Karl Marlantes - Marine lieutenant and platoon leader
And we had started walking up and got a third of the way up the hill and then they unleashed on us. We were in the middle of this horrible sandwich.
The marines took what cover they could. Marlantis realized that if they continued up the slope, they would face machine gun fire, but if they stayed where they were, mortar shells would surely find them.
And then I stood up and went up the hill, and I thought I was all by myself. And I was running at that point because I wanted to cover the ground as fast as I could, and I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye, and I rolled to the ground to come up with my rifle to shoot the person, and it was a kid from my platoon, and I looked behind him and there were more kids, they had all come behind me. It felt to me like I was there for a week, but I was probably by myself for 4 seconds, 5 seconds, the entire platoon just stood up and up they came. It remains to me a moment that is almost inexpressible, of the heart that these kids had, and then we just hit those bunkers.
The marines cleared the bunkers one by one. For his bravery, Marlantes was awarded the Navy Cross.
Combat is like crack cocaine, it’s an enormous high, but has enormous cost. Any sane person would never do crack. Combat is like that, you’re scared, you’re terrified, you’re miserable, but then the fighting starts. And suddenly everything is at stake, your life, your friends lives, it’s almost transcendent, you’re no longer a person, you lose that sense, you’re just the platoon, and platoons can’t be beat. And not to mention there’s a savage joy in overcoming your enemy, just a savage joy. And I think that we make a big mistake if we say oh no, war is hell, we all know the "war is hell" story, it is, but, there’s an enormously exhilarating part of it.
That’s the warrior ethos, “you’re no longer a person, you lose that sense, you’re just the platoon.” It’s in our genes.
As stated in The Tribe and Modern Society (Chapter 11), these Homo sapiens must have outfought, outhunted and outbred everyone else. This genetically evolved and selected Warrior Ethos, perhaps prominent at the exit of Homo sapiens from Africa 70,000 years ago, lead to the dominance of this human species and the extinction of others. These are the hominids that modern humans are descended from, and it may well be because of this teamwork based tribal mentality and the Warrior Ethos. Are sports so popular because of this teamwork mentality and warrior ethos that set us on the path of dominating the human species and is genetically encoded in ourselves? The answer may very well be yes.
Here are a few of the ancient methods of cooperative hunting of game. Persistence hunting is when human hunters who are slower than their prey, run after, chase and track their prey until it is exhausted. Humans have the capacity to sweat, which cools the body, whereas the prey the humans are tracking do not, and they eventually fall to the ground from heat exhaustion, at which point the hunters come in for the kill. Ambush hunting is when a large group of hunters ambush prey, overwhelm it in numbers, and kill the prey. Ambushing can also be done by one group forcing prey into a limited or confined area, where another group is waiting to ambush and kill them. Or when a large group ambush prey and force it off a cliff. Stone walls now on the bottom of Lake Huron were built by paleo-Indians to hunt the massive herds of caribou that migrated along a ridge 9,000 years ago. More than 60 stone hunting blinds were found that could have been used by family groups, and two stone lines that form a lane that ends in a corral. Using this structure would have required large, seasonal gatherings of hunters. It was a much more complex, much more organized, multi-part hunting structure. These tactics all require teamwork and intricate cooperation to be successful, and may have contributed to the success of Homo sapiens over other competing hominid species like Homo heidelbergensis, neanderthals, florescensis and naledi and even its own ancestor Homo erectus. This hunting would be taking place while the gatherers were collecting fruit, vegetables, nuts, greens, shell fish, bird eggs and whatever else that was edible, and return to the camp to share what they’ve collected with the tribe, another example of the tribal ethos and an early reflection of the upcoming altruistic warrior ethos.
Recall the four tenets of the warrior ethos:
Place the mission first
Never accept defeat
Never leave a fallen comrade
The tenets also imply a commitment to an organization, to a group whatever size is necessary to execute a mission successfully, insofar as the mission is the raison d’etre for the organization or group. The most intricate cooperation in the military takes place in war, where the warrior ethos is critical in the function of all the parts; from the single individual, to a team, to a squad, to the platoon or company, to a larger operational unit, to Generals and all the way up to the Army as a whole. With hundreds of different military tactics in warfare, such as general tactics, small unit, offensive, and defensive tactics, and the classic military maneuvers of warfare, each of these tactics and maneuvers and the larger military mission requires an extraordinary amount of organization and teamwork to be successful, it requires the warrior ethos.
Have you ever considered why they’re called organs? Each of your organs, heart, liver, lungs, stomach, brain, etc… are necessary for you to live, that’s why they’re called vital organs. When all those organs are functioning in unison in the human body, you are alive, you are conscious, your conscious existence is greater then the sum of your individual organs - that is Gestalt. And that’s the root meaning of organization, a social organization that contains vital organs for it to function. Those organs in the Army as mentioned above are the single individual, on a team, in a squad, to the platoon or company, to a larger operational unit, all the way up to the Army as a whole. Those organs are the same as mentioned for the tribe, the individual, the gathering group, the hunting group, other members and groups in the tribe, tribal leaders, and the tribe as a whole. At this point I must admit, I live in New England, and am a Patriots fan, and the following will be in reference to that football team. In football, those organs are the same as in the army and the tribe: players, in different positions, including coaches and support staff, functioning as a team on offense, defense and special teams, and the team as a whole. And each of these teams as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts, each player acting individually would not be as powerful as acting in unison as the a team as a whole – that’s Gestalt.