Quotation by Thomas Merton

Lanza del Vasto noted a deep connection between play and war, even before the games theory and nuclear war strategy became practically identified. In our society, everything, in fact, is a game. But if everything is a game, then everything leads to war. Play is aimless and yet multiplies obstacles so that the "aim," which in fact does not exist, cannot be attained by the opponent. For instance, getting a ball in a hole. War is caused by similar aimless aims. Not by hunger, not by real need. War is a game of the powerful, or of whole collectivities devoted to self-assertion. It is "the great public vice that consists in playing with the lives of men." War plays with life and death, and does so magnificently. Everybody becomes involved. Everybody has to live or die—so that other side may not get a ball in a hole.
Thomas Merton (1915–1968), U.S. religious writer, poet. "The Fork in the Road," Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Doubleday (1966).
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