Hillman starts his book off: "The Lord is a
man of war. The Lord is His name” (Exodus 15:3)
A Terrible Love of War, by James Hillman, is a propounding analysis of war in culture and society. War is inevitable and innate, "There are more wars in recorded history than there are years in recorded history." In fact, Hillman argues there is roughly two and a half wars per year in the world's history as we know it. If I had to summarize what Hillman's argument is all about in one sentence - Go to war for the sake of going to war, for going to war for the sake of peace is the worst possible intention. The reasoning behind his arguments are because when people go to war for the sake of war, they would accomplish their goal, beat force X. But if you go to war for the sake of peace, you end up overtly dominating the populous to an end beyond necessity.
Ares/Mars, God of War!
"Hillman thoughtfully probes the relationship of love
and war, Aphrodite and Ares, as strange and exotic bed partners; he asks that
we return to and retrieve the ancient myths of Greece and Rome as ways to
reimagine the stilted and sticky and sedate reasonings behind engaging war
as a quick and simple way out of complexity.(Pacifica)
Aphrodite, God of Love!
Eros is far more understood than war and death ever were. But the argument on how to understand love is exactly the same thing Hillman is arguing about war. Succumb to it. You need to let go, and just feel it, and don't let anything else get in the way of that feeling or you lose concept of the enlightenment you are searching. The admission of defeat is actually a victory. The God of War doesn't care which side wins, it is the battle that takes place that is the necessity. In any case the hold of war is as powerful as the hold of love.
War is liberating!
Just like the war in Iraq, right? Not exactly. “War is not a product of reason and does not yield to reason.” The fact we have not found weapons of mass destruction, doesn't matter.
"The will of man is not shattered but softened, bent and guided; men are seldom forced to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy; but it prevents existence."
War is religion, religion is war!
No more imagination, Gods of faith are unseen, embrace what two hands can hold and hold onto it for dear life. The image analysis Hillman brings in his fourth chapter is perhaps the most eye opening and invigorating. If you think what you've read about this book so far is crap, take this challenge: Read chapter 4, and try to put the rest of the book down. Good luck on that...
War is a psychological task!
War threatens your and mine life, and existence of all living beings. "Instead of Dreadnoughts it is now the "cool" presence of the hand behind the computer who causes cities to explode and burn from hundreds of miles away, unseen, and without participation in the ensuing horror." Although the dictionary says the meaning of dreadnought is a battleship with six guns, I would argue that a metaphor of execution would be more fitting. For instance, instead of having to kill your prisoners up close and personal after you take a village, city, or castle, now all you have to do is click a button. The button replaces the henchman who would do the bidding for you, authentically replacing your replacement. You may have used someone else to give your order to back then, but now you are even more far removed from the action because of the button pushing. This glorifies the bomb, making talk of nuclear war in everybody's minds.
War is the father of all! - Heraclitus
Best review of book I found:
"This new book by one of the world’s most prolific, insightful and unsettling psychologists writing today will probably serve as a
call to arms for those individuals or groups that have accepted simple and
conventional ideas about war’s presence in human history. Rather than
repeating facile political and sociological talk about war’s genesis and its
intentions, James Hillman prefers to move vertically, down into myth, into
religion, and into the soul’s basement in order to discover the most basic
impulses to war, which, he believes, is a constant and even normal in the
history of humanity. Listen to the language of the media, with its lexicon of
war, battle, fight, compete, win, loser—all of these words pointing to
Chapter Breakdown, a good four phrase summary of the book:
- War is Normal
- War is Inhuman
- War is Sublime
- Religion is War.
In conclusion I argue that Hillman's book is form of a meditation. You can see this from the phrasing of the chapters. Since everything will always link back to religion, he prefaces first to something understandable, and works his way deeper and deeper into the unwaded waters of the soul.
Hillman is a proponent of archetypal psychology, fantasy, myth, and image analysis in relation to society. Thus his Gods of war and interrelations with other Gods analysis.