Friday, 10 March 2017

Making Things Happen

SM Stirling's character, Mike Havel, thinks something that is also applicable to Poul Anderson's Nicholas van Rijn (on right in image):

"I like making things happen instead of having them happen to me, and I'm pretty good at it, which is good for everyone."
-SM Stirling, The Protector's War (New York, 2006), Chapter Ten, p. 265.

I have always been someone that things happened to. There are definitely two kinds of people but they operate in every context. Van Rijn runs a company whereas Havel leads a community. In van Rijn's period, there will be trade union leaders among his employees and leaders of social campaigns in the Solar Commonwealth. We see political movements and their leaders on David Falkayn's home planet, Hermes.

Havel continues:

"And I will purely and surely do whatever it takes to win a fight...I just don't like some parts of it much." (ibid.)

We don't need people who like every part of a fight. When I worked as a Careers Adviser, a client told me that he wanted to join the Army because he wanted to kill people! I could not recommend him for that career. Van Rijn wants to trade in times of peace but wages war when necessary.

5 comments:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I far prefer the views and attitudes of Old Nick and Mike Havel when it comes to matters of war and peace. Nor do I think any responsible army wants men like your former client. Tough and aggressive, yes, but not a sadist who enjoys killing.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Sean,
Someone who can take orders and cooperate.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And those qualities are also necessary!

Sean

David Birr said...

Paul and Sean:
When I joined the U.S. Army, the instructors at Basic Training explicitly said that men who wanted to be in the military because they craved to kill were NOT desirable soldiers. I have to admit, this was kind of offset by many of our chants during marches, runs, and the like involving calls such as "Spirit of the bayonet!" with the response being, "Kill! Kill! Red, red blood makes the grass grow green, Drill Sergeant!"

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID!

I was more amused by this than not! I understood these training camp chants to be meant simply to help keep time during marches, runs, etc., or to help build up morale and a sense of esprit d'corps.

Sean