From Matters of Play
Jump to: navigation, search


  • example quotation here... (copy the entire passage here and note the page number).
  • example question/comment here... (short question and comment)

[click "edit" at top of this page when logged in to add you Q&Q. Just copy this "Name" section and paste below, and replace this placeholder content with your own!]


“The politics of disciplining large numbers of men respective use of an action-at-a-distance-weapon - crossbow or gun – may have required a level of social discipline that incorporated with traditional festivities and esthetic rights.”

- Ehrenreich, A Note On Puritanism and Military Reform ( Pg.127)

This I believe this synthesizes the effects of puritan ethos, in combination with Calvinistic military standards. In that to govern the best and smoothest running person/warrior the festivity’s must change from ideal play, to implementing the drills in to the DNA of the person, as their entire being is being focused on the task of doing that activity and is not distracted by any outside stimulus. That a change in war and a need for conquest are catalysts of strict religious conforming, relating to change a person’s view then in their views being concentrated on that of work, there work, say a cog in the great war rover will be that much more disciplined and able to be better trained then the other army. This then when the boys of fighting come home translates in to there daily lives, making up a new kind of work based society, not from as many Marxist may argue the clutches of capitalism view, but from the strict religious practices stemming in making the domination of one man desire come to be by rewiring the thinking of his army.


From A Note on Puritanism and Military Reform:

  • "But drilling is not just a matter of forcing men to master a particular military technology; its universal goal is to inculcate an iron level of discipline. Saud wanted his men to be 'indefatigable'; he even hardened them by limiting their rations. These concerns are entirely consistent with the asceticism and self-denial demanded by puritanical religious reforms (p 125)."
  • The idea of ‘Soldier as War Machine’ has always intrigued me: what does it take to completely make a human wholly bendable to your will? Do they still need human necessities like play, food, & etc., or is the will of their maker (if you will) enough? Child soldiers absolutely come close at the very least, and ISIS seems to be good at creating mindless war machines. Once you achieve it, can it be undone?


  • "What is baffling about this parallel is the apparent lack of any parallel conditions within the societies involved."

Why is it that so many people look for connections between events like this? It seems that the idea that a similar thing can happen in two places that aren't connected baffles people. There's literally a whole world of possibilities outside of our own experience and not everything ties back to one unifying core. The world and its events are random and far bigger than our singular understanding can comprehend. I guess people don't want to accept the fact that they can't understand everything. I see this everywhere, though; people trying to say two things are connected instead of letting them exist independently of each other because of whatever reason. I'll agree, it is interesting that similar religious reformations occurred in separate parts of the world, but if there's no connection between the 2 places geologically, sociologically, etc. then those aspects probably had nothing to do with the reforms. It's a s simple as somebody didn't agree with the loosening of control on the masses and sought to do something about it. And since there are a good number of people who subconsciously want to be controlled in some way, these reformists were able to follow through.


  • "But drilling is not just a matter of forcing men to master a particular military technology; its universal goal is to inculcate an iron level of discipline... In both the European and the Arabian cases, one real function of religious puritanism was to make fighting men internalize the discipline that the new gun-based mode of fighting required: Not only the generals insisted on sobriety and obedience among their troops; according to the puritanical reformers, so did God."

-A Note On Puritanism and Military Reform, p.125

The credit for the speed and reach of reform in all scenarios feels like a case of 'chicken or egg;' that is to say 'which came first?' The catalyst of reform could be argued to have originated with the drive to purify religion to a fundamental level, but crediting its vast influence with the change in military modernization that demanded a change in training to accommodate the advancement of incorporating guns as a primary weapon. This armament change allowing the marriage of puritan rhetoric and military indoctrination through drilling to systematically convert and train the forces to make the movement a far greater success, especially in forceful crusading.

Or perhaps it was the original necessity of regimenting the training of large forces in one's military on the new techniques of such a powerful technology that began the reform, as it could credit the push for reformation with focusing on religious rhetoric as a way of rationalizing the strict regiment that was necessary for a superior armed force. Even still, where would that have been without the mass-utility of the gun as a core weapon, which was a technology that existed well before the reformation began?

Regardless, the push for puritan reform could not have succeeded without the significant power afforded by a well-prepared and well-armed military in need of strict regimentation, and vice versa. The way I see it, they relied on one another equally to make the impact they did, yet the gun must be given credit as key component, if not dressed as the singular catalyst, to the Puritanism and military reforms.


  • "And like Calvin, Wahhab and his followers aimed at the establishment of a theocratic state with strict control over individual behavior-no hashish, for example, no "sexual per­versions" or female immodesty-a goal still pursued by his ideologIcal descendants, the militant Islamists of our own time. "

There may not be an exact comparison, but is there a comparable group/social policy to Calvin's puritanical guidelines? How drastically or subtly does it still affect our society? Can a direct correlation be drawn from Plato to Calvin to this modern example?