Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
When an event is taking place people express their opinions and
wishes about it, and as the event results from the collective activity
of many people, some one of the opinions or wishes expressed is sure
to be fulfilled if but approximately. When one of the opinions
expressed is fulfilled, that opinion gets connected with the event
as a command preceding it.
Men are hauling a log. Each of them expresses his opinion as to
how and where to haul it. They haul the log away, and it happens
that this is done as one of them said. He ordered it. There we have
command and power in their primary form. The man who worked most
with his hands could not think so much about what he was doing, or
reflect on or command what would result from the common activity;
while the man who commanded more would evidently work less with his
hands on account of his greater verbal activity.
When some larger concourse of men direct their activity to a common
aim there is a yet sharper division of those who, because their
activity is given to directing and commanding, take less part in the
When a man works alone he always has a certain set of reflections
which as it seems to him directed his past activity, justify his
present activity, and guide him in planning his future actions. Just
the same is done by a concourse of people, allowing those who do not
take a direct part in the activity to devise considerations,
justifications, and surmises concerning their collective activity.
For reasons known or unknown to us the French began to drown and
kill one another. And corresponding to the event its justification
appears in peoples belief that this was necessary for the welfare
of France, for liberty, and for equality. People ceased to kill one
another, and this event was accompanied by its justification in the
necessity for a centralization of power, resistance to Europe, and
so on. Men went from the west to the east killing their fellow men,
and the event was accompanied by phrases about the glory of France,
the baseness of England, and so on. History shows us that these
justifications of the events have no common sense and are all
contradictory, as in the case of killing a man as the result of
recognizing his rights, and the killing of millions in Russia for
the humiliation of England. But these justifications have a very
necessary significance in their own day.
These justifications release those who produce the events from moral
responsibility. These temporary aims are like the broom fixed in front
of a locomotive to clear the snow from the rails in front: they
clear mens moral responsibilities from their path.
Without such justification there would be no reply to the simplest
question that presents itself when examining each historical event.
How is it that millions of men commit collective crimes--make war,
commit murder, and so on?
With the present complex forms of political and social life in
Europe can any event that is not prescribed, decreed, or ordered by
monarchs, ministers, parliaments, or newspapers be imagined? Is
there any collective action which cannot find its justification in
political unity, in patriotism, in the balance of power, or in
civilization? So that every event that occurs inevitably coincides
with some expressed wish and, receiving a justification, presents
itself as the result of the will of one man or of several men.
In whatever direction a ship moves, the flow of the waves it cuts
will always be noticeable ahead of it. To those on board the ship
the movement of those waves will be the only perceptible motion.
Only by watching closely moment by moment the movement of that
flow and comparing it with the movement of the ship do we convince
ourselves that every bit of it is occasioned by the forward movement
of the ship, and that we were led into error by the fact that we
ourselves were imperceptibly moving.
We see the same if we watch moment by moment the movement of
historical characters (that is, re-establish the inevitable
condition of all that occurs--the continuity of movement in time)
and do not lose sight of the essential connection of historical
persons with the masses.
When the ship moves in one direction there is one and the same
wave ahead of it, when it turns frequently the wave ahead of it also
turns frequently. But wherever it may turn there always will be the
wave anticipating its movement.
Whatever happens it always appears that just
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