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Schubert collection

Mars will now say a few words

Posted by Thersites on UTC 2015-11-03 10:37.

Good day, humans. God of War speaking.

On the eleventh of November every year millions of you humans get together and blame me in one way or another for all the wars you – I repeat, you – have started.

Now, as you would expect of the God of War, I keep a careful track of these matters. I can assure you that the fault lies with that strumpet Venus. She, not I, should be the target of your imprecations.

If you pause for a moment and consider rationally the figures for dead and wounded soldiers and civilians from the wars of the last two hundred years, which are the ones for which we have relatively reliable records, you will find that such losses are quite trivial. Ten, twenty thousand here, even in one day, forty thousand, a hundred thousand, 40 million in World War I, 80 million in World War II and who knows how many in the continuous wars since then.

'Trivial', you humans gasp, 'how can you call the loss of millions of human lives trivial?' Well they must be, because within a single generation after each war the human race just bounces back as though nothing had happened. After all of these conflicts, within 20 years, under the malign influnce of Venus, you have bred a new generation to go into more battles. It is plague and famine – not my responsibility, by the way – that are much more effective in reducing your numbers, such as those events that occurred after the Thirty Years' War and the Great War.

Any human economist will tell you that human life is just too cheap. If life were more precious, less easy to replace, you would be much more reticent about killing each other. You would hoard life. If it took not 20 years but a hundred or two hundred years to make up these losses there would be no wars. At the first outbreak of serious conflict the loss of the first few thousand humans, now almost irreplaceable, would soon put an end to war. Instead of which Venus gets involved and you breed your substitutes within two decades or less. You fight the 'war to end all wars' and after a mere 20 years to recuperate you are fighting a worse one, with even greater losses.

Just imagine. The Battle of the Nations at Leipzig, three days in October 1813, was a slaughter that resulted in nearly 100'000 dead. If the male population had still not recovered fully a hundred years later, do you think the First World War and all the intervening conflicts would have taken place? Of course not, because human life was now finally a valuable commodity to you humans and you would have taken better care of it. There is a saying here on Olympus: what costs nothing is worth nothing.

So in your minute's silence on Armistice Day just think how different history would have been if you had just kept that malign slut Venus at a distance.

Finally, you humans should reflect on the following paintings by Albin Egger-Lienz (1868–1926), an Austrian artist who volunteered as a 47 year-old and experienced the Great War at first hand — fortunately for him, briefly and afterwards alive.

So it goes, Billy, so it goes.

Der Krieg 1915-16

Der Krieg 1915-16 — The War 1915-16

Den Namenlosen 1915

Den Namenlosen 1915 — (To the Nameless 1915) 1916

Finale, 1918

Finale 1918

Toter Soldat, 1918

Toter Soldat — (Dead Soldier) 1918.

NB: The title is adapted from the title of W.H. Auden's poem: 'Venus will now say a few words'.