The dictionary defines discipline as: “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.” Discipline is an unsavory, yet necessary character. He is needed in almost every area of life, if only to restrain vices. In ancient Greece, the Spartan considered discipline the most important thing one could possess.
Discipline is important in war. Without discipline there would either be no victories, or they would turn into anarchic affairs at one point or another. If one takes away all discipline in war, one sees mass slaughter of civilians, among other atrocities. Without discipline one truly sees Darwin’s principle played out: “survival of the fittest”, in the ugliest fashion possible among humans. In reality, World War II and Hitler’s regime play a prime example of lack of moral discipline in war. In fiction Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, and President Snow in The Hunger Games. In The Lord of the Rings, Sauron shows no moral discipline in war, anything and everything is “available” from his point of view, to be bent to his own purposes. The way in which his armies behave in war, and in individual battles, demonstrates a lack of discipline. The orcs frequently fight amongst themselves, sometimes slaying their own comrades. When the orcs march on Helm’s Deep, or Minas Tirith, they are more like a vast wave throwing itself recklessly against rock, than an orderly formation. In Collins’ trilogy one sees not only lack of moral discipline in war on the part of one side, but an insatiable appetite for it. The so called “hunger games” are the ultimate lack of discipline in war. A punishment annually for “crimes” so long in the forgotten past that they only have the ambiguous “Dark Times” for a name. Lack of discipline is fatal in all three of the aforementioned case-studies.
Discipline is important in academics. Discipline is related to the word disciple which means: “a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosophy”. If you disciple yourself to somebody you are claiming to attempt to emulate their actions, which by its very nature entails in some cases forcing yourself to do something against the natural bodily instinct. Without discipline of one form or another, education quickly fails. Indeed, without discipline, education can even become harmful. Being too zealous for knowledge is just as much a disease as being to zealous for power. Of either of these, Sauruman is far more guilty of the former than of the latter.
Discipline is important in life, in general. Or perhaps more accurately (and to be more specific), moral choices in life need discipline. Morality–a state of being moral–requires discipline. Without discipline morality is well nigh impossible. Morality and discipline could in a sense be said to be synonyms. Both require in some situations, mere force of will, a resolution to “keep slogging on.” While in some senses, especially physical, one can have discipline with out morality, one cannot have morality without discipline, and, in most cases one does require morality for proper discipline.
Discipline and morality are closely interrelated. When, in The Lord of the Rings, Frodo carries the Ring to Mount Doom, it requires both discipline and morality. When he claims the Ring for his own, it is the result of both of these breaking down; they both bring each other crashing down simultaneously.