There are few archtypes in our language as strong as the sword.
Solomon would slay the baby in half with a sword.
Micah and Isaiah speak of swords to plowshares.
Joel even speaks of plowshares to swords.
Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.
One of the scariest suits in the Tarot is Swords.
Then, there is the Sword of Damocles
If you are familiar with allusions to the "sword of Damocles," you may know that to feel that the sword of Damocles is hanging over you is to have a sense of anxiety, of impending doom.
The reference is to a story recounted by the Roman writer Cicero in the first century B.C.
Damocles was a courtier in Syracuse during the reign of a powerful tyrant named Dionysius. Tired of hearing his young courtier go on and on about how wonderful the life of a ruler must be, Dionysius decided to teach Damocles a lesson. Damocles was treated to a lavish banquet in which he was to experience what it really felt like to be a ruler. In the midst of the festivities, he noticed a sword suspended overhead by a single horsehair.
You could say it ruined his party.
In this nuclear age, the Sword of Damocles has become a metaphor for our own perilous situation.
Practically every body has said something memorable with the word sword in it. Here are a few more:
"Beware of the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry, [who] infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How will I know? For this I have done. And I am Julius Caesar."
There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.
Those who play with the devil's toys will be brought by degrees to wield his sword.
R. Buckminster Fuller
The pen is mightier than the sword.
There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword.
Ulysses S. Grant
The badge of the violent is his weapon, spear, sword or rifle. God is the shield of the non-violent.
There seems to be pretty good agreement among our generals, our poets, our philosophers, and our spirtual leaders that using the sword to settle problems is at the very least, the very last option.
And even then, it may simply amplify the violence as it is passed to another time and generation.
Yet, we glorify our armed forces.
We allow our media to whip us into a frenzy with shock and awe.
We entice our young and our impoverished with commercials
to Be All You Can Be.
The geographic state of the United States
spends almost as much as the entire rest of the World on Weaponry
It spends eight times what the Chinese spend,
And they are in second place.
With the 200 Billion and counting we are spending on the War,
We could have built 300 Gigawatts of Windpower.
Which would, believe it or not,
provide enough energy to offset 1/3 of our oil imports,
and almost all of our oil imports from the Middle East.
We could be feeding, clothing, educating, and powering the planet.
Instead, we are swinging our sword.
This is not being All You Can Be.