War and Peace

(Warning: Boring, personal entry)

I am writing this entry on a bus. More specifically, on the bus from the airport to the conference Sanntid 2003 (Real-time 2003), where I am scheduled to speak tomorrow. The airport in question is Kjevik airport, which is a military/civilian airport in the south of Norway.

Normally, when I ride busses, I like to read. I brought along Mary Poppendieck’s fascinating “Lean Software Development”. This time is different. I cannot concentrate.

Driving past the military base at Kjevik made me think about the last time I was here. That time I was serving in the Norwegian military forces as a conscript communcations assistant. The memory made me unable to concentrate on the book, hence this post.

The last few years, I have had an increasingly ambivalent feeling towards the millitary, even including the Norwegian armed forces. The more I learn about politics and history, the more I am convinced that war, or any form of forceful confrontation, extremely rarely improves the state of the world. This realization is made stronger when I look at my own reaction to physical (historically) or emotional bullying. In general, forceful techniques rarely make me change my mind, other than becoming more negative towards the bully. I believe groups of people act the same way. In short, spending money on military is counter-productive (plus it means you can’t spend money on sensible stuff). I guess I would classify myself as a political pacifist.

Yet, I have always been attracted to something abouit the military. Perhaps it is the seriousness of it all. Perhaps it is the undertone (with the Norwegian armed forces, anyhow) of violence. Even though I consider violence to work against its intent, I appreciate the use of violence in the entertainment industry. I enjoy violent movies and violent computer games. I probably enjoy them more because of the violence. I guess I am contradicting myself, at least on an emotional level.

Now for the hard part: When writing a blog-entry, we are supposed to say something profound. This entry is mostly just written because I cannot concentrate on anything else. I guess if there is something to be leaned from all this, it is the following:

  • People can hold contradictory views. That is just a part of being human. Recognizing it in my own views makes it easier to accept contradictory beliefs in others.

  • The forceful approach probably doesn’t work so well. You catch more of the proverbial flies with honey than with vinegar.

I hope that is profound enough for you, gentle reader.

About Johannes Brodwall

Johannes is Principal Software Engineer in SopraSteria. In his spare time he likes to coach teams and developers on better coding, collaboration, planning and product understanding.
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