Frames of War basically outlines the subjectivity of human life. Or rather, it outlines the commonly accepted basis of the value than an individual life holds. He argues that in order for a life to be of any considerable value, it must conform to the formalities of modern life. What the author is saying is that if a person strays outside the social norm too far, their life tends to be of less importance than that of the moral and social majority. One thing that I noticed about this author’s writing style is that was very eloquent and articulated very well. In a sense, he seemed to use the excess of words to make it difficult for an average reader to be able to read between the lines of what he was saying. As While this might be a radical perspective, I can honestly say that reading this reminded me of the writing styles of Adolf Hitler and Charles Darwin. Specifically, I am referring to Mein Kampf and The Origin of Species respectively.
This piece left me a bit mortified, to be honest. What I find ironic is that the most intelligent and prominent people are also the ones with little or no regard for the value of human life. Sadly, this is conveyed through the socio-economic state of the world as it is today. The basic concept that the author writes about is survival of the fittest. Throughout the text, he clearly implies that the inferior ones are the people with detrimental health, the disabled, the mentally deficient, and those who otherwise think or act differently. What is not necessarily implied through his text, but is implied through his argument alone is that the intellectually superior people who think differently could also fall into the latter category. Throughout history, the self-important individuals with the most intellect, charisma and intelligence have typically been the ones to rise to positions of global power. These individuals are also the ones who bring destruction and disorder upon themselves and the societies that they oversee when they use their position for their own benefit. However, that can’t necessarily be said for people who can be characterized by these attributes. Their intent is ultimately reflected through their actions, words, and what they help their people to accomplish as a civilization. Some of the greatest leaders throughout human history have possessed many of the positive aforementioned traits as well. Moreover, these have also been the ones to create a better society for the people that they govern.
In a way, I can’t say that I completely disagree with what the author was trying to point out. I do believe that the people who are lacking in intelligence, physical ability, or other attribute which constitutes “normality” tend to make a lesser contribution to society. Furthermore, it is obvious that they also tend to be the ones to die early, either due to their own bad decisions or inferior health. Survival of the fittest comes from a place of proven trends, both in the human race and in life in general. The value of life is a subjective matter, however. While someone may appear to have no apparent purpose to some people, they may be a tremendous part of somebody else’s life. The author seems to base his vague doctrine of the definition of normality on terms of practicality and conformity.
Conformity can’t always be considered a good thing. Unfortunately, ‘good’ is also a subjective term, and people don’t seem to realize the errors of blind social conformity until it’s too late. While many Germans opposed the Holocaust, there was still a notable fraction of the population that worshipped the evildoings of Adolf Hitler. To many people from around the world, though, these were not considered evildoings, at least to the extent that they weren’t justifiable. This concept can also be applied to the days of slavery in America. While many people in 1800’s America opposed slavery, and even prohibited it in some jurisdictions, the majority of people either supported it or at least accepted it. To accept these parts of history today would be absolutely abhorrent.
Conformity is something that I slightly disagree with the author about. The standards that define ‘good’ and ‘evil’ constantly change throughout time. We live in an era where opposition to homosexuality is bad, identifying as a Christian, Jewish person, or a person of Abrahamic faith is ridiculed, and self-absorption is the norm for people of all ages. Whatever a person’s outlook on their situation may be, being a part of the social majority is what either tears a society apart or keeps it together. While the previously stated examples may just be coincidental, there are countless changes that have taken place in Westernized and global culture over the past 50 years. While deviating from this social norm may result in negative consequences, it can also change the lives of other individuals, or even human history. Conformity and sameness among the masses is what keeps society stagnant, which can either be good or bad. Ultimately, I do not believe that it is the place of any human to be the decider of which lives are valued and which lives aren’t. The ones who are truly superior know this to be true, and work for the benefit of the people that they watch over. I believe that mindlessly following in the footsteps of everyone else leads nowhere, thus truly devaluing the idea of human life.