Collage’s Secret War

It was a mild evening, already dark, and now and then threatening rain. The succession of faces in the lamplight stirred the Lieutenant’s imagination; and it seemed to him as if he could walk for ever in that stimulating city atmosphere and surrounded by the mystery of four million private lives. He glanced at the houses, and marvelled what was passing behind those warmly-lighted windows; he looked into face after face, and saw them each intent upon some unknown interest, criminal or kindly. “They talk of war,” he thought, “but this is the great battlefield of mankind.”

–from The New Arabian Nights, by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Secret War (2012). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Inseparable from cities but not native to them, the secret war rages on. Viewed from outside, and above, the war might almost look like anarchy; but there is an order to it, though ever-shifting and temporary. One soldier, one single-man army and nation pitted against another, perpetually at odds, often treating with each other even while locked in combat. Truces and cease-fires take the form of sleep or death.

Why is this a secret war? Is it because in comparison to the great, bloody struggles known as wars, this little undercurrent of struggle is something to be ashamed of? Or is the secret war simply too small to come fully into consciousness? How is it related to large wars? Do a hundred thousand small, secret wars join to form one large, open war? Or are the two kinds of war unrelated?

The secret war begins at birth and ends with death: another way of saying that the war is always beginning and always ending. Echoes of it are heard in conversation, traces of it seen in games. Victory is an illusion, but withdrawal is true defeat.

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text [except for quotations] created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)


  • stevebethere October 16, 2012, 10:57 am

    Another amazing WW! I always look forward to visiting here each week :-)

    • Eric Edelman October 16, 2012, 2:56 pm

      Thanks very much, Steve! I always appreciate your comments. :D

  • Jeanna October 16, 2012, 2:35 pm

    Another most excellent and deep depiction. A bit depressing, I’d like to think withdrawal is a kind of victory.

    • Eric Edelman October 16, 2012, 3:02 pm

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Jeanna. Yes, it is a depressing view, but only if one buys into the viewpoint depicted therein. Personally, I think that other views (both of the artwork and of life) are not only possible, but do exist and are more desirable.

  • alissa apel October 16, 2012, 4:04 pm

    Is it about the professor wanting to control the students?

    • Eric Edelman October 16, 2012, 5:41 pm

      I’m afraid I don’t know about a particular professor wanting to control his students–but I’m interested to hear about it! Please tell me the story.

  • Judy Haughton-James October 16, 2012, 6:28 pm

    Awesome collage as always and the commentary very interesting. Thanks for hosting.

    • Eric Edelman October 16, 2012, 7:34 pm

      Thanks very much, Judy! I’m glad you liked the collage and text. As always, it’s a pleasure to host you.

  • Emilee October 16, 2012, 8:18 pm

    Great Collage and wonderful commentary!

    • Eric Edelman October 16, 2012, 8:38 pm

      Thanks very much, Emilee! Glad you liked them.

  • DrillerAA October 16, 2012, 9:16 pm

    It always a treat to stop by here each week and see what kind of graphic joy has been posted.

    • Eric Edelman October 16, 2012, 10:48 pm

      Thanks so much! Wow! What a compliment. I’m very glad you enjoyed the collage.

  • jessica @peekababy October 17, 2012, 12:12 am

    the great war begins at birth and ends with death…at least it should be in technicolor! :)

    • Eric Edelman October 17, 2012, 1:55 am

      Sorry, Jessica…Technicolor is [technologically] beyond my abilities; I have to do the best I can with regular color! :-) Thanks for your comment.

  • Robin from Israel October 17, 2012, 1:32 am

    Love what you’ve done with the moon!

    • Eric Edelman October 17, 2012, 1:56 am

      Thanks very much, Robin! It was very enjoyable to work on.

  • Daryl - My Eyes October 17, 2012, 4:39 am

    i look forward to wednesdays so i can see what new creatively clever collage you’ve created .. this one is fascinating

    • Eric Edelman October 17, 2012, 3:14 pm

      Thanks very much, Daryl! I appreciate your kind comment.

  • Rosey October 17, 2012, 10:57 am

    Your #WW posts are always unique and awesome, Eric!!

    • Eric Edelman October 17, 2012, 3:13 pm

      Thank you so much, Rosey; that’s very kind of you to say!

  • Diana October 17, 2012, 12:15 pm Reply
    • Eric Edelman October 17, 2012, 3:12 pm

      Thanks very much for your visit and comment, Diana!

  • natalie October 17, 2012, 11:33 pm

    im going to check out the New Arabian Nights later :-) thanks for sharing.

    • Eric Edelman October 18, 2012, 6:35 am

      Thanks for your visit and your comment, Natalie. The New Arabian Nights and The Dynamiter (More New Arabian Nights) are two of my favorite books by Robert Louis Stevenson. Highly recommended!

  • Leovi October 18, 2012, 12:42 am

    Magnificent collage, at the height of the secret war, I like the composition.

    • Eric Edelman October 18, 2012, 6:32 am

      Thank you very much, Leovi! I appreciate your kind words.


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