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_The Sexual Cycle of Human Warfare_, N.I.M. Walter 1950

Posted: 20 Oct 2018 22:53
by gwern
Frank Herbert writes in "Listening to the Left Hand" (

...We tend to react together with a remarkable degree of similarity across boundaries that are real only to individual cells, but remain transparent to the species. We tend to go psychotic together.

Touch one part and all respond.

The totality can learn.

This implies a nonverbal chemistry of species-wide communication whose workings remain largely unknown. It implies that much of our collective behavior may be preplanned for us in the form of mechanisms that override consciousness. Remember that we're looking for patterns. The wild sexuality of combat troops has been remarked by observers throughout recorded history and has usually been passed off as a kind of boys-will-be-boys variation on the male mystique. Not until this century have we begun to question that item of consensus reality (read The Sexual Cycle of Human Warfare by N.I.M. Walter). One of the themes of my own science fiction novel, Dune, is war as a collective orgasm. The idea is coming under discussion in erudite journals such as the General Systems Yearbook. ...

You have probably not seen any discussions of Walter's book here before, or in any of the books on Frank Herbert, even though it's obvious just from what Herbert notes there that it heavily influenced God-Emperor of Dune (where do you think the Fish Speakers or the Scattering came from?), or the title alone that it influenced Dune. That is because it is ridiculously hard to get. When I first read 'Listening to the Left Hand', I thought that it sounded very interesting and like a key source and wondered why none of the usual sources like O'Reilly or Touponce discussed it in the 68 years since publication, and tried to get a copy; I quickly realized why no one was discussing it... I have tried on and off for over a decade since then to get a copy of it. It has either not been available at all or been available only at prices >$300. (This is not surprising since according to Sam Cohen, only 500 copies were printed, and it appears likely most of them were destroyed when they didn't sell.)

I am very pleased to announce that I finally did and I have scanned it! You can download a full high-resolution color copy here:

The Sexual Cycle of Human Warfare: Being a New Theory of the Cause of War and an Inquiry into the Possibility of War-Prediction, Walter 1950:

  1. DejaVu color (140MB): ... .djvu?dl=0!imARCKjb!zSg5RHKVst1T ... 9hzp-02bNY ... 2bfd18d518 ... rfare.djvu
  2. PDF Black-white (110MB): ... dpi_bw.pdf
  3. PDF Color (240MB): ... _color.pdf ... arfare.pdf

I look forward to future exegeses of GEoD with Walter in mind. :D

Re: _The Sexual Cycle of Human Warfare_, N.I.M. Walter 1950

Posted: 22 Oct 2018 11:19
by georgiedenbro
Thanks, man!

Re: _The Sexual Cycle of Human Warfare_, N.I.M. Walter 1950

Posted: 30 Jul 2020 03:04
by DuckAtreides
I'll have to read it, and check out its claims. I suspect an addiction to warfare, which we see at various times in history, is reminiscent of an older man (or woman - I don't have any data on that ) getting heavily into pornography or chasing bright young things because he's only too well aware that he's not as young as he used to ...