Anti-War and Socialist Psychology Books and Movies

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Anti-War and Socialist Psychology Books and Movies

On 24 November 2017, Amanda Almanac McIllmurry posted a request for: “Any suggestions for ‘socialist’ psychology books that are easily digestible [for a young student interested in becoming a psychology major]? Also, any suggestions for books with a leftist analysis of the military, which a teenage boy that’s super into the idea of joining the Army could read” [and reconsider such a choice.]?

Here, I have pasted together my various answers (from 27 November 2017 and 22 January 2018) to Amanda’s query (which I think is very important).

ANTI-WAR:

“Dispatches” (1977) by Michael Herr. This book was called the best “to have been written about the Vietnam War” by The New York Times Book Review; novelist John le Carré called it “the best book I have ever read on men and war in our time.” Michael Herr co-wrote the screenplay to the movie “Full Metal Jacket” (1987) by Stanley Kubrick. (See the wikipedia article on “Michael Herr”). I would also recommend the movie “Sir, No Sir!” (2005) about the anti-war movement (resistance!) within the armed forces during Vietnam War. You can find it on-line. The ultimate anti-war movie of my lifetime is “Hearts and Minds,” (1974), which is a masterpiece by Peter Davis (and won an Academy Award in 1975!). You could ramble through my huge web-page called “Haunted by the Vietnam War,” which is on my blog (manuelgarciajr.com), and which lists many links to books and videos (and probably gives links to the movies mentioned here).

“All Quiet On The Western Front,” a classic of 20th century world literature, and also made into a great movie, starring Lew Ayres (a pacifist). Another world-treasure movie to put you off war is Jean Renoir’s “Grand Illusion.” Both these movies are from the 1930s, when the bitter memories of WWI were still very fresh. Since both are masterpieces, they have been restored in recent times, and look and sound good (and on DVD). Modern movies that could put you off war are MASH (1970), but it has so much humor that some might miss the anti-war basis of the film (I sure didn’t in 1970!); and “Full Metal Jacket” by Stanley Kubrick (about the Vietnam War), but the violence in it might be a bit too much for the young. For Americans today, I think the all-time best anti-war film is the documentary “Hearts and Minds.” It is THE BEST film about the Vietnam War, and was released in 1974, while the war was still in progress. I just saw it again a few weeks ago; incredible. What is so compelling about it is that almost all of it is the telling of first hand experiences of soldiers who survived (not always intact). It just so happens I took a Vietnam Vet friend of mine to the V.A. hospital today, for a pre-op medical visit. There were numerous patched-up survivors of military “service” (use) in the hallways. For a combination of humanizing psychology and overt anti-war basis, see the movie “Captain Newman, M.D.,” (1962) which stars Gregory Peck, Angie Dickinson, Eddie Albert, Tony Curtis, and Bobby Darin (in an amazing performance). Capt. Newman tries to heal soldiers from PTSD, and he hears about what gave them PTSD. Once “cured,” they’re shipped back out into action. This is a great film, a total anti-Rambo.

<><><><><><><>

SOCIALIST-PSYCHOLOGY (E-Z):

This is harder for me to find. Reading numerous titles by Chomsky, Balzac, Alan Watts, Hannah Arendt and C. G. Jung would be a bit much for a teenager or young college student. I would suggest “Man’s Search For Meaning” (1946) by Viktor E. Frankl, one of the supremely inspiring books of the 20th century – easy to read, yet causes much thinking; written by a psychiatrist based on his personal experiences in survival. I wrote an essay on this idea of “socialist psychology” and survival, called “Epiphany On The Glacier,” which is also posted on my blog. I give references to a number of books (including Frankl’s) that helped me present the main concept. My essay is presented as an adventure story of survival in the snowy wild.

The psychology book I enjoyed most is more of a philosophy-autobiography book, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” by Carl Gustav Jung. It’s not hard to read, nor too long, nor preachy nor text-booky, and it has the virtue of being quite different than the usual orthodox psychology books. But I can’t say it’s overtly leftist, though it is intended to be very humanizing. I, personally, found it fascinating and have read it several times. With Jung, it helps a lot if you also have a very strong interest in Taoism and Buddhism (and Asian philosophies, generally).

<><><><><><><>

The photo is of John F. Kennedy’s grave in 1964. I took this photo while on a class (school) trip.

<><><><><><><>

ADDENDUM (17 June 2018):

ANTI-WAR FILMS:

What are your favorite anti-war films? Such movies are focused on showing the harm, damage (physical and psychological) and stupidity of war, and are intent to deglorify war, and turn the audience against blind patriotism and war-making as “solutions” to political and international conflicts.

Anti-war movies are NOT movies that use war situations JUST TO:

(1) present stories of adventure and heroic personal actions (almost exclusively of violence) by attractive, sympathetic and “patriotic” characters;

(2) show dramatic and exciting stories of admirable personal endurance, survival and self-sacrifice by individuals trapped in situations of overwhelming danger (though this particular variety of war movie can approach being fully and openly anti-war);

(3) be patriotic morale-boosters for “your side” during a war (or before an anticipated war);

(4) entirely be comedies that use war situations as the settings and backdrop.

