War: The Great Funeral
Philosophy 101

In war, victory should not be celebrated but mourned. When many people are killed they should be mourned with the deepest heart-felt sorrow that we can summon up. The death resulting from a war should be observed as a massive funeral for those who died regardless of whether they were on one side or the other. Human life has been taken and all human life is precious. Those we have killed we should mourn for along with those of ours that have been killed. The loss of any human life affects us all as a whole.

The idea of war is that of going to a funeral. When anyone loses his or her human life there should be mourning. So even if the battle is won you have lost because you have sacrificed human life. These ideas are supported and made evident by the conclusion of Lao Tzu’s poem on what I think is maintaining peace. The last great pearl of what I think is obvious wisdom reads as follows “A great victory is a funeral ceremony.” (#31) Often time victory has been celebrated with jubilation and pride but as Lao Tzu says, “When many people are killed, we feel sorrow and grief” That would require right thinking in the Taoist terms.

In this duality, there instead should be a whole. We are all human beings subject to suffering and living in a universe, or world, that we are all a part of. War consists of two separate sides; a separation of what is whole. On one side there is victory and the other defeat. We are all defeated because of the destruction that has been caused, so there is no victor. There is the point of reversal in this cycle of aggression. The victor is the victim and the victim is the victor. Whoever has the greater sorrow going into a war should be the victor. Whoever grieves the destruction and bloodshed more deeply is the triumphant one.

There are no winners in violence against one another. A victorious battle should be recognized without rejoice. As Lao Tzu says, “Those who rejoice in killing people, Cannot achieve their purpose in this world” The purpose is to become wise and right. We should not take pleasure in our triumph because it disintegrates us. We have become severed from the whole. We lose what is most precious to us as human beings, that which is connectedness to this universe, again, as a whole. The act of domination requires us to become a limited thing, a person, and an object. It makes you the greatest thing and as we become any kind of thing we lose our true and unlimited, vast nature of complete awareness.

Weapons however beautiful or well constructed, are tools that warn us of evil yet to come. We should not admire and display them as great objects. They are objects that lead to destruction and death. Those humans who will view them as superior in quality, conception, or appearance also will take rejoice in implementing them as a destructive force. As Lao Tzu states “Don’t think they are beautiful. Those who think they are beautiful, Rejoice in killing people.” Weapons are instruments of fear therefore they are not a wise mans tool. The wise man will only resort to their use if he has no other choice. He is an instead an instrument of peace and will use all means to achieve it without reverting to force. The Tao Te Ching illustrates this point in two great verses, which go as follows “Fine weapons are ill-omened tools. They are hated. Therefore the old Taoist ignores them.” Then again when he repeats the original verse and adds to it “Weapons are ill-omened tools, not proper instruments. When their use can be avoided, calm restraint is best.” I agree whole-heartedly with these statements. Violence is absolutely the last resort and I would only turn to it if I had absolutely thought I had to, as a means of survival and even then I would consider all possibilities of peace and integration even if it meant my own death.

There is a great sadness in the United States at this moment regarding