Why it’s so hard to come home from war

“I think Western society basically invented loneliness. Most societies through human history experienced tribal cultures, with people sleeping shoulder to shoulder in shelters and hunting together and raising children together. Everything was communal, and we just don’t do that, and I don’t think it works well psychologically.”

ideas.ted.com

America’s war in Afghanistan has been its longest, and arguably its most grueling — and yet for 13 years it’s also been strangely invisible. For those of us far removed from the front lines, it can be almost perplexing to remember the battles being fought in our name. Sebastian Junger’s work helps bring them back into focus. In 2010, he released the documentary film Restrepo, for which he and a photographer, the late Tim Hetherington, spent nearly a year living in a spectacularly dangerous U.S. military outpost in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. Now, he’s gone back to the footage to cut a new film, this one aiming to show “what war feels like.” Korengal is out in June 2014; we spoke to Junger on the telephone to find out what it was like to go back in time for the project — and to ask him more about some of the themes that…

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