ABSTRACT

I live in a society which is always felt to be in some kind of existential danger. Many would agree that the reality is felt as threatening, for example the months before the Six-Day War or the first two weeks of the Yom Kippur War. But this is also true for Israelis’ emotional reactions to annihilation anxiety (Hopper, 2003) resulting from threats of Hezbollah’s and Iran’s leaders. In my society there are also moments of great elation and pride, identifications which feel so glorious that they seem to merit dying for. War victories, solidarity, selfless sacrifices and the feeling of not being alone are part of the glory of the matrix, which alongside anxiety and existential threats are very much part of our emotional, everyday life. These emotional processes cause massification processes in our society which also translate into a progressively diminishing guilt, shame and empathy. I consider all of these to be the main traits of the soldier’s matrix (Friedman, 2015), where everyone is enrolled in a selfless, heroic and sacrificing manner. When I refer to the social unconscious of our Matrix here, I mean that perspectives or views of the individual matrix, our foundation culture and the present ‘dynamic’ matrix co-create a complex, unconscious field. This tripartite model is at the heart of the soldier’s matrix (Friedman, 2018) – the culture of a society under the stress of existential threat and hopes for glory. Individuals are enlisted as a soldier for decades (we serve 30 years of one month every year), which helps to give acceptance to the notion that soldiers are only society’s delegates, while everyone, including women, children and the elderly, are enrolled and serving. While it seems that today it is easy to serve ‘the cause’ without any reflection, for those who are able to reflect, the Israeli Army and its warlike situations are an interesting space to investigate ambiguity. A connected subject is society’s and the parent’s proud willingness to sacrifice one’s own children by sending them into combat.