True Christian fortitude consists in strength of mind, through grace, exerted in two things; in ruling and suppressing the evil and unruly passions and affections of the mind; and in steadfastly and freely exerting and following good affections and dispositions, without being hindered by sinful fear or the opposition of enemies... Though Christian fortitude appears in withstanding and counteracting the enemies that are without us; yet it much more appears in resisting and suppressing the enemies that are within us; because they are our worst and strongest enemies and have greatest advantage against us. The strength of the good soldier of Jesus Christ appears in nothing more than in steadfastly maintaining the holy calm, meekness, sweetness, and benevolence of his mind, amidst all the storms, injuries, strange behaviour, and surprising acts and events of this evil and unreasonable world.
There have been ample opportunities since 1945 to show that material superiority in war is not enough if the will to fight is lacking. In Algeria, Vietnam and Afghanistan the balance of economic and military strength lay overwhelmingly on the side of France, the United States, and the Soviet Union, but the will to win was slowly eroded. Troops became demoralised and brutalised. Even a political solution was abandoned. In all three cases the greater power withdrew. The Second World War was an altogether different conflict, but the will to win was every bit as important - indeed it was more so. The contest was popularly perceived to be about issues of life and death of whole communities rather than for their fighting forces alone. They were issues, wrote one American observer in 1939, 'worth dying for'. If, he continued, 'the will-to-destruction triumphs, our resolution to preserve civilisation must become more implacable...our courage must mount'.Words like 'will' and 'courage' are difficult for historians to use as instruments of cold analysis. They cannot be quantified; they are elusive of definition; they are products of a moral language that is regarded sceptically today, even tainted by its association with fascist rhetoric. German and Japanese leaders believed that the spiritual strength of their soldiers and workers in some indefinable way compensate for their technical inferiority. When asked after the war why Japan lost, one senior naval officer replied that the Japanese 'were short on spirit, the military spirit was weak...' and put this explanation ahead of any material cause. Within Germany, belief that spiritual strength or willpower was worth more than generous supplies of weapons was not confined to Hitler by any means, though it was certainly a central element in the way he looked at the world.The irony was that Hitler's ambition to impose his will on others did perhaps more than anything to ensure that his enemies' will to win burned brighter still. The Allies were united by nothing so much as a fundamental desire to smash Hitlerism and Japanese militarism and to use any weapon to achieve it. The primal drive for victory at all costs nourished Allied fighting power and assuaged the thirst for vengeance. They fought not only because the sum of their resources added up to victory, but because they wanted to win and were certain that their cause was just.The Allies won the Second World War because they turned their economic strength into effective fighting power, and turned the moral energies of their people into an effective will to win. The mobilisation of national resources in this broad sense never worked perfectly, but worked well enough to prevail. Materially rich, but divided, demoralised, and poorly led, the Allied coalition would have lost the war, however exaggerated Axis ambitions, however flawed their moral outlook. The war made exceptional demands on the Allied peoples. Half a century later the level of cruelty, destruction and sacrifice that it engendered is hard to comprehend, let alone recapture. Fifty years of security and prosperity have opened up a gulf between our own age and the age of crisis and violence that propelled the world into war. Though from today's perspective Allied victory might seem somehow inevitable, the conflict was poised on a knife-edge in the middle years of the war. This period must surely rank as the most significant turning point in the history of the modern age.
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.
Following feeling, relying on liking or wanting, we are not free. The freedom to "do as we like" is not freedom of choice because we are ruled by the powerful property of feeling; we cannot choose apart from liking and disliking. Likes and dislikes may be articulated in the form of sophisticated-sounding opinions, but the decision is made for us by feeling. The Western world places a high value on personal feelings and opinions: Each individual "has a right" to an opinion. But rarely do we question how we have arrived at our opinion. Upon examination, we may discover that opinions tend to stem from convenience, familiarity, and selfishness–what feels good or what is pleasing or comfortable to us. Upon this basis, we act, and receive the consequences of our action. Even if we compile a large number of such opinions, there is no guarantee that we will develop a wise perspective as a ground for action. Often this process only creates a mass of confusion, for opinions of one individual tend to conflict with the opinions of another. If there appears to be agreement, we tend to assume this agreement will remain stable. But agreement only means that the needs of the individuals involved are temporarily similar, and when those needs shift, agreement will evaporate. To make certain decisions, we rely on logic or scientific findings, which are supposedly free from personal opinion but are still weighted with the opinions of a particular culture. This style of knowing is founded on particular distinctions and ignores other possibilities. The evidence is clear that the scope of modern scientific knowledge is limited, for this knowledge is not yet able to predict and control the side-effects resulting from its own use. Its solutions in turn create more problems, reinforcing the circular patterns of samsara. Only understanding that penetrates to the root causes of problems can break this circularity. Until we explore the depths of consciousness, we cannot resolve the fundamental questions that face human beings.
Right! Let's get on with it! All right... you... Will... have trained as apprentice to Ranger Halt of Redmont Fief these last five twelvemonths and blah blah blah and so on and so on. You've shown the necessary level of proficiency in the use of the weapons a Ranger uses- the longbow, the saxe knife, the throwing knife."He paused and glanced up Halt. "He has shown the proficiency, hasn't he? Of course he has," he went on, before Halt could answer. "Furthermore, you are a trusted officer in the service of the King and so on and so on and hi diddle diddle dee dee..." He glanced up again. "These forms really do carry on a bit, don't they? But I have to make a pretense of reading them. And so forth and so on and such like." He paused, nodded several times, then continued."So basically..." He flicked a few more pages, found the one he was after and then continued, "You are in all ways ready to assume the position and authority of a fully operational Ranger in the Kingdom of Araluen. Correct?"He glanced up again, his eyebrows raised. Will realized he was waiting for an answer."Correct," he said hastily, then in case that wasn't enough, he added, "Yes. I mean... I do... I am. Yes.""Well, good for you.
