Beauty of the damned

The beauty of war is not in its material aspect; no, that would be a disgrace, a mockery to the soldiers that charged to their own graves, fuelled by love for family and country. The beauty of war is not in its spiritual facet; no, for what kind of god would create man in all his glory so that he may slaughter his fellow brother? The beauty of war is absolutely not in its monetary value; governments can attest to the great pecuniary deficit that conflict wroughts on the national coffers.

What, then, is the beauty of war?

It is the beauty of the damned.

It is the beauty of the necessary, damned by circumstance, damned by human nature, damned by the fiery fires of greed, malice, treachery, jealousy, of the very vilest filth that coagulates in the dredges of man’s heart; that is the beauty of war.

It is not a beauty to be admired, nor is it to be applauded. This beauty can only be marveled at, can only induce a sense of what was lost, and never found. This beauty is profound in that no philosopher could ever explain it away, simple in that even the simplest minds recognize it for its inherent evil.

The beauty of the damned can be seen as soldiers waltz on the battlefield of hell, to the tune of staccato machine guns and blaring cannons.

The beauty of the damned can be seen as those soldiers lie as corpses in the bloodied mud, wallowing in the splattered gore of relinquished dreams, spilling scarlet tendrils of memory. Their last sense of touch was not the bullet that entered their cerebral cortex, nor the mine that ripped out their legs, tossing it twenty feet into the air; no, the moment before they died, they felt their mother’s warm touch, their lover’s caress, their father’s proud pat on the back, their children’s running into their arms. Their eyes saw past the mud, blood, brain, guts, limbs, death, hatred, chaos; they saw past this veil of earthly fragility into the portal that showed them Home, for the home is where the heart is.

The beauty of the damned is in the hearts of every man who willingly gave themselves up as fighters, as protectors – for they were damned the moment they entertained such a thought. Responding to such a necessity, damnation was but a medium for their love.

Many may judge – and some rightly so – that war is evil; but have they seen the beauty of the damned? I highly doubt it. It is not a beauty able to be appreciated in the air-conditioned room of a government building, or the couch of a modern family, or the library of some university philosopher. No, it is a beauty only seen, heard, felt, touched, remembered by those who danced the waltz, who walked the walk, who bit the bullet. They don’t give a damn what anyone may think or say about their actions; they held themselves accountable only to those they lived and died for.

The beauty of the damned lay not in its splendour, but in its deathly paleness. Life produces beauty, and thrives upon it; death produces decay, and writhes in it. War does not need to be beautiful, but it leaks splendour, it spills occasional drops of love, inspiration, hope – even goodness.


[circa 2012]

© David Lui, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Lui and Shore of Sanity with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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