Episode 218 Timothy Shaw Defining Moral Injury Transcript

This transcript is from episode 218 with guest Dr. Timothy Shaw.

[00:00:00] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host Scott DeLuzio and now let’s get on with the show.

[00:00:21] Scott DeLuzio: Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is Dr. Timothy Shaw. Dr. Shaw has conducted a lot of research on moral injury, which many of us have experienced during our service overseas and in combat. Since war in general and combat specifically can create situations where individuals, the soldiers and the people who experience it experience situations that contradict their core values and the things that they truly believe in service members and veterans who have experienced these things have a higher likelihood of experiencing moral injuries.

[00:00:58] Scott DeLuzio: And so today, [00:01:00] Dr. Shaw will help us understand moral injuries. The definition of them what really encompasses them and how it contributes to veterans and their overall wellbeing and how we can try to work towards avoiding these moral injuries in the future. So without further ado, welcome to the show Dr.

[00:01:17] Scott DeLuzio: Shaw, I’m glad to have you here.

[00:01:19] Timothy Shaw: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

[00:01:21] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, absolutely. And I guess before we get started, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? Sure.

[00:01:28] Timothy Shaw: I’m I’m at the moment, I’m the director of a think tank that has been looking at for the past 10 years, this idea of moral injury It’s identified and the field has been in a state of stasis, so to speak it and it has resisted, been drawn into maturity by three pillars that currently exist been a religious pillar a clinic, a clinical pillar, and a cultural pillar.

[00:01:52] Timothy Shaw: And the conversations or the lexicon of the moral Lexis that they have to talk with it. And between each other [00:02:00] have not been fully delineated. Fully delineated in the academic gaze. Unfortunately. So my my background has been in philosophy of I wrote a a PhD on the ideas of moral injury after the Holocaust.

[00:02:15] Timothy Shaw: So how the meaninglessness or the, or meaning of suffering really. Is a big driver of this moral injury and this search for meaning and how how one’s virtues then feed back into that search for meaning and can and can in some circumstances be a terribly compounding, psychological forest, which many people find it difficult to emerge from.

[00:02:39] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, a absolutely. I. Have had some personal experience with moral injury and also through this podcast, talking to other people finding out their own experiences with it. And I think that this is just a very important conversation to have because honestly, before I started this podcast, the [00:03:00] term moral injury didn’t even enter.

[00:03:04] Scott DeLuzio: My awareness. I didn’t even think of it as a thing that we should even be talking about or be aware of. And it wasn’t until a conversation that I had on this podcast where someone brought it up and it just, I had that light bulb moment that went off and was like, well, that exactly defines this situation that I had dealt with for so many years.

[00:03:26] Scott DeLuzio: And , you know, I wanted to. Dig into that even more. And so that’s why I’m really excited to have you on and be able to talk more about moral injuries and what they’re all about. So, before we really dive into everything, I think that it’s important to start off with common understanding of topics like this by defining the terms that we’re gonna use.

[00:03:47] Scott DeLuzio: So you have your own definition of moral injury? Yes. Can you tell us what that definition is? And. And where the background is from that and how how that came about. I’d love

[00:03:58] Timothy Shaw: to, so the, I would love to [00:04:00] claim it as my own definition. Unfortunately, it was a coined by a gentleman, a lot smarter than myself.

[00:04:05] Timothy Shaw: In fact, a war veteran himself who came back from war. And I’ll tell you a bit about that. Presently, but the definition that Frederick NCHE has come up with is a disruption to the psyche from a will to truth. That has become conscious of itself as a problem in us. So a searching for meaning a searching fire, this will to truth that once you’re uncovering a lot of para paradoxes and crisises and things that aren’t really meant to be.

[00:04:33] Timothy Shaw: If something, this happens, this should happen. And when they don’t happen, this will to truth that we have in our contemporary societies. As opposed, for example, maybe a few hundred years ago, where if you come back from more and you’ve killed someone, there is no will to truth because you that society deems that person or you will be rewarded for you killing that person in a religious sense.

[00:04:54] Timothy Shaw: And this still occurs in some societies. There is no moral injury. You come back. You don’t delve [00:05:00] deeper into it with this will to truth than a cursory religious understanding of it. And these are the understandings that when we look around ourselves in the societies, in which in our, you know, enlightened suffrages of Western modernity, we find those institutions are starting to disintegrate.

