We’re not retreating, we’re just advancing in a different direction. (Netzach Part II)

One thing that all armies need is discipline.  Even though invasions seem like acts of expansion and greedy hunger, where limits might be out of place, invasions are directed hunger.  When a general chooses where to attack, he is also choosing a large number of places to leave alone, at least for the moment.

This is just as true for the non-military nature of netzach.  It’s not only about armies; it’s about expansion.  And despite that diagram of expansion which looks like a circle with outward arrows pointing in all directions sticking out of the circle, that’s not how it works in real life.  Or rather, it works that way with one arrow at a time, not all of them firing simulaneously.

So a choice has to be made.  When I choose how to expand outward, and conquer new territory for my ideal, I have to choose what I will stop doing.  What will I refrain from because it will get in the way of my goal.  Just thinking that i will be single-minded about the positive focus will not suffice.

As an example, I think of the Allies’ effort in World War II.  They disagreed about where to attack the Axis first.  When they decided to work on northern Africa and southern Italy, they were deciding not to invade Europe from the west, as they would do later in Normandy.

I want to point out that this is not about becoming a missionary in the formal sense. Not every life choice we make needs to be promoted in an official capacity.  But it does need to be promoted in a natural way.  That’s why I never shied away from the term “Imperialism.” Back during the Cold War, the USSR liked using that term to condemn the US. Yet whenever I heard the word, it always sounded glorious to me.  If a country is devoted to an ideal, how can it not want that ideal to expand?  The Communist powers were also originally devoted to expanding the Revolution so that the Workers of ALL countries would unite.  The Chinese Communists were right, within their assumptions, to be dissapointed in the Soviets for giving up on the worldwide battle and trying to consolidate and be content with a detente relationship with the US-led west.

Gibbon, in his work “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” writes on page 1, that the first decision that would mark the beginning of the Decline was Hadrian’s decision to stop expanding the Empire, and to focus on firming up what they already had.   I’m not saying this was a bad decision on his part; but it had consequences.

I am also not saying that every country in the world should seek to become a conquering imperialist force in order to succeed.  Yet conquest can be measured with many different metrics.  Even in the political sense, there is military domination, economic influence, spiritual evangelization.  This is not about hurting people, G-d forbid.  It can be, and should be, about directed growth.

Growth in any one thing will mean limiting efforts in other things.  What are those other things? Identify them.

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