The human race has a fantastic propensity for killing one another.
We’re so good at it that we’ve even come up with stirring stories to kill each other with. They help us get it done and live with it later; Historically speaking, at least.
If you tell these stories just right, you can get thousands of people to join you in the slaughter, even if they don’t understand why.
Aren’t stories wonderful?
Here are the most popular stories we use to kill each other:
- They’ll do it to us if we don’t do it first
- They’re animals who eat babies
- We’re saving them
Use them prudently. These stories have a habit of escaping the narrator and taking life on their own.
Even longer ago than you realize, a death squad boarded a helicopter fleet under cover of darkness.
The team of 79 commandos (and a very good boy) had a simple task: assassinate the leader of a covert Pakistan Army unit. You probably knew him as Osama bin-Laden.
The flight would take over an hour and a half, and there was little the soldiers could be certain of except that death was waiting for them at the end, likely in the form of a hail of rusty nails.
Yet, many of these battle-hardened marines did what any good soldier does when given a moment to sit; they fell asleep.
For those of us who struggle to sleep on a transatlantic flight, catching forty-winks in a tank hurtling 2,000 ft over the desert towards certain death sounds impossible.
But the US Marines have a secret weapon that allows them to relax in the middle of a suicide mission.
It’s called Yoga Nidra.
And every marine learns it right after they learn how to meditate because control of our mind and body is the single greatest weapon we can arm ourselves with.
In 1945, a decorated Captain in the Red Army wrote a letter that destroyed his life.
As the war ended, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s battle with the USSR began.
He spent eight years in the GULAG, writing without pen or paper. After his release, Alek continued writing secretly.
When he published a story about life in the slave camps, Russia made him a famous writer for a while. But then the regime changed its mind and began destroying his work.
Alek wrote feverishly in secret, spreading his words with friends of friends across borders.
In 1970 those words won him a Nobel Prize. Then a year later, the KGB tried to kill him. So Alek smuggled his most dangerous words out of the country and published them worldwide.
The USSR told him he wasn’t Russian anymore and exiled him. But it was too late.
His words had unveiled the brutality of the regime.
And Alek kept writing until the USSR collapsed completely.
Shortly after, he got told he was Russian again and could return. After a little while, he did. And after his death in 2008, The Gulag Archipelago became required reading in Russian schools.
To show words can be very dangerous indeed.