[00:05:17] Timothy Shaw: And with that dis integr. Our will to truth becomes more intense as we try and reconcile and find meaning for some very terrible things that, that actions that are committed to us and which we commit as well, ourselves.

[00:05:34] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, for sure. And when you have these situations it can affect the overall wellbeing of the people who experience it.

[00:05:43] Scott DeLuzio: Right. I know from personal experience when I was in Afghanistan my personal situation was I found myself aiming a rifle at a child and. Prior to that moment. I was the [00:06:00] type of person who I thought would do anything to protect a child. But then I was put in a situation where I felt the need to be pointing my rifle at this child, because I thought he was a threat to some of my other soldiers.

[00:06:14] Scott DeLuzio: And, you know, it just completely changed how I thought about myself and you know, that type of injury just. Took its toll on my, on me and my overall wellbeing. It just changed my own perception of who I was and I’m sure my story and my situation is not totally unique. There’s other people out there who’ve done similar things to to people while they were deployed.

[00:06:41] Scott DeLuzio: But I’d like to dive in a little bit more to how moral injuries like this. Can affect the overall wellbeing of the veterans and the people who experience them.

[00:06:51] Timothy Shaw: Let me let me take me back to how moral injury was experienced by a veteran philosopher nature, and then [00:07:00] expand out to show how these ideas and how we thought about these ideas will can be shown to Described the ideas in contemporary military engagements, because as you quite rightly mentioned moral injury, it’s now been termed as the signature wound of contemporary war and just like PTSD in the seventies where that was the signature wound, moral injury will start with veteran populations.

[00:07:23] Timothy Shaw: And as you’ve already seen in America, and we are starting to see here in Australia, it will. Merge out into society as a whole but let me get back to N nature. So N nature was nature was a philosopher in Europe and he was the smartest gentleman that in Europe at the time in the whole of the continent, he was the youngest professor to be given a full professorship.

[00:07:44] Timothy Shaw: And he went and As war was hit coming to Europe, he had volunteered for military service in Russia, which is a fancy name for countries close to Russia that became Germany. He volunteered for military service and he went then. [00:08:00] Into war as a captain and in, as a medical orderly to to provide care, and health to to soldiers.

[00:08:07] Timothy Shaw: Now, it wasn’t a typical battle that he fought in it. It was a siege where the French were in a town called the Mets and. And in this town as well, there were civilian populations, there were refugees, there was food prices. They ended up eating all their horses. That, I mean, when they went into the city the leaves were there at a certain point because of the extreme shortages and sickness and and all these ideas of these humanitarian ideas that were born out in this battle in a siege battle.

[00:08:37] Timothy Shaw: You know, provision of health provision of food and water. These were the, these were the ideas that this philosopher was thinking about and dealing about as he was making sure that his own soldiers were being looked after and healthy, knowing full well that their health and regard of it children of mothers, of [00:09:00] families.

[00:09:00] Timothy Shaw: The other side of the wall was was in just as di need perhaps even more so after he got back from this battle, the first thing he did was hand in his citizenship and he remained a stateless philosopher for the rest of his life. So he turned from volunteering, a volunteering for military service to fight him or to be being in battle, to coming back to his country, handing back his military to handing back his citizenship and.

[00:09:28] Timothy Shaw: He then proceeded to publish his first book. He hadn’t published a book before, and this book was called the birth of tragedy. Now the opening line, the opening lines of the birth of tragedy, it’s an attempt self criticism. So his first book that he published, it was a attempted self criticism where he says the main event that has prompted this criticism.

[00:09:55] Timothy Shaw: In myself on my moral ideas is ideas that [00:10:00] happen under the walls of the Mets in battle. Right? So 10 years it took him 10 years. And at the end of 10 years, he published a book called the joyous wisdom or the gay science. And he said that, well, this is a return of virulence for me to once more believe in aims that I had shut off from myself and on this 10th year.

[00:10:24] Timothy Shaw: That the joyous wisdom was published. So a 10 year period between the birth of tragedy and the joyous wisdom, he had a personal setback and he went into the mountains and he wrote in a, in an enlightened frenzy, the first bit of the, his Magnus Opus, which starts like. When Zara stra was 30 years old, his age at the time that the birth of tragedy was written, our was published.

