Critical Analysis of Frustration sample essay
The concept of this story is that war can never be justified through self-righteousness. That is, if a person is trying to start a war because he thinks himself to be better than his target, there is no just reason for him to do it. Most, if not all, wars are primarily begun by one man believing himself to be better than is target. This is proven through the history of Rome and other nations. But what makes war justified? Is there ever a reason to destroy another’s life? The answer is no. Starting a war can never be justified. This story proves that.
In “Frustration” a man is trying to find proof that a justified war is indeed possible. His advanced technology allows him to run through computer simulations which, in theory, would find a series of events that would make this man’s war, right. The main issue that is brought up is that a computer, in itself, lacks self-righteousness, meaning that it places a much higher value on human lives than the average human does. But how does this make any difference? Humans naturally believe that they are in some way better than each other.
If a man thinks that he is better than another man than what is to stop him from attempting to subdue and enslave the lesser man? It is this self-righteousness, unchanged by generations, that causes all wars. All through that ages humanity has stayed the same in their behaviors and characteristics. This story implies this even at the very beginning of it. “The whole meal has been prepared by computer.
Untouched by human hands”. With these words we know that this story takes place in the future. Herman Gelb, the main protagonist in the story, is at a meeting ith the computer programmer Peter Jonsbeck. Immediately the conversation is turned upon the activities of old man Hargrove, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Herman is intrigued by the fact that Hargrove is intent on finding a war that is justifiable and efficient. At questioning this, Herman get the response from Peter, “He wants the world to be the way we are-noble, honest, decent, full of respect for human rights and so on”. Now we know that it is the self-righteousness of Hargrove that is leading him to perform these computer simulations.
It shows that, in this author’s view, humanity is likely to stay unchanged in the future; ignorant from their distaste of the other man, self-righteousness driving them to believe that they are the best in the world. And so our characteristic of self-righteousness never changes. Our personal beliefs can never justify war. Self-righteousness makes us blind to the true needs of our fellow man, and in the end brings dissent among people, and war. Peter makes the quote, “And they’re keeping the pressure on us, too.
They don’t think we’re perfect”, this shows that self-righteousness never travels one way, that is, one person may think he is superior to someone else but that someone else will not think that person superior to him. In the story the three men all believe that they need to conquer the world in order to make it like them.
They use this to justify their reason for war. When Peter says, “Hargrove thinks it is possible to find some combination of starting conditions and courses of development that will result in clear victory for us and not too much damage to the world, and he labors in constant frustration. , we know that Hargrove is so consumed by his self-righteousness that he labors furiously in order to find some kind of equation that will make his war just. This relates to human nature in a way that is explicitly obvious. We do not want to be alone in the world and therefore try to make others to be like us. Sadly in this process we begin to believe that we are better than our fellow man. This is not so. “After all”, says Peter, “It may be that even the losing nations would benefit from being directed by us, with our stronger economy and stronger moral sense.
These men in the story are blind. In believing that they have a stronger moral sense, they have proven their humanity. What kind of people, with a strong moral sense, would attempt to take over nations, in order for those nations to be like them. As a people we desire not to be alone but to be supported. However, through this desire, we get blinded from our true motives. Attempting to assimilate a people is not moral or just. It is simply, wrong. As a race we tend to put a much higher value on ourselves and our desires than the needs of our neighbours.
Computers have no sense of self-righteousness, which is one of the key components of humanity’s character. Herman mentions to Peter that there would be casualties. In reply Peter says, “Yes, of course. But the computer will presumably compare the casualties and other damage-to the economy and ecology, for instance-to the benefits that would derive from our control of the world, and if it decides the benefits outweigh the casualties, then it will give the go-ahead for a ‘just war’”. The computers in the story could not find a good enough excuse for a “just war” because they had no sense of self-righteousness.
They did not believe that they “needed to be in control of the world and subdue other nations. In response to an accusation from Gelb that Peter is in the computer programming business for the money, Peter defends himself saying, “There won’t be a war. There’s no realistic combination of events that would make the computer decide on war”. The computers put a much higher value on life than Hargrove and the others. Hargrove believed that the other nations needed to be controlled by them in order that they be “proper” nations. The computers could not justify war by the human’s need to be in control.
Gelb is curious as to why there will not be a war so Peter tells him, “I don’t know any way of programming a computer to give what is most needed in any war, any persecution, any devilry, while ignoring any harm that may be done in the process. ” Sadly this is true. Any war, in order to be begun, needs some sort of devilry in order for it to get a kickoff. Computers have no sense of devilry because they have no self-righteousness, and, therefore, they can find a reason to start a war for just reasons. Those reasons simply do not exist. Human nature never changes. Wars are wrought. Lives are lost.
These wars can never be justified by man’s need to be superior to his neighbour. Ever since the dawn of mankind, wars have been fought because one man, or people, believed they were the superior. This characteristic had never changed through our history, and it never will. God gave us the command to love our neighbour as ourselves. However, as this story dictates, people often love themselves way more than their fellow man. Destruction and chaos have been driven by humanities self-righteousness. But as the story dictates, self-righteousness is never focused one way. People will not freely believe that someone else is better than them.
We want others to be like us because we do not want to be alone in the world. Unfortunately through this process, we begin to believe that we are better than other people. This desire for attention leads to some of the world’s greatest tragedies and depressions. Computers lack what war needs in order to be begun. They lack any sense of devilry and self-righteousness. They place a higher value on life than the average man. Never will they justify war for the sole reason to assimilate another people or nation. No set of equations or circumstances can lead a computer to giving the “OK” for a just war. It just will not happen.
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