b3ta.com qotw
You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Home » Question of the Week » Changing Your Mind » Post 2491598 | Search
This is a question Changing Your Mind

monkeon writes, "People tend to seek things that back up already held beliefs, but what books, films, or real-life events have actually changed the way you think about a subject?"

(, Thu 2 Apr 2015, 15:27)
Pages: Popular, 2, 1

« Go Back

Swords to ploughshares and back again.
Not me, but my great grandad.

He was an ardent Marxist-socialist in the runup to the second world war. He viewed the Great War as being an attempt by the bourgeois elite to cull the working classes. He might have been right too. He also idolised Uncle Joe and the Soviet Union. So when Britain declared war on Germany he wasn’t too keen on the idea, especially since Germany and Russia were sort-of kind-of allies back then.

So he signed on as a concienscious objector. No coward he, he was sent to a farming community in the back-of-beyond in Lincolnshire to make sure he couldn’t spread his pernicious ideas. This was an ideal opportunity to lead by his example to a higher purpose of humanity. So, driven by the maxim of ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his need’ he spent every available moment out in the fields, cutting down trees to make new fields and pretty much dragging the plough by himself. The only photo I have of him shows him as a poster boy for the Soviet revolution, all muscular and chiselled jaw, holding a rake as though it’s a weapon.

The catch with all this is that the other inmates in the camp were poets, university professors, shysters and, simply, layabouts. When he returned at dusk exhausted and mucky, he would find that the others hadn’t left their barracks but had instead debated a new manifesto, or composed a new anti-war song. And slowly, he got worn down.

Eventually, of course, Germany unexpectedly invaded Russia. And that solved all of Grandad’s moral conumdrums. He then gladly signed up, and fortunately all the RAF’s bombers were based nearby in Lincolnshire. So he joined up as ground crew and spent the rest of the war maintaining bombers. He could load the weapons bay of a Wellington bomber single handed, a task that would normally require a small team. A good part of the rain of bombs on Dresden would have his fingerprints on it. He proved the plough can just as easily be converted back into swords.
(, Thu 2 Apr 2015, 16:41, 2 replies)
Yay, Dresden!

(, Fri 3 Apr 2015, 8:55, closed)

« Go Back

Pages: Popular, 2, 1