[00:10:51] Timothy Shaw: He left his home and went to the mountains, which is a metaphor of leading the ideas of his city and moving into the philosophical [00:11:00] mountains to try and understand what this moral injury was. And he stayed in his solitude for 10 years. And at the end of 10 years, he became weary of his wisdom and like the bee that had gathered too much, honey needs hands outstretch to take it.

[00:11:15] Timothy Shaw: And he came down and he bought this book with him. Now this book called dust, baby Austra. It’s being used by Paul Y as the basis for his psychotherapy and it and and is a, and was in the back pocket. In fact of German Christians, as they fought in World War I, as a replacement to the new Testament, that’s how powerful the ideas of this book are now.

[00:11:39] Timothy Shaw: When he finished this book, he Canda and and he tried and he had 40 copies of it and he, most of them, he gave away. Right. He sold 40 copies of it. And then year after year, he produced major works, which inform the ideas of our society in which we have, which we inhabit. And everyone is had a [00:12:00] look at this book to try and find out the hidden ideas in it.

[00:12:02] Timothy Shaw: And the ideas of this book are made intelligible. Once you understand that this book. Relate is a direct response to a, the moral injury experienced in war and made sense over 10 years without the aid of a state, which he felt that had let him down to put him in a situation like that. And without the aid of understanding a God where he thought through himself, Am I doing the right thing?

[00:12:30] Timothy Shaw: Am I as a medic helping these men? Am I doing the right thing, knowing full well that there’s just as much need in this community as well. And they are our enemy, but what are they our, why are they our enemy? Right. And that sent him on this idea of this will truth to really try and nail these ideas down.

[00:12:51] Timothy Shaw: And And it’s my argument that, I mean, the birth of tragedy is perhaps the first modern or even postmodern account of moral [00:13:00] injury. and he and MechE describes this book here. The primary aim of this book is to put every sorrow for one again on firm land and firm legs. And that is the stated aim of this book as a psychological cure to the secret chambers of the soul.

[00:13:18] Timothy Shaw: And. And and yeah, it’s exciting. And that is, and it’s nice to know for soldiers that they have got a philosopher in their back pocket that went to war that wasn’t happy with these things and bloody well wrote about it, you know?

[00:13:34] Scott DeLuzio: Right. And so someone who’s been there they’ve experienced the atrocities of war the moral conflicts that take place, the seeing the other side, you know, the enemy, if you will.

[00:13:48] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. The women, the children, that those families who are the enemy seeing them suffer. And then questioning, you know, why are they the [00:14:00] enemy? You know, why coming up with all these I guess philosophical questions, right? Trying to make sense of it all. And I think we all sort of experience some of that when we see some of the suffering that takes place you know, even in modern day warfare when you see a village that had a bomb dropped on it and you see the carnage and the wreckage that takes place there.

[00:14:25] Scott DeLuzio: Was that necessary? Were those children who were in the line of fire were, was that necessary for them to be injured or killed? Like not all of these things are just questions that pop up in our heads and And I know we end up dealing with veterans who come back and service members who come back from a deployment from combat.

[00:14:46] Scott DeLuzio: And we don’t always know what it is that they’re dealing with. And it would be a, it would be nice to be able to assess this moral injury in these people. You know, trying to figure out [00:15:00] is this tied to PTSD? Is it linked? Or how do we know? It is a moral injury that, that we’re dealing with.

[00:15:07] Scott DeLuzio: And you know, for the loved ones who are experiencing this firsthand at home, someone’s struggling and kind of grappling with all of this you know, how can we. Assess this and determine what it is that we’re even dealing with

[00:15:21] Timothy Shaw: in an important way. It is very, you can understand moral injury in the way in which post traumatic stress disorder has been understood because for centuries if you had a psychological ailment, it would be understood as an abnormal reaction to an abnormal stressor.

[00:15:41] Timothy Shaw: Now this, put this, put the the onus on the sufferer by saying I am at fault in some way now with with PTSD,

[00:15:55] Timothy Shaw: it was it. PTSD was classified solely [00:16:00] in terms of a definitional approach. So any psychological disturbance was seen as a normal reaction to an abnormal stressor. And once you and moral injury will be seen the same way, because in the end, we are all children of the era of humanity and crimes against humanity and not in the era.

