Essays On War

Volodymyr Yeshkilyev. Time, Exchange, and Victory

Time, Exchange, and Victory

Time reigns supreme in all aspects, repeatedly taking center stage. It’s not space or action that dominates but time. Enduring through war deprives one of time and sleep, but above all, time. The irony is that the longer the war persists, the more palpable the oppressive force of time becomes. Its inexorable power becomes more apparent, with its monotonous trajectory and merciless irreversibility unmatched by anything else. Its crushing weight, icy demeanor, and universal incompatibility with the justice we know, blended with human warmth and desires, leave no room for balance.

During wartime, those who champion their own truth are not always the ones who come out on top. Rather, the ones who defend truth that has long forgotten its roots become the allies of the time. This is the truth that enthusiasts of philosophical digests and self-realization coaches refer to as the „long will.“ Its aim is directive schizophrenia that focuses on the past, labels, necroheroism, and sentimentality, akin to official biographies of marshals and chief spies.

According to some, a long war necessitates a long will, and victory is linked to clandestine games involving time – arrangements in which an extensive amount of indifferent abstract time is exchanged for an extensive amount of tangible human blood.

The state of war is a unique experience for each person, and everyone develops their own system for reconciling with its unbearable reality. People often try to shield themselves from its harsh reality by turning to their digital screens. The images on these screens can be peaceful or warlike, sometimes coinciding with the landscape outside the window, the view captured by a drone camera, or visible from under a helmet. However, behind all the reconciliations, panoramas, truths, obligations, and services, there is the daily, moment-by-moment exchange of time for blood.

The repetitive and vicious war creeps in circles, mindlessly filling and emptying itself, dirty dancing around its cacti, and vibrating minutely is a servant of time, a slave even if the hundreds of thousands of participants at its table try to escape from the event race through continually belated knowledge of expectations, agreements, coercion, overcoming, digestion, and death. They possess a unique, historically justified form of knowledge that is useless and will never teach anything to anyone.

No one will be there to tell their stories, and no one will follow their lead. The state of war is commonly perceived as a deviation from normality and a disruption of progress. This perception was established by individuals who, for the most part, had enough time to differentiate normal from abnormal and right from wrong, as well as perform rituals. However, the state of war is wildly incompatible with ordinary rituals, rendering them dull and devoid of purpose.

Let’s consider that the performance of rituals is what sets humans apart from animals. We can assume that war, willingly or unwillingly, compels people to return to the animal world and strips them of their verticality. It bends them over, reducing their visibility and capacity for impressions. It forces them to crouch, lie down, merge with the ground, neglect personal hygiene, and suppress their humanity. Furthermore, it brings them in close proximity to hostile creatures that emerge from holes dug by soldiers.

Therefore, it is understandable why knowledgeable people assert that soldiers love cats. After all, cats typically do not emerge from wet clay holes but from memories of a peaceful past.

A well-fed cat can perform miracles. It resurrects the personal sense of time that the war has practically killed, grasping it by the tail and unfolding it in a living sequence. Then, one can slow down and make present that other, cruel universal time that does not belong to anyone in war, is not prone to accumulation, and is untouched by anything. This is the kind of affection that is painfully absent during war.

Furthermore, the lack of emotional connection compels rulers to order lightning wars from their commanders. Politicians hope such wars can be conducted in the mundane manifestation of time to which they are accustomed, and they typically perceive themselves as the situational owners. They are wary of anything ambiguous or tense, and what could be tenser than exchanging time for blood?

Politicians in unfree nations and hybrid democracies exhibit symptoms of schizoid behavior. They constantly exist in multiple realities. One reality is not very convenient for them since the electorate demands their approval. In other realities, all entities are molded into plasticine by the imagination of the schizoids. They can play with these beings, invent different names for them, and believe they are correct and will withstand the test of time.

However, time, when exchanged for blood, is indifferent to the political game of plasticine entities. This manifestation of time is invaluable, relentless, and deceitful. It can exact dark and unexpected revenge on those who initiated the exchange, including those who try to profit from it. Therefore, politicians insist that wars should not be prolonged but instead be used as a means to an end.

Meanwhile, enthusiasts of philosophical digests have already surpassed their powerful benefactors. They claim that there is nothing more intriguing than the plasticine entity that exists in parallel realities where dictators and ideocrats reign. These enthusiasts strive to explore the worlds of these monsters, poking their fingers deeper and deeper into the plasticine. Eventually, they may discover something solid – a cancerous tumor that resides in the center of the monster’s diseased world, much like how a black hole resides at the center of a galactic disk, feeding on stars.

Time will inevitably arrive and crush these blinded worlds, saturated by blood on both sides, taking the darkness that inspired them along with it. It is only then that true victory will come.

Some believe that victory comes to a place of purification. However, everyone has their own interpretation of what that means. Even in the midst of war, some still have the luxury of time for rituals and dream of a purified place for victory. They have already drafted scripts for the ceremonies, appointed officials, and calculated sums for their participation. They also draw maps of the postwar world, determining its center and periphery.

However, I suspect these scenarios and maps will remain just that: scenarios and maps. Historians may look back on them as missed opportunities and shattered illusions. The purification of the place may not occur as it appears from the depths of war. It may be much simpler than we think.

For now, victory hides behind the broad back of time. We cannot see its face, its height, or what it holds in its hands. Something tells me it is not a palm twig or oil for a purification ritual, but I could be wrong.

Translated by Yulia Lyubka and Kate Tsurkan