Presentation World Veterans Federation by Commander Erwin Kamp MSc, humanist chaplain and coordinator chaplaincy at the Veterans Institute in the Netherkands, November 3 - 4, 2013.
Text of Presentation World Veterans Federation
1.A sense of meaning after the mission About slow questions and reflective answers after military deploymentSCEA-West-WVF meeting November 3 4, 2013 Commander Erwin A. Kamp MSc, Chaplaincy Coordinator at the Netherlands Veterans Institute
2. What do you see? 3. What is meaning? - Difficult subject - Untouchable - Private matter - No quick answers - Basic human necessity 4. What is necesary for meaning? Professor Roy F. Baumeister Meanings of Life (1992) An Existential Shopping List: 1. Purpose 2. Values 3. Efficacy 4. Self-worth 5. A definitionMeaning is what motivates us to live (what is worthwile) 6. Meaning and lifestance Given answers on existential questions depend on religion and lifestance Monotheistic religions: meaning is given in advance, relation with a higher power Humanism: meaning is not given in advance, in relation with other humans 7. What do you see? 8. Meaning and Military deployment Three observations:1. Keep it concrete (dont make is sloppy) 2. Armored dealing with experiences (it is hard to talk about it with civilians) 3. Process of assimilation is slow (no direct answers on existential questions) 9. Question 1: Did I find my participation in the mission meaningful? - No standard answer - Depends on a persons character - Expectations - Do you oversee your own role and restrictions to your function - Public opinion - Positive versus negative experiences 10. Question 2: Do I have another opinion about my relations after the mission? - Relations change - Magnifyiing glass principle/evaluation - Understandig and empathy on both sides - Suspect of divorce percentage - More depth in relations 11. Question 3: How do I deal with feelings of guilt and shame? - Relation with moral dillemas - Shame is caused by a sense of failure, feeling powerless and falling short - The impact of guilt and shame depend on: intrusiveness, responsiblity, experience of powerlessness, age and degree of self-esteem - 18% of the veterans feel guilt because of their bystander role 12. Question 4: How do I get my life back after deployment? - For most military the proces of returning from deployment runs gradually - Do I stay with my unit or do I get a new posting - Do I stay in the Armed Forces or do I apply for a new job in the civil society? - Many veterans yearn back to their deployment 13. Tips and tools in finding meaning after the mission - Formulate your existential question in one or two sentences - Why does this very question keeps you busy? - Can you imagine what your life will look in five years from now? - Write your life story in a lifetime - Find a conversation partner - Realize that quick answers are not possible - Slow questions are a part of life 14. Questions 1. How do military in your country deal with meaning? 2. What could be enhanced in your Armed Forces to help military with questions about meaning? 3. How can the WVF pay attention to slow questions and reflective answers by military after this symposium?