[00:16:20] Timothy Shaw: Of God and crimes against God. And we understand our morality and our ethics as people that have grown up with pen pals in Africa, we, which on the news, see starvation and famine. And we have been highly sensitized to these imperatives, even if we do not know it. Right. And When you have, and this is I guess happening on a religious spec spectrum as well.

[00:16:45] Timothy Shaw: When you hear about the Pope talking about Vatican too, and what they’re trying to do what they’re trying to say is realign these values with humanitarian Val ideas, and all of a sudden in 2018, there was a paper directive. [00:17:00] Capital punishment is in all circumstances. You cannot justify it.

[00:17:05] Timothy Shaw: Now you might, right. Quite rightfully think, hang on a second. Did the church just say capital punishment, unjustified. For hundreds of years, perhaps there’s an argument to me made that there were the original capital punishes, right? They’re they? But their, the gravitas of the church was the gravitas to say, well, yes, we have a right to put you to death.

[00:17:27] Timothy Shaw: Now the church is saying we relinquish that, right? Because after World War II, guess what the most heinous crimes and heinous criminals were charged with, not with crimes against God. No they developed, they said, hang on a second. We are not going down this line because she charged someone with crime against God.

[00:17:44] Timothy Shaw: They’re gonna just flip it around and say, there’s a crime against you. Well, our God says that’s a crime and it just keeps on bundling and it keeps on rolling. They said, no, we are gonna introduce the charge of genocide to understand. The destruction of a nation state. The problem was of course, is [00:18:00] that the Jewish diaspora was a diaspora and not a nation state of peoples.

[00:18:03] Timothy Shaw: So they they said we’re gonna make it, make the, and even more foundational charged for crimes against humanity. And the birth of crimes against humanity, certainly spelled the death of crimes against God. And you have a whole literature after World Wari, particularly in Europe, where they had factories, killing factories of humans saying, hang on a second.

[00:18:28] Timothy Shaw: You know, God is like, particularly there was some very famous existential philosophers that said, we need to understand. How to think about what has happened because our idea that deserve, we didn’t deserve it. We can’t say that our ancestors deserved it. There’s no way in which this could be justified.

[00:18:48] Timothy Shaw: And it can’t be justified because of the crime against the humanity of a human that lives underneath religion. And these are these big ideas that are now circulating especially Western societies [00:19:00] because of the I, these ideas of universal suffrage that are permeated through. As our societies have made a very painful psychological break from religious ideas because it is a painful break to not have those meanings as a crutch.

[00:19:14] Timothy Shaw: Right. You do, you have, you can easily say, well, God said, it’s the right thing to do. And God said this, but if you are then separating these ideas out and you are starting to really think about them the psych calls it a state of psychic grace for one suffering. And we are losing a state of psychic grace and relation to our suffering because we have no meaning for it.

[00:19:35] Timothy Shaw: And that when, and we are searching desperately for the meaning of suffer. That is occasion from seeing these atrocities and perhaps the meaning that’s ACA that, that we’re looking for is the meaning of why these atrocities or why these terrible things are happening in our world when we can prevent.

[00:19:56] Scott DeLuzio: Right. And so we have an [00:20:00] interesting relationship here because. You’re talking about how that relationship with crimes against God and the crimes against humanity, that, that switch, that take took place. We now have different ways of thinking about things that, that people years and years ago didn’t really think about things in that.

[00:20:22] Scott DeLuzio: Oh yeah. That way. Right. And so, so now we have people coming back and we. We’re concerned with these crimes against humanity and looking at the pain and the suffering. And like, like you said, did we have the ability to prevent some of this stuff from happening and. So in some cases, the answer is absolutely.

[00:20:44] Scott DeLuzio: Yes. And did we sit back and just watch it happen and did its powerful? Isn’t

[00:20:51] Timothy Shaw: it? It is powerful. Powerful. Yeah. So really the knob of are we, how do we understand ourselves as [00:21:00] vessels of goodness? And are we as, are we the goodness that we understand? And when these things get rattled, we think maybe we aren’t good.

[00:21:06] Timothy Shaw: Maybe we do, and our ideas of our virtues, which are orientated to a goodness. So you can’t go down to the supermarket and buy a couple of sacrifice. No, these ideas are orientated to to, to these theological ideas that live beyond in As ideas and we align ourselves to these ideas and NCHE says, well, hang on a second.

