thing but everyone had to give the Tonette a try. Maybe it was good. It was exposure that many of the kids might not otherwise have received. No damage done, surely.

haha - yeah - one is no prophet in one's own hometown - or house, for sure.

I simply haven't tried to compete much for recognition for various reasons. I am happy with my own capabilities and fairly confident they're not too slight. I"ve lived in a natal family of brilliant parents and of siblings who generally regarded me as their baby sister & little more except, perhaps, as a blank slate needing to be written upon. They never knew me though I proved to myself I was at least their equal and really had no desire to burst their bubbles. I enjoy learning for the love of it and doing what ever else I can and enjoy to do for the satisfaction and joy of it. I don't dislike recognition but I sort of had to get used to it gradually. I figure that intelligence recognizes intelligence unless it's too insecure to do so. And I wouldn't want to rock any boats. It took me a lot of years to realize that was one of the reasons I was timid and self-effacing rather than competitive: it wasn't fear of failure but of success. I hate to lose about the same amount as I hate for others to.

Besides accolades by masses of those who think it's the thing to do to get on the bandwagon for a high-profile "star" or for other equally inconsequential reasons without really having understanding or gauge of what it "is" that is worth recognizing are only modestly satisfying anyway.

Popularity is fickle at best so it's wiser to not rely on it for one's sense of worth. Today's hero will be tomorrow's bum, if that is the measure of a person. Real talent will probably out some day;- or else it won't and that is that. What matters is knowing one's worth oneself all along and enjoying discovering the real value in others.

That may not make much sense but it is the truth.

In your case, it seems that many folks here recognize your talent & highly respect it.

I think to myself, "if they only knew"! You have so much more than you even let on!! Any who have doubted it will surely see one day when your name is alongside the greats of literature. Yup.

It's true though - you and I started out enjoying our mutual penchant for long-windedness, as I recall. LOL. However you seem more able to control yours in your hubs. I only achieve brevity in my business letters & in my poetry. Maybe why my poetry hubs seem more popular than my prose ones. LOL. People are kind, though.


Shadesbreath profile image

Shadesbreath 5 years ago from California

You know, on the long hubs thing, we both suffer from it. I just don't think that HP is a place that much density per capita of readers. I think a blog type thing would probably do better. I started a "discussion" tab on that on my FB page, and may do the same in the forums here (since I only barely started that page). But there seems to be a general consensus that readers follow bloggers, so by writing on HP, we are not really in a place that makes it easy for readers to find stuff to read. Frankly, I've read more than one hub or comment on a hub about how "the point is to get readers to click OFF your hub as soon as possible" and that sort of thing. IT's like anti-reading. Drive them to buy, buy, buy etc. Which is fine if that's what you and I are trying to do, but we write for the purpose of trying to say something, to make something that binds people through shared humanity. I'm tempted to try a blog, but not till I'm finished with this interminable MA quest.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

haha - well, yes, Shades, we're both good at lengthy but still pithy hubs! But we don't HAVE TO SUFFER from it. Let's ENJOY IT.

I'm replying to this comment via email. It is about some things to which I've given thought, too. Thanks for being who you are!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working