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Effects of death and destruction on the brain


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#1    SereneScene

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 05:27 AM

So as someone who is interested in joining the military as well as journalism and psycology this is an interesting and important topic to me.

So what is it about death and destruction that breaks a man down? Considering human historys length it seems its still not something we get used to or ever will, we have all been kind of desentozied in a sense with blood and gore in movies and many of us can watch real life gore pictures and videos withput too much trouble but being there and seeing and feeling these things first hand must be a totally different experience.

Many war veterans, photographers and just people in places of war, famine and chaos describe deep depression and vivid images that stay with them forever, nightmares and even strong reacts to loud noises and certain sounds; this is known as post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD in short.

I mean imagine being on the frontlines in world war II for a second, hundereds of people screaming, crying, defacating, extremly loud gunshots and bombs, heads, limbs, guts, people being disintegrated, burning, the horrid smell of death, your senses on extreme pressure and discombobulation, how could this not stay with a person and haunt them?

But what is it that makes people so sensitive to death? Are we as humans not meant to see and even participate in these things? And what of the people who thrive in these situations or at the very least or not as affected? Some would call these sociopaths and perhaps lack empathy.

I find this a fascinating and troubling subject, with veterans commiting suicide at a high rate I think we as people should put effort to understand these things, this dark part of human (nature?) because it seems these things are not going away any time soon and its still all around us in the world.


#2    Frank Merton

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 05:37 AM

War is Hell.


#3    SereneScene

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 05:39 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 14 November 2013 - 05:37 AM, said:

War is Hell.

Obviously.


#4    Frank Merton

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 05:41 AM

View PostSereneScene, on 14 November 2013 - 05:39 AM, said:

Obviously.
Is it really so obvious?  Why are computer war games so popular then?  Why are toy guns best sellers?  Why do war novels sell so well?  Many have a distorted view of what war really is and easily send thousands to their deaths over a few hundred acres of land.


#5    SereneScene

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 05:53 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 14 November 2013 - 05:41 AM, said:

Is it really so obvious?  Why are computer war games so popular then?  Why are toy guns best sellers?  Why do war novels sell so well?  Many have a distorted view of what war really is and easily send thousands to their deaths over a few hundred acres of land.

The same reason they make Marine commercials looking so cool fighting dragons and winning at the end like a video game, media.

Everyone knows war is bad and terrible but as I mentioned in my first post, people dont actually realize how horrible these things really are until they experience it for themselves, If I had a dollar for every teen or young adult that claims they would be a great soldier or how badass being in combat would be, I sometimes dont understand how people could be so delusional or misguided but think about it, these movies, games, storys, they all paint war to be a bad thing but in the end the winners are heroes and have a great sense of accomplishment.

It couldn't be farther from that, the killing, the death will stay with you and you will NEVER forget; again there are exceptions such as sociopaths but you get the point.

Media is a hell of a tool.


#6    SereneScene

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 06:20 AM

http://iconicphotos....lture.jpg?w=584

Here we have the famous photograph taken by Kevin Carter; a famous south african photographer in the 70's, it is a starving child being watched by a vulture; the vulture is waiting for the child to die, months after the photograph was taken Carter committed suicide.

Here is a part of his suicide note:

"I am depressed ... without phone ... money for rent ... money for child support ... money for debts ... money!!! ... I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners ... I have gone to join Ken if I am that lucky."

Obviously he had his material troubles but no doubt about it this mans past experiences weighed very heavily on his psyche and he could not take it.


#7    ZOD

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 06:46 AM

I've not understood the problem people have with death for some time, I guess its fear of the unknown that frightens them, the finality of it perhaps.

The ability to separate from your emotions is an important thing to learn, seems Like Mr. Carter, was unable to learn how to do this.

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#8    SereneScene

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 06:57 AM

View PostKelevra, on 14 November 2013 - 06:46 AM, said:

I've not understood the problem people have with death for some time, I guess its fear of the unknown that frightens them, the finality of it perhaps.

The ability to separate from your emotions is an important thing to learn, seems Like Mr. Carter, was unable to learn how to do this.

Interesting you say this "separate from your emotions", I was watching one of those murder-investigation shows the other day and you had your typical hard nosed veteran detective, the particular case had a family gunned down but the child was still alive, by the time the medics took him he passed.

