Power, War and Critical Thinking

Critical thinking and self-mastery are established roleplayers of the intellectual personality. The journey of life should be to remain self-aware in the event of negativity and overwhelming grief. It is hard not to when I realise that we are in a race against time. To take ownership of the planet and confront climate change. To protect livelihood, inhabitant, nation and country against what seems at the moment insurmountable. The spiritual journey leads us down roads of myths, fables, folklore, heritage and sometimes we suffer and fail at having that romantic relationship, the relationship with child or sibling or the marriage partner who you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with and he then decides he doesn’t love you anymore and you have to make a new beginning on your own again. That solitary figure playing strong, tough and determined when she is shopping for one with mothers with children hanging out of their grocery carts. Life can be very sad at times. Life is hard. But there is always the potential for contentment. When you are basically happy with the decisions you are making for yourself.

War is playing out in Europe and has defined for many Ukrainian women and children what their lot in life will be. The children will grow up fatherless in the formative years of their life. Boys will not be raised by their fathers to become men. They will live in a new country. They struggle. In the images of the Ukrainian people we can see their hardship, their despair and their struggle. What to do about struggle? Acknowledge yourself and better yourself. Study further, volunteer if you’re on your own. Move to another city. It all sounds like goalsetting but many have needlessly lost their lives and the morale of everyone in war is to suffer in silence. These images are so bold. We cannot make light of this situation. Light years away in Africa there is famine and floods and migrants trying to make their way across the sea for a better life. It is easy to say it is a “migrant invasion” for those who have to handle this situation with foreign diplomacy but these people have no hope. Struggle, despair and hardship. Struggle, despair and hardship. In war, famine, flood people are dehumanised and their basic human rights are taken away from them. The Ukrainians have to prepare themselves for a cold and long winter with sporadic electricity. In war, what do the children eat? In war where do children congregate and play? In war, where do your children go to school?

Planet Earth is heating up. Musk bought Twitter. Life on the surface of things goes on whether there is the threat of nuclear war or not. We live in a primordial soup of selfish gratification. Our silence, our loneliness, and chronic illness as man has turned us into cynics. We tell ourselves in a tone that, “Oh, I will always be this lonely.” Have you ever thought about what it means to be lonely in war and how an individual’s mental health suffers from not being able to voice your pain. Your emotional pain tries to reason everything but this is war. There’s neuroscience in your brain. War, it will one day give way to flashbacks, shock and trauma and this experience when you are either leaving the only home that you’ve ever known, or the father of your children who has to remain behind and fight for his country or watching it unfold on the other side of the world will never leave you. That is war’s legacy in a nutshell. That it will never leave you.

Women don’t realise that men have their own insecurities or they don’t want to see men in that way. They want to be excited by the man’s character and his emotional depth. They want the man to have a deep insight into their lives but I don’t think that modern women want to give that same deep level of insight into the man’s life. How hard he works, his problems at work. I mean of course modern women like my sister.I see the women in my family and how they judge relationships and what their perspective is on the opposite sex. My sister treats men harshly. If they want to function in her life they must give of themselves completely to her. If they don’t then she gives them the boot. She doesn’t know why she isn’t loved. She has no idea about commitment and the work you have to put in in a relationship. She wants dinners, good wine and it must be easy. Just don’t make her life difficult and tell her about your problems. That is a kind of struggle too. Women don’t know this. The power they have or they do and it corrupts them absolutely. I see these Ukrainian mothers live out their lives with extremely lost and traumatized children with grace and power. A power beyond all belief and understanding in the climate of war.

In the midst of war and terror we all lose. Loss becomes a reminder of what we hold dear, what we treasured and what is now only a memory. What is the road to healing? It is days of moving forward pulling and pushing you into existence. In war we must survive. We have to survive together because the world is now at stake. Our world as we know it and humanity.

It doesn’t matter who shows you ingratitude on the footpaths of war or the militant behavior that we encounter, we must, we must show up for life no matter how broken we are and show gratitude for life.

When I think of Ukraine and Russia in this instance, I think what we become when we suffer is that the suffering is just a mask that leads us to this existence where we have to fight tooth and nail to live, to survive with our dignity and our integrity intact. It’s an intuitive strategy to think this way about survival, about the bureaucracy and hierarchies, administration and corruption in the halls of power. As I said before, in war everyone loses. The intellectual, the spiritual, ideology and indoctrination withers away. There will always be this kind of hesitant power struggle upended before it collapses totally on a heap and there’s a new headline about a war in Africa where people are dying on an unimaginable scale that nobody elsewhere in the world is talking about.

Abigail George
Abigail George
Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated shortlisted and longlisted poet Abigail George is a recipient of four writing grants from the National Arts Council, the Centre for Book and ECPACC. She briefly studied film, writes for The Poet, is an editor at MMAP and Contributing Writer at African Writer. She is a blogger, essayist, writer of several short stories, novellas and has ventured out to write for film with two projects in development . She was recently interviewed for Sentinel, and the BBC.