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Warrior society

April 13, 2011

Samurai

What is a warrior society and how is it different to what we live in?

The idea of a warrior society gets bandied around a bit and I can think of examples where culture has been really shaped around warfare – Samurai Japan in the feudal period, for example – but what does ‘warrior society’ really mean in terms of the values… and have we got different values?

I was wondering this when I read Annas on Plato again today: she says, “The stories found in Homer and the ancient dramatists (which played the role taken in our society by popular entertainment) glamorize the values of a warrior society, and are bound to unfit people for living in civic society, where they must act in co-operation with others.” p39 Julia Annas (2003) Plato; a Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press: Oxford

How unco-operative is a warrior society? … What values do we attribute to a warrior society? … What values do we attribute to our own society? … and what would we call NZ society if not a warrior one? … people refer to the Maori as a warrior people… but what does this mean now?

In our literature, we still value heroism in war, we still refer to the warrior spirit and see this as a positive, so what cultural values do we perpetuate through our literature in connection with war/warriors…?

NB p177 The Serpents of Arakesh, VM Jones: Kay says to Jamie when he is scared to continue their quest: “What of your sick friend? What of the adventure that lies ahead? Nay, you must dig deep for the warrior spirit that lies within us all – even you, my friend.”

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