The Context: The purpose of the article is to delve deep into the war-driven psyche of the human race. The article examines and explores the different kinds of wars and how they impact the socio-ecological balance in varied perspectives. The article moves on to identify and exemplify some of the everyday workplace expressions that fit the ‘war-vocab’ and reflect the ‘barrack’ mentality of the speakers using the war lingo.
War Psyche – The Thought Process
Our history has been besieged with war. War is inevitably the restorer of social order and a pioneer of a new status quo. All the mighty wars ever fought have spelled order and justice throughout the great course of our natural human evolution. War is inevitable. It is a ‘natural’ and ‘instinctive’ phenomenon —so claim the votaries of psychology and philosophy (Freud, Nietzsche, et al).
Microcosmically, every wave is a result of friction. Within our body, our own cells fight any of the foreign invading viruses- this is called an immune -response. Macrocosmically, the brightest of stars end up as black holes and the spiraling galaxies recede into quiescence. The universe that we know is about 13.7 billion years, but it cannot last for more than another 5 billion years. Why? The universe too is in the constant expansion mode and would eventually wear itself out of its need to conquest – Another warlike equation.
Different Kind of Wars and its Ecological Impact
Wikipedia quotes the four major ongoing wars as the Afghan, Yemeni, Syrian civil wars, and the Mexican drug war.
Howsoever ingrained the war-psyche may be in our mindsets, the stock market does take a tumble every time there is a possibility of war. Even trade wars! A 2019 report from Bloomberg Economics estimated that the trade war would cost the U.S. economy $316 billion by the end of 2020, while more recent research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Columbia University found that U.S. companies lost at least $1.7 trillion in the price of their stocks as a result of tariffs imposed on imports from China. Wikipedia quotes the four major ongoing wars as the Afghan, Yemeni, Syrian civil wars, and the Mexican drug war. Cumulatively they have had more than 10,000 human deaths in the past and the present year. The Great Depression (1929), the Economic Crisis of 1970 (post-Vietnamese war), the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo (1999), the Syrian Refugee Crisis (2017 to date), the Ukrainian fighting (2014 to date) can all be largely attributed to the inherent and insatiable human appetite for war.
Scorched earth techniques include the destruction of agricultural infrastructures like canals, wells, and pumps and the burning of crops.
We suffer incalculably staggering war-costs as a life species: High-intensity conflicts require and consume enormous amounts of fuel, leading to uncontrollable CO2 emissions and irreversible climate change. Mass armored column movement leads to widespread physical damage to sensitive landscapes and geodiversity. Scorched earth techniques include the destruction of agricultural infrastructures like canals, wells, and pumps and the burning of crops. Tactics like these threaten food security and livelihoods, increasing the vulnerability of rural communities. For Instance, after the Gulf War, the absorption of air pollutants increased by a whopping 705% in Baghdad, which is 887% more than the WHO recommended limit! In 1991, Landsat (earth observing US satellite mission) captured the devastating environmental consequences of war. When Iraqi forces withdrew from Kuwait, they set fire to over 650 oil wells and damaged almost 75 more, which then spewed crude oil across the desert and into the Persian Gulf. Fires raged on for 10 months with around 5 million barrels (790,000 m3) of oil conflagrated each day!
Saturation or Carpet bombing too has its roots in the scorched-earth warfare. Historically, this deadly combat was practiced by the ancient. Romans, Medieval Indians amongst others. The Geneva Convention noted that approximately 250,000 bombs were dropped during the Gulf war by the US air force on Iraq.
The war events depicted above are a mere tip of the iceberg. A lean and cursory reference at best. Have ‘we-the-people’ gained anything from these political, trade, and racial wars? Any spectacular war booty or social value that could be flaunted or beheld by us the custodians of democracy and culture? Are the great national entities like the US, Russia, China, Ukraine, Iraq, Syria merely getting pawned and dwarfed to the status of war/trade war machines compelled by their geopolitical and political considerations?
Refreshingly and thankfully, our everyday life in its manifold perspectives wants to adopt an alternative course. ‘We-the-people’ wish to deviate from the trodden and worn-out warpath. This is so because life’s reactions and cannot be controlled by crude strategy alone. We can at best control the life-sciences through planning.
Can one imagine health care management systems, institutional charitable works, trade and Industry seminars, technological innovations, scientific planning and agronomy, academic progress, investment banking operating alongside the combat trenches dugout on the battlefield?
The war psychology hasn’t spared our crisis-ridden health care management maneuvers either. We claim to manage the COVID-19 pandemic on a “war-footing” yet have comprehensively failed to contain the spread that catches on like the Australian wildfires – the wildfires have claimed more than 16 million acres as of January 2020.
Work is Work (Not War)
We carry the excessive war baggage in our everyday work-language too. Having second thoughts? Let’s consider a few of these expressions that revel in the war-psyche alongside their neutral versions:
|War Vocabulary Expressions||Neutral/Happier Expressions|
|Shoot the mail||Send the mail|
|Meeting is in the War room||Meeting is in the conference room|
|You nailed it, mission accomplished||You got it right, objective met.|
|He has been axed/fired/sacked||He was asked to leave/asked to opt-out/asked to go|
|She was inducted into the team||She joined the team|
|This is an SOS||This is an emergency/red alert situation|
|Let’s see who bites the bullet||Let’s see who has the guts/courage|
|This is a blitz campaign (derived from Blitzkrieg)||This is an intensive/focused/concerted campaign|
|Execute this immediately||Carry/Implement this out quick|
|Breach of contract||Violation of contract|
The list above is non-exhaustive. There are countless war-centric words that you and I speak subconsciously in our official work interactions. It just goes on to prove how deeply has the war psyche driven- ‘barrack mentality’ permeated into our everyday expression.
Newton’s third law states that: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Although inadvertently, we do mostly speak the war-vocabulary while at work. So how does it matter?
Our war vocabulary subconsciously charges the workplace environment with negativity and violence. Negativity leads to aggression, confrontation, anger, and toxic work-behavior at the workplace.
Accuracy needn’t be expressed as the ‘bulls-eye’ when the idiom ‘spot-on’ is more effective and less violent. Why be in a catch-22 when a dilemma is a more effective substitute. Finally, here is the deciding question:
Which expression would you rather choose to speak?
Option A– Did it hammer some sense into you?
Option B– Did it hit the nail on the head?
Option C– Do you share my views on the War-psyche?
If your answer is Option C, then, you are spot-on! Take care of yourself.