[00:21:29] Timothy Shaw: Not only do we align ourselves to these ideas, but we sacrifice, for example, our be steel NA. So how do you get the virtue of sacrifice and all these ideas? Well, you know, you get them from sacrificing. Like your natures, as you are brought up in society, you might have the nature to grab something and eat it and all of it and not wait and not allow someone else to have it first.

[00:21:51] Timothy Shaw: But. Through the honing of learning, not to do that, you then turn your, want of snatching it [00:22:00] into the virtue of not snatching it. And then you align your virtue as a, not snatcher because you wanted to snatch it. Right. And that’s and that’s how he sees that virtues are drawn up through. And once those start CR.

[00:22:12] Timothy Shaw: Ideas of oneself also start crumbling and and coupled with you know, oh, I’ve, I’m working with veterans that are homeless and substance abusive and coupled with those things, you have terrible outcome. Terrible outcome.

[00:22:27] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, for sure. And when you have the people who are like you said, brought up in a way.

[00:22:34] Scott DeLuzio: Certain social norms, not killing people. and you know, things like that. Right. I mean, that’s a pretty basic one that transcends most societies is yeah, exactly. You should. You just don’t do that. And then you’re putting in a situation where. You have to, it’s part of your, not only is it part of your job, but it’s a requirement for you to continue living because there’s somebody else out there who [00:23:00] wants you dead.

[00:23:00] Scott DeLuzio: And now you have to do this thing that for years and years, decades, you have thought that you’re not that person. You’re not the person who goes and kills people. And now here you are. And you’re the person who just killed somebody and how and all of that, like you said, it’s gonna come crumbling down and who are you now?

[00:23:24] Scott DeLuzio: yeah, the person are you, right? Yeah. And I can see how these moral injuries could, you know, just be affecting. everything that you believe about yourself and, you know, possibly even being linked to things like the veteran suicide crisis that we have only the, yeah. Veteran suicide is one of the primary reasons why I started this podcast to help veteran.

[00:23:53] Scott DeLuzio: Learn about the things that they’re going through, learn about the resources that are available and realize that they’re not alone in [00:24:00] whatever it is that they’re going through. And so I’m interested to know about how those, the three pillars that you were talking about in society, how we can some sometimes maybe compound moral injury and inadvertently.

[00:24:12] Scott DeLuzio: Contribute to this crisis that we’re seeing in the veteran community. Oh,

[00:24:16] Timothy Shaw: sure. With with my injury, it’s a it’s very difficult cause it’s very difficult. The person sitting next to you on the bus, the person’s serving you at the store. It’s not something that’s visible and it’s not something that society finds.

[00:24:31] Timothy Shaw: I is very easy to recognize. So. A lot of the time and what Frederick NCHE uses as a metaphor, he says, look that you have imagine everyone starts off as a cow in a herd. And you know, a cow is very content in a way like it has meaning for it’s suffering. If something happens, it can find meaning in its suffering.

[00:24:53] Timothy Shaw: Because it’s not an ex an extreme event. So you go down and you get you know, you. [00:25:00] If a tree falls on you and you break your arm it’s meaning on that suffering just because the tree fell on you. But it doesn’t question your whole idea about like, why am I, it’s not a psychological internal suffering, which really occurs when you’ve been let down or something has occurred where you’ve had to start to really delve into it.

[00:25:17] Timothy Shaw: Cause you don’t delve into the tree, falls down, you know, force of nature, right? You don’t really look any deeper. You’re suffering as many. I know it’s a physical suffering, but. Once you have moral injury, you are more like a camel and and a camel is something that is laid with all these ideas of a cow.

[00:25:37] Timothy Shaw: And it, but it’s by itself and it’s tracking out into the desert and it can’t, it doesn’t have any of the extra, it doesn’t it’s by itself. And it has, it’s trying to make sense of these meaning structures in relation to itself. Now. How that’s done is or, you know, normally these sort of ideas is through our history has been, you know, [00:26:00] we will be better people and we are gonna wait for a second coming into a, you know, a.

[00:26:06] Timothy Shaw: As Christian people we are, you know, we will do because for a Christian, it’s always self-interest can I do better? Should I have done better? You know, like a cow that is chewing these ideas, the 10 shall knots. It’s always trying to think, have I done the right thing, right. Once you realize that you really and this not sure.