Anti-war movies CAN have elements of: adventure, heroism, “exciting’ violence, stories of personal endurance and self-sacrifice, and comedy, but they cannot be conventionally patriotic, and the center-of-gravity of these films must be fully and overtly the anti-war intent. All war films use war in an effort to make commercially successful mass entertainment, but true anti-war films are intentionally using film-making art to motivate a mass audience to be deeply anti-war, anti-violence, pro-peace, pro-diplomacy, and to divorce patriotism from unthinking jingoism, belligerence, violence and obedience to militarism.

The following is a list of movies I see as anti-war (18+, listed chronologically). They vary, some being very grim while others are very comedic, yet all are full-fledged anti-war films (to my way of thinking). I recommend them all and would be interested in your comments about them, and also about other films you would nominate as committed anti-war movies.

All Quiet On The Western Front (1930)

La Grande Illusion (1937)

Lost Horizon (1937)

The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)

Paths Of Glory (1957)

The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)

On The Beach (1959)

Captain Newman, M.D. (1962)

The Americanization of Emily (1964)

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! (1966)

Catch-22 (1970)

MASH (1970)

Slaughterhouse-Five (1972)

Hearts And Minds (1974)

Apocalypse Now (1979)
Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)
[“Redux” is an expanded version, and I prefer it.]

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Sir, No Sir! (2005)

<><><>

“On The Beach” is a post-apocalyptic (nuclear war), end-of-the-world novel written by British-Australian author Nevil Shute after he emigrated to Australia. It was published in 1957. The novel was adapted for the screenplay of this 1959 film featuring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Anthony Perkins, and Fred Astaire.

The “answer” for the best way to face certain doom is the same answer for how to gain a fulfilling life and create a good society: helping and comforting one another, and having compassion for all. Because this movie shows this clearly, it has not aged even by 1 second – we could learn from it now. SEE IT!!

https: // www. youtube. com / watch? v= EMzEWpKKOZs
[close the spaces to spell out the functional web-link]

 

 

<><><><><><><>

The Conservative Bible, and Equality vs. Freedom

The Conservative Bible and Creed

The Conservative Bible, rule #1:
The rich have the right to steal, the poor do not have the right to live.
The Conservative Creed, tenet #1:
I am perfect, all my problems are caused by other people.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Conservative Bible, rule #2:
The greater the wealth, the more it is deserved.
The deeper the poverty, the more it is deserved.

The Conservative Creed, tenet #2:
Wealth, by definition, means living on capital gains, not wages.
Wages are a necessary evil for the upkeep of the servants.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Conservative Bible, rule #3:
Human rights can never be interpreted to infringe on property rights.

The Conservative Creed, tenet #3:
Failure to turn a profit or increase share value are the only justifiable complaints against corporations.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Conservative Bible, Lesson#1, Morality & Society

Morality (Good versus Evil, Good versus Bad):
1. Anyone or anything that makes money and accumulates wealth is “good.”
2. Anyone or anything that costs money, and accumulates debt is “evil” or “bad.”
3. The magnitude of one’s goodness is given by the magnitude of one’s wealth.
4. The magnitude of one’s evil, or badness, is given by the magnitude of one’s debt.
5. A person of neutral moral value balances losses with income, and debts with assets.

The only social value is money.
The only social responsibility is to enrich oneself.
The greatest social problem is government.
The problem of government is to minimize its size and cost consistent with its function.

Government is the minimum bureaucracy necessary to maximize wealth enrichment; it:
1. Maintains military forces to protect wealth (the “good”) from foreign threats.
2. Maintains internal security forces to protect wealth (the “good”) from domestic threats.
3. Maintains military forces to enhance wealth enrichment by opening foreign markets.

Government is the source of the ultimate social evils:
1. Taxes: the imposition of losses on enrichment.
2. Regulations: the imposition of restrictions on enrichment.

The most important organizing principle in society is the corporation.
Opposition to corporate society is communism, the most dangerous idea of all time.
Socialism is the excess overhead cost of government from coddling the unproductive.

There is no such thing as “greed,” one is either:
1. productive: by being morally responsible to enrich oneself, or,
2. unproductive: by being criminally negligent to be poor.

<><><><><>

The Conservative Bible, tenet #4:

All of humanity fits into five categories:
1. Friends: provide dividends
2. Peers: provide investment
3. Workers: provide profits
4. Layabouts: create expenses
5. Enemies: create losses.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Liberal Intolerance vs. Conservative Intolerance

Conservatism (n.), the irrational fear that somewhere someone you think is inferior is being treated as your equal.

Liberalism (n.), the comfortable presumption that your attitudes mark you as a superior and deserving individual.

“Conservatives” and “Liberals” are the two varieties of capitalists.

The critique by conservatives about “liberal intolerance,” a.k.a. liberal intellectual and political orthodoxy, cuts both ways; “conservative intolerance” to counterarguments is just as prevalent. Both of these simply reflect the ignorance, shallow-mindedness and fears of two large groups of people with opposing biases.

