My Dear Parents,
I have been sentenced to death today, September 11 1917. Only myself and another comrade; the others have been let off with 15 years’ imprisonment. You will have heard why this has happened to me. I am a sacrifice of the longing for peace, others are going to follow. I cannot stop it now, it is six o’clock in the morning, I am being taken to Cologne at 6.30, and on Wednesday September 12 at nine o’clock in the morning I am going to be sacrificed to military justice. I would have liked to press your hands once more to say goodbye, but I will do it silently. Console Paula and my little Fritz. I don’t like dying so young, but I will die with a curse on the German militarist state. These are my last words. I hope that some day you and mother will be able to read them.
Always Your Son,
A human technology, any technology exists in order to supplement human experience facing the dangers and challenges of physical existence. Clothing protects us from the climate, writing records things so we need not remember them all, weapons make us stronger than our enemies. But each technology leads us further into material existence because it gives us the sense of material strength. If I can build a house or create warm clothing I can live in places where without them I would surely die. If I now have matches to make fire I no longer need to learn to make fire without them. Since I have my mother’s phone number on my smartphone, there is no need to remember it. Each strength therefore is also at the same time a weakness because I inevitably become dependant on this artificial strength.
Head tries to help heart.
Head tells heart how it is, again:
You will lose the ones you love. They will all go. But even the earth will go, someday.
Heart feels better, then.
But the words of head do not remain long in the ears of heart.
Heart is so new to this.
I want them back, says heart.
Head is all heart has.
Help, head. Help heart.
Views like mine, in the world of American foreign policy, are considered extreme. This is because I believe that peace is preferable to war, that the last half-century of American warmaking has in the main been a series of disasters, and that this country’s political class has become so bent on war in the face of any and all challenges that those we call doves are just quieter hawks. I can envision no plausible scenario in which this country stops its endless projection of military force. Not in my lifetime. I suppose I hope only that people in the media will someday be honest and say: we are bent on war, and our media is bent on war, and there is no such thing as an anti-war voice in our politics or media, and we will go to war again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again.
We might “win,” this time. We will certainly destroy ISIS if we set our minds to it. And we will leave behind another failed state, whether after a year or ten, and then that failed state will do what failed states do, and we will go back again. But every time a little weaker, a little more vulnerable, until someday at last, the next war is the one that leads to our own destruction.
If I could exhaustively give all my reasons for loving someone then I could articulate what someone else might have just as well, and so replace the loved one. But the loved one is irreplaceable. Therefore I can never exhaustively give all my reasons for loving someone. It follows that every love for a person is somehow infinite – and that there is always more beyond what I could hope to bring to conscious light.