[00:26:26] Timothy Shaw: And you’re really looking. With a will to truth that is now starting to become conscious of itself as a problem in us as a moral injury. And you’re thinking, oh my God, what’s going on? These sort of things, they’re all sort of crumbling a way in which it becomes very important to somehow to try and stabilize these things.

[00:26:45] Timothy Shaw: What we are seeing at the moment is a, an an attempt to link. Meaning with Eastern religions and Eastern philosophies. So you’ll see a lot of you know, yoga or meditation or all these ideas, [00:27:00] which are there to sort of, to find some form of inner peace through when you have these moral injuries.

[00:27:06] Timothy Shaw: But nature, he says, hang on a second. That’s all well and good, but why don’t we try and turn these moral injuries into something that’s not an injury and into something that we are all looking for, the meaning of why we are suffering and. Instead of right thinking rigor to make sure how we doing the right thing.

[00:27:26] Timothy Shaw: And that’s causing us injuries. Let’s change that, right. Thinking rigor into right acting rigor and through the creation of activity and through, through what he calls a will to power that occurs after a will to truth the suffering. The morally the moral suffering of, and I’ve seen this in many veterans that once they have got an idea about, they might have felt shit about something and possibly with yourself, you know, you’ve started a podcast and that will to power of, you know, getting behind [00:28:00] something that you starting to, you really believe it.

[00:28:02] Timothy Shaw: And you wanna make a difference that. Better than any bandaid you can do because that’s suck. That’s, you know, it puts it away and you are now creating a, your own thing that is drawing you out of that moral injury. As you create new ideas and new ways of thinking about what’s occurring. Well that’s.

[00:28:23] Timothy Shaw: Yeah, that’s,

[00:28:24] Scott DeLuzio: That’s an interesting way to look at it too, because it’s really finding that sense of purpose sense of meaning in. Not only just the suffering that you’re experiencing, but in your life in general because as you’re coming out of the military service, you have this this change in who you are you were a service member.

[00:28:47] Scott DeLuzio: You, you were a soldier who. Was serving your country. And that’s a big part of who you were at that point, but then there’s that shift. And you turn into this veteran and now who are you now? What [00:29:00] is the meaning and the purpose behind everything that you had just done for however many years that you had served and all the combat deployments maybe that you’ve been on and everything.

[00:29:09] Scott DeLuzio: What’s the meaning behind all of that. And how can you do something good with that? Well,

[00:29:15] Timothy Shaw: I mean, you know, people World War II veterans, didn’t have to ask that question. Right? Cause the meaning of World War II was stamped science still delivered the veterans after Vietnam. They actually were asked that question.

[00:29:28] Timothy Shaw: Right. And you could argue that we are stuck still in this idea of World War II. I heard a statistic that they, the us government is still printing is still presenting metals that were printed out in war during World War II.

[00:29:42] Timothy Shaw: And they still such a, each stockpile of these metals, these purple hearts. For bravery and combat, they cuz they, they did, they weren’t used. Right? So we’re still on this outdated mode of understanding ourselves in relation to the really tremendous things of World War II and [00:30:00] Jesus, they were called the greatest generation, all our commemorative days.

[00:30:05] Timothy Shaw: They are. Very focused on World War I or World War II. Particularly here in Australia, we have World War I as a very big central pillar to our understanding of ourselves. But when you ship, but. It will be the case that, and it is the case that there are no, that those veteran populations are they’re dying.

[00:30:23] Timothy Shaw: And what did they fight for? And now what are the contemporary, what are contemporary soldiers fighting for? The, what you go to war for is a incredibly important idea nowadays. And to think about this idea in isolation from this burgeon. Will to power that occurred after World War II of all these humanitarian institutions.

[00:30:45] Timothy Shaw: I mean, we think that, you know, that this is normal, it is it is an explosion of humanitarian institutions, post World War II. And while we think that, you know, there can be better, we. You know, compared to before 1945, you know, [00:31:00] it’s exponential and that’s and that is the fastest horse in the race.

[00:31:04] Timothy Shaw: That is what all countries should be getting behind whether or not it’s through ideas such as international criminal court, which use those values in terms of understanding, you know, what is acceptable? How do we understand war time, action and reprimand war time. Action. And I note that a lot of the major powers are not signatories to the international criminal court, but guess who is, guess who’s driving it Germany and, you know, just like, you know, that, that must tell you something I’d imagine.