Already, Cullum felt a stirring of interest. The name Horace and the mention of an oakleaf symbol struck a chord in his memory. Sir Horace, the Oakleaf Knight, was a legendary figure in Araluen, even in a place as remote as Norgate. Of course, the more remote the location, the more garbled and fantastic the legends became. As Cullum had hear tell, Sir Horace had been a youth of sixteen when he defeated the tyrant Morgarath in single combat, slicing the head off the evil lord's shoulders with one might strocke of a massive broadsword.Then, in the company of the equally legendary Ranger Halt, Sir Horace had traveled across the Stormwhite Sea to defeat the Riders from the East and rescue Princess Cassandra and her companion, the apprentice Ranger known as Will. Will! The significance of the name suddenly registered with the innkeeper. The jongleur's name was Will. Now here he was, in a cowled cloak, festooned with recurve bow and a quiver of arrows. He looked more closely and saw the hilt of a heavy saxe knife just visible at his waist. No doubt about it, Cullum thought, these cheerful young men were two of Araluen's greatest heroes!
The Rangers were founded over one hundred and fifty years ago, in King Herbert's reign. Do you know anything about him?" Halt looked sideways at the boy sitting beside him, tossing the question out quickly to see his response. Will hesitated. He vaugely remembered the name from history lessons in the Ward, but he couldn't remember any details. Still, he decided he'd try to bluff his way through it..."Oh ... yes," he said, "King Herbert. We learned about him.""Really?" said the Ranger expansively. "Perhaps you could tell me a little about him?" He leaned back and crossed his legs, getting himself comfortable..."He was ..." he hesitated, pretending to gather his thoughts. "The king." That much he was sure of. Halt merely smiled and made a rolling gesture with his hand that meant go on. "He was the king ... a hundred and fifty years ago," Will said, trying to sound certain of his facts. The Ranger smiled at him, gesturing for him to continue yet again. "Ummm ... well, I seem to recall that he was the one who founded the Ranger Corps," he said hopefully, and Halt raised his eyebrows in mock surprise."Really? You recall that, do you?
But...' Horace looked from one familiar face to another. 'How did you come to..?'Before he could finish the question, Will interupted, thinking to clarify matters but only making them more puzzling...'We were all in Toscana for the treaty signing,' he began, then corrected himself. 'Well, Evanlyn wasn't. She came later. But, when she did, she told us you were missing, so we all boarded Gundar's ship-you should see it. It's a new design that can sail into the wind. But anyway, that's not important. And just before we left, Selethen decided to join us-what with you being an old comrade in arms and all-and...'He got no further. Halt, seeing the confusion growing on Horace's face, held up a hand to stop his babbling former apprentice...Will stopped, a little embarrassed as he realized that he had been running off at the mouth.
I circled the site before I came in. If there's anyone within five kilometers, I'll eat my quiver." Halt regarded him, eyebrow arched once more. "Anyone?""Anyone other than Crowley," Will amended, making a dismissive gesture. "I saw him watching me from that hide he always uses about two kilometers out. I assumed he'd be back in here by now." Halt cleared his throat loudly. "Oh, you saw him, did you?" he said. "I imagine he'll be overjoyed to hear that." Secretly, he was pleased with his former pupil. In spite of his curiosity and obvious excitement, he hadn't forgotten to take the precautions that had been drilled into him. THat augured well for what lay ahead, Halt thought, a sudden grimness settling onto his manner. Will didn't notice the momentary change of mood. He was loosening Tugsaddle girth. As he spoke, his voice was muffled against the horses's flank. "he's becoming too much a creature of habit," he said. "he's used that hide for the last three Gatherings. It's time he tried something new. Everyone must be onto it by now." Rangers constantly competed with each other to see before being seen and each year's Gathering was a time of heightened competition. Halt nodded thoughtfully. Crowley had constructed teh virtually invisible observation post some four years previously. Alone among the younger Rangers, Will had tumbled to it after one year. Halt had never mentioned to him that he was the only one who knew of Crowley's hide. The concealed post was the Ranger Commandant's pride and joy. "Well, perhaps not everyone," he said. Will emerged from behind his horse, grinning at the thought of the head of the Ranger Corps thinking he had remained hidden from sight as he watched Will's approach. "All the same, perhaps he's getting a bit long in the tooth to be skulking around hiding in the bushes, don't you think?" he said cheerfully. Halt considered the question for a moment."Long in the tooth? Well, that's one opinion. Mind you, his silent movement skills are still as good as ever," he said meaningfully. The grin on Will's face slowly faded. He resisted the temptation to look over his shoulder. "He's standing behind me, isn't he?" he asked Halt. THe older Ranger nodded. "He's standing behind me, isn't he?" Will continued and Halt nodded once more."Is he...close enough to have heard what I said?" Will finally managed to ask, fearin teh worst. This time, Halt didn't have to answer. "Oh, good grief no," came a familiar voice from behind him. "he's so old and decrepit these days he's as deaf as a post." Will's shoulders sagged and he turned to see the sandy-haired Commandant standing a few meters away. The younger man's eyes dropped. "Hullo, Crowley," he said, then mumbled, "Ahhh...I'm sorry about that." Crowley glared at teh young Ranger for a few more seconds, then he couldn't help teh grin breaking out on his face. "No harm done," he said, adding with a small note of triumph, "It's not often these days I amange to get the better of one of you young ones." Secretly, he was impressed at teh news that Will had spotted his hiding place. Only the sarpest eyes could have picked it. Crowley had been in the business of seeing without being seen for thirty years or more, and despite what Will believed, he was still an absolute master of camouflage and unseen movement.