Daily Archives: March 7, 2016

60% done with War and Peace


I think a good contrary example to Tolstoy’s thesis would be a teacher and his students. I can spend all semester teaching every fact and detail to the class, engage all the students, grade all the papers, and assign all the homework, but come test time I have no control at all over the results. All I can do is sit at my desk and watch for cheaters.

But isn’t their success based on how well I prepared them

60% done with War and Peace


I like the image of Napoleon looking through his spyglass at the battle below and, in the eye piece seeing first Russians, then his own French, but then when he looked with his naked eye he could not make out anything. Such is how much control he had.

Tolstoy is going to beat this point to death, and I get it, I really do, but victory often comes from morale, and morale comes from leadership and training.

60% done with War and Peace


“Am I taken prisoner or have I taken him prisoner?” This sums up what war is: confusion, madness, irony, terror, and fear. To not even know who is “winning”, how could even the Generals know and lead such a mess?

“Now they will stop it, now they will be horrified at what they have done!” But only he sees the horror, only he cares about this. Just like how we don’t see the horror, we are like the generals

59% done with War and Peace


It’s unheard of now to go observe a battle taking place, but it did happen in the past (at least when battles were fought with rules of engagement). Now we cant even get independent media to show us what’s going on and that has badly sanitized war. We don’t see the suffering of our bombs, we don’t see the faces of ours and theirs dead. War is a carefully mediated abstract.

59% done with War and Peace


We get another beautiful description of the field of battle, but something about it this time feels almost too overwhelming, too beautiful. Everything is in motion – like the trees at the end of Throne of Blood – and nothing is certain. Maybe it’s this movement that gives this scene a slight uneasy undercurrent, unlike the more placid scenes he painted for Austerlitz.

It’s sad how beautiful war can seem.