There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
This is what brought me tears. For the first time this season, I really saw myself in Bergdahl. Our circumstances were wildly different. So are our dispositions. But I felt the same hunger when I was young, and I was afflicted with the same naïveté. I had wild, romantic notions about sucking the marrow out of life, about breaking myself down and rebuilding myself in a sort of crucible. I didn’t want what I considered banal professionalism. But here’s the rub: Everything is banal professionalism. Even in the military, which Bowe comes to realize, as I did, too. There are few places in the world, the Western world, at that, where one can indulge in Virtue Ethics instead of Deontological Ethics. Bowe says near the end of the episodes that he “…wanted to be a World War II soldier … I wanted to be a samurai soldier, warrior, fighter …” Mark Boal chuckles at the statement, but I got it. And I think for the first time I got him. He was looking for not an adrenaline rush, but the highest level of moral intensity accessible to human experience.
You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments