Updated: Jan 14, 2021
World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural, economic, and social environment of the world. It was considered to mark the end of the Second Industrial Revolution and the Pax Britannica. However, despite the convincing Allied victory and the creation of the League of nations; intended to prevent future wars, a second world war followed just over twenty years later. World War II proved to be the deadliest international conflict in history, taking the lives of 60 to 80 million people, with millions more injured, and still more lost their homes and property. World War II changed the political alignment and social structure of the globe. The United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts but in the wake of European devastation, the influence of great powers waned, triggering rivalry between Superpowers for the nearly half-century long Cold War.
The Wars had proven that it was the fight to be in power, and power it always is; power to destroy the societies and psyches of men more swiftly than had ever been done by any human activity before. This triumph paved the way to other triumphs: improvements in trade, commerce, homes, medicine and ways of living and above all, preparations for the next war. The global battle with the disaster of the corona virus that first emerged in the city of Wuhan is, without question, something very much like war. Various world leaders have stated that we are at war with an invisible enemy that is not invincible. Merely naming the enemy or blaming the origin does not help fight the real effects of a war.
The wounds of every war are deep and intimate and trying to be comfortable again with others can spark the hidden gashes and the trapped doors in the consciousness. Unlike physical wounds, the countless effects of war on the soul are unaddressed. There is a new form of battle, so there is a new kind of abrasion as well. There are injuries to the mind both strong and delicate and impacts on the soul never possible before. A threat can be in the neighbor one minute or be in the kitchen speaking to a child, the next. War and home are becoming more intertwined and more complicated; both closer together and further apart. The unseen damage of the unknown, brings a common sacrifice of human happiness for it is clear by now that the virus surpasses states, civilizations and geographical sites. Everyone faces the challenges of the pandemic at equal rates.
People take distinct views about the inevitability of war, but everyone is affected by the ways in which the war comes. They say everything will change and a new world is bound to evolve yet even after two great wars the world suffered at the hands of the empowered. After the confrontations have closed, after the speeches have been given, the sermons concluded, the smoke dies down and the danger moves from outside to inside; the war continues to ring in the souls and thoughts of those who experienced it. A young woman who lost her parents to it, goes through her daily life of troubles that make each day a new kind of struggle as she finds ways to be a loving wife and a role model to her children. An older man talks about the symptoms that he had to fight through but brought death to his fellow friends in the old house. They will relive it many times yet dying inside every time the thoughts recur. There is a dark thump in the soul, an emotional, spiritual blaze that not only burns away all naivety, but also modifies one's identity.
Being home was a feeling of being at peace and comfort and the reason to live after war, yet the rise of another global war is making it more difficult to find peace in solitude. Modern war is not simply more deadly, it is also more confusing and spirit-thumping. The enemy could be anywhere or could be anyone at any time. A public hall or a parking lot can become a war zone simply because of an unanticipated encounter. The daily movements tend to threaten the souls and make peace at home brittle.
The war could be over as the people might tell us but not for those who had been directly affected by it in some way. Slumped back into life, like nothing had happened, the battle still rampant, concealed deep inside. The terrors, the panics, just learning to cope with the anger or the depression that had worried them during the war. The gap in the family unit, the loss of a loved one; they say it gets better with time as everything heals. The war would be over but not for the living who had experienced death of their happiness in one form or another.
There is a split in the soul, a deep inner split as a result of war that separates the victims from the ordinary. In the current war it can be impossible to distinguish the victims from the ordinary when the fear of the unknown keeps resurfacing to haunt the hopes of the survivors. In the aftermath of all the damage, valor and dread, when the smolder clears and the evidence is removed from sight, it is the deep compassion in a human that must be sought after and battled for to be discovered again. Otherwise, there is no going home, but only a long period of war or the preparation of war, an infinite and tedious journey that keeps the warfare alive while the soul of every person slowly perishes. This daily war with the uncertainty of living in fear is bound to change our perspective about post war stress. It comes with realizing the path to healing the human wound. While on this journey we must develop our understanding of the full emotional and spiritual impact of war’s invisible wounds. This life and every battle that we fight is a journey of guidance. It is a journey to overcoming disillusionment and restoring our sense of purpose and connection. Lives will transform if we take a deep look at the universal reality that we choose to ignore otherwise. Desperate times require dire losses but that does not mean the sacrifice of our souls.
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