1. notleia says:

    As for brainwashing, I guess it depends on whether systematic desensitization and Othering the out-group counts as brainwashing.

    • Travis Perry says:

      “Brainwashing” typically refers to techniques that introduce new ideas to people that cause them to completely alter everything they’ve ever believed previously. The term was first used after the Korean War to refer to soldiers who were held by the Chinese as prisoners, who after their captivity denounced America and sang China’s praises.

      “Brainwashing” cannot properly speaking refer to a culture someone is raised in. Spartans and Samurai were acculturated, not brainwashed. (Which of course does not mean their cultures were morally good.)

      You could say Starship Troopers references a type of brainwashing and I would actually agree. But theirs is unusual in that they voluntarily join the service and can walk away at any time–but actively choose not to do so because of a desired reward (citizenship) that’s a result of training. (In my mind this is not unlike someone voluntarily abandoning all previous religious beliefs, swallowing massive doses of what is really anti-religious propaganda, for the “reward” of sexual liberation.)

      By the way, referencing Starship Trooper training is not an indicator that I agree with it. But doing so helps answer the question, “What does it take to teach Soldiers to unhesitatingly fight to the death?”

      For the record, I am not a fan of Johnny Rico as a person. I much, much prefer Ender Wiggin. Empathy for that which is different from self is a good thing.

  2. Something I’ve seen in fiction when it comes to fighters trained from childhood(at least in kinder warrior societies) has been special occasions/milemarkers/ceremonies in the childs’ lives that they desire and feel proud of, and it encourages the children to be happy in that warrior lifestyle and work hard to improve in it.

    Naruto/Naruto Shippuden has a few examples of this in the main character’s village, (Konoha). The main milestone that all ninja of that village experienced was graduating from the ninja Academy. The teacher gives them a nice speech and arranges them into their genin teams, they all get their forehead protectors/headbands(there’s a metal plate on the front of the headband that has the village’s symbol on it, and they wear it when on duty to show they’re ninja of that village). It’s small and simple in a lot of ways, but it’s a big milestone that these twelve year old kids can be proud of, and it’s a big deal since it signifies that they are going to join their genin teams/start their apprenticeship to become real ninja.

    And then there are smaller milestones in that story that are more clan specific. For the Uchiha clan, breathing fire for the first time is one such mile marker, along with activating their sharingan for the first time.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Yeah, while as far as I know there were never any ninja villages in history, there have been plenty of warrior societies that included various milestones that traded some sort of difficulty in a specific trial for group acceptance and praise for those who successfully complete the trial. Example: certain warrior tribes in East Africa in which young men received various rewards after they went out on their own and killed a lion.

What do you think?