People who are good critical thinkers (not many of these) and open-minded (not many of these either) so as to continuously evolve their opinions and beliefs on the basis of new learning (from whatever source) based on facts (real ones) can enter into political discussions and arrive at useful results. Such useful results can include an agreement about the actual facts of a given issue, and then forthright statements of what each of their personal preferences and biases are, and that their only unresolved differences are about how they each choose to feel about those agreed-upon facts.

A good example for observing this is climate change (CC). The facts are indisputable, the only real differences are how “conservatives” and “socialists” feel about it (“liberals” – one of the two types of capitalists – feel pretty much the same as conservatives about CC, but they don’t really want to admit it). Socialists fear CC more than conservatives, and want to make whatever “economic sacrifices” are necessary to prevent it. Conservatives fear any obstruction to their prime concern of immediate personal enrichment more than they fear any harm from the “slow” changes to Earth’s habitability caused by CC.

With facts forthrightly admitted, two opposing “feelings about the facts” can intelligently engage in discussion to explore these two sets of feelings in an effort to spark deeper thought in the opposite party, which deeper thought (if honest) can induce an individual to critically examine their own sources of willful ignorance and fear.

You can’t change someone else’s mind, only they can do that for themselves. However, a refusal to acknowledge facts is a sign of a closed and socially dead mind. Closed-minded people, who lack the intellectual honesty and courage to be forthright about their actual motivating preferences, biases, fears and bigotries, become hostilely defensive when they sense their biases being challenged. That’s when you get clashes of bullying bluster and bombastic bigotry against snide, arrogant, dismissive and patronizing outrage.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why are Republicans so mean-spirited? What is it that’s eating at them and keeps them so angry about the pittances the poor get? They have a tremendous envy of the scant happiness the poor may enjoy, and a sad compulsion to act malevolently toward them. Why? How can they have happy lives harboring such bitterness? Why can’t they just live and let live? This is what I have never ever been able to understand. It seems like a wound that won’t heal: a horrible abscess of the soul and a poisoning of the brain. The materialism and wealth accumulation that consumes their lives seem like attempts to create a monumental artificial beauty that masks the repulsive and tragic corruption hollowing out their humanity. This is why Republican-type people seem so fake to me, soulless androids trapped by limited programming for hostility, which is advanced by deceit and masked by denial, and which is based on resentment of those deemed inferior. I think their ongoing and unacknowledged anger is an unconscious eruption of protest and rebellion against the repression of their own humanity.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Equality vs. Freedom

Conservatism (n.), a political economy that rewards wealth and punishes poverty.

Liberalism (n.), a political economy that rewards wealth without rancor to the poor.

Socialism (n.), a political economy that equitably maximizes social benefits instead of inequitably maximizing individuals’ profits.

<><><>

Conservatives (n.), self-imagined victims of the poor who they persecute in revenge.

Liberals (n.), self-imagined humanitarians who believe they deserve advantages and appreciation.

Socialists (n.), people who want fairness to govern the politics of their society.

<><><>

Conservatives and Liberals are both capitalists, want limited government (“freedom”), and are thus anti-socialist (anti-“equality”).

Socialists are anti-capitalist, and thus favor a state-managed economy (“equality”).

Democratic Socialists are a hybrid of Liberals (capitalists) and Socialists (anti-capitalists), their political economy is state-regulated capitalism for the elimination of poverty, managed by a democratic process (“Freedom” moderated by “equality”).

<><><><><><><>

People vs. the Purpose of Government

Every American is guaranteed the right to try to become wealthy on their own. The purpose of government is to protect the wealth of those who have successfully profited from their right to seek wealth. The degree of that protection is proportional to the amount of wealth.

Government is not the problem, the people are the problem. If the government can just defund the people it will have all the money it needs (from taxing the people) to spend on the really important things: billionaire bonuses (need-baseless untaxing); controlling world fossil fuel reserves (power hoarding); wars for Zionist expansion (Modern Manifest Destiny); free Wall Street speculation insurance (single-payer Fortune-care); corporate welfare (job security for oil, pharma, war tech, etc., billionaires); intelligence, robotic and special military forces to control the world (real bomb delivery by White Pentagon House laptop); and domestic occupation forces to corral the people away from wealth-safe, toxin-free and government-only areas (IDF, Internal Defense Force). Public voting remains a problem to government security, and needs to be replaced with access-controlled private voting by purchase of candidates. “Voting is so precious it has to be rationed.”

The people do not have constitutional rights to: dignity, respectful treatment, clean water (everywhere), food (and also real, organic and non-GMO food), health, health benefits (whether publicly funded or employer-based), housing, winter heating, financial security, family planning & reproductive rights (services, equipment and accessories), truthful news media, good public education, full-time living-wage employment, vacations, determine terminal care actions for self with medical assistance (everywhere), and exclusively publicly-funded elections with open primaries and debates open to all candidates. These are all privileges, and privileges are awarded on the basis of competitive bidding by privilege buyers. A variety of private charities offer some of these privileges to the public in many regions of the country, on the basis of their own assessments of individual need and merit.

The burdensome overhead on government for populist benefits must be eliminated to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of protecting wealth and property proportionately, and of accelerating capital gains.

<><><><><><><>