Since ancient times, the prospect of proving oneself in battle has always had a strong appeal to young men. War is the ultimate testing ground, the fiery crucible for the warrior aspect of masculinity.
In this intriguing TED talk, war correspondent and author Sebastian Junger (see more of his books here) relates his experience and the research from his most recent (2016) book Tribe: on Homecoming and Belonging.
In what might seem paradoxical, he states that as our technology makes war less violent for soldiers, the rates of PTSD in returning soldiers are skyrocketing. So what could cause such a strange anomaly?
According to his theory, the problem is not with our soldiers. It is the divided and alienating modern society that they return to after having known just what it is to belong in such a Band of Brothers.
"Sometimes, we ask ourselves if we can save the vets. I think the real question is if we can save ourselves. If we can, I think the vets are going to be fine. It's time for this country to unite, if only to help the men and women who fought to protect us."