Mangala God of War & Empire


Nasty, Brutish and Short

Mangala stretched his back--he had long been standing with one toe in the Tigris and one in the Euphrates as the Iraqis, Americans and British had worked out their common destiny and he was tiring of it all.

Glancing down he saw looters in Baghdad emerging from a hospital with heart monitors, gangs forcing their way into private homes and emerging with loot, women raped, a 16-year-old boy caught out of his neighborhood beaten to death, and Uday's prize horses galloping free down the expressway pursued by disappointed looters. Glancing down at Najaf, he saw followers of one Shiite cleric converge on two other Shiite clerics and hack them to death, putting a damper on the planned reconcilliation meeting.

Mesopotamia was becoming a bit crowded, a tourist destination of sorts, as the famous dead and still-living thinkers dropped by to see how the affray was playing out.

In the crowd Mangala picked out Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson, whose book "Demonic Males" Mangala had read with great admiration, strolling through the country arm-in-arm with Thomas Hobbes.

"Hail, friends!", Mangala said. "A shocking scene is it not."

Wrangham and Dale looked down at the violence, and as true Boston intellectuals, formed a theory. "Species with coalitionary bonds and variable party size--let us call them the party-gang species--are wont to kill adult neighbors," they said in unison. "The underlying formula that links the deliberate killers of the world looks clear, simple, and ignominious. Killing is possible in party-gang species because it is cheap. Power corrupts. Low risk breeds assassins."

Hobbes, standing next to them, sniffed at the ignominious scene before him, and said, "Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

"Friend Thomas, thou hast said it best," Mangala said. "The life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."

Comments: Post a Comment