[00:31:32] Timothy Shaw: So, you know, it under, you know, you can wax the ripple on it for a while, but the main take home is. If you are going in and you are, and then you’ve seen it in Vietnam, if you are going to fight for an ideology, it’s not gonna work psychologically for your soldiers. It, what if you need to be fighting for a hard and fast humanitarian issue at a very important level, because when need come back, you want to at quite [00:32:00] rightfully and you deserve.

[00:32:01] Timothy Shaw: Every soldier deserves to have some, to be asked to fight for something that they can be proud of and that their country can clearly enunciate. And if you can’t clearly enunciate it, and if you’ve got, you know, September 11 hearings that are going to go on for another 20 years, because you can’t use information, cuz it’s extracted in black sites.

[00:32:19] Timothy Shaw: If you can’t make sense of these big campaigns that you are committing the minds of your soldiers to you really have to think. About the sanity of it of those campaigns.

[00:32:31] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that’s true. And when you have someone who is being asked to go do something and you can’t wrap your head around.

[00:32:42] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. The why the what’s the meaning behind this then. The atrocities that occur seem that just that much worse, because then you start to wonder, did this even have to happen? Why are we even here? You know, that stuff. And I know [00:33:00] these questions were asked in Vietnam era when people were going to fight for, like you said, an ideology and it, they were like, , they didn’t really understand what it is that they’re doing.

[00:33:14] Scott DeLuzio: And so of course that’s gonna have an impact on the people who served over there because they’re not really understanding what the whole purpose was for the war. You know, fortunately for this generation, we did have. You know, a reason for going into Afghanistan after nine 11.

[00:33:33] Scott DeLuzio: And it was, you know, especially in the early years, right after nine 11, it was okay, we’re going to get revenge for or payback back or whatever. And like that’s the reason. And you can get behind that because when you see planes crashing into buildings in your cities and people dying by the thousands, Do you wanna go and fight back for that?

[00:33:52] Scott DeLuzio: And that is something that I think you know, you can definitely get behind. But years later you know, you start to wonder is that really what we’re [00:34:00] still fighting for? Or, you know, what is it that we’re fighting for, you know? And and I’m sure people along the way have questioned that and probably contributed to some of that moral injury that, that they were experiencing.

[00:34:10] Scott DeLuzio: Right. I,

[00:34:11] Timothy Shaw: yeah, definitely.

[00:34:12] Scott DeLuzio: Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, I guess that like one of the, one of the ways to avoid moral injuries in the future, I would imagine is making sure that there is a purpose behind what it is that you’re asking.

[00:34:27] Timothy Shaw: Correct? Correct. Definitely. Oh yeah. Definitely. Definitely.

[00:34:31] Timothy Shaw: For sure. I mean, it’s a crucial thing it’s very difficult to to, yeah. It’s very difficult to treat it a after it’s been occasioned it’s hard to put it this it’s hard to prevent it. It’s hard to prevent in any case it’s even harder to treat and harder to get you wrap your head around when well, for a start, we don’t really for a start.

[00:34:56] Timothy Shaw: It’s hard to even understand what the concept is. Cause moral cause there were no [00:35:00] psychologists and there were no clinicians. A few hundred years ago. There was a different society. And now moral injury tracks, the suffrages of a society just as closely as anything else. And it represents a link between the psychologies of communities.

[00:35:19] Timothy Shaw: In those societies and what they’ve been asked to do and how those communities UN understand the meaning of what they’ve been of what people have been asked to do. It’s it is a delineation of meaning the trauma the post traumatic trauma or the the secondary. And I don’t, I hesitate to call them secondary, but There is the split between a PO the trauma or a post-traumatic stress idea and trouble and decaying, meaning structures.

[00:35:48] Timothy Shaw: One, you can say is if you keep looking at it, one is slightly you might not be able to look at the other one, but you can start to investigate moral injury. It’s very hard post traumatic stress disorder. [00:36:00] It’s very hard to talk about without a medical background or without the ideas that post-traumatic stress disorder has been talked about.

[00:36:10] Timothy Shaw: Moral injury is very hard to talk about without understanding the the contemporary ideas of modernity and how these have come into fruition. And without them, it’s just like not having those are the DSM like that is the DSM of moral injury, having that context. And without that context, Very difficult to talk about.

[00:36:30] Timothy Shaw: In fact, I would, although, almost hesitate to say impossible to talk about, right.

