Friday, September 30, 2011

A World Without War and Other Asinine Ideas

It's not that I think a world without war would be a bad thing, it's just that I think the notion of humanity living in peace on this planet is pretty damn far fetched.

Generally, the reasons that man has gone to war over are pretty stupid when you think about it.  We kill each other over interpretations of and idea that is imperceivable to man (God).  We've slaughtered each other over the right to own slaves.  We've even gone to war to stop a country from choosing its own form of government, just to satisfy some antiquated policy notion of "containment (Vietnam).

Don't get me wrong, though: every person has a right to defend themselves and what belongs to them.  So it's not as if all wars have been completely unjustified.  Unfortunately, the whole question of "what belongs to whom," is where matters start to get out of hand.  If some clown thinks he can stroll in to my home and just help himself to whatever he wants because he's more racially pure, or because God told him he could, or because it's just natural that he get my stuff, then that fool is going to have a fight on his hands.

When you understand war in its historical context, the whole idea seems absolutely insane.  I guess it's less ridiculous prior to, say the 14th Century, but when you think about war in the modern era it just boggles the mind.  For about 500 years now, humans have largely considered war to be just another step in the international political process.

You go to the negotiating table, make your demands, try to bob and weave without looking like too much of a jackass.  When talking doesn't work?  Well, you resort to sending wave after wave of your people at each other as little more than meat shields until one side can't take the horror anymore.

In normal one-on-one human interaction, a situation that breaks out into a fist fight is generally considered to be faux pas by today's standards.  When a brawl goes down, everyone has the mind set that one or both of the parties became unreasonable at some point and just couldn't resolve things like a rational person.  For so long, this was considered an acceptable outcome for international disputes.

Knowing just how irrational human beings can be, seeing that we can bring unbridled death and destruction upon our own race, it's fairly pie-in-the-sky to think that there will ever be any sort of real peace.  We'd have to be a society akin to Brave New World in order for the violence to stop, and I don't think that's an existence anyone in their right mind would want.

6 comments:

Karen Howes said...

War is stupid, but then so is much of humanity.

I don't think there's a single war that has TRULY been fought over religion, though-- religion has merely been a good excuse. The real reason is always the same: greed.

I hate pacificism, however-- it's a cowardly and unrealistic eutopian philosophy. War is never GOOD, but it's sometimes necessary.

Harrison said...

Happiness is a warm gun but peace is having a large arsenal of thermonuclear devices fueled up with precise guidance systems.

Silverfiddle said...

We are flawed. There will be no world peace.

Praise the Lord and pass the ammo...

D Charles QC said...

The subject has always been about one simple word - "power".

Whatever the so-called reason, it will always come down to that one undeniable fact, having power which is control over others or just having something that others do not.

Faith, race, land, the resources under it, slavery (traditional or modern), sex, politics, threat, terror, child abuse, rape, fame (the power of being influencial or simply adored), bullying, spousal abuse, etc, etc, etc. It has to do with power.

That all sounds so negative, but my Church tells us the same thing that most philosophies and faith-based texts do - that God created us to not only worship Him but to do so by proving that we can improve ourselves from the most base of instincts.

We may believe in God or not, original sin or not, but even without those beliefs, if the purpose of life is not to in fact rid ourselves of that need of power - then can we call ourselves civilized?

Cheers

Jack Camwell said...

Astute observations by all.

Yes, Damien, I think that power has a lot to do with it. Sometimes it sounds cliche when people talk about it, but I think you've hit on something very true.

For some reason, power seems to be a thing that profoundly alters a human mind, and as we've seen it's generally not to the benefit of mankind.

Harrison said...

I'll go with Lord Acton here.