Jul 6, 2017

Let slip the dongs of war

The question is not whether sex robots will encourage the objectification of women (duh), but the extent to which security agencies will exploit such technology to wage wars and expand the surveillance state.

Helen Razer — Writer and broadcaster

Helen Razer

Writer and broadcaster

In April 1965, a young Oregon student was rushing to attend an anti-war rally. Diane Newell Meyer, then 22, had prepared no placard, so she quickly grabbed an envelope and pinned it to her chest having just scrawled upon it the words, “Make Love, Not War”. The slogan drew attention, as things affixed to young bosoms are wont to, and was reproduced throughout the era of Vietnam War protest on millions of buttons and protest signs, and at least one dreary John Lennon song.

I’m not at all sure this would have sat well with me. The idea of love as an antidote to war is not a sound one. Patriotism, the ardent love of nationhood, is, in fact, effective fuel for combatants and a great pretext for leaders who still speak today about their “empathy” in the prelude to acts of war. Buddhism, the religion of loving compassion, can exempt its most holy practitioners from ethical norms, permitting and promoting extreme violence in the name of love. At our own trivial level, many might attest that those with whom we “make love” are also those with whom we argue most aggressively about whose turn it is to take out the garbage.

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11 thoughts on “Let slip the dongs of war

  1. Desmond Graham

    Helen – new phrase to replace ‘make love not war’


  2. Wayne Robinson

    ‘Love and War as opposites? I don’t think so, and neither did John Lyly, who saw in 1579 that they could be meaningfully compared.’

    It reminds me about a quote in Robert Sapolsky’s ‘Behave: the Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst’ (strongly recommended – it’s very engrossing once you get past the early very difficult neuroscience, but then everything drops into place, even the ‘rational’ dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) citing Eli Wiesel, Nobel Prize winner and concentration camp survivor: ‘the opposite of love is not hate; its opposite is indifference.’

    And you have to hate to go to war.

  3. Owen Richardson

    I don’t care! I’m going to *want* the government to know I have two bespoke sex robots! — one designed to look like Cory Bernardi, the other like Andrew Hastie. Sometimes I join in, and sometimes I just watch …

    1. Helen Razer


  4. Nudiefish

    It has come to pass that I would once reflect upon the paranoid nature of stories like this. Alas, I do miss those times….

    1. AR

      Speaking of “those times” – did you look at the Lennon link? Not sure what all the 10yr olds were doing with an aging pop star of their parents’ vintage but other aspects that today would be unimaginable – smoking amidst the kids then grinding out the butt on the park way, the zoo elephant & primate in bare, concrete cells, apart from one slightly rotund bloke nobody was obese and certainly none of the kids, Lennon of course was junkie thin.
      Wuz thems rilly the daze?

  5. Keith1

    In defence of Ms Meyer and her hasty scrawl, I would have thought the slogan only works if you DON’T see “love” and “war” as opposites. The primary meaning of “make love” has to be “have sex” – as an alternative use for the energy that might otherwise go into making war. (Tediously beside the point, I know, but that’s pretty much where you’ll find me these days.)

    On the main point, if the state insists on surveille-ing me via my apparatus, I very much endorse Owen Richardson’s way of exploiting their curiosity.

    Very glad to learn about Ms Meyer. Hadn’t heard that yarn before.

  6. Desmond Graham

    Paranoids ARE after us

  7. mikeb

    Nothing new about using sex as a military tool……but weaponised robot love? They should make a movie about that.

  8. AR

    If “The idea of love as an antidote to war is not a sound one.” how about trying another tack, a Lysistratan League.
    Which side are you on?

  9. John Bradbury

    Excellent point, Helen. Paranoia is definitely a rational respose. With respect to the nature of love however, the problem is the imprecise nature of English. As Krishnamurti and others point out, genuine love stems from a deep empathy, an inner revelation of the ‘oneness’ of all humanity. It results in acts of compassion. The thing that we mostly call love however is opposite in that it requires ‘othering’ or objectification – it is fuelled by a desire to posess and control, much like war. Lust more than love. The rules of fair play do not apply in lust and war, so beware the sexbots with webcams!

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