In part two of our exclusive interview with Tom Cruise, we find out what his feelings are on war, and telling children about war, 9/11 and “the universal solvent” — and we’re not talking cleaning supplies. (Read part one here.)
SheKnows: What do you have to say about wars?
Tom: Wars don’t resolve conflict. Ideas do. And if you look at how history keeps repeating itself, we in society are at a time where — okay, here we are, we have great technology, we have very sophisticated way to communicate, to travel, yet there’s still famine and there are still wars. So you have to look at what is it we’re doing wrong. We’ve got to change the operating basis at some point.
So it is a metaphor for that. It is a metaphor for — I think — also when you — The traveling that I did as a kid. Everywhere I went. I lived in Canada, Kentucky, east, west, south, and the traveling I’ve done to different cultures whether it’s London, Paris, Germany, Japan, Korea, Singapore — you learn about people and the way that they live, and it’s amazing to me that even — when I was reading about the American Indian wars, the things that were written in the newspapers and were in the news during that time period about what is civilized and what isn’t civilized, what is correct and not correct, how to live and how not to live.
Look at the American Indian wars. You look at Custer, and when you start studying the history, it’s not what was happening. You know, Custer’s wife went out to try to promote his image. But during that time period, they were uncivilized. They were savages that should be either civilized or destroyed.
And it’s not an easy– it’s not just one way or the other, because the American Indians contributed to some of the conflict, but a lot of it was brought on by the U.S. government, and the people and the miners, and the people encroaching on their land.
So I read some just beautiful poetry from soldiers during the American Civil Wars and American Indian wars, because they found how the Indian was very connected to the land. And now you look at just how they harvested, how they hunted. They were actually taking care of their land. It’s the way to harvest and the way to hunt.
SK: How do you explain war to your children?
Tom:I ask them, “What do you think about it? How do you feel?” You look at war and the things that I try to do is educate them to a broad sense of history. A broad sense of different cultures. Different beliefs. I teach them to really learn about them and really respect that in others. It is conflict. Unfortunately, conflict does exist. They look at it and they are shocked. What happened at 9/11. Why are there wars? Why is this going on? I took them to the Museum of Tolerance and they learned about the Civil War here in this country.
There are some times that you have to make a stand for what is right. But you have to do it from a position of true knowledge. And not from “might is right”. And I think that… That is how I educate them. They don’t have to agree or contribute to that. And I work toward, with them and with people to educate them.
Illiteracy is the great barrier in the world. It is really the basic on conflict. Because if you have people who don’t understand what other people are saying… I’m not even talking about speaking different languages, because that’s just apparent and obvious, but there is no communication and how can there be understanding without communication.
It really comes down to three barriers. There is the misunderstood word, too steep a gradient and a lack of mass. These are the tools that Hubbard found out. Actually, he was an educator. He educated in the Navy, fought in World War II and he actually taught on the Philippines. He was a great teacher and he figured out why people were illiterate, why there are wars, why there is conflict.
So many times, I’ll find if there’s a problem on the set, people say “Why don’t you fight with your directors?” I really don’t have problems with people because I find out what is going on, where is the misunderstanding? What happened? You communicate. And you find out what happened. And I find that that resolves. It is the universal solvent. Communication.
But sometimes there are thick barriers there. I think my kids are at a point where they are understanding that because they learned that in their own life. On a very basic level, when they have a problem, just getting them to communicate as to what happens. And it resolves. So it seems very simple and you know what? It really is simple. (Continued)
Read more now about how Tom gets along with kids so well and how he feels about the holidays. Click to go there now.