He mentioned that children are especially hard to deal with, he said that it stays with him, that each and everyone are still with him.

Thats deep man, imagine a veteran detective, probably seen a lot of death and gore in his day and still has troubles with these things, its rough, but why? I am sure if we saw a dead dog it would be unpleasant but we move on, we cant just see a dead person and just "move on".

Edited by SereneScene, 14 November 2013 - 06:58 AM.


#9    Frank Merton

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 07:52 AM

View PostKelevra, on 14 November 2013 - 06:46 AM, said:

I've not understood the problem people have with death for some time, I guess its fear of the unknown that frightens them, the finality of it perhaps.

The ability to separate from your emotions is an important thing to learn, seems Like Mr. Carter, was unable to learn how to do this.
An aspect of the Buddhist formula for happiness is not so much separating ourselves from our emotions but instead separating ourselves from our desires -- in this case the desire to help others when we are not able.  Most striking is the emotion of guilt that results from this, from which we must detach ourselves.

Suicides are often if not usually, and apparently in this case, a symptom (a lethal symptom) of clinical depression, which is a disease over which we have little power except a few medications that sometimes help and various forms of usually useless talk and perhaps some spiritual aid.


#10    Frank Merton

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 10:26 AM

View PostKelevra, on 14 November 2013 - 06:46 AM, said:

I've not understood the problem people have with death for some time, I guess its fear of the unknown that frightens them, the finality of it perhaps.
Maybe it's just that we enjoy living.


#11    Taun

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 12:28 PM

Speaking as a verteran who has been in combat I would say that it is because the vast majority of people are basically decent with moral values and the thought that they have taken a life
weighs heavily on them... I have been fortunate in that I have not actually killed (I have wounded others but not killed them), but I know a good number that have killed in combat... I would be
very nervous around someone that it actually did not bother...


#12    Frank Merton

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 12:37 PM

I've been through war, but I lived it sheltered from combat because of my language skills.  It's something to be called aside to be told that your brother and sister have been killed, and then necessarily go on about your work.


#13    SereneScene

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 02:55 PM

If I were to join the military I would probably want to do something like pararescue in the Air Force, work hard to save people but I know I would probably see some horrible stuff and they most likely have to fight as well.

The thought of combat is not terrifying to me but I'd rather not and I definitely don't want to kill someone, my number one issue is that if I did kill in combat how would I feel about it? Would I be a bad person knowing that I willingly signed up knowing that it could happen? Would I try to justify my actions?

Its an interesting topic and the topic of joining the military is an interesting one as well, people have many reasons for joining but personally I have no delusions about freedoms and all that jazz, I see the military as what it is, a job.


#14    ZOD

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 05:18 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 14 November 2013 - 10:26 AM, said:

Maybe it's just that we enjoy living.

I'm sure that has something to do with it, but at some point everything dies, so I dont understand fearing that inevitabilty.

View PostFrank Merton, on 14 November 2013 - 07:52 AM, said:

An aspect of the Buddhist formula for happiness is not so much separating ourselves from our emotions but instead separating ourselves from our desires -- in this case the desire to help others when we are not able.  Most striking is the emotion of guilt that results from this, from which we must detach ourselves.

I don't mean it in a permanent sense, but temporarily detaching from emotionality can be helpful, for example in the detective scenario SS mentioned earlier.


Quote

Would I be a bad person knowing that I willingly signed up knowing that it could happen? Would I try to justify my actions?

People's individual morality is largely where things get tricky.  Personally killing seems like a tool, just like sex, computers, a hammer and nail.  Everything has its use and its proper application.

Battle isn't wordplay.  It's skill and precision.  Get it? I'm better.


#15    Sufjan

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 08:10 PM

Quote

how could this not stay with a person and haunt them?

That is a good question. My answer is, that I don't think there is anybody on this planets who doesn't get haunted by those things. They just deal with it in a different way.
Life is about delaying death and that will always be printed in every mind.

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I find this a fascinating and troubling subject, with veterans commiting suicide at a high rate I think we as people should put effort to understand these things, this dark part of human (nature?) because it seems these things are not going away any time soon and its still all around us in the world.

Some people collapse when confrontated with death. Few people really thing about it and what it means. People fear, but they don't fear enough.





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