[00:36:35] Scott DeLuzio: And when you look at two nearly identical situations that might take place in, in combat, for example, cause I think that’s kind of what we’re talking about here. And you put them in two different time periods. You could have.

[00:36:51] Scott DeLuzio: The same soldier who was in one time period and another soldier who was in a different time period, experiencing the same thing. They could have two different [00:37:00] outcomes in terms of what their moral injury. The level of injury that they receive from that because of their own perceptions and their own beliefs of themselves and what society looks at them as you know, are you a hero for committing this act or are you a monster for committing this act?

[00:37:20] Scott DeLuzio: And that’s gonna change your perception of who you are and. How society is going to perceive you too. Right? There

[00:37:28] Timothy Shaw: are new, there are new mythologies. It was a Superman. The first Superman comment was minted in just before the start of the second World War and Superman is an idea of the idea of nature.

[00:37:38] Timothy Shaw: Having a man as his. I mean it, if you can’t imagine Superman in heaven or hell, and if you believe in Superman or if your mythologies of what is good is like a Superman. Good. So someone that you know, works in a newspaper and you know, battles right and wrong. But, you know, you know that in the click of his finger, he could go into his post [00:38:00] box, head over to Africa, grill a thousand Wells in a minute, come back before lunch.

[00:38:05] Timothy Shaw: You know what I mean? What is it? What the mythologies of Superman and superheroes, they are still like, you know, Avenger avenging. But, you know, you might like to say , why are you wasting your time? Like, you know, hitting on lowest lane, when, you know, you could be doing, you know, help, you know, helping or do all that sort of stuff.

[00:38:25] Timothy Shaw: And, you know, it’s a it’s a good question to ask because what, where do we find the meaning of what it is? And if you don’t ask those questions, do they then just crumble into what this antagon. I’m in the right and you are in the wrong and we trade blows after that, instead of saying I’m in the right.

[00:38:42] Timothy Shaw: And I know what’s right. So I’m gonna fix some things that are wrong.

[00:38:47] Scott DeLuzio: You know, I’ve never thought of it like that, specifically talking about Superman and other, you know, comics and superheroes and all that kind of stuff. But man, Superman’s not living up to his potential. now that I’m thinking about it, right.

[00:38:59] Scott DeLuzio: [00:39:00] Man, this has given me a lot to think about I’m sure it’s given the audience a lot to think about as well. The listeners here And it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today. I’m sure we could continue this conversation for hours, but I know you’re a busy guy and you have things to, to get to.

[00:39:14] Scott DeLuzio: So, I want to give you the opportunity to end out with where people can go to either get in touch with you or find out more about your research and the things that you’ve you’ve come up with through your research and your studies on moral injuries. Of course,

[00:39:27] Timothy Shaw: I’ve got a thin tank, which is connected with.

[00:39:29] Timothy Shaw: With some, well, a pleasure to say some sitting us congressmen. So we are really engaged in this project. I’ve got a website called grateful philosophical problems.com where you can find out a bit more and I’ve got a and if you’d like a chat or anything, I’ve got a one 800 number that is Yeah that the, and it’s a, it’d be a real look.

[00:39:50] Timothy Shaw: It’s a real pleasure to talk about these ideas and and I welcome any engagement whatsoever and there’s no I don’t. I [00:40:00] put anything aside, like, even if you, even, if you just want to call up and just talk about some of these ideas, it’s a pleasure to do so. To, to really, to anyone that any of your listeners, it would be a real pleasure.

[00:40:12] Scott DeLuzio: Well, great. And I will have links to your website and the stuff in the show notes. So anyone who’s looking to get in touch and just maybe even just have a conversation about some of the stuff that we talked about, or even other things that might come up through the course of your listening to this, you might have other ideas that have come up.

[00:40:29] Scott DeLuzio: Course re you know, feel free to reach out. And and I’m glad to be able to offer this to the listeners. But again it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you and really challenging kind of some of the things that I’ve been thinking about as far as moral injuries and really opening up my eyes to different ways of thinking about moral injuries and.

[00:40:50] Scott DeLuzio: What they actually mean to us as veterans and the community that we serve in. So, thank you again for your time.

[00:40:58] Timothy Shaw: Great pleasure. Great pleasure. [00:41:00] Very welcome.

[00:41:02] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website DriveOnPodcast.com We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at Drive On Podcast.

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