Enter your email to receive the Library of Social Science Newsletter:   
Psychosomatic submission to the sovereign
Hobbes, Thomas (1651). Leviathan.
The soverign’s torso and arms are composed of tiny individual persons, crowded closely together and each looking toward the head of the composite Leviathan.
The highest realization of the self, according to the ideology that generated Japan’s participation in the Second World War (Skya, 2009), occurred when the individual “absorbed the self into the emperor;” when subjects “cast aside their individual selves and entered into the Emperor” (see image from Leviathan to the right).

The armed forces occupied a special position among the Emperor’s subjects. A passage from the Imperial Rescript to the Armed Forces read:

Soldiers and Sailors, we are your supreme commander in chief.
Our relations with you will be the
most intimate when We rely upon
you as Our limbs and you look up to
Us as your head.

The Japanese sovereign consisted of the Emperor as head, and his soldiers as parts of his body (see image from Leviathan above).

“Obedience to authority” is not an abstract concept, rather grows out of a grotesque psychosomatic fantasy whereby soldiers are imagined as part of the sovereign—parts of his body.

What manifests as a warrior’s “aggression” begins with a fantasy of absolute submission. The young man cannot escape the body of which he is a part. He is bound through a symbiotic fantasy whereby he imagines himself to be part of an immortal, omnipotent body. He can’t escape his fantasy. He cannot liberate himself from his culture’s dream.

The young man “dies for his country” because he cannot resist the will of the body—of which he imagines he is a part.