Mark 9:50 Jesus: “Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.”
The only thing man misses is peace. Casualty is the causality of war.
In his 1947 novel The Plague, Albert Camus uses the story of the plague as an extended metaphor—or allegory—for deaths caused by war. In these paragraphs from the book, Camus overtly equates plague with war.
“There have been as many plagues as wars in history, yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise….When a war breaks out, people say: ‘It’s too stupid; it can’t last long.’ But though a war may well be ‘too stupid,’ that doesn’t prevent its lasting. Stupidity has a knack of getting its way; as we should see if we were not always so much wrapped up in ourselves.”
In this last sentence, Camus berates humans for neglecting to take action en masse to install peace for ever.
In the following paragraph, he makes clear that plague is not a thing of man’s making (and therefore implies that war, on the other hand, is), and again chides humans for not ending war for ever.
“A pestilence isn’t a thing made to man’s measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn’t always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they haven’t taken their precautions.”
Here, Camus again emphasizes how humans fail to stand up for their rights (to end war).
“This peculiarity, as Rieux had noticed, was really the key to the personality of our worthy fellow citizen. And this it was which always prevented him from writing the mildly protesting letter he had in mind, or taking the steps the situation called for. According to him, he felt a particular aversion from talking about his ‘rights,’ the word was one that gave him pause…”
In the following sentence, Camus states that the news media and the authorities are complicit in war’s neverending continuation.
“‘The newspapers and the authorities are playing ball with the plague…’”
If people say, “So what? It’s just another fact of life.” and believe no harm comes from the cold blunt fact of it, consider the following passage wherein Camus implies that the bloom of youth is destroyed by war and war politics.
“In the markets the flowers no longer came in buds; they were already in full bloom, and after the morning’s marketing the dusty pavements were littered with trampled petals. It was plain to see that spring had spent itself, lavished its ardor on the myriads of flowers that were bursting everywhere into bloom, and now was being crushed out by the twofold onslaught of heat and plague. For our fellow citizens that summer sky, and the streets thick with dust, gray as their present lives, had the same ominous import as the hundred deaths now weighing daily on the town.”
There are no excuses left. Trotting out the tired tawdry cliché of war as a supposed answer to disagreement is no longer acceptable. If we humans continue to fail to negotiate lasting peace, then we have shown that we are not worthy of the superior thinking abilities somehow gifted us. Would you not agree that to install peace for ever is the foremost problem of our age and as such merits our best efforts? What would you do?
“In war, the ultimate victor is death. In peace, the ultimate victor is life.”—Rolf Auer, 13 November 2013